Steve Thompson, who mixed Metallica’s “…And Justice For All” album, says Lars Ulrich’s drums originally sounded “like ass”

Author Samuel Järvinen - 5.1.2022

When Metallica fans talk about the band’s 1988 album “…And Justice For All”, they can’t help but comment on Jason Newsted’s bass parts being mixed too quietly. The drums are often mentioned more in connection with the 2003 album “St.Anger”, whose snare sound is often the subject of jokes.

But now Steve Thompson, who mixed “Justice”, has offered his opinion on the bassless album. In a recent interview with Dean Cramer, Thompson commented on the album’s drum sounds.

“We did the project up at Bearsville, New York — we worked on an SSL console up at Bearsville studios. And Lars originally came in with a whole EQ setup chart of how he wanted his drums to sound. So Michael Barbiero, my partner, says, ‘Why don’t you work with Lars and get the drums sounding the way he wants them to sound, and then once you do that, I’ll take care of the rest.’ So he does that. And I listened to the sounds, and I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I think this sounds like ass”

Thompson says he then slightly EQ’d the drum sounds to make them a bit more “palbable”.