Production has always interested me - even to the extent that I nearly
started a course on music production. Why didn't I? To expensive.
The sad thing about loudness is that it makes music I like difficult to listen to. There are non-metal examples, such as this from Muse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Yc3HhSl1Q
. I like this album (they are a good band) but it seems to suffer from loudness and it's physically difficult to sit through it. So rather than get the occasional spin my cd sits idly in its case. Why any band should want this to happen is beyond me, and let's face it bands as big as Muse (and Metallica of course) really must have some input into how the end product sounds, if they want it (and I'm pretty sure Metallica do take a hands-on approach to this).
Remastering/remixing comes in to play here too. Does anyone else feel the Megadeth reissues are quite loud? They certainly need to be turned down to a lower volume in my car stereo compared to most of my cd's. A good comparison is Testament's early albums, which suffer/benefit (depending on how you look at it) from a fairly basic production. I need to hike the volume up a fair bit to get them to the right level, but that's a better solution than loud production.