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Loudness War / The Worst Offenders

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While some albums are mastered quietly, these ones are by far the loudest!

Note: since what counts as "dynamic" is subjective, this list, for the sake of consistency, will consider anything at DR7 or below as an example of a Loudness War victim. If you want to add a particular release to this list, use this site to verify the dynamic range first; note that while DR8 is listed there as being in the red zone, it still counts here as passable.

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    Producers 
  • Australian artists are among the worst offenders. The people who mastered Tame Impala's and Wolfmother's CDs need to be brought before a war crimes tribunal.
  • Everything mixed by Howie Weinberg since 1999, including some New Zealand albums (sadly).
  • Anything produced by Yasutaka Nakata: technopop group Perfume, capsule, MEG, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, etc. Nakata's production has steadily been pushing the limits of what compression can do with every successive release he's worked on. His 2011 albums, capsule's WORLD OF FANTASY and Perfume's JPN, hit Californication levels of distortion, to the point where melody lines that are supposed to be dead centre are wobbling around the stereo field from all of the other instruments momentarily hogging frequency range. Things also have a habit of ducking out of the mix for split seconds all over the place, much like the music ducks out when a voice speaks during a radio commercial, due to Nakata's ongoing quest to make every second of a song hit 0 dB.
  • Dann Huff is notorious for his overblown production in country music. He loves to turn all the guitars Up to Eleven in spots where they don't need to be (often played by Huff himself), and then sometimes throw a blaring string section on top of that.
    • The worst examples are his 2005-2010 work on Rascal Flatts albums (Me and My Gang through Unstoppable), where the strings and screaming guitars are so thick that Gary LeVox, who already has an extremely high-pitched nasal voice, has to resort to an ear-splitting, melismatic squeal just to be heard over all the noise.
    • Huff also pushed Lonestar to whiny theatrics between Lonely Grill and Let's Be Us Again, but the production wasn't quite as ham-fisted outside the radio mix of "I'm Already There", which is brimming with strings and overly strident whiny vocals.
    • Maddie & Tae's "Girl in a Country Song" is produced by Dann Huff and sounds like it, although this may be justified as a Stealth Parody due to the song being a middle finger to bro-country. That said, there's no excuse for the rest of Start Here being pointlessly brickwalled.
  • Possibly even worse in Country Music are Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke. To wit:
    • Former Country Weekly critic Chris Neal discussed this trope overall in this article, specifically citing their production on Miranda Lambert's Revolution. (Liddell said that he tried to make "Only Prettier" obnoxiously loud on purpose, which actually fits the song's attitude, but the rest of the album has no excuse.) Lambert's "Over You", despite being a mostly subdued ballad, still has a lot of clipping throughout, and a horribly out-of-place guitar solo after the second chorus that's both so amped-up and so compressed that individual notes are no longer discernible. What makes this even worse is that not all of their work with her is like this — "The House That Built Me" is nothing but acoustic guitar and vocal, and it's nowhere even close to being an example of this trope. "Over You" was from Four the Record, which was engineered by a rookie who only has a couple of other credits to their name.
    • This review of Eli Young Band's "Even if It Breaks Your Heart", produced and engineered by Wrucke, even name-drops the trope.
    • Many of David Nail's songs have this too, such as the ultra-compressed guitar on the chorus of "Red Light" or the blatantly clipped snare hits before the chorus of "Night's on Fire".
  • Rick Rubin is infamous for this sort of thing. Look at how many of the examples on this page were produced by him. Engineers who have worked with him have indicated that he insists on having the levels of the final products pushed to the point of clipping, and Ted Jensen (who mastered the original version of Death Magnetic) noted that the mix came to him already clipped.
  • Amongst Death Metal producers, Jason Suecof, Erik Rutan, Peter Tägtgren, Paul Orofino and Stefano Morabito are particularly bad about this, though the trend is unfortunately all over the genre in recent years. There are a few producers who tend to avoid it (see the Aversions page).
  • Joey Moi is particularly bad about this, at least when working with Country Music artists. Jake Owen's Barefoot Blue Jean Night has a lot of noise issues, with noticeable clipping on "Alone with You" in particular (although some of this could also be due to the album being co-produced by Rodney Clawson, who is mainly a songwriter and has almost no other production credits). Nearly everything recorded by Florida Georgia Line has jackhammer drum machines, amped-up power chords, and walls of auto tuned backing vocals, to the point that individual instruments can be hard to discern. Pretty much all of his other country material tends to sound like FGL even if someone else is singing, such as Dallas Smith, Chris Lane, and Morgan Wallen. However, softer songs such as Owen's "What We Ain't Got" show that he can avert his overly slick and loud production if he really tries.
  • Producer and engineer Julian King is also guilty of this in Country Music. Most of Tyler Farr's songs are overstuffed with screaming electric guitar glissandi, but possibly King's worst work is "He's Messed Up" by Jo Dee Messina. The song clips almost all the way through, and surprisingly, just about the only thing that isn't ridiculously amped up is the crowd of Kickstarter supporters who helped fund the album singing backup on the chorus.
  • Tony Brown has been guilty of this in the 21st century, which is surprising as many of his production jobs in The '90s averted it:
    • Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson's duet version of "Because of You" (from the former's Duets album) is a bombastic mess — ultra-compressed guitars blaring throughout, and the instrumentation of the bridge mixed so absurdly loud that Reba is nearly inaudible. Even the Allmusic review of this album pointed this out.
    • The chorus to "Johnny & June" by Heidi Newfield is pretty bad, with screaming power chords all over the place and a rumbling cello that doesn't really need to be there.
    • "I Saw God Today" by George Strait isn't quite as bad, but the instrumental break before the last chorus is overloaded with crash cymbals that create a decent wall of sound.
  • Jay Joyce: This review claims that both Little Big Town's Tornado and Eric Church's Chief, on which he was both producer and engineer, suffer from this.
  • Chris Lindsey. "Days Like This" by Rachel Proctor (guitars), "Crying on a Suitcase" by Casey James (drums in the intro), and "Address in the Stars" by Caitlin & Will (blaring strings and guitars that would put Rascal Flatts to shame). It is likely for this reason that he does far more work as a songwriter than a producer.

    Alternative 
  • A Place to Bury Strangers have actually been trying their damned hardest to be one of the loudest bands in the world. This becomes a problem when the sonic noises bursting your eardrums overpower the artistic quality of their albums.
    • It looks like they've settled down a bit with the brickwalling if Onwards to the Wall is an indicator of anything.
  • Most Shoegazing bands that released an album after My Vitriol's Finelines suffered from excessive loudness. This is why a lot of the albums get acclaimed for the songwriting but dodge perfect / near-perfect scores because of the quality of the poor production. Shoegazing used to use loudness as a means to make all the effects pedals in the music more audible, but a lot of the more recent producers are Completely Missing the Point and wind up brickwalling everything.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' album Californication is loud (maxed out at 5.6 dB) and has excessive high-frequency clipping, to the point that even non-audiophile consumers complained about the atrocious mastering and people even recommend a very popular "unmastered" version of the album that's floating around on the Internet over the actual album (see Metallica below for a similar issue). "Vlado" Meller is officially The Scrappy of audiophiles everywhere — we could put up an entire category just for the albums he was involved in ruining.
    • The vinyl and cassette versions do not have the distortion the CD has, so it is fair to say it was done intentionally. The 'unmastered' version of the album (which has several different tracks to the final version) has about the same fidelity as a vinyl rip, but it comes from a prerelease CD of an early version of the album. Because of this, we can see that more was done later, or this isn't Meller's mix. Rubin was quoted as saying that he regularly has four people master an album and he chooses which one he likes best. Meller's mix always wins, apparently.
      • Contrary to the information above, the vinyl of Californication appears to be clipped, too, and appears to use the exact same mix as the CD. This is averted with RHCP's later albums — Stadium Arcadium did use a demonstrably different master on the vinyl and it sounds leagues better than the CD version. Luckily, the unmastered version of Californication, as mentioned, is not clipped and is not terribly difficult to find on the internet.
      • Indeed, the vinyl Stadium Arcadium was mastered by audiophile favorite Steve Hoffman.
    • John Frusciante was noticeably upset with the mastering of "Can't Stop" and "Universally Speaking" on the follow-up album By the Way, and remixed the tracks for their single releases. They were a vast improvement.
      • Also, Frusciante's solo albums To Record Only Water For Ten Days and Shadows Collide With People also have this, which is why he insisted on releasing his albums on indie labels who would not meddle with his mastering from that point on.
    • However, if One Hot Minute is any indication, the loudness war was already affecting the Peppers. It could have been called One Hot Master - it's really compressed as well, although not as badly as the commercially released mix of Californication was. Looking at the waveform bears this out; it's almost a solid brick wall except for a couple of acoustic tracks. Is anyone surprised that this was a Rick Rubin production?
    • Californication was re-released on vinyl in 2012 in a remastered and apparently substantially less clipped version, so maybe there's hope. According to initial reviews, it doesn't cancel out all of the flaws of the album (like muddy production, distortion of the recording, and so on) but most people have nonetheless declared it a substantial improvement.
  • Manic Street Preachers releases (albums and compilations) since Know Your Enemy. The worst offender is the second CD of The Holy Bible (10th Anniversary Edition) which is remastered so badly that it practically has no dynamics, and you can hear the noises caused by clipping. Also, quieter sections (such as the quotes before songs) seem to be mastered much quieter than rest of the songs themselves, which means that if you are listening to this for the first time and don't realise it, prepare to be shocked. Forever Delayed, Lipstick Traces and the remaster of Everything Must Go also have this, but it's not as bad. For the latter, it almost suits the album, for instance on A Design For Life.
  • Garbage's Bleed Like Me Album gain: −11.78 dB. Track gains: from −7.1 dB to −13.2 dB. The self-titled debut album is an interesting reversal: Individual parts are intentionally compressed to distortion but the whole somehow manages to have dynamics.
  • Fall Out Boy's Infinity on High.
  • Foo Fighters' One By One, with its muddy guitars and drums which bleed into everything else.
    • Especially of note is the track "Overdrive", which is heavily clipped to the point of distortion and audible artifacts. Given the title, this is probably intentional.
    • Wasting Light both plays into this trope and averts it. The regular CD version is max out, but the special edition vinyl downloadable MP3 versions are normal. Possibly lampshaded by a label found on the CD, "Please play at maximum volume."
      • Echoes, Silence, Patience And Grace has several 'quiet to loud' songs that start off dynamic and end brickwalled.
  • U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
  • Keane's Hopes and Fears, as well as their second album.
  • Ben Folds' 2008 album Way to Normal was so badly compressed in its initial release that fans complained and the studio actually reversed course. The album was rereleased barely a year later as a deluxe 2-disc set, Stems and Seeds, with all the tracks "demastered" and some other goodies included to justify the purchase.
    • This wasn't exactly new, as 2001's Rockin' the Suburbs was a victim of the same fate.
  • Gorillaz' Plastic Beach and Spoon's Transference are also "mastered" by Vlado Meller. You can pretty much draw the conclusions.
  • Radiohead has an interesting example: In Rainbows. The album wasn't clipped throughout like Hail to the Thief was, but all the tracks that aren't clipped have been peak limited so that the album has minimal dynamic range. Vinyl editions of the band's albums tend to be mastered similarly to the CDs, though they're less fatiguing to listen to due to the inherent surface noise of analog media masking out some of the clipping.
    • They started to be major perpetrators of this with the highly-lauded Kid A. To quote an old audio review "'Everything in Its Right Place' is so loud it's almost behind you!" Artistic License may apply, but it's certainly a pitfall from OK Computer, and certainly Pablo Honey. OK Computer brickwalls in its loud sections; The Bends is mastered loud in 1995, but is quiet by today's standards.
    • With A Moon Shaped Pool, they're still at it, and unfortunately, unlike some of their previous releases, this one clips badly. The basic rundown of the major releases: OK Computer, Kid A, and I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings are brickwalled, but not clipped; Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and A Moon Shaped Pool are badly clipped; In Rainbows and The King of Limbs are badly clipped on some tracks, but just brickwalled (or minimally compressed) on others.
  • Starflyer59's 2003 reissues of Silver and Gold, while not as objectively bad as some examples on this page, were still decried by a vocal portion of the fanbase. Silver wasn't that different, but Gold was declared "ruined". Notably, when both albums were re-re-released on vinyl, the record labels involved insisted on using the original mixes, rather than the 2003 remasters.
  • Every single release by Shiina Ringo. Muzai Moratorium was tolerable, but Shouso Strip is probably her worst offender: pretty much 55 minutes of dynamics-less white noise, which really ruins the enjoyment of the otherwise good music. Note that DVD-Audio releases of her music are often more dynamic than the CDs, in part due to DVD-Audio being seen as a niche audiophile format.
  • Spiritualized reached a peak point of loudness while still keeping dynamics with 1997's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and then proceeded to throw away the dynamics with every album since.
  • Oasis' 1995 album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? arguably was the catalyst for increasing abuse of this trope. Nick Southall himself agrees, saying that "If there's a Jump the Shark moment as far as CD mastering goes, then it's probably Oasis."
    • Some have cited this as a result of excessive cocaine use by all parties involved. Cocaine can apparently affect your hearing and as such probably shouldn't be used by recording engineers. In all fairness, though, working with the Gallagher brothers in the studio would drive anyone to narcotics in the end.
    • Some also say the mixing was, for the record, to be heard better in loud environments (such as cars and crowded pubs).
    • All of Oasis' work qualifies, really. Even Definitely Maybe was pretty damn loud (especially by 1994 standards), although it isn't as badly clipped as anything they released after it. Be Here Now, meanwhile, takes the loud production of Morning Glory and pretty much cranks it Up to Eleven with the addition of its orchestral arrangements and gigantic amount of dense sound layers.
  • Both of Apoptygma Berzerk's albums after their Genre Shift to indie-emo electro-rock. The Black remix EPs aren't much better.
  • The Joy Division collector's edition releases of Unknown Pleasures and Still from 2007 and most of the New Order collector's edition releases from 2008 are all compressed, but can't exactly be considered major victims of the Loudness War, as all of them come in at a dynamic range of 9. However, it's the bonus discs of Unknown Pleasures and Still that got the short end of the stick, at DR6. The end result does befit the band's punk influences, but is ultimately antithetical to Martin Hannett's dynamics-centric production methods. The first disc of the Closer, Power, Corruption & Lies and Low-life collector's edition releases meanwhile manage to get off much more lightly, with all of them coming in at a healthy DR11.
    • Of course, that's not to say that the Curtis-less incarnation of the band fared any better. The 2005 Singles compilation utterly destroyed the dynamic range of its songs, such as the original version of "Blue Monday", which can only be purchased digitally via this release. Thankfully, the 2016 re-release of the album addresses these complaints, undoing the disgusting levels of compression and offering a much more listenable experience at a passable DR8. The albums Get Ready, Waiting for the Siren's Call, and Music Complete didn't make it out of the War unscathed, either.
  • Why is Angels & Airwaves's Love so normal-volume, yet I-Empire is twice the volume? Imagine that you're about to go to sleep, and I-Empire is in your CD player just about to start up at what you deem a normal volume. Then, WHAM! Your ears hurt from the dB count. So you end up adjusting it so I-Empire sounds normal and everything else is all quiet.
  • R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now, particularly the songs "Discoverer", "All the Best" and "Mine Smell Like Honey", making this a rather sour way to end the career of one of the most acclaimed alternative rock bands of the 1980s. This was also the case with their previous album, Accelerate, so it's not entirely surprising.
    • See also: In Time: The Best of R.E.M. Limiting all over the damn place, giving formerly lively songs a much duller feeling. Good luck trying to find an authentic, pre-digital fuckery version of "Bad Day" (unless you count "It's the End of the World as We Know It".....)
      • Well, demo and live recordings of "Bad Day" from 1986 were bootlegged long before the song's official release, but despite being exempt from the loudness war, aren't such good transfers as the official (but brickwalled releases).
      • Their 1994 album Monster is an early example of this trend, though Peter Buck noted that they wanted to show they weren't just a jangle band, and they were also inspired by the grunge of the time.
  • Every Electric Six album, but it's most noticeable on Senor Smoke which has some pretty audible 'whispering' on the vocals.
  • Crash Test Dummies' 1996 album A Worm's Life is an interesting example in that some of the tracks are like this ("Overachievers", "He Liked To Feel It") and some aren't ("My Own Sunrise"). The two tracks mentioned as being like this were the intended singles, so there may have been a compromise somewhere.
  • Killing Joke's latest single, "Endgame".
  • The 20th anniversary remaster of Nirvana's Nevermind is the ultimate disgrace to fans. Kurt Cobain is rolling in his grave... Witness the carnage here.
    • Despite his vocal opposition to these practices, the 20th Anniversary remaster was done by Bob Ludwig. In a strange role reversal, the original 1991 master was done by Howie Weinberg, who nowadays is known as one of the worst mastering engineers out there (go up to the top of this page and notice that he's the first name under the "producers" tab). This seems to have been a one-time thing for Ludwig, though, as his more recent remasters have almost all been well-received.
    • Thankfully, Nirvana's camp heard the complaints and the 2013 remaster of In Utero is substantially better than the Nevermind remaster. It's still a bit hot, but Dynamics are still in place.
  • The White Stripes' Icky Thump is a particularly bad offender, the drums being VERY noticeably distorted on many tracks, to the point of the album being unlistenable on most speakers. However, this has long been a trademark of the band.
  • Stitches of Eden, Helalyn Flowers' second album, was ruined by this trope, after their first album, A Voluntary Coincidence averted it. Inexcusable. For comparison, here's "Digital Blood" from the first album, and "Your Killer Toy" from the second.
  • Green Day's American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown are both pretty clipped. The HDTracks versions have significantly more dynamic range than the original releases (DR9 compared to DR5 and DR6, respectively). There were also vinyl editions which, judging from the dynamic range scores, may have been mastered from the same source as the HDTracks versions.
    • ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tre! are also offenders. This may explain the release of Demolicious, which contains stripped-down demo versions of the songs from these albums.
    • Revolution Radio averages at DR5 (it's particularly noticeable in quiet-loud transitions). Only the calmer closing track "Ordinary World" offers a break, at DR8.
  • Live's Throwing Copper still has a good deal of dynamic range, especially when compared to most of the albums on this list, but significant portions of the album are brickwalled and clipped. Notable that it predated (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which is usually regarded as the point where this trope got really, really bad, by about a year (released in 1994).
    • Most rock records from that year, as well as the following two, are like that; loud enough to peak consistently at the limit but still have most of their dynamics. Morning Glory took this way, way further, constantly pegging the peak limit and beating all surrounding albums by at least 3dB (not a lot to the human ear, but makes a lot of difference to a CD at this stage). It wasn't until 1997 when albums like that became commonplace, and the 2000s (after another notoriously loud disc that starts with a "C") that they became more or less standardized.
      • Notably, both Californication and Morning Glory were Vlado Meller masters. Meller wasn't the first person to ruin portions of an album with clipping, but he may have been the first person to ruin an entire album with clipping, and he took it further than anyone had before (and probably further than anyone other than Iggy Pop has since).
  • Given the perfectionistic clarity with which Soundgarden's earlier recordings were mastered, it is particularly distressing to see how clipped King Animal is. At DR6 and with a ReplayGain of −9.54 dB, it's far from the worst example of this trope, but it's still a far cry from their earlier recordings.
  • The Crüxshadows started to fall victim to the loudness war with Ethernaut in 2003. Their latest, As the Dark Against My Halo, is a total brickwalled mess, especially the lead single "Valkyrie", which has almost continuous clipping.
  • Project Pitchfork started boosting volumes with Alpha Omega in 1995, were outright brickwalled by Daimonion in 2002, and have hit rock bottom with 2013's Black, which is mostly a solid wall of distortion with barely a decibel of breathing room, even by Hellektro standards. Blood (2014) is just as bad, if not worse.
  • Black Holes and Revelations by Muse. The difference is immediately clear when compared to live versions of the songs.
    • All of their albums since Absolution, really, even when they mixed/mastered, and even on the vinyl editions. The 2nd Law is just as bad, but luckily, a 24-bit HD version was released, which is far more dynamic and doesn't clip at all.
  • The original CD version of Bob Mould's self-titled debut solo album was mixed at a high level that resulted in squashed dynamics, to begin with, but mastered quietly. The 2012 remaster looks as if very little compression was applied and the volume was simply turned up. As a result, there's little loss of dynamics because it wasn't very dynamic, to begin with; it's DR7, whereas the original was DR8. The same is true of The Last Dog and Pony Show to a lesser extent.
    • The remaster of Sugar's File Under Easy Listening that came out at the same time is a frustrating one. It adds some noticeable and much-needed bottom end (EQ tweaks fall under the purview of a mastering engineer as well as a mixing engineer) which many would find preferable to the tininess of the original, but it's also compressed to near brickwall levels.
  • The Wallflowers' albums have been getting steadily louder since Bringing Down the Horse to the point where Glad All Over basically had no dynamics left to speak of (album gain of −10.27 dB).
  • The Janitors, a Swedish shoegazing band, definitely qualify for this trope.
  • Every Flaming Lips album from Zaireeka on is a pretty bad offender, but At War with the Mystics, with its DR4, takes the cake.
    • You might expect the "demastered" version of The Soft Bulletin to be an aversion of this trope, right? Nope. It's DR6 overall (with some tracks reaching as low as DR4 or thereabouts) and horribly clipped.
  • Acceptance's 2017 reunion album Colliding by Design may as well be called Brickwalling by Design, with an overall DR of 4 and a maximum DR of no more than 5. The peak loudness sections of most songs are continuous seas of clipping.
  • Beck's Colors has been especially criticized for this, having a DR of 4 and very squished audio. Some of his other albums also suffer from this somewhat. It's worth noting that the HDTracks release of Sea Change is significantly more dynamic than the original CD, being DR11 in comparison to the CD's DR8 (which is still rather dynamic by early 2000s mastering standards). The Mobile Fidelity CD is even better at DR12.
  • All three of CHVRCHES' albums suffer from this; while they don't have much clipping, they are very peak-limited and can be fatiguing to listen to, having an average DR of 6 and a low DR of 4. Fortunately, the first two have vinyl editions with DR 11.

    Comedy 
  • Even "Weird Al" Yankovic isn't immune to this. Compare "That Boy Could Dance" from his 1984 album In 3-D (one of the more arrangement-heavy songs on that album) to, say, "Hardware Store."

    Country 
  • Many tracks on Thompson Square's two albums are so loud that they're fuzzy and distorted. The sound is likely due to their being produced by neophytes (namely, Jason Aldean's road band). This review of "Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About" even name-drops the trope.
  • Ditto for The Band Perry's first album. It's not as noticeable since they tended to play more subdued ballads, but on the song "Double Heart," they just let 'er rip, and it always sounds like it's being listened to on a radio in another room. The second album was produced by Dann Huff, who is mentioned above.
  • Mark Wills' "Take It All Out on Me" has a lot of clipping in the intro. This appears to be a rookie mistake from Brett James, a former singer-songwriter who made his production debut on this song.
  • "Wanna Make You Love Me" by Andy Gibson also has noticeable clipping in the intro and a total brick wall of a chorus.
  • "Don't Make Me" by Blake Shelton is an atypical example from the usually minimalistic Brent Rowan: only one guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, but the guitar is so amped-up that the song becomes an outright mess, especially near the end.
  • This review points out that Jimmy Wayne's "I Will" suffers from this pretty badly, with a ton of reverb and an obscene amount of instruments in the credits.
  • Most of Cole Swindell's debut album displays a pretty nasty case of this, as it was the very first production credit for Luke Bryan's guitarist Michael Carter (who produced all but one track). On nearly every song, it's hard to discern anything other than screeching guitars, and "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight" also has a drum machine that sounds like a jackhammer. Surprisingly, Carter did a much better job producing Swindell's second album.
  • Some of Sara Evans' songs have this due to overly heavy bass, such as "Cheatin'" and the intro to "As If".
  • Many of Chris Young's songs since "I'm Comin' Over" have had clipping issues, most notably "Think of You".
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    Electronic 
  • Depeche Mode's album Playing the Angel. This is just one track. And side by side with previous releases.
    • Thankfully, this was also released on vinyl.
    • This trope covers most DM releases starting with Ultra and its singles, unfortunately. Besides the new releases (albums, singles, and LiveHereNow releases of shows from the Touring the Angel and Tour of the Universe tours), this also includes the two singles compilations, Singles Boxes 4-6 (1-3 were straight-up re-releases of the 1991 boxes, thankfully. If you need the singles from Strangelove through In Your Room, get the individual versions released in '92-'93 as they're properly mastered. You can see a comparison of the waveforms of the two different versions of the Strangelove single here.), Remixes 81...04 in its various forms, The Best of Vol. 1, and the '87-'94 DVD-only bonus tracks accompanying the remastered albums (Sourced from the 2004 boxed set versions instead of being re-done with the albums). The remastered versions of Ultra and Exciter weren't fixed.
      • The exceptions are the MP3-only Remixes 81...04 Rare Tracks Bundle that was briefly available to buyers of the three-disc version of the main compilation and the pre-Ultra remastered albums, which are louder than before, but still with dynamic range and don't clip nearly as much as the other releases (Alan Wilder, a vocal opponent of the loudness war, supervised the remastering process on the albums from his period with the band, and the previous two albums are at similar levels). Thankfully, you can get most of the problematic releases on vinyl, but some (like the 2 bonus discs from the Sounds of the Universe boxed set and most of the Peace remixes) are unfortunately CD-only.
      • Speaking of Sounds of the Universe, it thankfully appears to mark the end of this trend for DM. It's certainly more compressed than early DM releases, but even tracks like the intentionally overdriven "Wrong" have a pretty wide dynamic range.
      • Except the disc is almost as loud as their previous release, with a ReplayGain value of −10.20 dB (Par for the course for rock, but outright fucked up for synthpop).
  • BT's These Hopeful Machines has an overall DR of 5. Here is the waveform of "Suddenly". The chorus, in particular, suffers from painfully obvious distortion.
    • Back in 2001-2002, his 10 Years in the Life singles compilation also got loudness war'd, although to a lesser extent.
    • His dynamics went From Bad to Worse with A Song Across Wires, which is entirely squashed to DR 3-4.
  • Eurobeat producer Magic Hammer's Most Extreme Ultimate Thunder album. It's supposed to be loud because he's from a heavy metal background, but the brickwalling is just plain tinnitus-inducing, ruining otherwise awesome tunes. The Super Eurobeat series, as well as Hi-NRG Attack, SCP, and Dima Music's own releases are also guilty of this as of late.
    • It's not just Magic Hammer; Rainbowdragoneyes, Eric W. Brown's other electronic project, is just as bad in that regard.
  • The Pet Shop Boys started to get louder with 1996's Bilingual, and the loudness war reared its ugly head on Yes, whose dynamic range is a paltry 6 db. Conversely, the remasters of their older albums gained in volume, while retaining most of their dynamic range. Elysium slightly improved to DR 7 (and also has a vinyl edition with DR 14), but Electric is completely ruined, with DR 4-5.
  • Armin Van Buuren's Mirage. Not as brickwalled as the aforementioned These Hopeful Machines by BT, but still quite squashed.
    • Signum's For You, also on AVB's Armada label, is even worse.
    • The song "Together (In a State of Trance)" counts as well.
  • Even happy hardcore has been affected. This is pure ear rape. In fact, Blumchen exhibited this trope way back in 1996 with Herzfrequenz, which has an overall range of −5 dbfs.
  • All of VNV Nation's recent albums are casualties; while the overall compression/brickwalling is less than most examples here, the loud passages still have a crapload of clipping, with Transnational being the worst, at a near-solid −5 dbfs.
  • Covenant's Modern Ruin is brickwalled and clipped through the roof (ruined, so to speak), going so far as to show the waveform of one of the songs on the cover. 2002's Northern Light was also pretty badly smashed, although Skyshaper(2006) is a minor improvement.
  • The trance label Hook Recordings has been digitally rereleasing its classics, and many of them, e.g. "Neuro" by X-Cabs, have been subject to the loudness war treatment.
  • Noisia's Split the Atom, or shall we say "Split the Eardrum", has its dynamics almost completely obliterated, averaging about −3 dbfs.
  • The Chemical Brothers have been brickwalling since 1997's Dig Your Own Hole, which was extremely compressed even by today's standards.
    • Ditto for The Prodigy starting with The Fat of the Land also in 1997, their worst offender by far is 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. FOTL and Invaders Must Die do have vinyl editions which avert this.
    • Both these artists released most of their best-known material on vinyl editions which, fortunately, avert this. For instance, all of the Prodigy's main albums are available on LP and at least the first three have pretty good dynamic range. Same for the first two Chemical Brothers LPs. There are rips circulating the internet which should be pretty easy to find.
  • One-album wonder Gearwhore's Drive is brickwalled beyond belief for 1998, e.g. constant clipping of percussion on "Accelerator" and "11:11", and "Train" is almost a perfect rectangle.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence used compression rather perversely: their album Tight is not quite that brickwalled, which gave them the opportunity to mix the song "Diabolical" so that it crescendos during the last bar, suddenly deafening you.
  • Venetian Snares & Speedranch's 2001 release Making Orange Things destroys the competition when it comes to brickwalling. One of the tracks, Pay Me For Sex has a ReplayGain of -19.92dB and is currently one of the least dynamic albums ever released according to the unofficial dynamic range database (a couple of Merzbow's mid-90s releases are even lower). In fairness, this is very much an intended effect as the album is made up of very distorted synths and harsh noises.
  • Ferry Corsten has hit a new dynamic low with the fourth album under his own name, WKND. All of the tracks have a dynamic range of −4 dbfs or less and have enormous amounts of clipping. Basically the Death Magnetic of electronic dance music.
  • DJ Tiesto's first two artist albums didn't have the best dynamic range, but Elements of Life is a total mastering disaster. Ditto for Kaleidoscope.
  • Infected Mushroom's Legend of the Black Shawarma and Army of Mushrooms are both brickwalled well into the red, averaging about 4-5 dbfs.
  • Blutengel's Seelenschmerz, dear god. About half the tracks go down to as little as 1 dbfs. More like Ohrenschmerz...
  • The CD and DVD remasters of Massive Attack's Blue Lines, while not horrendous, are compressed to point where they occasionally brickwall and are generally fatiguing and lacking in spaciousness. This is especially true if you're familiar with the original master, which is a bit quiet even by 1991 standards and arguably could have used a bit of compression to add some punch, but you're seriously better off with an original pressing. To get the vinyl remaster, you have to buy it as part of a set that includes the DVD and CD!
  • Noxious Emotion's Symbols(no relation to the KMFDM album) isn't brickwalled per se, but many of the songs are clipped at their loud points.
  • All of Ladytron's discography has various degrees of brickwalling, but Velocifero is the worst of the bunch. Notably, even albums like 604 that were recorded in the pre-loudness war era are still incredibly loud.
  • Juno Reactor's latest two albums, although sporting above-average (for today) dynamic range, have a sizable amount of clipping.
  • The backlash Daft Punk's Human After All met when first released wasn't helped by its ridiculously clipped mastering, reaching an overall DR of 6 on the CD edition. This made for a really harsh contrast with the comparatively more dynamic and pleasantly mastered Discovery.
  • Awolnation's Megalithic Symphony. Even though the interlude tracks sound lo-fi, they have better mastering than the rest of the songs on the album.
  • Krewella's song "Come & Get It!" has a peak of 11.7 dB.
  • Skyla Vertex's Blut EP.
  • Dead Can Dance's Anastasis.
  • Inna's Party Never Ends is a mixed bag; while most of the tracks have good dynamic range, a few, especially "In Your Eyes" and the title track, are horrifically brickwalled and/or clipped.
  • Kavinsky's debut album, Outrun, is extremely, extremely compressed. This is probably intentional, considering his fondness for cars, and the fact that a song on this very album was used as the theme song to a film about them, making the album perfect for car speakers. Once again, this is averted with the fantastic vinyl version, which has a DR of 11 compared to the CD and MP3 versions' DR of 5.
  • Vicious Pink's self-titled album became a casualty with its 2012 remaster.
  • Every Basshunter album since Now You're Gone is an offender. Calling Time is especially heavily clipped.
  • The entirety of the Toho Eurobeat series is guilty to some extent, but Vol. 9 and Vol. 10 are by far the worst offenders. All of the songs on these two are sheer brick walls with near-zero dynamic range and constant audible clipping. Even the songs by Odyssey, who normally avoids this trope, as mentioned on the "Aversions" page.
  • Holy Ghost!'s self-titled album, although having relatively decent dynamic range, has constant hard clipping on the drums of most songs, especially during the choruses. The mastering engineers definitely screwed up here. Luckily, their second album, appropriately titled Dynamics, avoided this.
  • All of The Crystal Method's albums since Tweekend have suffered.
  • Teddyloid's song "Me!Me!Me!" suffers from really bad distortion, especially in the first part and last part of the song.
  • Erasure's The Violet Flame has loads of clipping and RMS gains of up to −13 dB, although there is a far superior vinyl edition.
    • World Be Gone (more like "Dynamics Be Gone") is even worse, at DR 4 with Playing The Angel-level hard clipping during the song choruses.
  • Nostromosis's Dawn of the Planet Earth is one of the worst mastered goa trance albums, with all of the track waveforms being solid red rectangles in Audacity when "Show Clipping" is enabled.
  • Perturbator's (of Hotline Miami fame) 2016 release The Uncanny Valley is mastered at DR2, with 8 out of 13 tracks being DR1. The waveform looks like a square.
  • Nothing Hot Chip have put out past their first album (itself DR10) has ever got above an average of DR7. In Our Heads fares worst, with an average of DR5 and a minimum of DR4.
  • TR/ST's second album Joyland, is rather schizophrenic with its mastering; some tracks have okay dynamic range, but many are clipped to hell and back.
  • Futurecop!'s Hopes, Dreams and Alienation, with the exception of the acoustic ballad "Coming Home" and the Softer and Slower Cover of "Superheroes", is brickwalled to a DR of no more than 5 at most, plus many of the songs are painfully clipped at their choruses.

    Folk 
  • Paul Simon's Graceland was remastered and re-released in 2012 and has extremely noticeable clipping, especially on "You Can Call Me Al".
  • Despite the fact that Bob Dylan harshly criticized this entire trope (famously declaring, "You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like ... static."), this has befallen his latest albums Modern Times and Together Through Life. Luckily enough, they were also released on vinyl, which just seems to confirm that it was the record label's fault, not his.
    • Luckily, it appears Dylan has gotten control back over his production process - the CD of Tempest is mastered at a much more reasonable level, with a fairly respectable ReplayGain level of −5.99 dB.

    Hard Rock 
  • Most Lenny Kravitz albums are pretty bad in this regard, but Baptism in particular sticks out. Singles like "Where Are We Running?" and "California" are so compressed they're almost unlistenable beyond half the volume. Insult to injury on such a depressing album.
  • The Darkness' Permission to Land; not that this is surprising, or entirely inappropriate. That said, their Lighter and Softer follow-up One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back has no reason to be even more extreme in regards to this.
  • ZZ Top's Mescalero.
  • The standard retail version of Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth has a constant DR of 5-6. The limited-edition vinyl has a DR of 9, loud by vinyl standards, but still better than the CD.
  • Clan of Xymox's In Love We Trust(or maybe "In Loudness We Trust") is a constantly clipped brick wall throughout, with "Judas" reaching Death Magnetic levels. Fortunately, the follow-up, Darkest Hour, backed off on this trend, although it still has some clipping, which may be intentional.
  • Pressure and Time by the Rival Sons is so badly mastered, you can easily hear the clipping right from the beginning of the first song.
  • Led Zeppelin's Mothership compilation; the dynamics are still mostly there, but HOLY BALLS is it loud! "Good Times, Bad Times" actually goes into the red within the first 30 seconds. Not even "No Quarter" is free of this with audible clipping during the piano solo. The worst offender on that CD is probably "Achilles' Last Stand"; the whole track is horribly brickwalled.

    Indie 
  • The Strokes' Room on Fire is especially daunting since Is This It was widely considered a breath of fresh air from this.
  • The Killers' Day and Age. Horrible clipping and compression.
    • See also: their first and second albums, so it's not really surprising that their third one should follow this trend.
      • Day and Age is actually slightly less loud than the other two albums (according to ReplayGain), but it sounds much more distorted (especially the drums on "Spaceman").
      • It might very well be that this was what they were going for (you never know with Brandon Flowers...)
  • Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.
  • Ladyhawke's Anxiety, barring the superior vinyl edition, is 4 DB RMS and "squashed to oblivion" (DR Database): Cases in point. Her self-titled first album is also terribly mastered.
  • Passion Pit's Gossamer is crushed to a dynamic range between 4 and 6, which is a major shame, considering that their first album, Manners, had a stellar DR of 10.
  • Sleater-Kinney's The Woods measures DR3.
  • The 2013 re-release of both of Razorcuts's albums, Storyteller and The World Keeps Turning, both have awful remastering. They're also '80s jangle pop albums too, so there's absolutely no excuse for the louder-than-usual sound.
  • The 2018 remasters of Felt's discography has also been criticized for brickwalling the album's sounds as opposed to keeping their dynamic, atmospheric and dreamy quality.

    Industrial 
  • Many Industrial artists have become casualties or combatants of the loudness war as of late, especially Front Line Assembly's Artificial Soldier (and most of the remix album Fallout), Decoded Feedback's Combustion and Aftermath, and everything by Funker Vogt since 2000.
  • KMFDM's post-reformation albums do this to varying degrees, the worst being Tohuvabohu and Blitz. Most of the remasters of their earlier albums also got brickwalled. They had this trend going as far back as 1995 with Nihil, although that wasn't quite as brickwalled as their contemporary material.
  • Nine Inch Nails examples:
    • The Downward Spiral, also released in 1994, has the same deal as Throwing Copper - overall there is a lot of dynamic range, but the loudest portions of the album are brickwalled and clipped. This would continue with most of Nine Inch Nails' releases throughout The '90s and in fact, dates all the way back to their 1992 EP Broken. However, knowing Reznor's perfectionistic tendencies, it's quite likely that he intended the clipped parts to sound exceptionally distorted, so your mileage may vary as to whether this counts as a straight example of this trope or whether it's a subversion.
    • The Fragile took Downward Spiral's loudness Up to Eleven, going from Throwing Copper to Morning Glory levels within the span of a single album. Guess those dastardly mid-'90s standards wouldn't let Trent realize his "true vision".
      • Notably, even the vinyl editions of both TDS and The Fragile were clipped. Which is a shame, because almost everything else about the vinyl of The Fragile was pristine.
    • Hesitation Marks (2013) comes with a download code for an "audiophile master" version, which was supposed to have greater dynamic range than the standard version's DR5. The audiophile master measures an incredible DR6. Reznor claims it has more bass, which it does, but he also makes it sound as if it forsakes the quest for loudness entirely, which it definitely doesn't. For a long, balanced look at the differences between the two masters, watch this. The European vinyl version, however, which was cut from an alternate version of the audiophile master, does reach DR10.
    • The EP Add Violence scores a pitiful DR4, with its lead single, "Less Than", hitting a new low with a near unlistenable DR2.
  • Ayria's Hearts for Bullets. Her first two albums were mastered somewhat loud, but not brickwalled to $#!+ like this one.
  • Synthesis by The Break Up, a Seattle darkwave outfit, appears to intentionally use compression for a gritty vibe, but many of the songs overdid it, resulting in unlistenable solid brick walls for waveforms. Especially "Who's Crying Now" with its shrill overdriven synth lead, and "Trapeze". This is still an improvement over their self-titled first album, which was both brickwalled to death (except for "Tread Softly) and had audible clipping in many places.
    • Cut and Coil by Cylab, an industrial group also featuring Severina X Sol, was compressed near par with Synthesis, again possibly intentionally.
  • Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park (yes, the original, not a remaster), although dynamic by today's standards, was heavily compressed for 1990, with a DR of 8, the same as their contemporary albums TGWOTR and Mythmaker and lower than the 1993 remaster of Rabies. 1992's Last Rights had pretty heavy clipping on some tracks as well. However, their modern albums are pretty dynamic for industrial music, although that's mostly because industrial music as a whole has gotten so much less dynamic in the intervening two decades.
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    Jazz 
  • While Jazz wasn't too much affected by the Loudness War as a whole, there are a few notable victims, particularly the 2005 remaster of On the Corner by Miles Davis: it's not really brickwalled, but it's still very compressed for a jazz (well, jazz-rock) album, and the loudest parts are badly clipped.

    Metal 
  • Hypocrisy's album Virus has a total album gain of −14.09 dB, and one of the songs looks like this. Fucking hell.
    • Peter Tägtgren is infamous for this type of thing.
  • Modern death metal has a serious problem with this in general, but Hour of Penance's releases have been ridiculous even by those standards. While all of their Unique Leader releases have had major issues with this, Sedition, their most recent, takes this to truly extraordinary levels. The loudest track is at -3.04, which is truly absurd and hurts the music so much that the album would have been unlistenable if it weren't for the underlying strength of the compositions themselves. This is not unique to HoP, either; the album's producer, Stefano Morabito, does this shit all the time and is arguably even worse than Jason Suecof or Erik Rutan, two other very major offenders in the death metal loudness wars.
  • Metallica's 2008 album Death Magnetic is so distorted and clipped that even mastering engineer Ted Jensennote  has criticized it, adding that he couldn't do anything since the preliminary mixes came in already "brick-walled". Interestingly, the version made for Guitar Hero 3 was based on a "rough mix" that features far more range, and those tracks have been subsequently ripped and distributed via peer-to-peer services. To sum up: Metallica, the anti-Napster poster boys, now have an album that can only be truly appreciated via piracy, and a video game featuring a guitar with 5 buttons on the fret-board is the best way to enjoy an album... the irony boggles the mind.
    • It's worth noting that even the LPs of Death Magnetic were horribly clipped, and Metallica charged $100 for the five-LP version. The Guitar Hero 3 version is definitely the only way to go.
    • The album was remastered in 2016, and it's a substantial improvement. The new score is DR7, which isn't great, but is a hell of a lot better than the original's DR3, and more importantly, it is nowhere near as badly clipped as the original (it's still slightly clipped, but honestly, unless you're listening on studio monitors, it isn't even noticeable). This is probably how the album was intended to sound in the first place.
    • Beyond Magnetic isn't much better than Death Magnetic (it's DR4 and still really clipped). Unlike Death Magnetic, it has yet to be remastered (though hopefully, it will be soon).
  • Considering it was produced by Rick Rubin, it's probably not too surprising that Black Sabbath was a casualty of this trope with their reunion album "13".
  • Audioslave's eponymous album is another victim of the Rubin/Meller treatment. This is especially disappointing given how meticulously produced Soundgarden and Rage's material had been (the posthumously released Renegades, mentioned further below, is an exception, which shouldn't be surprising since it was also produced by Rubin).
  • System of a Down's album, Hypnotize... ah, hell, probably all of their albums.
    • Hypnotize was definitely the worst of them; the guitar solo during "Lonely Day" has very noticeable clipping, even on poor speakers. Rick Rubin (of Death Magnetic infamy) would seem to be a likely culprit until one notes that he produced all of their albums (starting to notice a pattern with Rubin productions here?). Maybe he just stopped caring around 2001 or so.
    • Given the nature of the band's music, it does kind of Come With the Territory.
    • Steal This Album! is even worse, with a near constant DR of −4 dbfs.
  • Slipknot's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Not only is it pushed to the limit of modern-day loudness, it doesn't even peak. And I'm not just talking about below-zero flat-lining or extreme soft-clipping here either. I'm talking about rampant straight diagonal lines, suggesting that the mix was even worse than usual in the maxed-out clipping department, and the mastering engineer had to turn it down post-processing, just to meet today's ridiculous standards. And guess who was behind the production helm? That's right, Rick friggin' Rubin.
  • Crashdïet's entire catalogue makes Death Magnetic sound competently mastered.
  • Fear Factory's Cyberwaste.
    • Anything after Demanufacture, really (and even that album could get rather clippy at points). Case in point: "Shock" starts up with a blast of distortion that clearly should not be there.
    • Their first album, Soul of a New Machine, is an aversion, scoring an average DR 10 despite a production which would sound really dated nowadays.
  • Edguys latest album Tinnitus Sanctus gets this one badly. "Holy Ringing Ears" indeed.
  • The Boy Will Drown's debut album Fetish
  • Despised Icon's The Ills of Modern Man.
  • Iron Maiden seems to be suffering from this (the video's author is shocked to see how balanced is the mastering of their recent song "Different World"!).
    • This happened to the 1998 and 2002 reissues of Powerslave, too. Dynamic range = out the window. It sounds rather muffled, and the vocals are now too loud compared to the drums. Ditto for most of their other reissues, eg The Number of the Beast.
    • However, the balance in mastering from "Different World" and the other A Matter of Life and Death tracks carried through to The Final Frontier. Frankly, both albums are among the best-sounding of Iron Maiden's career.
    • Mystery elucidated: A Matter of Life and Death producer Kevin Shirley mentioned in a message board post that Steve Harris specifically decided not to master the album to keep the "live" sound.
    • The Book of Souls is a borderline case: DR8 on CD or in the HD versions available from Qobuz and HDTracks, but still clips. The vinyl masters are also clipped, though they come out having more dynamic range due to the nature of the format. The most dynamic master is the version available on iTunes, which is DR9 and slightly less clipped.
  • Judas Priest's 2001 remasters are also pretty bad. And with the newer special editions, it goes From Bad to Worse.
  • Lacuna Coil's Karmacode. It's a particularly egregious offender given that their earlier albums were characterized by dynamics that you could practically breathe in.
  • Rage Against the Machine's final album Renegades suffers from this, most likely due to the fact that A) the band had already split up, B) it's a collection of covers that aren't all from the same recording session, and C) Rick Rubin "produced" it. Interestingly, the track "The Ghost of Tom Joad" appears here in only slightly altered form from its previous release on a Brendan O'Brien-produced single, and the difference is quite evident when it's played directly opposite audio sludge like "How I Could Just Kill a Man". The trope had started to creep in somewhat to their previous album The Battle of Los Angeles as well, and to an even lesser extent to Evil Empire, but neither of them is anywhere near as bad.
  • Dismember's "Pieces" EP has an album gain sitting at -14.4 dB. This was released in 1992.
  • Bleeding Through's Declaration is so badly compressed that the kick drums drown out everything else whenever they're played. Which happens a lot. It can be a painful listen, even though the production isn't that bad, other than the godawful compression. The strangest thing about all this? The producer wasn't some unknown, it was done by Devin Townsend of all people. Have a listen.
    • Ignoring the kick drowning things out for a moment, there's also some serious unintended distortion going on at places. In addition to the above example, Beneath The Grey's first verse opens with a lovely blast of noise.
    • For the audiophiles, that song is mastered to −8.9dB, which drops to −8.6dB if you cut out the ending.
  • DragonForce are loudness war criminals overall, but Sonic Firestorm, particularly the reissue, is brickwalled to the point of being unlistenable. The vinyl release of Ultra Beatdown seems to be mastered a little more responsibly, however.
    • If we're talking original releases, Valley of the Damned was significantly more guilty of this, with the following two being surprisingly reasonable in this regard, especially compared to their genre peers. In fact, Sonic Firestorm is probably one of the best-produced and best-mastered songs of the decade. That said, Inhuman Rampage is easily the worst-sounding of the three for completely different reasons (fatigue-inducing overproduction and searingly harsh upper-midrange dominant EQ, just to name a couple).
  • Blackguard's major-label debut, Profugus Mortis, was pretty badly compressed (to nobody's surprise in particular). But the follow-up, Firefight, has extremely conspicuous compression and clipping. The parts that clip are in red.
  • Animals as Leaders' Self-Titled Album. The drums are mixed loud, and they'll clip even during the passages with clean guitars. Turn on the distortion, and you get a sea of red. Looking at heavier songs like "CAFO" in Audacity is quite jarring.
    • Bad mastering must be a trend in djent (then again, a lot of djent is self-produced), because Periphery's self-titled debut long-play record has the same (and extremely audible) clipping issues. The part where the whole band comes in at once in "Ow My Feelings" (or, rather, "Ow My Ears",) looks like this in Audacity. It gets worse- "Buttersnips" managed to do this without any bass guitar. The flat parts are clipping. What the hell, Bulb?
  • Rise Of The Tyrant by Arch Enemy. This is the waveform (clipping in red)- a song should never, EVER look like that unless it's noise. Maybe.
    • Surprisingly, their 2003 album Anthems of Rebellion averted this trope somewhat, a daring move for the time (let alone now).
  • Alice in Chains' post-reunion albums have been hit hard by the loudness war. For example, this is what "All Secrets Known" from Black Gives Way To Blue, looks like. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and Rainier Fog aren't much better, sadly.
    • Somewhat justified in Black Gives Way To Blue's case, in that the album was also released in vinyl format, which requires the maximum volume level just to be half as loud as the CD. Unfortunately, the vinyl is also pretty clipped.
    • If it's any indication, the Loudness War was already affecting them as early as when Dirt was released: it's still nowhere near as bad as the examples in this page, but it's heavily compressed by 1992 standards.
  • Black Metal band The Axis of Perdition's early releases were horribly clipped. Their first official release, The Ichneumon Method (And Less Welcome Techniques), is particularly clipped with a dynamic range of DR1 and a RMS of −2.4 dB (making it even worse than Iggy Pop's notorious Raw Power remaster, which had an RMS of −2.5 dB. According to Audition, 10.5% of the recording is clipped). Fortunately, this tendency of theirs has abated with each subsequent release, to the point where their most recent releases Urfe and Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) are aversions of this trope - both of these are mixed extremely quietly for black metal albums (although there are also extended ambient passages on these recordings), coming in at around DR11. According to the band, the clipping on their early albums was apparently because they didn't know much about mastering at the time, though it is particularly strange that their second full-length album has clipping at odd amplitudes like -6 dB, depending on the track.
  • Ildjarn made extreme compression an essential element of his style, except in his ambient works. Averted with side project Sort Vokter, whose sole album comes in at DR10.
  • Certain Type O Negative albums, such as October Rust, are similar to Throwing Copper and The Downward Spiral in this regard; they have decent dynamic range, but the louder peaks are clipped.
  • Mastodon's The Hunter is brickwalled to the point of being headache-inducing on low mid- to high-end speakers; even the LP suffers from this.
    • All of Mastodon's work, really, although it got a lot worse when they moved to a major label; the stuff before that was just brickwalled, but starting with Blood Mountain they were also clipped (sadly, their last release on Relapse, Call of the Mastodon, also got hit heavily with clipping). At least the LPs from before The Hunter use different masters from the CD that aren't clipped. If you can find good vinyl rips of Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye, they will sound much better than the CDs.
  • Progressive Black Metal band Enslaved have this problem on nearly every CD they've released, with most of them being audibly clipped, although there are still dynamics on some tracks on most of the recent ones. The recent vinyl releases of Riitiir and In Times avert this, being separately (and sensibly) mastered. As a comparison, the CD of Riitiir has a DR value of DR5; the rip of the vinyl version currently circulating the 'net has a DR of DR11. Many of their older albums still have clipped LP masters, unfortunately, as there are several passages with obvious clipping on albums like Isa and Vertebrae (although these versions still frequently have dramatically higher dynamic range scores than the CD versions - we're talking a five- or six-decibel difference here). Their latest album, (also known as Ehwaz or E since many computers/phones don't have the Elder Futhark runes available), also has obvious clipping on the vinyl master.
  • Progressive Death Metal band Between the Buried and Me have the same problem, with nearly every CD being clipped. Most of the albums from Alaska onwards still have some passages with dynamics, but when they get loud, boy do they get loud.
  • Atheist's Jupiter. While the band's 1980s and 1990s stuff are mastered at reasonable levels, Jupiter is egregiously loud; while Jason Suecof, who produced it, is notorious for this in general, this is a special case. Word on the street was that he was going for a "raw" production, but his idea of a "raw" production involved horribly inconsistent instrument levels that varied from song to song, leading to such wonderful things as the rhythm guitar track almost completely drowning out the lead. To add insult to injury, the bass, one of the chief elements of Atheist's sound, was almost completely inaudible. Oh, and the whole thing was brickwalled to Death Magnetic levels. Jupiter as a whole was fairly divisive, but one thing that everyone agreed on was that the production was inexcusably awful.
    • There really is no God!
  • It would probably be simpler to list the Death Metal and Grindcore releases from the last ten to twenty years that aren't plagued by this trope than the ones that are. They're almost all brickwalled, and unfortunately, they're also almost all clipped. Repeat offenders include Portal, Immolation, Incantation, Ulcerate, Nasum, Rotten Sound, and Kill the Client, but this is nowhere close to being an exhaustive list.
  • Vital Remains' 2003 album Dechristianize is unsurprisingly quite loud given that it's a 21st-century Death Metal album, and because of that a bit of clipping would go generally unnoticed underneath all the noise. Unfortunately, not only is it tracked at a ridiculous level (-12.92 avg RGnote ) but there is noticeable dynamic compression all over the place. The guitars themselves are compressed to hell and back (even distorted guitars have some dynamics, but these have all of them stripped away) and, when they are playing by themselves, peak as if the rest of the band were playing, who ducks the guitars when they begin playing, who are then ducked and unducked whenever Glen Benton gets on and off the mic. The overall volume almost never changes; any time an instrument stops playing, the other instruments are turned back up to compensate and vice versa. It literally sounds like you are listening to a commercial radio station and Glen Benton is the announcer. The whole album is an exhausting, noise-ridden, pumping and breathing experience, and [insert God replacement here] help you if you can make it through all 60 minutes.
  • While Immolation is already mentioned above as a "repeat offender" of the Death Metal loudness wars, 2013's Kingdom of Conspiracy deserves its own entry. Practically the whole album is pegged at a Death Magnetic-esque DR3 (one track logs a hardly more acceptable DR4), pretty much everything in the mid or high frequencies is blatantly clipped, (especially the cymbals) and the guitars are so badly compressed as to render many of the riffs indistinguishable from one another, while being mixed so loud as to drown out the bass altogether. Oh yeah, and it ducks and unducks in a fashion similar to Vital Remains' Dechristianize. If there was any doubt about producer Paul Orofino'snote  place at the bleeding, ear-splitting edge of the loudness wars before this, it's been put to rest now.
  • When Wolves At The Gates' debut EP, We Are the Ones, was first released, it was self-distributed digitally. Mastering-wise, it wasn't disastrous (we are talking some pretty intense, thrashy Progressive Metalcore here) but still pretty over-the-top (-11.61 avg RGnote ). However, when the band signed to Solid State Records, they decided to give it an extra "push" for the CD release. At -12.55 RG avg, it is as loud as Californication. Sadly, their full-length follow-up Captors has done little to remedy this, although that's nowhere near the biggest problem with that album.
  • All of Dir en grey's output fits this trope... and how.
  • Black Metal band L'Acephale's first album, Mord und Totschlag, is extremely clipped. Some tracks come in at DR0. Others still have a fair amount of dynamic range left, but they're still clipped. Most likely, as with the Axis of Perdition example above, this is a case of a band simply not knowing what they're doing when mixing/mastering an album, because the remainder of L'Acephale's work is reasonably dynamic (there's still some clipping, but it's nowhere near as bad, and most songs are DR6 or higher).
  • Burzum. His '90s stuff is mastered reasonably but ever since he got out of prison he's been brickwalling all of his metal albums to death, even Fallen, which he claimed was going to be mastered "as if it was classical music" (it's actually more clipped than the album that preceded it). Reissues of his earlier material thus far remain reasonably mastered, and his new ambient albums have also proven to be exceptions, with Sôl austan, Mâni vestan and The Ways of Yore both coming in at DR10.
  • The CD of Slayer's World Painted Blood, being produced by Greg Fidelman and Rick Rubin, is expectedly a solid brick wall, as compared with the vinyl here.
  • Queensrÿche's (with Todd la Torre) self-titled 2013 album. Most tracks are DR 4 and clipping is very audible throughout.
  • Fallujah's The Flesh Prevails is mastered at DR3. In an interesting turn of events, the album's mastering engineer Zack Ohren joined in a discussion following a review of the album that was very critical of the production and even linked to an audio track combining volume matched samples from an alternate quieter master and the release master for comparison. Judging by documented conversations that fans have had with the band, they've acknowledged their role in it as well and admitted to wanting a bombastic, "larger-than-life" production, but realized that they went way too far in that direction.
    • Luckily, this was released on vinyl with a different master. The vinyl is DR10.
  • Sigh have released a number of albums that qualify as victims of this trope, going back to 1995's Infidel Art at DR7, which isn't terrible in and of itself, but there was quite a lot of clipping of the waveform. Of their original album releases since, Gallows Gallery and the international release of the band's most recent album Graveward are the only ones not to have any clipping, at DR9 and DR6 respectively (the latter was still obviously heavily compressed, but the mastering engineer took care not to clip the peaks. Note, however, that the Japanese version of Graveward comes in at DR3 and is heavily clipped, but also features some bonus tracks not available elsewhere. Strangely, both versions of the album were mastered by the same person, the band's guitarist). Ghastly Funeral Theatre and Scenario IV: Dread Dreams seem like they would be better, at DR10, but there is still some clipping, though it probably won't be something casual listeners would notice. As for the band's remasters, many of them are brickwalled and clipped as well. Blood Music's 2012 remaster of Gallows Gallery is an exception (The End's 2007 remaster is not), and Hammerheart Records' 2CD remaster of Scorn Defeat from 2011 isn't bad either, coming in at DR9, albeit with some clipping on the original album (the bonus tracks are free from it, however. Enucleation's 2009 remaster, once again, is heavily brickwalled at DR5, though at least this one isn't badly clipped). Scenes from Hell, the band's worst offender at DR4 (before the Japanese Graveward, anyway), was re-released in a 2CD version with an alternate, slightly quieter master (which also benefits from having much better instrument separation, making it sound way clearer). And several of the band's albums have gotten vinyl releases, which are usually quieter. The lesson we can all draw from this is that it pays to do your research on the mastering of various releases of an album before purchasing it.
  • All Electric Wizard's albums from Come My Fanatics... on suffer from this, but Dopethrone especially, measuring DR4. The 2006 remaster is even worse, coming in at DR3.
  • Baroness' Purple is mastered at DR4 with horrible compression and clipping. It sounds like DR2 honestly
  • Metal idol group BABYMETAL's debut album suffers from it as well. The average DR is between 4 and 5, with most songs on the lower end.
    • Ironically, their live albums are often surprising aversions by modern standards; Ted Jensen did a good job keeping the dynamics mostly intact. The Blu-Ray version of Live at Budokan comes out to roughly DR8 for Red Night and DR9 for Black Night and the CDs are apparently similar. The second studio album Metal Resistance sadly also plays the trope straight, however.
  • Darkestrah and Al-Namrood's split album Akyr Zaman / Tajer al Punquia. Darkestrah's side is DR5, which is bad enough. Al-Namrood's side is DR1. Both sides are clipped badly. Strangely, Darkestrah's next full-length, released shortly thereafter, wound up being significantly more dynamic and barely clipped. Darkestrah's other releases wind up not being extreme examples of this trope by modern metal standards, except for their debut, Sary Oy, which provides an odd Zig Zagging of it: the first two tracks are badly clipped (DR3 and DR6 respectively), while the final one does not appear to have had any dynamic range compression applied to it at all. The difference in volumes is immediately noticeable and quite jarring. As for Al-Namrood, they seem to have a history of this.
    • Darkestrah's "official bootleg" Everything Becomes Fire is really badly clipped at DR3 and audibly distorted throughout. (Actually, since the peaks don't clip at a constant level and are somewhat diagonal, which tends to fool the dynamic range meter to some extent, the album may be even more distorted than that score indicates; it sounds like DR1, honestly.) The album is also pretty lo-fi, with its upper frequencies missing; it's entirely possible it was recorded by a fan and sent to them later.
  • House Of Wolves' EP averages -5 dB RMS, and overall the mixing is quite loud even by metal standards.
  • All of Ulcerate's albums have been offenders (with the arguable exception of the demo collection The Coming of Genocide, at DR8), but Shrines of Paralysis takes it to new levels, with an average of DR4 and several songs pegged at DR3.
  • The majority of Deathspell Omega's work, unfortunately, falls into this, but the worst has to be Manifestations 2000-2001, at DR2. Manifestations 2002 is close behind at DR3, and Paracletus and The Synarchy of Molten Bones are DR4. Their releases from before 2007 usually aren't as bad about this, though (the Manifestations albums, while recorded in 2000-2002, were released in 2008); Infernal Battles is actually pretty dynamic by 2000's standards, let alone today's (though the second side, consisting of their demo Disciples of the Ultimate Void, is also extremely lo-fi). Their latest album The Furnaces of Palingenesia is also less extreme on this count than most of their recent work, coming in at DR7 and being significantly less clipped. It was recorded and mixed on analogue gear; the band and/or their producer appear to have decided to alter their approach to mastering as a consequence.
  • Buried in Verona's 2015 album Vultures Above, Lions Below is heavily brickwalled, with noticeable clipping. The title tracks have gains of -13 DB.
  • Lamb of God's albums all have a terrible sound, with a dynamic range between DR4 and DR6. Sacrament and Wrath especially have a lot of clipping in it thanks to the excessive loudness.
    • Zigzagged with VII: Sturm und Drang, whose vinyl edition scores a DR14. The CD version is at DR6.

    Noise 
  • Musicians in noise and affiliated genres (noise rock, noise pop, et al.) intentionally use this as an aesthetic.
  • Intentionally invoked by a number of Noise and early Industrial artists, most notably by Whitehouse on Birthdeath Experience (1979) and Right To Kill (1984), on which everything is "in the red". Hell Is That Noise, indeed. Averted by legendary harsh-noise artist Merzbow, whose production tends to be frighteningly clear, with the exception of his mid-1990s works such as Pulse Demon and Venereology, both of which have ReplayGain values in the negative twenties (and a DR of 0). The latter also contains what might be the loudest track ever put to compact disc in "I Lead You Towards Glorious Times"
  • Boris's CDs are some of the all-time worst offenders, reaching DR ratings as low as 2. Even a vinyl rip of the "noise" version of the limited edition Vein has a DR of 3! To put that in context, a vinyl record with a DR of 9 is considered loud by today's standards.
  • Cold Steel World from Power Noise project Terrorfakt is an album that is already ridiculously loud, to begin with (and of course, this trope is intentional in the Power Noise world), but the song Ich is loud by Power Noise standards. And by loud, I mean HAZARDOUSLY LOUD. It is highly not recommended to listen to this song with headphones on at full blast. Seriously, even if this song is about 3½ minutes long, you will suffer from hearing loss if you play this repeatedly at full volume. And the worst and strangest part of this song? It does not even peak.

    OST 
  • Even game soundtracks can become victims, such as the Red Book CD music to Descent II, released in 1995. It got worse with the 1997 Updated Re-release, The Infinite Abyss. Ironically, the version of Type O Negative's "Haunted" featured on this soundtrack is less compressed than the original (see below).
    • This accusation has been leveled at Jeremy Soule quite a bunch from the non-audiophile crowds. (He doesn't brickwall, but you can be forgiven for believing he does. The soundtrack for Total Annihilation was especially bombastic.)
  • Jake Kaufman's otherwise excellent OST to Double Dragon Neon is completely wrecked by overcompression. Especially the famous title theme, which is reduced to a solid brick wall of clipping.
    • Almost all of his soundtracks suffer from brickwalling to an extent. It may not ruin, say, the Shantae or Boot Hill Heroes OSTs, but it definitely makes them more tiring to listen to. For an accomplished and talented composer and producer, Kaufman seems to have a poor understanding of dynamics.
  • Crimzon Clover's Steam OST is entirely brickwalled and clipped to near Death Magnetic levels.
  • A lot of ZUNTATA's discography is guilty of poor-quality mastering, to the point where you may as well listen to them in lossy MP3 format (which is the format used for their iTunes releases) rather than lossless forms like CD:
    • Dariusburst's iTunes OST is clipped like nobody's business, with "Cylinder" (Zone B BGM), "Hinder Three" (boss theme for Lightning Flamberge), and "Hello 31337" (boss theme for Great Thing) being the worst offenders.
    • From the Groove Coaster soundtracks, if you run iOS's Sound Check on "LINK LINK FEVER!!", the song becomes very quiet. That's how brickwalled the track is.
  • While a fair portion of Sonic Forces' soundtrack has clipping issues, Mortar Canyon in particular is appallingly mastered.

    Pop 
  • Heart in Motion by Amy Grant and Stripped by Christina Aguilera are the most commonly cited examples. Brandy's Full Moon has also been singled out.
  • Venus Hum's Sonic Boom. Imagine hearing this with a severe ear infection and front row seats. You may cringe now.
  • The Veronicas are ridiculously loud for a girl band. For whatever reason, none of their albums (not even their singles, either) have ever seen a vinyl issue.
  • Rihanna's "Only Girl (in the World)" is quite obviously brickwalled, being actually distorted during parts of the chorus.
  • Katy Perry's Teenage Dream is louder than Megadeth. Let that sink in for a moment. Especially "Peacock", and "California Gurls", where the drums constantly clip. Her first album, One of the Boys, was even worse.
  • Pixie Lott. For example, listen to "Boys and Girls", which painfully blares in your ears from beginning to end. Also lampshaded with the album being titled Turn It Up (or Turn It Up Louder).
  • Many songs by Lights fall victim to this, such as "Second Go", and even worse "Saviour", where the chorus is completely brickwalled. Her sophomore album Siberia has taken this trend further, being distorted to the point of being unlistenable — although this example is likely for stylistic reasons, and it's also released on the same label as Crystal Castles. Little Machines has noticeably better dynamics than her first two albums, but at least two of the tracks, namely "Up We Go" and "Same Sea", still have horrible clipping during their choruses, which appears to be intentional overcompression.
  • You didn't think Adele would be so loud, right? Wrong! Several of the tracks on 21, including the signature single "Rolling in the Deep", are brickwalled down to -5 dbfs. Luckily for audiophiles, this had a vinyl version.
    • 25 is even worse. Extremely obvious clipping. "I Miss You" and "River Lea" are particularly bad.
  • Little Boots's Hands is another tragic victim of brickwall mastering. She seemed to be pulling out of the loudness war with her later singles and albums, and Hands also has a vinyl edition that has better dynamic range. Unfortunately, it once again reared its ugly head with her 2016 EP Afterhours.
  • Played horribly straight by the CD/digital versions of all three Lady Gaga albums, although averted by the vinyl editions.
  • Robyn's Body Talk is heavily clipped on almost every peak.
  • The Saturdays, as seen here.
  • Not even Disney Channel music stars can escape the Loudness War. For example, Selena Gomez & The Scene's A Year Without Rain has an overall DR of 6 on the deluxe edition CD. Kiss & Tell has an even worse DR of 5!
  • All of David Guetta's non-vinyl releases are guilty of loudness war crimes.
  • Any song from Fifth Harmony. "Bo$$" is almost headache-inducing with how loud it is.
  • Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear. The single Chandelier in particular is mastered at DR3 and has very audible clipping. It holds up better than rock music of similar loudness, but it still sounds bad.
  • Amuro Namie's 2015 album "__genic" has an average DR 4, with some tracks even reaching an extreme of DR 2, and an RMS of −3.0.
  • Nelly Furtado’s Loose was especially hit hard by this, but especially on “Say It Right”. The drums are so loud, they continually clip and drown out the vocals!
  • Cher's Believe, in addition to introducing the world to Auto-Tune, was compressed to DR 7, which although much more dynamic than most of today's records, was damn loud by 90s standards.
  • The 2017 remaster of Colour by Numbers by Culture Club is one of the most horrific examples, as the mastering is so artificially boosted in volume that some quieter instruments are nearly completely inaudible. "Mister Man", for example, has a quirky percussion instrument in the left channel during the verses; in the remaster, it's almost entirely missing. Needless to say, it's a disastrous butchering of a fantastic album, and should never be listened to by anyone.
  • Taylor Swift's music also suffers this, and these two fanmade waveform posters for her two previously released albums prove it. Her first fully pop album, 1989 was also often criticized for it's loudness, ranking up to a DR 6.

    Prog Rock 
  • Rush's album Vapor Trails suffers from constant peak distortion. You can barely hear any of Neil Peart's amazing drumming because it's a huge mess of white noisenote . After the positive response the band got from releasing improved remixes of two songs from the album on Retrospective 3, they later announced an entire re-mixing of the album in general, which was issued in 2013. Sadly, Vapor Trails is not the only relatively recent Rush release to fall into this trope, although it remains their worst example. Snakes and Arrows, Clockwork Angels, and their recent live releases are also clipped to some degree. Vapor Trails Remixed, thankfully, mostly avoids loudness war shenanigans, coming in at a comparatively respectable (by modern standards) DR7, and is not clipped at all. Snakes and Arrows was also remastered in 2016 and saw an even more dramatic improvement, from DR6 on the original to DR12 in the remaster. Unfortunately, an error in mastering saw brief gaps inserted in between what were Siamese Twin Songs on the original album, but a person should be able to edit these out from the digital version with audio editing software. Unfortunately, for the vinyl edition, there is nothing anyone can do.
  • At least one reissue of Renaissance's Scheherazade and Other Stories is so distorted that the climax of the title track sounds substantially better in a medium-bitrate MP3 of the original vinyl. Or So I Heard.
  • The Secret Machines' Now Here Is Nowhere. It's a real pity because it has some good songs but listening to them on a good pair of headphones is headache-inducing.
  • Coheed and Cambria's albums have always been loud and compressed to an extent, but were still listenable. Then Year of the Black Rainbow comes along, which is entirely brickwalled to death and has a DR of 5. The songs sound so compressed and distorted to the point where they become a big mess of white noise. Sadly, even the vinyl isn't safe from this, and it uses the same audio source as the CD, except the distortion is horribly obvious and will make you feel like something is wrong with your turntable.
    • While The Afterman: Ascension is an improvement, Descension is almost as bad as Year of the Black Rainbow. The "wall of sound" is back and at times you can't even hear Claudio's voice,
      • A rare example of Loudness Wars actually enhancing an album is the original 2002 issue of The Second Stage Turbine Blade, as the album very much has a garage rock feel and the poor production helps improve that feeling.
  • Genesis' entire catalogue was remastered in 2007 and 2008. It was not an improvement.
  • Even the prog rock underground is not immune. The two albums by the Japanese jazz fusion group Machine and the Synergetic Nuts are brickwalled to a painful degree.
    • Ditto Japanese zeuhl band Koenji Hyakkei, which apart from the compression are pretty much the closest thing to Magma apart from Magma's side projects. But that still hasn't saved their albums, or at least the U.S. versions of their albums (there are previously released Japanese versions that are incredibly hard to find that may avert this trope), from being noticeably clipped. Recent albums by related project Ruins have also fallen into this trope, although the older ones avert it.
    • Speaking of Magma, a few of their releases fall into this trope as well. K.A. and Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré got this treatment pretty badly, as did their live DVD release Mythes et Legendes Epok I. Their usage of this trope has dropped off over time, though — Félicité Thösz and the later Mythes et Legendes DVDs are still clipped, but just barely (and probably not audibly to all but the most obsessive audiophiles), and their latest release Rïah Sahïltaahk comes in at a very respectable DR10.
  • Dream Theater's self-titled. Actually, all of their albums Falling into Infinity onwards are offenders. (In fact, even Awake and A Change of Seasons clip quite a lot; they just look better in comparison because the mastering got even worse with Dream Theater's later albums.)
    • Averted with the HDTracks version. Begs the question why this isn't the master everyone gets
  • The Mars Volta's Deloused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute.
    • These also contain extended quiet passages, so that the brick-walled bits hit you EVEN HARDER.
      • Every single Mars Volta album contains some degree of clipping, although Octahedron is significantly less clipped than the rest. Then again it's supposed to be their "acoustic" album (although, true to form, it's not entirely acoustic). However, Nocutourniquet is bad enough that even the mastering engineer has disowned it, indicating that she was forced to master it that way by either the label or someone in the band. At least some of the vinyl editions, contrary to popular belief (including the previous form of this very entry), are also clipped. This also affected many releases by Bixler Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez' previous band, At the Drive-In, so it's not a new problem.

    Punk 
  • Presenting Scranton, PA's Terror on the Screen. TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN.
  • Every release by Funeral for a Friend apart from their first two EPs. The most notorious example is the tracks on their Greatest Hits. The waveforms of the four exclusive tracks form perfect rectangles that fill up the whole window. In an album example, there is Memory And Humanity, with distortion so evident as to make the album exhausting to get through. On their other albums, the tracks are loud, but they are not distorted. Bizarrely, this album was released on the band's own label, which they set up to avoid Executive Meddling.
  • Rise Against are basically war criminals in the loudness war—war criminals with an army and tanks and CDs. Very compressed, very loud CDs.
  • The Starting Line’s Say It Like You Mean It is unfortunately very painful to listen to on headphones, especially the opening track.

    Rap 
  • Another victim of the Meller miasma: Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, mastered by Vlado Meller.
    • Most of West's recordings are brickwalled, but MBDTF is by far the worst, with the clipping audible on pretty much every track. 808s and Heartbreak got it pretty bad too.
    • Yeezus is just as bad, with some tracks going up to DR 2. You could argue he was going for a harsh, distorted sound on this album though.
  • The Black Eyed Peas' Elephunk ranked #1 in Cute Studio's CD Hall of Clipping Shame.
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's The Heist is mastered terribly. Strangely, "BomBom" has a DR of 10, while every other song has a DR of 5 or 6.

    Rock 
  • Derek and the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs 2011 remaster is an awful, brickwalled mess, especially the title track
  • George Harrison's 2001 edition of All Things Must Pass was horribly and infamously butchered during the "remastering". In addition to the usual loudness war stunts, which are actually kind of tame by today's standards, it also was subjected to horrible overuse of EQ and noise reduction that resulted in a tinny, digital sound.
  • Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full. Fortunately, some vinyl editions have a separate master by audiophile favourite Kevin Gray (though not all; Gray's master appears to have been used for the U.S. pressing, catalogue number HMLP-30383, but not the European pressing, catalogue number 0888072303836. Be sure which one you're getting before buying one).
  • Queen's Absolute Greatest has the dynamics sucked right out of it. You know how the first verse of "We Are the Champions" is really quiet, but then progresses and the loud chorus comes blasting out? Prepare to be severely disappointed.
  • David Bowie's later work has not escaped this trope, sadly; from Earthling onwards, every one of Bowie's albums ends up shitting the bed in terms of dynamics. is probably the worst of the lot, at DR5 (though in this particular case, it appears to be more for stylistic reasons, as documented on the main page).
  • The original release of The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang, plus the entire 2009 remaster catalog. It's unknown if there's a difference between the 2005 and 2009 version of Bang. Sadly, all archival releases (like the "From The Vault" live series) are done by the same team. Stick to the Bob Ludwig-mastered 1994 Virgin CDs for the '70s and '80s stuff.
  • 2001's "Kiss Box Set" has some truly horrific compression and clipping. Even Beth, a soft piano ballad, had a good 5 points knocked off its DR score.
    • While on the subject of Kiss, Destroyer: Resurrected has to go on record as one of the most badly mastered re-releases of all time. When compared to the original Destroyer CD, the difference is night and day in the worst kind of way.
  • Even Internet personalities aren't safe from the loudness war, as evidenced by the Angry Video Game Nerd's theme song. In newer episodes, the song is compressed and clipped to a ridiculous degree that might even make Death Magnetic do a double take.
  • AC/DC's 2003 remasters (done by George Marino) are very loud and compressed, but they don't clip, and compression artifacts are harder to distinguish than most brickwalled CDs - plus, the EQ is very good. However, his master of 2008's Black Ice is atrocious - it seems that the band or label asked for it to be louder than the remaster series, and the only thing Marino could do was exaggerate the bass. Each time the kick drum hits, the other instruments get moved about in the stereo field or seem to disappear altogether. It's worst in the opening track, "Rock 'n' Roll Train" (especially the four hits right before the final chorus), but it's present on nearly every track and was not there on any of the remasters. Marino did not master the 2009 Backtracks box set, and died before Rock Or Bust was recorded; both are also poorly mastered.
  • Blondie's 2017 album Pollinator is noticeably louder their earlier albums, at a consistent average DR of 5 on the CD and digital download versions. The vinyl release is slightly better, averaging at 9.

    Theatre 
  • Almost all of Cirque du Soleil's soundtracks since Varekai have a noticeable degree of clipping (though KOOZA has a smooth-as-hell dynamic range). However, Amaluna is the worst of the lot. The sound is pretty much a solid brick wall and has zero dynamic range- in fact, the album's dynamic decibel gain is −4.90. And this is an artsy circus soundtrack, mind you.
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