Boy, this is straight out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not.Â
Fans of the heavy metal bandÂ Metallica are whining that the music is getting too loud!Â
Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has an interesting front page piece on Metallica fans complaining that the music in the band’s latest album Death Magnetic is too loud.
Here’s an excerpt from the WSJ piece:
“Death Magnetic” is a flashpoint in a long-running music-industry fight. Over the years, rock and pop artists have increasingly sought to make their recordings sound louder to stand out on the radio, jukeboxes and, especially, iPods.
Turning It Up
But audiophiles, recording professionals and some ordinary fans say the extra sonic wallop comes at a steep price. To make recorded music seem louder, engineers must reduce the “dynamic range,” minimizing the difference between the soft and loud parts and creating a tidal wave of aural blandness.
“When there’s no quiet, there can be no loud,” said Matt Mayfield, a Minnesota electronic-music teacher, in a YouTube video that sketched out the battle lines of the loudness war. A recording’s dynamic range can be measured by calculating the variation between its average sound level and its maximum, and can be visually expressed through wave forms. Louder recordings, with higher average sound levels, leave less room for such variation than quieter ones.
Some fans are complaining that “Death Magnetic” has a thin, brittle sound that’s the result of the band’s attempts in the studio to make it as loud as possible. “Sonically it is barely listenable,” reads one fan’s online critique. Thousands have signed an online petition urging the band to re-mix the album and release it again.
We listened to samples of different Metallica songs on our iPhone – it is absolutely true that the music is much louder on the new album Death Magnetic than it’s on the earlier album And Justice for All, as some of the Metallica fans are complaining.
Loudness notwithstanding, we still like the songs in the new Metallica album Death Magnetic. Maybe we’ll even buy it from iTunes.