Metallica’s …And Justice For All was released in 1988, and while the album yielded some set list mainstays (notably “One,” which nabbed the band their first Grammy), nearly 27 years later, there’s still controversy surrounded around the mixing of the album, particularly the bass track and its lack of presence.
That controversy isn’t going away anytime soon, especially in light of a recent interview Steve Thompson, the album’s mixer, did with Ultimate-Guitar.com. According to Thompson, Lars Ulrich told him to turn the bass down “where you can barely, audibly hear it in the mix.”
On top of that, Ulrich was very particular about the drum track that Thompson said “…he would actually bring his photos of a Klark Teknik’s EQ [parametric equalizer] setup because he had a certain way he wanted the drums to sound.” Thompson followed orders but commented that Ulrich’s sound demands sounded “like ass,” which is never the type of sound anyone wants.
To add insult to injury, when Thompson attended Metallica’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2009, he said Ulrich asked him "Hey, what happened to the bass in ‘... Justice?’" While Thompson said he “wanted to cold cock him right there,” there obviously was no such incident, although, we kind of wish there was. I would have made all the drama around KISS’s induction look tame.
Ulrich has yet to respond to this recent interview, but knowing his knack for providing juicy sound bites, we hope he does so soon.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.