Metallica’s Lars Ulrich: ‘…And Justice for All’ Production Was About Balance
The truth behind the lack of bass on Metallica's 1988 album ...And Justice for All may never truly come out. Fingers have been pointed in every direction from band members to producers as to who is responsible for one of the most infamous production jobs in heavy music history. Now, Lars Ulrich has stated that "balance" was what they were striving for.
"It's all about balances," the drummer said in a new interview about the record, which was uploaded to Metallica's YouTube channel (viewed below). "So we found a way to get — I guess primarily James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] and I — to have our voices in the writing, in the parts, in the sonics," he continued. "And it was not necessarily about the big picture, but it was about the way that it could all coexist without anybody having to take a back step, or it was like we were all chained together. And so we would move forward. This was the way it worked."
Talking about the sound of his kick drum, he further demonstrated that balance was the driving force and that they needed a sound that would "come through" in the mix. "James' guitar was sort of here, so the kick drum would live up there or a little bit down here. So there was a reason for a lot of this stuff. Nobody sat there and said, 'We're gonna have a record that's gonna be mixed this way.' We weren't capable of thinking at that level," Ulrich admitted. "So a lot of it was a result of what I think were sort of balancing points along the way to just make it all work for the big picture."
Reinforcing his stance, he remained steadfast that there was no master plan behind the production. "We didn't sit there and go, 'A year from now, we're gonna have a record that sounds this particular way.' I don't know if the word 'accidental' [applies], but it's just the result of instinctive choices that were made along the way to make it work, to keep people at bay — all that kind of shit," Ulrich explained.
He noted Metallica's protective nature, commenting that the attitude was, "'This is our thing. Nobody's gonna fuck with it. Nobody's gonna touch it. Nobody's gonna get involved. We're the gatekeepers. Fuck you!' That was kind of my recollection of that whole year."
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