Classic Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen spoke in an interview with Mitch Lafon and he claimed that Metallica’s Master Of Puppets album sounded like crap because of a sponsor deal. He said:
“It wasn’t that difficult. It was just a lot of hard work. We took some time getting the drums so we have the right feel. Once we had that, we started doing rhythm guitars. And it was all done on analog tape. We had two tape machines running in sync. So we had like 46 tracks we were operating on. We couldn’t move anything in time as you can today in Pro Tools. Because that would mean cutting the tape and that was not possible.
Everything that’s on ‘Master of Puppets’ is played the way it is. Nobody’s been fuckin’ around with that. That’s the way it is – simple as that. It just took some time to get that level of precision. Sound-wise, we were more or less on the same page.
“They have gotten a new sponsor deal with [Mesa] Boogie. ‘Ride the Lightning’ was all made on Marshall amps and suddenly now they had these Boogie amps and I thought they sounded like crap.
So I tweaked them quite a bit. I actually stuck an EQ at the back – while I was sitting in the control room I actually EQ-ed on the amp, which was kind of freaky but it worked. We spent a lot of time on getting the guitar sound. It’s all documented, I have these notes from the ‘Master’ and ‘Justice’ albums.
We fought so much with the sound. They were also really focused on how the album sounded because they haven’t had an album that sounded as good as they knew the band sounded. And ‘Master of Puppets’ was probably the first one that turned out that way.
Also, we didn’t want any reverb on there. They were like anti-reverb. [Laughs] So instead I spent a lot of time sticking out room mics and recording those and blending them into the sound. Most of the guitars ended up on one track in mono. Because we needed to preserve the amount of tracks because we needed them to record other stuff. And not like you can do today in Pro Tools where you just do full mics and then decide later which one you will use. This was all bounced down to mono when we recorded it. There was just like tons of guitar tracks.
A lot of work went into it. It was not difficult as such because everybody had the same vision of what the album should sound like. It was just hard work and it took a long time.”
Click here to entire interview. Flemming Rasmussen produced 1984’s “Ride the Lightning,” 1986’s “Master of Puppets” and 1988’s “…And Justice for All”.