Metallica’s new CD, Death Magnetic, is pretty good. Certainly it is better than St. Anger although I suppose that’s not setting the bar very high. This CD is closer to And Justice For All than anything Metallica has done in the last decade. Unfortunately, the CD is mastered very hot. Basically, the CD is authored so loud that there isn’t much range between loud and quiet and the loud becomes distorted. Ryan explains this phenomenon quite well and in a lot more detail.
The fact that Kotaku is running an article about this means it has gotten the attention of people beyond the audiophile community. Their claim is that the Guitar Hero versions of the same songs is much better. I’ve heard Amazon MP3s are a lot less hot than CDs generally. I wonder if they fix this particular case.
We can only hope that the negative reaction this CD is getting in some sectors shows a trend and that CD mastering will go back to where it once was. Having to turn up the CD to make it loud isn’t a bad thing.