Tales from the Jugular

A Look at Metal Producer Jacob Hansen

By: Eric Compton
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
After twenty-five years of metal one can start to hear little nuances and threads of similarity within the music. It can be country of origin, band members or writing. Often I hear an un-researched band for the first time and instantly pick the region, drummer or a familiar singer correctly. While all of those are certain indicators or familiar patterns that often run from album to band to genre, none define a sound more than production. That has been the one mainstay through the last decade that I tend to look for. It can be the sound of the guitars, the clarity of the snare or the double bass and the producer is the guy who makes that sound.

I was playing the new Primal Fear record last night and about forty seconds into track one I pegged Jacob Hansen as producer. It was identifiable because Hansen normally demands speed. He has "triggered" double bass and his snare sound has no echo. The whole production is extremely dry and crisp and lent Primal Fear one of their best sounding albums to date. It pains me when I read reviews that don't mention production or producer. That is the key to how it all sounds. Does it come across lively or studio? Is it polished and sterile or loose and dirty? Often if I don't know the particular genre of an unknown band the producer's name will normally nail it. Producers tend to work the same genres.

I love lists and I thought it would be fitting for the start of 2014 to list a few producers that are relevant in today's scene. These could be seasoned veterans or some new guys that are starting to show up. I've also added some notable works for these producers and a few key characteristics of their sound. These will be rotating columns from our writers with about one to two producers posted each month. This will spotlight the producer and studio and also provide some more links so you can delve into it.

Jacob Hansen

Studio - Jailhouse Studios, Denmark

Notable Works:
Mercenary - "11 Dreams", "Architect Of Lies", "Metalmorphosis", "Through Our Darkest Days"
Volbeat - "Rock The Rebel/Meet The Devil", "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood", "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies"
Pretty Maids - "Pandemonium", "Motherland"
Destruction - "Thrash Anthems"
Hatesphere - "Hatesphere"
Raunchy - "Death Pop Romance", "A Discord Electric"
Aborted - "Global Flatline"
Primal Fear - "Delivering The Black"


Early in his career Hansen worked a great deal with more aggressive bands like Hatesphere, Ancient, Aborted and Onslaught. Over the last ten years his style has been associated with a variety of genres. His name has probably been promoted more with the famed efforts of Volbeat. He has worked closely with the Danish band on their studio albums as well as the live record. It is interesting to see his touch on so many facets of recording. He is obviously known as a producer but works on mastering, mixing and engineering. Hansen has contributed as a musician in the studio and assisted with song arrangements and placement.

--Dry and crisp sounds overall
--Faster rhythm guitar
--Vocals and leads somewhat low in the mix
--No echo on snare drum
--Cymbals crystal clear
--Triggered double bass/machine like

Hansen normally does about six to ten albums a year. We should see his name on the new Pyramaze and the debut from The Vision Ablaze this year.

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