Metal Insider’s Top 5: Producers That Are Also Musicians

Posted by on April 16, 2012

Don't Worry, He's NOT On The List

Metal Insider’s Top 5 is a column where we count down the top five of…well basically anything.

Recently, both As I Lay Dying and Slayer revealed which producers they’ll be working in the studio soon. At first, these announcements reminded us how crucial of a role the producer can play during the recording sessions of a new album. Then, we started to think about those who have not only made an impact in metal and hard rock as a musician, but also as a producer. So without further ado, here’s our top 5 list of metal and hard rock musicians who also have had success as a producer.


5. Logan Mader

Mader is likely best known for his time in Machine Head, having appeared on the band’s first two albums (1994’s Burn My Eyes and 1997’s The More Things Change…). After parting ways with the group in 1997, the guitarist joined Soulfly briefly. While he’s formed numerous projects since then, nowadays Mader is known for his production work. He’s produced albums by Five Finger Death Punch, DevilDriver, Cavalera Conspiracy and numerous others.


4. Fredrik Nordström

The Swedish producer and guitar player for Dream Evil is not only considered one of the top metal producers in Europe, but also one of the key players in the Gothenburg style. In fact, there’s a strong chance that Nordström has worked with almost every influential metal act to hail from Sweden. Most notably, though, he helped produce albums by At The Gates, In Flames, Arch Enemy, Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork and a crap load of others.

3. Kurt Ballou

Kurt was a biomedical engineer that  bought his own studio with money he got from one of his projects being cancelled. The medical fields’ loss is hardcore’s gain, as the Converge guitarist has been positively prolific. Not only has he produced his own band’s albums (and remastered their first two), but he’s been all over the place, from Kvelertak and All Pigs Must Die to Genghis Tron and High On Fire.


2. Devin Townsend

Hevy Devy has made a name for himself via his own musical endeavors, like Strapping Young Lad and the Devin Townsend Project. However, Townsend has also provided his services to other bands behind the scenes. In addition to his own material, Townsend has produced albums by Lamb Of God, GWAR, Darkest Hour, Bleeding Through, Soilwork and countless others.


1. Adam Dutkiewicz

Dutkiewicz has either produced or co-produced every Killswitch Engage album since day one. However, the guitarist has also shared his production skills with numerous metalcore bands. While the list of albums he has produced continues to grow, Dutkiewicz has most notably worked with As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, Unearth, The Devil Wears Prada, Underoath and most recently Shadows Fall. Essentially, Dutkiewicz has become the “go to guy” for metalcore groups.


Honorable Mention: Steve Albini

As the frontman and guitarist of ‘80s punk band Big Black, Steve Albini was also their producer. Since then, he’s worked with just about anyone that’s asked. When major label bands have requested to work with him, he’s charged them far more than he would small bands whose music he likes.  He’s worked with Nirvana (for In Utero) and Bush, but also Dysrhythmia, Neurosis, Made out of Babies, and Trash Talk, among many others.


Honorable Mention: Ross Robinson

While in retrospect, nu-metal turned out to be the mongoloid stepchild of the genre, in the mid-90s, it was a legitimate movement. Much of that is due to Ross Robinson. The onetime guitarist of Détente produced the first albums by Korn and Limp Bizkit, but also produced some standout albums from that time period, like Slipknot’s first two albums, Sepultura’s Roots and Glassjaw’sEverything you Ever Wanted to Know About Silence. He’s been a bit quieter lately, but there’s something to be said for his output in the ‘90s and early aughts.


Honorable Mention: Butch Walker

As the guitarist of late’80s hair metal band Southgang, Butch Walker tasted success with the band’s 1991 album, Tainted Angel. The band broke up after another album, but 3/4ths of the band somehow got famous again as Marvelous 3 in the late ‘90s. When that band broke up in 2000, Walker decided go solo. But more importantly, since then, he’s come into his own as a songwriter and producer, producing and writing with the likes of Sevendust, Saosin, Weezer, and the Donnas… as well as Pink and Avril Lavigne.

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