TOOL Engineer Calls METALICA’s ‘Death Magnetic’ Album ‘So Weird Mastering-Wise’

Lars Ulrich

During a recent appearance on “Let There Be Talk,” TOOL engineer Joe Barresi — also known for his work with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, SLIPKNOT, and more — talked about music, touching on METALLICA and LED ZEPPELIN.

Joe, who worked on TOOL‘s latest album, Fear Inoculum, said about ZEPPELIN: “John Bonham‘s sound works with Jimmy Page‘s guitar sound — you want the bottom sound? Well, that would never work in Metallica because those drums would never cut through [James] Hetfield or vice versa. There’s that relationship of the parts, that’s the sum, and that’s what gives a band identity… It’s how they play together, and the sounds they make, and their hands, and things like that. And that makes a band unique. They’re unstoppable, they sound so good… And their styles — you’d lose that style when you start piecing sh*t together one at a time.”

Speaking about METALLICA‘s latest album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Joe said: “The last one sounds killer! The one before that, [2008’s] Death Magnetic is so weird mastering-wise. Mastering guys started doing sh*t where they’re mastering the instrumental version because there’s no vocal they can f*ck with, they can make that punishing loud.

“And then they master the vocal, and then they kind of do their own mix where they put the vocal in there,” he continued. And that’s how that sh*t happens, you can get this kind of volume and crustiness.

“And there’s all the grief where they blame the mastering guy, or they blame the producer, or they blame the engineer, or the mixer… And I’ve had it happen to me where somebody tried to take a mix and put it on from the stems. But I’m like, ‘This sounds like sh*t, just leave the f*cking mix.’ You don’t need that many options. If it’s sh*tty, I’ll remix it. Call me up and say, ‘It sucks and I can’t do anything with this,’ and I’ll remix it. I really like the way the last METALLICA record sounds like. Greg Fidelman took it back into the realm of…”

You can listen to full chat below.