Since “….And Justice For All” came out 27 years ago people have complained about the ‘lack of bass’ on the album. Well turns out, that’s cause Lars Ulrich wanted it that way. According to mixer Steve Thompson, “Ulrich came into the sessions with a detailed sense of what he wanted out of the drum sound, Thompson says, even bringing in photos of an equalizer set up. And Ulrich was willing to fight for that vision, even at the expense of the other instruments”
“We had to get the drum sound up the way he had it,” Thompson says. “I wasn’t a fan of it. So now he goes, ‘See the bass guitar?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, great part, man. He killed it.’ He said, ‘I want you to bring down the bass where you can barely, audibly hear it in the mix.’ I said, ‘You’re kidding. Right?’ He said, ‘No. Bring it down.’ I bring it down to that level and he says, ‘Now drop it down another 5 dB.’ I turned around and looked at James Hetfield, and said, ‘He’s serious?’ It just blew me away.” Thompson says the shame of it all is that Bassist Jason Newsted put the performance of a lifetime on the tape!
Thompson was not a fan of Lars especially after Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thompson said “They flew us out and I’m sitting with Lars,” Thompson recalled. “He goes, ‘Hey, what happened to the bass in … Justice?’ He actually asked me that. I wanted to cold cock him right there. It was a shame because I’m the one getting the s– for the lack of bass.”
Be Just and Fear Not