Modern Rockers Rise Above — Or Sink Below — Their Producers' Machinations

Yancey Strickler of Seattle Weekly reports that somewhere along the line, modern rock started mistaking subtlety for weakness and waves of guitars and drum loops for palpable emotion — apparently these dudes' pain is so deep that only 128 tracks will do. But nine times out of 10, it isn't the bands who make these assumptions. Modern rock has become as much a producers' medium as hip-hop or techno, and the style's oppressive, multitracked assault and hokey sheen can be traced directly to one man. Andy Wallace is mod-rock's Dr. Dre — his mixes have become rock's de facto status quo, from his work on NIRVANA's "Nevermind" to more recent titles by DISTURBED, FOO FIGHTERS, KORN, LIMP BIZKIT, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, and SYSTEM OF A DOWN. This sound has been appropriated, with varied results, by a handful of other mod-rock production heavyweights: Howard Benson (COLD, P.O.D., CRAZY TOWN), GGGarth (TRAPT, CHEVELLE), Don Gilmore (REVIS, GOOD CHARLOTTE, LINKIN PARK), and Ross Robinson (KORN, LIMP BIZKIT, SLIPKNOT). Among them, these five men run nearly every major-label signing through the same ProTooled gauntlet. No wonder modern rock sounds so uniform. Read more.

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