“I just go with what feels right.”: Variance and commonality in metal music mixing practice

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Metal music is a genre defined by transgression, usually with the musical pursuit of heaviness. Interestingly, this commonly accepted genre-defining criterion, which can be considered as involving progress, conflicts with recent suggestions that the production of metal music is becoming more and more standardized, potentially hindering metal music’s musical evolution. Based on interviews with eight leading metal producers, this study investigates the professionals’ mixing approaches to determine whether they match the presumed standardization. The study finds common mixing approaches that result from the technical requirements of engineering fast, complex, and sonically dense music. However, there are significant alternatives between which producers choose to achieve the desired aesthetic outcomes. A multifaceted genre like metal with its diverse subgenres requires more than one production approach, and the unique combination and nuanced implementation of these approaches facilitate original results. With this in mind, the various production approaches, processes, and techniques can be considered as evolving alongside the sub-genres and musical styles, supporting the genre’s quest for transgression and heaviness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOido Pensante
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jul 2022


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