#1
Hey folks -- here is my latest work, and the last heavy song I'm doing for a concept album I've been working on for 3+ years.  This is just a sample from the song, as it is over 9 minutes long and I don't want to share the whole thing until the whole album is done. 

Anyway, I went for a slightly more modern mix on this one (but still late-90s/early2000ish black/death metal production), and included a lot more lead work than what I've done before.  This could possibly be the heaviest song on the album, and I wanted the production to just pound the listener in the face relentlessly throughout (maybe I achieved that?).  Anyhow, let me know what you're hearing and how I can improve the mix if possible.  Enjoy!

EDIT:  Here's a new mix/master:  I tweaked the limiter so it wasn't pumping so much, rhythm guitars are a little clearer now:  https://soundcloud.com/kailm-1/spiritual-warfare-master-3-mixtest-5-27-17
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
Last edited by KailM at May 27, 2017,
#2
What does a guy have to do to get a review around here?  I've tried giving others reviews (people that promised C4C, I might add), and that didn't work. 

Is it just that nobody listens to metal on UG anymore?  If so, I'll stop posting here.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#3
It's hard to get responses on UG now a days or if you C u won't get a C back. on to your song...

first let let me say that your goal pounding me in the face worked! It feels very dense and heavy in the beginning. You got me right in the chest! I think overall it's very professional sounding. Your mix is perfect. I gotta also say your drummming is really good! If it's programmed you are really good at it! If not your calling should be as a drummer. You are on to something and I'd buy this. Good work dude!

this may not be your style, but give my latest a whirl...https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1744340
#4
^^Thanks man! Those are programmed drums -- I wish I could play like that -- or knew someone who could! But I'll take the compliment-- it's been a long journey learning how to make drums sound realistic. At times I've nearly thrown in the towel on programming and bought a drum kit to learn to actually play; it seemed easier haha.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#5
KailM I don't have anything for you to review yet, but I think I was the first to like this track on Soundcloud. I might put something up soon but I need to get my vocals/lyrics down. I have a pretty sick track that sounds like Dissection on steroids.

If this reminded me of anything, it would be Keep of Kalessin in their golden days (Armada IMO). Looking forward to the full thing.

Also, your tone is sounding really gnarly on this track. Like a pack of savage wolves in a violent Winter storm encircling their prey. Can't wait for you to finish the album, are you going to re-record the guitars on the previous tracks with this tone? You better get some awesome artwork for the cover too!
#6
Quote by HaydenHohns
KailM I don't have anything for you to review yet, but I think I was the first to like this track on Soundcloud. I might put something up soon but I need to get my vocals/lyrics down. I have a pretty sick track that sounds like Dissection on steroids.

If this reminded me of anything, it would be Keep of Kalessin in their golden days (Armada IMO). Looking forward to the full thing.

Also, your tone is sounding really gnarly on this track. Like a pack of savage wolves in a violent Winter storm encircling their prey. Can't wait for you to finish the album, are you going to re-record the guitars on the previous tracks with this tone? You better get some awesome artwork for the cover too!


Thanks Hayden-- I'll look forward to your next track! Dissection is one of my favorite bands and influences, though I don't think it comes out in my version of black metal that much. I'm excited to hear your take.

Thanks for the compliment on my tone -- indeed it is sounding monstrous on this song. I can't figure out what I did to get it though; I mean it's the same amp I've been using for a long time (6505), and pretty much the same EQ curves, reverb plugin, and compression settings. I did back my mic away from the cab about 2" and tracked with my volume a bit higher as opposed to closer and a little quieter. The only other change I can think of is that I changed from running SD Blackouts (active) to a SD Nazgul which is a very nasty (in an awesome way) passive pickup and blended that 50/50 with my Black Winter equipped guitar. It's two tracks of Nazgul on the left and two tracks of Black Winter on the right. The first lead bit is the Nazgul and the second is the BW bridge. It's also in C# Standard tuning where most of my other songs are in D Standard.

But yeah-- I'm probably going to revisit my other tracks and try to bring them up to this level as well as add lyrics and vocals. This one is definitely my most powerful song and best overall production-- it's killing me not to share the whole thing.. Wait till you hear the end...
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
Last edited by KailM at May 26, 2017,
#7
KailM I agree.

You might want to look into how Arjen Anthony Lucassen acquired his tone on the Star One album "Victims of the Modern Age". He has some very interesting things to say about it. Perhaps you can use a couple of microphones.



I think backing the mic away will give you the more "3-D" sound that you have now, and that if you used two microphones with slightly different EQ settings, you'll get the equivalent of tracking two BW and Nazgul equipped guitars panned hard left and right respectively.

EDIT: Also, if you like Dissection, you will without a doubt want to check out "Ruins" by the French band Artefact.

https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Artefact/19046
Last edited by HaydenHohns at May 26, 2017,
#8
Thanks for checking out my song.

Man, that's a heavy sound, mission accomplished! The drums sound massive. What are you using? Did you add a ton of compression to it? It sounds excellent to me now - I'd just be wary of making things too constantly heavy for fear of fatiguing the listener.

I think the production definitely has atmosphere, but it came at the cost of clarity. The lead tone is great, but I would have preferred that the riffs were clearer. I'm not sure what it is - too much or too deep of a reverb? It's kinda muddy, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it doesn't suit the riffs.

The writing sounds promising, I heard several ideas that were really good. The riff at 1:00 is definitely my favorite. Reminds me of Abbath at points. I'd need to hear the entire song to better make up my mind about it though.

Do let me know when you're ready to show off the whole thing, I will check it out!
Quote by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
#9
Quote by HaydenHohns
KailM I agree.

You might want to look into how Arjen Anthony Lucassen acquired his tone on the Star One album "Victims of the Modern Age". He has some very interesting things to say about it. Perhaps you can use a couple of microphones.



I think backing the mic away will give you the more "3-D" sound that you have now, and that if you used two microphones with slightly different EQ settings, you'll get the equivalent of tracking two BW and Nazgul equipped guitars panned hard left and right respectively.

EDIT: Also, if you like Dissection, you will without a doubt want to check out "Ruins" by the French band Artefact.

https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Artefact/19046

Very interesting video -- thanks for sharing.  I definitely want to dabble in multi-mic'ing now.  Really, the only reason I quad-track right now is to try to capture the same sound I hear in one take while playing live with the amp cranked.  The tone I've captured on this song is the closest I've ever gotten to what I actually hear in the room.  If I could capture that with fewer takes -- that would be awesome because quad-tracking is a pain in the ass. 
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#10
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
Thanks for checking out my song.

Man, that's a heavy sound, mission accomplished!  The drums sound massive.  What are you using?  Did you add a ton of compression to it?  It sounds excellent to me now - I'd just be wary of making things too constantly heavy for fear of fatiguing the listener.

I think the production definitely has atmosphere, but it came at the cost of clarity.  The lead tone is great, but I would have preferred that the riffs were clearer.  I'm not sure what it is - too much or too deep of a reverb?  It's kinda muddy, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it doesn't suit the riffs.

The writing sounds promising, I heard several ideas that were really good.  The riff at 1:00 is definitely my favorite.  Reminds me of Abbath at points.  I'd need to hear the entire song to better make up my mind about it though.

Do let me know when you're ready to show off the whole thing, I will check it out!

Thanks man -- you've got a really good ear; that part at 1:00 is definitely an Immortal ripoff, haha.  The chord shape I'm using there is one that Abbath used a lot on the Sons of Northern Darkness album, particularly on the song "One by One" -- which is one of my all-time favorites and a warmup song I play all the time.  I don't know what that chord is called but it sounds really cool.

As for the tone being a little muddy -- I think what you're hearing is overcompression in my shoddy attempt to master this.  In the mix, the rhythm guitars are a lot clearer and they sound tighter.  I was in a hurry to see what this would sound like quasi-mastered and overdid it with the limiter.  I'll upload a better version later today hopefully. That said, black metal is often drenched in reverb, and though I used it somewhat sparingly here, it is important to the overall feel.  I feel like if I make everything too crisp and clear it will not quite sound right for the genre.

Regarding the drums, I use Betamonkey Double Bass Mania drum samples/loops which are basically huge libraries of grooves and samples in .wav format.  My DAW can't accept 3rd party plugins such as Superior Drummer so this is my workaround.  It's probably more time-consuming, but I think it sounds pretty good.  About 50% of this song was composed of grooves from that series and about 50% I programmed with individual hits where I couldn't get the right feel.  I did add a fair bit of compression to the overall drum mix; I think I'm going to back it off a hair because it is masking some of the guitar tone in places.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
Last edited by KailM at May 27, 2017,
#11
Fair point, I admit that I'm more of a casual black metal fan and have a crippling preference for modern clarity in production. But I still stand by my opinion, because even after several listens I find the rhythm guitar to be unclear. Perhaps I wouldn't have the same reaction if the drums and lead guitar didn't have such a modern in-your-face feel. I'm no mixing guru, but you might be right about the drums obscuring the guitars.
Quote by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
#13
KailM What are you using to record your amp now? I take it a SM57? I reckon if you acquired another dynamic microphone and a ribbon microphone (backed further away) then you will have a monstrous tone. Ribbon microphones are typically very expensive but they have recently come back into popularity and some companies are making cheaper ones, but maintaining quality. I would do a good look around at what companies are making them and try to find one that is similar to the Peluso one Arjen is using but within your budget (or just buy a Peluso if you have the money).

Also, new mix sounds a lot better now.
#14
Quote by HaydenHohns
KailM What are you using to record your amp now? I take it a SM57? I reckon if you acquired another dynamic microphone and a ribbon microphone (backed further away) then you will have a monstrous tone. Ribbon microphones are typically very expensive but they have recently come back into popularity and some companies are making cheaper ones, but maintaining quality. I would do a good look around at what companies are making them and try to find one that is similar to the Peluso one Arjen is using but within your budget (or just buy a Peluso if you have the money).

Also, new mix sounds a lot better now.

I use a GLS ES-57 which is an SM57 clone.  It's been working pretty well.  I have another dynamic Peavey mic as well that sounds a little different, but not bad.  I've always just avoided multi-mic'ing I guess; because I've heard it can lead to phasing issues.  But dang, some of the stuff I've been playing is rather tedious to double track, let alone quad-track.  If I could somehow capture the sound I hear in the room in fewer takes...  My local music store has always been really cool -- they've let me borrow mics and equipment before/gave me free equipment -- when I get around to doing a next album I might see what they have and try to get an even better tone.  As it is, I want the album to be cohesive so I'll probably just try to get my other tracks sounding as good as this one and call it good.

I wish you could hear the tone I hear in the room.  It is ungodly brutal -- yet clear.  I'm getting close on this track though.  One other thing that may have made a difference this time is that I didn't try to track two different speakers (I have Eminence Swamp Thangs and Governors in my 4 X 12 cab.)  On my last few songs I've tried to mix the two speakers 50/50 which was kind of a headache.  This time around, I just mic'd the same Governor and made damn sure I didn't move the mic even slightly between recording sessions.  I think on some of my other tracks I may have gotten some slight phasing by messing with the mic too much between sessions.  In an ideal world I'd be able to get all the tracks for a song done in a single session, but my time is extremely limited.  My job is a huge time-suck and my family is very important to me -- so it takes me 1-2 months to get one song done if I'm lucky.  I actually wrote most of the riffs to Spiritual Warfare around 5 years ago, haha.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
Last edited by KailM at May 28, 2017,
#15
KailM Your local store owners are absolute legends. Are you from Norway by any chance? That sucks with the job, although at least you have one --- that's always a plus. Family is good too.

Phase issues are of course possible, but there are plenty of guides on how to avoid it. For the most part, just lining up the mics (or their diaphragms at least) together will avoid that for the two closer ones, then the "room" mic will need to be tested until you get it right. Just zoom into the waveforms of your DAW and make sure the peaks and trough are aligned and you should be good to go. You could also try the Fredman technique, two SM57s, one on and off-axis. Then change the levels to suit the EQ you want and you're done. Two regular dynamic mics should work fine though. Fredman technique is discussed thoroughly below.



Also, one other thing. You mention using the loops --- I'm very impressed you managed to use those and not implement something like SD/EZD/SSD. However, one thing it will help you with, is speeding up the process. What DAW are you using? I would consider investing in a DAW that will allow you to use a product like Superior Drummer. I use Reaper, which for small-time studio owners and personal users (such as us), only comes at about 60 USD (from memory). Then you can buy MIDI packs or make your own --- which will speed things up even more so for you.
Last edited by HaydenHohns at May 28, 2017,
#16
Quote by HaydenHohns
KailM Your local store owners are absolute legends. Are you from Norway by any chance? That sucks with the job, although at least you have one --- that's always a plus. Family is good too.

Phase issues are of course possible, but there are plenty of guides on how to avoid it. For the most part, just lining up the mics (or their diaphragms at least) together will avoid that for the two closer ones, then the "room" mic will need to be tested until you get it right. Just zoom into the waveforms of your DAW and make sure the peaks and trough are aligned and you should be good to go. You could also try the Fredman technique, two SM57s, one on and off-axis. Then change the levels to suit the EQ you want and you're done. Two regular dynamic mics should work fine though. Fredman technique is discussed thoroughly below.

Also, one other thing. You mention using the loops --- I'm very impressed you managed to use those and not implement something like SD/EZD/SSD. However, one thing it will help you with, is speeding up the process. What DAW are you using? I would consider investing in a DAW that will allow you to use a product like Superior Drummer. I use Reaper, which for small-time studio owners and personal users (such as us), only comes at about 60 USD (from memory). Then you can buy MIDI packs or make your own --- which will speed things up even more so for you.


I am in the U.S., actually-- Montana. But my family is of Swedish descent so that could explain my fondness for Scandinavian-style metal, haha. Anyway, thanks for the ideas and resources! I'm using Presonus Studio One (artist edition), which really is a nice DAW except for the limitation on 3rd party VSTs. I'd have to upgrade to Pro or Producer for that which is very pricey. I think I'll probably get Reaper at least so I can run VSTs and get an actual drum program. Drums really have been my biggest challenge and time-suck, so anything that could speed that up would enable me to produce a lot more music faster.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#17
KaliM,
I have mixed feelings on the main rhythm guitar. In one regard it sounds pretty unique, though I think there's too much delay, or there's too long of a delay time much of the time, or both. Otherwise it sounds pretty good. My favorite part was the first lead guitar riff that happens again towards the end of the song. Perhaps you could review my music at this link:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1741580
#18
KailM Cool, I'm in Australia but of Danish/German descent, so I feel much the same as yourself. I don't have any intent of visiting the USA but I'll let you know if I'm in the neighbourhood and we can jam! 

I can assure you it will quicken the process, or at least it has helped me a lot. There are a lot of resources on the internet for Reaper and things like EZ Drummer so if you have the money for all that stuff, then you should go nuts. I think that's all I have to say but shoot me a PM if you have any questions (the people in the recording forum will help too).
#19
My man sorry it took me so long to get back to you. first off thanks for the crit second I found my self head banging multiple times throughout the song something about 1:47- 2:00 I really enjoyed idk if its the point but the distortion as it is heavy as all hell I think could be creamier in a sense if that makes any sense haha the mix seems to be good the guitar does seem too be a little to front in center I wish I could hear the drums cut through a little more very creative its a badass track I liked It on soundcloud to show my enjoyment 
#20
^^It's all good man -- glad the song got you headbanging!  That's kind of the whole point, haha.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood