ADK Pro 1Q laptop with M-Audio ProFire 2626 interface and M-Audio Axiom 61 USB controller keyboard, running Avid Pro Tools 10 (including Xpand for synth bass, SansAmp plug-in for electric bass fuzz sound); Mics: Shure SM7B & SM57, RODE NT-2, four Oktava MK012, AKG D112; sE Electronics Reflexion Filter; Brent Averill (BAE) 1073 mic preamp; Focal CMS65 monitors, Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones. 1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom electric guitar, 1969 Fender Deluxe Reverb amp, VOX AC15 amp, 1978 Fender Precision Bass, Taylor 710 acoustic guitar, Maxon compressor pedal, Fulltone 70s Fuzz and Full Drive 2 pedals, Line 6 DL4 delay modeler pedal, Morley Bad Horsie Wah.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Gregory has submitted an excellent track here, with strong writing and arranging skills showcased throughout. It is always of interest to see how long it takes for certain music styles/groups to infiltrate the scene, and Gregory's submission is a clear indicator that the Black Keys are now part of our musical vernacular. To say however, that "Back in Heaven Again" is pure imitation would be doing it a great disservice. In our opinion, though it borrows from their style, Gregory's track can rightly hold its own with the best of Mssrs. Aurbach and Carney.
The song intros with a wicked guitar/drum bed, supporting an equally cool fuzzed-up lead vocal. The drum sound is absolutely fantastic throughout the recording, with a huge natural ambience due in no small part to the fact that they were tracked in a room with 25-foot high ceilings! Those of you searching for the "When the Levee Breaks" Zeppelin drum sound would do well to study Greg and Mike's efforts here. We should also say that the rack and floor tom tones are among the best we have heard during our lengthly tenure at this column.
Moving on, fans of fuzz guitar will have a field day here! This is not distortion, kids -- this is FUZZ, in all of its nasty glory, and in our humble opinion it sounds incredible. Greg tells us that the rhythm guitars were recorded in stereo with a Shure SM7B miking a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp along with a Shure SM57 on a VOX AC15, "which were placed in the largest room of our finished basement", through a Maxon Compressor and Fulltone 70s Fuzz pedal.
The lead guitar used only the Deluxe Reverb with the same pedal chain, but with the addition of a Fulltone Full Drive 2 (played in tandem with the 70s Fuzz), Line6 Delay Modeler, and a Morley Bad Horsie Wah. Bravo say we! As for the remainder of the track, Greg wisely understated his bass guitar and synth bass, thereby avoiding a potential low-midrange frequency train wreck between them and the guitars.
As for the vocals, heavy processing such as found here can often become annoying over the course of a song, but Gregory has handled both the lead and backing vocal textures and balances with skill and care. Gregory made good use of his studio, a 1-room affair with a varying ceiling height and a few homemade wall panels and corner absorbers filled with mineral wool. The lead was recorded with the SM7B and the backing vocals with the NT-2, with the Reflexion Filter helping out, and the result, like the rest of this track, is outstanding work.
Summary: Radio ready, right now!
Contact: Gregory Hyde, firstname.lastname@example.org