Fresh out from the fires of a rather feisty tour with underground destruction machine Six Feet Under, something is making it's very best to stay in my head. Stay and nag - a Debacuhery drummer saying that our record 'Going Postal' is 'really well produced'.
Well, not exactly disagreeing - but when the conversation on the occasional dinner-before-rehearsal starts to truddle around the grounds on how very perfect Dino (Medanhodzic, our producer) is, I usually mantle myself as the topic's no-sayer, tossing words like 'plastigkagge' (Plastic bass drum, just heed to the Amnesiac 1st minute) around me.
I think there is a sizzling contradiction as to how metal - a genre that always (or should always) strive to be disgusting and brutal, to entice, to provoke, can sometimes be presented to oneself in such a friendly package.
I'm talking about the high-end high-bass typical modern metal production that can be found in the same quarters as any more-than-100k-likes-on-facebook metal/core/death band. I'm talking examples as diverse as late Dead By April, Meshuggah's 'ObZen', As Humanity Devastates and even 'To Hell With God' by Deicide.
If utter metalism is all about -no matter if your approach is whiny teenager, insane satanist or the calculative 'Norrlänning' creating the sound envision to being anally raped is your ultimate goal - why hinder that goal by making an album that sounds huge, crisp and clear, but ultimately inanely plastic?
Records like those aforementioned surely sound professional to every damn last letter of the word. But there's something really nice about them too - not a frequency out of place, not a single dynamic pace that haven't been planed out, nothing that bites, provokes or tickles. It has it's reasons though - a really flattened out mastering EQ makes for every stereo player out there to play the album without any jarring dissonance to that stereo player's individual EQs. But if metal's original purpose was to fist everything, why be so gentle to Pioneer, Sony and Creative?
We are partly to bear response for this, because that kind of clean, crisp modern sound is what characterizes most of our producer's craftsmanship. Especially 'A Thousand Flatlines' comes to me as a very plane sounding album. On 'Going Postal', our goal was to dirten it down a bit, especially by making the guitars more midsy. Even though it's got a, in my opinion, quite characteristic sound, the uttermost grit I once envisioned is barely there - the mastering EQ bears the Swedish 'Smörgåspapper' like a crown, making the record dirty, but still quite polished.
Then again, few people envision this like me - the majority of people like you reading this probably has a more optimistic sound visionary, moving along the lines of 'this is sounding great!!' (A point of view I sometimes wish I had) and in the end, it's you who should buy 'Going Postal'. Not me.
Coming next week is an essay countering this one on why Metallica's '.. And Justice For All' is still the greatest metal production ever made. Maybe.