Former METALLICA Producer Talks About Working On Band’s Early Albums

Gianluigi D’Autilia of recently conducted an interview with Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen (METALLICA, RAINBOW, BLIND GUARDIAN, MORBID ANGEL, EVILE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. I was wondering how you and METALLICA initially made contact with each other.

Rasmussen: I worked on an album with Ritchie Blackmore‘s RAINBOW, “Difficult To Cure”. METALLICA had their first record out, “Kill ‘Em All”. They wanted to try out something different and record in Europe. The dollar at that time was so strong that they thought they could spend more time in a studio based in Europe than they could do in the U.S. They decided to call me up, to ask if I was interested. I did not know them at all; I did not know who they were at that time. How was the studio time with them?

Rasmussen: In our studio sessions we worked pretty hard, at the same time having some really magical and inspiring moment. For example, songs like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” were fully composed at the Sweet Silence Studio. “Master Of Puppets” was totally composed when they came into the studio. They used to produce really good demos before going into the recording sessions. I really appreciated that. Their first idea was to start in the States looking for a pro studio, but then they decided to continue at Sweet Silence again. On that record everything flowed easily. “Master” took about four months to be finished, “Ride The Lightning” two months. For “…And Justice For All” we recorded four months in a row, with no days off! Its production was a bit more hard as compared to the others. Cliff Burton [METALLICA bassist] had already died, and the situation was a bit strange at that time. In your opinion, which record which you engineered/ produced, do you consider to be the most influential for the scene?

Rasmussen: “…And Justice For All” was very inspiring for lots of metal bands that came afterwards, and for the death metal scene as well. So many musicians were also inspired by that one. A classic question: What made that time so special? Do you think it was a combination of several factors?

Rasmussen: Yes, it was a mix of elements. They were just starting to become known, going up, getting better and better as musicians and composers. They were really enthusiastic about what they had achieved.

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