It’s been an ongoing debate ever since the album was released: “what the hell happened to the bass on …And Justice For All?” Producers and engineers under fire from fans have continued to blame the band – and particularly Lars – for the poor mix, and some have hoped in vain for someone to be given the chance to remix the record the way it should have sounded.
Now, with Metallica’s seminal Master Of Puppets being remastered for a deluxe reissue in November, …And Justice For All is next in line for a possible rework, and the man who recorded Jason Newsted’s inaudible bass is asking Lars & Co. for the opportunity to set things right.
“At the time, the theology in the room between Lars and James was that if you can hear the bass it’s 2dB too loud. So when it moved over to Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero mixing it, they brought that same theology with them.
“No matter how hard Steve and Michael tried to fight them on that’s not right, that’s not right, they still insisted that’s what they wanted so that’s what the world got.”
He then stated his case for why he’s the perfect person to be handling a new version of the record, reaching out to Lars and asking that …And Justice For All be given the same treatment given to its self-titled follow-up Metallica.
“I’d like to remake it and I’ll show you exactly what was laid down on tape and then the world will be stunned, I think,” Wright says. “Keep in mind I would love to remix it, Lars. If you are hearing me, I would love to remix it. I think it would be a bit more powerful. Fill out some of that tonality that’s missing from it.
“If you listen to the black [album] which was done a year and half, two years later under Bob Rock, that’s a full band,” he adds. “I don’t know if anybody fought him on all that kind of stuff, because I wasn’t in the room, but you never know. And it turned out how it turned out and 20 million records later, there was some success there.”
The end result of …And Justice For All didn’t hamper Wright’s career too much, and he’s mixed or produced for the likes of Alice In Chains, Stone Sour, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne and Slayer over the years, but we’re sure he’d love for the world to have the chance to hear the album the way he knows it was meant to sound.
Meanwhile, a segment of fans are happy to keep the record just the way it is, while Metallica themselves have made no indication they’d ever own up to making a mistake, so we won’t be holding our breath for a drastic change when the remastered version hits.
For now, check out a fan-remastered version of album-opener ‘Blackened’ below.