Thrash Producers: The Sound And The Fury
Guitar World talks to the producers who crafted the sound on groundbreaking albums by Megadeth, Anthrax, Possessed, Death and other bands from extreme metal’s formative years.
The year 1987 would also see the album debut of Napalm Death. Released through the British indie label Earache, Scum put Napalm Death on the map and established grindcore, a genre that pushed the envelope for speed and brutality like nothing before it. Early grindcore releases weren’t known for great production; that everything sounded so noisy and frenzied was initially part of its charm. Yet there was one producer who understood where the sound was coming from and was able to give it more clarity without stripping away its brutality.
Napalm Death's 1987 debut Scum
Colin Richardson started out as a gopher at a studio in his hometown of Manchester England. His first engineering experience was with the U.K. hardcore band Discharge on their legendary 1982 album Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing, the influence of which could be heard in many speed/thrash metal bands that followed. As Scott Ian put it, “There was just a level of brutality on that record that I had never heard before. I could list 15 bands that if it wasn’t for that record wouldn’t even be bands, including Anthrax.”
Discharge's 1982 album Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing
Richardson recalls being left on his own to mix the album. “I really wasn’t quite sure what I was doing back in those days. I was just trying to find out how everything worked. I remember putting the guitars through the studio graphic EQ because I didn’t think they were quite as full sounding in the tracking. I hadn’t recorded a guitar sound like that, so I just tried to get something together that was pleasing to my ear.”
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