During a recent appearance on Gibson TV’s ‘Icons’ program, the lead guitarist of Metallica, Kirk Hammett, responded to some questions about the band’s recording process and how their producer’s revolutionary idea contributed to Metallica’s career.
‘Metallica’ or as it commonly referred to ‘The Black Album‘ is Metallica’s fifth studio album which was released in August 1991. It became the band’s best-selling album and ranked 1st on the 200 Billboard Charts for four consecutive weeks. There are numerous reasons why this album succeeded the most and the main ones are related to the sound and the recording process.
Firstly, ‘The Black Album’ was different from Metallica’s previous four albums as the band’s sound shifted from a thrash metal style to a slower and heavier style which could be best described as heavy metal. This shift amused their fans and led to an increase in their fan base.
The second reason was the power of their new sound. For their new album, Metallica had decided to work with a new producer, Bob Rock. He was very good at his job but also very strict which often led to conflicts as the band did not want to change a lot about their recording process.
However, in his recent interview, Kirk Hammett revealed that following Bob Rock’s advice was a milestone for them. Bob Rock often went to the rehearsals of ‘The Black Album’ and at some point, he observed that none of their albums reflected the energy that they gave out during their live performances.
Bob Rock thought that bringing all the band members in the studio to perform while recording the drums would be a good idea as it would make their records sounds more energetic. This turned out to be a great idea and soon enough, band members observed that Lars Ulrich played much better when he was accompanied by his band members.
This recording technique was used in the recording of their later albums too, and its success was apparent when ‘The Black Album’ became their best-selling album. In his recent interview, Kirk Hammett paid his respects to Bob Rock who enabled the band to change their recording technique and to sound as good as they sound playing live.
Here’s what Kirk Hammett said about the recording process of ‘The Black Album’:
“Bob Rock came down to rehearsals for ‘The Black Album’, and he said to us, ‘No one has ever caught the power and energy of you guys live on tape or on vinyl.’ And I thought about it, and I thought, ‘He has a point. There is yet to be a recorded song that captures the energy and the urgency that comes with seeing us live.’ And that was his goal. And, to a certain extent, looking back at the albums that he did do, he caught a lot of energy in the studio.
His whole way of recording us was so radically different than anything we’d ever done. All of us playing together in the same room to record the drums was a milestone for us, ’cause in the past, it was just James. And we honestly thought that whenever we were all playing together like that in a room that Lars Ulrich always played better. And using that recording technique proved that that was the case.”
Click here for the source and you can watch Kirk Hammett’s appearance on Gibson TV’s ‘Icons’ series below.