PC with PreSonus FP10 interface running Cakwalk SONAR Producer 7.0 and Sony Sound Forge 10 under Windows XP, with IK Multimedia AmpliTube 2 and AmpitTube Fender. Shure SM57 on female vocals, Audio-Technica AT2020 on male vocals. Jackson Soloist Bloodline 7-string and Schecter Hellraiser 7-string guitars, Sterling Ray35 bass. BOSS Dr. Rhythm 880 used as bass processor. Drums recorded and edited by Marc Norgaard (session drummer, www.marcnorgaard.com) at his personal studio through Pro Tools.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Blindfold" is a male and female vocal "metal" tune. No individual credits were given with the exception of Maryland-based session drummer-for-hire Marc Norgaard (interviewed October 2007), who played and assembled the hellacious drums!
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Several things help "Blindfold" to stand out over the majority of "metal" that we usually receive, numero uno being the incredible drums, which are hands down the best that we have heard in this genre (both in performance and tone) in our sixteen-plus years as the author of this column.
Alexander tells us that the drums were done by Marc in Maryland. No details were provided on mics or signal chain, but a quick look at marcnorgaard.com reveals a pretty tasty setup: solid standby mics like Neumann KM184s, AKG D112, Shure SM57 and SM81 mics, Sennheiser MD421 and e609 mics, the Granelli G5790 (essentially a Shure SM57 in a right-angled body), Electro-Voice RE20, and Heil PR-30, recorded through Digidesign, Yamaha, and PreSonus hardware into a Pro Tools 10 setup. Marc's drum tracks were then shipped off to Houston TX, where the remaining tracking, mixing and mastering were done.
Well, Marc, our hats are off to you, this is big-league stuff. If anyone was wondering why you'd hire an outside drummer to play on your tracks, you need go no further than "Blindfold" to hear what a pro drummer in a great room with great mics and equipment can do for you!
The second thing that impressed us was the inclusion of a female vocal into this almost entirely male-dominated genre of music. The vocalist sounds great and the male/female counterpoint takes the track out of its usual "metal formula". As for the other sound sources, well, if the track weren't so inexplicably bass-guitar-shy, it would be headed for our Spotlight feature.
Suggestions: "Metal" guitar sounds are, in our opinion, more reliant on hyped low-midrange frequencies than most other genres of rock music, often due to the song being written in "dropped" tunings as low as B. Because of this, frequency masking can take a real toll on the bass guitar.
Whether this was the case here, or whether it was a monitoring/mix position issue (yet again we're not told what kind of monitors or headphones were used in the recording process... is there something in the words "tell us how you're hearing this stuff" that just goes in one ear and out the other? Come on people!), the weak bass guitar on "Blindfold" is not bringing it, at least through our monitors. We would urge Alexander to make a space for it, using panning or frequencies, as its absence is the one thing keeping this mix from being very successful in our opinion.
Summary: Soooo close...!
Contact: Alexander Kamburov/ Descent Into Madness, firstname.lastname@example.org