August this year sees the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s first post-Cliff Burton album, …And Justice For All.
Despite a long history of denials, it seems that the band are finally going to release a remastered version of the classic album in time for the anniversary.
Justice has always been a contentious album due to its lack of bass in the mix, with theories that the band prosecuted their grief at the loss of their brother Burton in a tour bus accident by mixing the low end out of it.
“What happened was [Steve Thompson and Mike Barbiero, the record’s mixing engineers] did a mix that they thought sounded really, really good, which had lots of bass in it,” album producer Flemming Rasmussen explained on Metallica podcast Alphabetallica.
“And the bass tracks on …And Justice For All are absolutely fantastic… But, [the rest of the band] heard the mix and they went, ‘Alright, take the bass down, change this this this and this, and then take the bass down.’
“So you can barely hear it. And then once they’ve done that they said, ‘Take it another 3dB down.’ Why they did that, I have no idea. It could be that they were still grieving about Cliff. I have no idea. But imagine my surprise when I heard the album.”
And despite claims from as recently as earlier this year that the band have “no desire to remix” Justice, Rasmussen has said Metallica are planning a full remaster.
“A remaster cut is coming out now. I’m actually in the process of sending stuff to Metallica and writing an essay about how it was recorded and what we did,” Rasmussen said on American radio.
He warned that the remaster may not feature more prominent bass, however.
“I’m guessing that the main version, like the remaster thing, is gonna sound more or less as it did. But there might be alternative versions on there… I think they’re gonna go with the remastering thing; whether they’re gonna stick more bass in there I have no idea. But let’s see when it comes out.”
Check out some tracks from …And Justice For All here:
Rasmussen suggested the remastered album will be out “Probably in November”.