Arts & Entertainment, Music

Putting Together an Album


Lesson time 13:25 min

Metallica teaches the nuts and bolts of making an album, including how to sequence songs to create balance, and the process for moving multiple songs forward at the same time.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Strive for a Balanced Album · Editing a Song // Case Study: “Hardwired” · Improve the Demo · Recording the Vocals · Give Yourself Some Distance


[MUSIC PLAYING] Every Metallica album is a microcosm of what was really going on in our lives. We're certainly not the band that puts an album out every year. We take our time, but we've lived them, I mean, they're life for us. Everything that goes into an album, it's just, like, you give it your all. These albums and these songs, they are-- they're a picture in time for me. That was what came out of those collective, creative energies and moments of that particular phase in my life and our lives. This is the center of operations, commonly referred to as HQ. - This room is very creative for us. It's filled with lots of cool stuff that inspire us. Backdrops from 1984, flags from all around the world that have been inspirational for us, that we've seen in the crowd, that have been thrown up on stage and we get to hang them out in here, things that inspire us. I think it's really important to, in your, I guess you call it a work area, but it's a play area for us, that you have things around that are inspirational to you. - Most of the time, when we've been writing albums, it takes from six months to a year is the average time. When we write a record, write a collection of songs, and album, we sometimes have, say, 20 songs kind of cooking at the same time. And what will happen, is that sometimes pieces from different songs end up in other songs. Singer-songwriters, traditionally, will maybe work more on one song at a time. But in Metallica, which everything that we've talked about so far is really about the group element, the group entity, the collective, and about how every band member and the audio team brings something to that process. One of the things that we really enjoy and have always strived for, is to get albums that are really balanced, these sort of musical experiences, these musical journeys. So you can obviously take, oh, whatever, Master of puppets, it starts with a super fast song, then it goes to what we call a kind of a mid-tempo, then it goes to a third song, "The Thing That Should Not Be," is a really slow, heavy, kind of pounding, grinding song. Then it goes to the ballad, "Sanitarium," and then it goes to "Disposable Heroes," which, in our world, sits kind of in between the mid-tempo and the fast. Then you've got "Leper Messiah," then you've got "Orion," the instrumental, then you get "Damaged, Inc," which, again, is the super fast, thrashy. So we have these kind of blueprints, not unlike if you're writing a movie, sort of, a first act, a second act, third act. And so our records, we very much like our records to be these sort of paths, these journeys, where, obviously, you can take all the songs and you can isolate them and hopefully enjoy them on their own. But also, there's this very dynamic journey, dynamic experience, that unfolds with different moods, different feels, different shading, as we call it, and obviously, some of the songs have that journey within the song. And th...

About the Instructor

With 28 albums, 8 Grammy Awards, and a home in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica have been creating iconic music together for over 40 years. Now, they’re teaching what it takes to build and sustain success as a group. Get an exclusive look into their process for songwriting, building an album, and performing, and how they took charge of their creative destiny so you can do the same.

Featured Masterclass Instructor


8x Grammy Award–winning rock band Metallica teaches you the keys to communicating, collaborating, and successfully creating as a group.

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