Top positive review
Excellent vinyl - definitely no skipping
on 7 March 2018
Blackened (Vinyl Reissue) - excellent lp - absolutely no jumping. Not being a fan of 'Thrash Metal' I had mostly ignored Metallica records. Then I came across a mix of Metallica (the Black Album) used to demo and interesting (quite expensive) amplifier and decided to reconsider.
Definitely liked 'the Black Album' BUT rather concerned by the 1-star reviews as regards skipping/needle-jumping.
Now, I'm not saying faulty pressings don't exist, - I once returned an LP to the store for a replacement - they checked every copy in stock only to find every one was pressed off-centre.
A bit of investigation (discogs.com is quite useful) I discovered this re-issue was cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering (one of the best) and probably same as the 2008 (Warner Music Group) issue - the Blackened Recordings jacket shows 'manufactured by Warner Music group', I also found these were pressed at Pallas (regarded by some as the best pressing plant in the world) I decided to order this and very happy that I did.
So why do some have problems and write 'bad' reviews? Certainly there are places where the drum really thumps, add to that it's the type of music you want to play LOUD and this could cause needle to jump/skip. However, with good mastering and pressing, it seems more likely the Turntable/Arm/Cartridge set-up may need some adjustment (assuming the arm provides for this).
Digging a bit beneath the surface of a few 1-star reviews I found -
one reviewer who still had 'skipping' problems with 'Blackened' release though less the earlier 2008 (EU) release. Although the same re-master, the 2008 (EU) was on the Universal label and pressed at GZ Vinyl (The Warner label was US release) so it's unlikely to be the same 'bad pressing' problem from two different places.
Another reviewer, having returned this lp due to 'skipping', then returned his music system due to 'skipping' problems ( a subsequent 'bad' review). It was very much a budget (all-in-one & incl. speakers) system - he probably spent as much for this LP as the manufacturer spent on the turntable part of the system Sadly such systems will have limitations. I do sympathize with him though, it's very much a case of "we don't know what we don't know" when you first 'get into vinyl'.