A lot of people like to harshly critique the production quality of Metallica's 1988 magnum opus … And Justice For All, just don't count Obituary drummer Donald Tardy as one of them.
Tardy was fairly diplomatic in a recent chat with Ryan J. Downey of the Speak N' Destroy podcast, recalling a scenario I'm sure most of us are familiar with, saying "When there's conversations with my friends… We all agree the songs are killer; you can't deny those songs." You can listen to the entire conversation here.
"I like the drum production, and some of my friends absolutely hate it," Tardy continued. "And there is something weird about it; it makes you feel like you just got out of a swimming pool and your ears are a little bit off. And I get that. But maybe because I loved the record, maybe because I loved the drumming on it, and maybe because it fit the production of the guitars and stuff, I just thought it was killer. I had no problem with that."
"I'm not a dude to argue with friends again and again, night after night about production," Tardy explained. "Trust me — I've heard the reviews of our productions over the years. You can disagree or agree, or agree to disagree. But I liked it. And it's funny that some people just thought it was a bad production. It was a different production, but there's nothing bad about it."
It's worth noting that we have a drummer here, a very good drummer, weighing in positively on what is ultimately the biggest critique of Justice: it's drum sound. Which further reinforces my feeling, which is it's all in the "ear" of the beholder. (Yep, I just did that. Like Tardy, I'm what Dave Mustaine would call "a Justice fanboy.")
Tardy recently joked about his next task at hand: playing "Barely Alive"—the opener to Obituary's latest LP, Dying of Everything, and also their fastest track ever, clocking in at a breakneck 200 bpm. "For me, that is full-throttle, all cylinders firing. I'm a caveman behind the drum kit," Tardy said. "I was proud of it when I accomplished it in the studio.
"And what the hell am I thinking at my age? [Laughs] That was fun in the studio. I was excited — my feet are the fastest in my career for whatever reason. Maybe it's muscle memory or playing drums for 40 years. I hope to get better. During the writing process and just jamming and the pandemic and being home, I felt how fast my feet felt. I'm a fast-talking, fast-thinking, hyper-annoying kind of guy in general. My band would attest to that. [Laughs]"