The loudness war is a trend in music in which newer pressings of songs are louder than older pressings.
The earliest examples are in the 1940s, with the mastering of 45rpm singles, bit did not become widely reported until 2008, when Metallica's Death Magnetic album was released. The CD version has a high loudness peak that goes beyond the clipping limitations, causing distortion in the audio.
This practice has been derided by audiophiles and music critics, due to it reducing the audio quality and making music less enjoyable.
- The Oasis album What's the Story (Morning Glory?) is one of the earliest cases on CD. This might have been caused by the band being on cocaine at the time, which can affect hearing.
- Katy Perry's album Teenage Dream is louder than even Megadeth.
- Death Magnetic by Metallica, as mentioned above, is so bad that even the music engineer hated it. The average dynamic range was DR3 (albums are ranked on a dynamic range scale, DR0 being the worst and DR14+ being the best.) on the CD and even the LP versions. The Guitar Hero 3 version had a better master with more dynamic range, so many Metallica fans just ripped the GH3 versions.
- The 1997 Iggy Pop mix of The Stooges album Raw Power had a dynamic range of DR1, and is considered one of the loudest albums and worst remasters of all time. Thankfully, Raw Power was re-released in 2010 with the David Bowie mix, which is quieter and has much more dynamics.
- http://dr.loudness-war.info/ is a useful database for how compressed an album is.