the fact that the listeners have given this a "10" for production makes me sad (hah, well it was 10 before I gave it my vote:x) . The production on this album is THE epitome of what I hate about most modern metal recordings (well mainly the recording/mixing/mastering which I know IS different from straight up production but the production blanket is what this has to come under based on AP review choices). Super Super Super compressed and produced up to the point where there is no real organic or true full range dynamic sound to the recording.
The guitars are over-compressed so much to the point that there is a LOT of the sound of some of the notes cut out of the mix that bounces above the compression line. I tried the disk in my car (nice speaker setup), on my computer, in my ipod and it all sounded bad (even worse in better setups honestly). Finally I went to a friend of mine who has run sound live and recorded for 20 years to have him use his studio monitors because I literally could not believe how bad the production was. He hadnt opened his copy yet, so we ran his disk through audacity and pro tools and listened to it and the recording is laughable. Audible hiss and clips. The guitars sound like they were recorded through an amp modeler or a low end solid state amp.
The drums almost sound like they are clipping at points, and the snare and some of the cymbols really sound like complete crap to the point where I cant believe they were accepted in a final mix.
As far as the album? I havent been a metallica fan for several several albums so Im biased. Its probably a 6.5/10 or so for me. Musicianship is high class no doubt (9 from me) even if I have grown out of them, and the overall writing is back to their solid roots, but Production is honestly probably a 0 for me. One of the worst produced albums Ive heard come out of a band with this kind of recording budget in a LONG time. (maybe ever).
All because the modern trend is compress compress compress to get the "loud"/"attack" all the other metal bands have.
good review by the review originator though. although we may not agree on the final score, his last paragraph sums it up perfectly.
yes to all, thanks for saving me typing time
the production is still not as awful as "st. anger" though.
Also, reviewer guy, Bob Rock is currently producing the new 311 album, so hopefully he doesn't ruin them as you said. Although, it should be pointed out that Bob did a fairly good job with the new Offspring album, while the production isn't great, he at least got their best effort in 10 years out of them.