Mastering Engineer Ian Shepherd is among those who believe that the distortion Metallica fans have been complaining about since the release of Death Magnetic is not present in the Guitar Hero III version. As he notes: “In comparison, the released CD version is – to coin a technical phrase – smashed to f**k.” So who or what is to blame here? Shepherd believes that the album was the latest victim of the so-called “loudness wars” going on in the industry right now. That is to say, engineers are over-editing and sacrificing sound quality to achieve a higher level of louditude. The GHII version strips away the clipping and focuses more on dynamic range.
As a result of all this, the filesharing community is already hard at work breaking down the GH3 version to isolate the tracks. There is also a petition floating around arguing for a re-mix or remaster of the album—but they claim that the brick-wall limiting and compression was done before mastering, so they feel that it is basically a loss at this point. It's a shame too because the music itself has been well-received. [Mastering Media via Music Radar via Wired and Petition]