Metallica might be starting to re-think the maxim that says "any publicity is good publicity." Speaking with Blender.com, drummer Lars Ulrich defended rampant allegations that the mix of the band's Death Magnetic album is distorted, over-compressed, and generally inferior to the Guitar Hero mix.

"Listen, there's nothing up with the audio quality," Ulrich said. "It's 2008, and that's how we make records. [Producer] Rick Rubin's whole thing is to try and get it to sound lively, to get it sound loud, to get it to sound exciting, to get it to jump out of the speakers. Of course, I've heard that there are a few people complaining. But I've been listening to it the last couple of days in my car, and it sounds … smokin'."

Ulrich went on to address an online petition that's been circulating among fans clamoring to have the CD re-mixed and re-released. To date, the petition has garnered more than 12,000 signatures.

"The Internet gives everybody a voice," Ulrich told Blender, "and the Internet has a tendency to give the complainers a louder voice. Part of being in Metallica is that there's always somebody who's got a problem with something that you're doing."

In an earlier story posted on Blabbermouth.net, engineer Ted Jensen, who mastered the CD, was said to have chimed in with the following statement: "The mixes were already brick-walled before they arrived at my place. Suffice it to say I would never be pushed to overdrive things as far as they are here. Believe me, I'm not proud to be associated with this one, and we can only hope that some good will come from this in some form of backlash against volume above all else."

A recently launched fan-based website — http://www.justiceforaudio.org/ — is gaining traction among fans, and features a number of posts addressing the controversy. — Russell Hall