Bob Rock discussed recording and producing Metallica’s 1991 classic “Black Album,” telling Decibel Magazine:
“When we started to mix I used the bus compressor on the SSL. That’s how I got it aggressive.
“So, I had the first mix in shape and James came in. He said, ‘I don’t want any compression on my guitars.’ I said, ‘Well, this is what I do.’ He just said, ‘Nope.’
“I had to solve the problem.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Luckily, I was at Hansen’s and they had a 6K console, which has three busses, A, B, and C. They go to the main bus.
“SSL had just released the compressor in a rack unit. So, I figured out I’d use that on the A bus, James’ guitars on the B bus, and everything else on the C bus. That was how I ended up working the record.
“Otherwise, if I couldn’t solve the problem, I wasn’t going to be doing the record. It was a complete workaround.
“That’s why the guitars are crushing without compression.
“That’s just the guitars. They’re in-your-face crushing. The drum compression doesn’t affect James’ guitars.
“I had a similar story with Tommy [Lee] on [Motley Crue’s 1989 record] ‘Dr. Feelgood.’
“He had his monitors live on stage. When we went into the studio, he said, ‘I need some bottom on the headphones.’ So, I got some monitors and put them behind his kit.[metalwani_content_ad]
“People were like, ‘Bob, you can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s what he wants.’ So, I put these huge subbies behind the kit, and I put a little bit of the sub in the kit.
“He felt good, played amazing, and the sub ended up filling the room. Now, that’s insane. Most engineers won’t do that. But I was just doing a workaround once again for the artist. To make them comfortable.”