Everything You Need To Know About Metallica’s Blackened Recordings’ Vinyl Reissues

It’s been a few since I’ve posted on here, mainly because I have developed an obsession for music on vinyl and have been getting lost in the world of Analog. But I am here to give all of you who care some much needed info regarding the upcoming Metallica vinyl reissues.

A couple of days ago it was announced that Metallica will be releasing a series of vinyl reissues via their own label Blackened Recordings, with the first wave of releases to come out on August 25th, 2014 and the second wave to be released on September 16th, 2014.

I have done all the necessary research to provide you with all the info you should need to make an informed decision.

First off, these Blackened vinyl reissues will be the same as the Warner vinyl reissues (that came out in 2008/2011) in terms of the source and mastering. Just like with the Warner reissues, they are all from the original masters and the first three albums are done at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs with the remaining done by Bernie Grundman. All are being pressed at Furnace and will be on standard gram vinyl. However, it should be noted that the Warner/Grundman reissues were pressed at either Pallas in Germany or RTI (both are top notch pressing plants). So, on the surface it appears that the only difference between the Blackened and Warner reissues is where they are pressed.

Secondly, for those unaware, the first three albums that were done at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MoFi) have the reputation for sounding less than great with what is described as an obscene amount of treble (at least on the Warner issues). It is recommended by many that vinyl audiophiles seek out the original pressings of Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master Of Puppets. You can’t really fault MoFi on that one though, because you have to consider the source. The reason why the MoFi releases sound so “bad” is because the recording quality of the masters weren’t the greatest. So, the MoFi remasters just bring out the bad production quality more while the original pressings don’t highlight those qualities as much.

Of course, these are all guidelines and it’s really up to an individual’s ears and sonic preferences. I have a 7-band EQ so I just might get the Blackened reissue of “Master Of Puppets” and mess with the EQ a bit if the treble is really as bad as people say, who knows…it might just sound killer with just a little bit of tweaking. If you know people who have either a Warner reissue or original pressing then definitely listen to their copy first and see what you think before buying. If you like the sound of the Warner reissues of a certain title (45 RPM series doesn’t count), then chances are that you will dig the Blackened reissue of the same title. Most people claim that the Grundman mastered ones sound fantastic (having better quality recordings to work with helped as well, I’m sure).

August 25th releases:
Master Of Puppets
Metallica” (self-titled ‘black album’) (2xLP)
Load” (2xLP)
Reload” (2xLP)
St. Anger
S&M” (3xLP)
Garage, Inc.” (3xLP)

September 16th releases:
Kill ‘Em All”
Ride The Lightning
…And Justice For All” (2xLP)
Death Magnetic” (2xLP)


-Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis

7 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About Metallica’s Blackened Recordings’ Vinyl Reissues”

  1. “You can’t really fault MoFi on that one though, because you have to consider the source. The reason why the MoFi releases sound so “bad” is because the recording quality of the masters weren’t the greatest.”

    Wrong. How can you make such statements without having heard the source tapes? You THINK – not KNOW – that the source is of low quality. You don’t KNOW if it really is.

    Anyway, the source might not be super hi-fi, but it’s not excatly garbage-quality either (judging by original releases). If original releases sounded decent, reissues could too. Why not? It’s not like the tapes have deteriorated.
    Mastering that reveals the flaws of original recording to such a degree that it sounds like garbage is POOR mastering. Good mastering would be taking a not-so-good source and making it sound as good as possible, not revealing all its faults to the point that it’s not joy listen to it. In other words, if they wanted to, they could have made the remasters sound almost like the original releases (they managed to make original releases sound the way they sound, right?).

    By the way, the source doesn’t have to be of “the greatest” quality to sound good. It’s enough for it to be of decent quality.

  2. My wife just bought me a vinyl player and Master of Puppets. I must say the sound quality of MOP is terrible!!! I’m so disappointed. Drums and bass are very low, high tremble and the sound is very compressed. Now I also listened to Eagles Greatest Hits and Fleetwood Mac Rumours…they sound amazing. People are saying to get the 45 rpm of the Metallica albums but I’m seeing them priced over $100.00. A lot of the criticism of the vinyl pressings seem very accurate so far.

  3. Bought RTL on Blackened vinyl. Whole album sounds there is a ton of fluff on the needle but Fade to Black is truly awful, sounds like a tape version that has been stretched. If you see it save your money and buy the CD. Mate had original pressing vinyl and that is still the best version I have heard for bass and drums.

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