Metallica's 1988 album …And Justice for All has been the subject of many articles over the years, namely ones focused on what the hell happened to the production. Lars Ulrich has defended the album in the past, while James Hetfield has blamed the utter lack of bass on band burnout. Now we've got a new perspective on things.
In an interview with Classic Rock, original …And Justice for All producer Mike Clink said Metallica was used to doing things their own way at that point and didn't really want his input. Which is insane considering Clink had produced Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction and would go on to produce Megadeth's Rust in Peace.
"As much as I believe they wanted me to put my magic on the tracks, I think that they were used to doing things on their own and doing it their own way," he said. "I always felt that I was in the wings, waiting until Flemming got free or they could convince him to work on the record – at that moment in time, it just wasn't working…"
"They bristled at someone trying to tell them what to do. And I think it was as much my fault as their fault. You know, I had just come off of the Guns N' Roses record and doing things my way, and having my say. And I kind of ran into a bit of a brick wall and it was difficult for me. Also, the absence of Cliff was a little unsettling to them… In the back of their minds, maybe they wanted something more familiar because that was a big step without him."
Eventual …And Justice for All producer Flemming Rasmussen chimed in during the interview and said "Lars called me and said they were going nowhere and they were getting fed up with it and asked if I was available just in case."
"[Clink] probably expected them to be more of a band-band where everybody played at the same time and you kind of took it from there. And they were nowhere near that at that time…" said Rasmussen.
"They were fucking around with guitar sounds and had been so for like two or three weeks, and James was really unpleased. When I spoke to Lars, he said, 'We're not gonna do another Master. It's gonna be more in your face. It's gonna be as pumped and as upfront as possible.'"
And of course, Click also addressed the album's infamous lack of bass.
"They weren't leaving enough room, sonically, to fit the bass in," he said. "But that was their concept and I think that if Cliff had been there it might have been a bit different. But with the new member, I felt he didn't have as much to say. I think he was just happy to be there, at that moment. I think Jason just said, 'This is the way it is, let's roll with it.'
"It's also the sound of the guitar. It takes up a lot of room in the sonic spectrum. But ultimately that was the decision of the band and the mixer."