I've noticed lately the production of artists seems to have gone downhill. It started with Arch Enemy's Rise of the Tyrant. The sound went from tight, punchy, and polished to a more open sound. The guitars also have a very odd phased sound to them too. The CD doesn't sound bad, but Doomsday Machine definitely sounded better. This one is slightly preference. I noticed the same quality shift from In Flames' Soundtrack -> Come Clarity, though the quality didn't decrease, it shifted to the more open sound.

Then we have bands like Children of Bodom and Kalmah, where the drums are horribly mixed (kick is muddy, biggest problem), and the guitars just sound like all mids and have no life whatsoever to them.

Even Fear Factory's Transgression, the guitars sound dry and lifeless, and are overly scooped, not to mention the drums sound pretty bad.

That's not to say that I can do much better, but these are bands that had very refined sounding albums, and a couple years later turn around and release terrible mixes. It isn't even an old school type sound, which would be quite preferrible. It reminds me of when St Anger came out, and the nasty guitar tone and DIY quality that CD had. This especially seems to be a trend in the scandinavian scene.

Of course, there were some great sounding mixes. DT's Fiction and Amon Amarth's Twilight of the Thunder God comes to mind. Strangely it's the ones that were mixed well that I thought were more in line with the band's prior works, whereas the poorly mixed CDs didn't resemble the band much or were boring and/or regurgitated crap.

What's the deal here?
Sounds like you have a bad case of Listenstoshit.
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I can't even listen to Soilwork's Sworn To A Great Divide because of how poor the production quality is
Which is a real shame, 'coz they are one of my moar fav bands
Gooby Pls.
...you're using metal as an example of a genre with typically good production values?

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I like to have a mix of metal having a healthy balance. If there's too much production I find that it takes away a lot of the emotions from it (for me at least), but you also don't want it to sound like total ****-without losing that raw feeling haha.
Quote by LedZeppelin
...you're using metal as an example of a genre with typically good production values?


A lot of metal from the early 2000s actually had quite good production quality, due to the low cost and ease of digital recording. The problem isn't that it got lower production resources, it's that the CDs sound like they are using top enuipment, but have no idea how to actually use it. Listen to Kalmah and Bodom's newest CDs, both have a similar quality to their production. Compare Bodom's newest to Hatecrew to Reaper, IMO reaper sounded the best but Hatecrew wasn't necessarily bad quality. Their new CD sounds terrible.

And yes, I remembered Soilwork well after I posted about them. I didn't like anything of their new CD, but I'm not as much a Soilwork fan. Their newer sound sometimes is reminiscent of 90s nu metal.
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Sounds like you have a bad case of Listenstoshit.
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Whether the music is shit or not is irrelevent to his point.


Also, i would've liked louder double bass in Amon Amarth's newest effort.
Well, I don't really mind, I don't look for totally crisp production, I'm not one who claims tht any half decent or expensive production rapes the album of its soul and atmosphere, replacing it with corporate Roadrunner sterility, but I enjoy slightly muddy production. For the most part, there's a certain bite to it which can often be lost when too polished.

I don't think production quality has decreased at all in the last two years' of releases, Rise of the Tyrant wasn't murky or muddy, it had a far more real sounding production than Doomsday, and it was very crisp, I thought. Warpath's Damnation was one of the bets produced thrash albums of the year - if not the best, and that had great production values.
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yea man, who ever doesnt like pantera or think they suck doesnt like metal, end of discussion, they changed the freakin world n made history, so don't be sayin they suck, have respect, same goes for machine head n lamb of god cuz their good too
just listen to some crust punk bands for awhile, and everything will sound amazing (production wise). Stuff like this really doesn't bother me.
The dude has a point. I think maybe it's a kneejerk reaction to the (extremely) over polished metalcore production style. Maybe they're just trying to counter-balance their commercial leanings with raw (read: br00tal) production. Or maybe all sound engineers have suddenly gone to ****. Whatever caused it, hopeful it'll stop soon.
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It might be to do with the new trend in music production to make everything as "loud" as possible so nothing pops out of the track, the most extreme case of this being Death Magnetic
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You would fail so hard at black metal if you think Arch Enemy and Fear Factory have production issues.

Also, I liked the production on Transgression a lot. The drums sounded much more natural than they did before. Before Transgression they always sounded really digital.
Grow a pair.
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I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.

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Music is all that matters to me.
If it's good, I don't care about lo-fi production.
Less polished production can add a lot to a band's atmosphere.
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Less polished production can add a lot to a band's atmosphere.

This is very true. Older Opeth material, for example, would have a lot taken away from it if it was polished and sparkly clean. Conversely, I'd probably be able to get into a lot of newer Dimmu Borgir material if it didn't sound so polished. I just don't think music needs to be super polished for its quality to be apparent.
I think the point he's trying to make is that all these bands which previously had good production values as a normal matter are going a little downhill.


I don't tend to mind production so long as it fits the music in whatever way. Raw black metal with Sneap production would fail just as hard as recent Dark Tranquillity would fail if it were fizzy and sloppy. That said, I do like it when bands get the balance just right, like Bloodbath on Nightmares Made Flesh; punchy and aggressive but no string sections or choirs. Blah blah.

I don't think it's a trend, TS, just a few bands have let it down a little. Arch Enemy's new tone is a pile of wank.
Last edited by webbtje at Jan 7, 2009,
Quote by LedZeppelin
...you're using metal as an example of a genre with typically good production values?


If you know where to look, metal production can be eargasmic.