Ryan van Eerde
Behemoth Cover Project
Producing Heavy Metal songs is not an easy thing to do and something that I haven't done as much of as I would like because it's such a large undertaking, especially to get everything sounding professional. Due to this I have been rather hesitant to go out and look for Metal bands to record because I'm not confident enough yet that I could produce a final product that I would be happy with. To counteract this I have decided to produce 3 songs that I will be performing on myself as an experiment to see exactly what I can create sonically without having pressure from outside influences. By the end of this project I would like these 3 songs to act as a good representation of my Metal production abilities to provide me with the confidence to go out and show bands exactly what I am capable of. The 3 songs I will be covering are form the Blackened Death Metal band Behemoth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behemoth_(band), as their sound and production quality is a good representation of what I want my productions to sound like in the future.
Below are videos of the 3 songs I will be covering, they are all from different albums which provides me with a wider range of production elements to choose from when it comes to referencing sounds in the mixing stage.
Some things that I will need to consider to achieve my goals are:
Getting drum recordings that capture the full sound of the kit and are in time with a click track.
Editing these drum tracks to make them as clean sounding as possible by removing unwanted noise.
Editing drum tracks to make them as in time with the click as possible.
Recording quad tracked guitars and bass guitar in time with the drums.
Working on guitar amp tones and microphone placement to produce to get a high quality sound at the source that doesn't need much processing.
Producing vocals that are aggressive enough to cut through the final mix.
Spending time on each of these elements above until I am completely satisfied with them before moving on to the next one.
Leaving enough time at the end of the project for mixing and possible re-recording of certain elements if I find them to be lacking.
Get multiple peoples opinion and feedback on the project as it is progressing to make sure I'm what I'm doing is actually of a good quality.
One of my biggest concerns is not getting a good enough performance from myself and the other people I'm getting to do the drums and bass guitar. Having musicians who can perform to a high standard can really make all the difference when it comes to producing professional sounding music so the risk is my project is doomed before I even start because I want be able to get the performances I want/need. In saying that I don't know what will happen until I actually start recording and even if the performances are not that great I still will have learnt a lot about Metal production in the process.
I will be using a multi-track recording process for these songs which is the typical way modern Metal songs are recorded, what this means is that I will record each aspect of the song separately then combined and built upon after each of them have been recorded, see this article for more information https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/how-to-record-a-song/ .
What I will be doing is recording the drums first, as the drums act as the foundation to the songs its imperative that I get these right from the start. I'll record each section of the songs separately as well because I can go over each section multiple times until I get a take that I am happy with, this also means the drum can put more energy into these sections because he doesn't need to play for a prolonged period before resting. After I have all the drums tracked I'll edited them by removing any unwanted noise and using tools like Beat Detective to help bring the drum times more in time with the beat if necessary. Its important to do time editing before moving on to recording the other tracks because if I record guitars in time with unedited drums as soon as I time align them they could potentially be out of time with the guitars I recorded. Once I'm happy with how the drums are sounding after being edited then I'll move onto the guitars.
For guitar recording I will be performing 4 separate rhythm tracks to try and create a really big and full sounding guitar section, see video below for more details.
This will be difficult to get right as there are multiple tracks to get in time with each other but I think the reward of producing a bigger and better guitar sound is worth the time it will take me to record them. Also if I later find that the 4 tracks are not working I can always just use 2 of them, but that would be disappointing so I'll try to avoid that scenario. The guitars will be recorded with a DI into a computer with amp sims so I have a Metal guitar tone to work off, after that I will reamp these clean guitar tracks once I am happy with the timing and performance of them. Doing it this way means I can spend more time tracking the guitars and getting them right without having to go into the studio and work on getting a great tone at the same time. After that I'll record the Bass and work on getting it in time with the drums and guitars. This will also be recorded with a DI to capture a clean Bass sound that I can process later.
When these rhythm elements are all finished the last thing to record will be the vocals. I have performed Death Metal style vocals before but I have never done any recordings of them so I do have a lot of trepidation about just how good I can actually make them. All of the other elements in the song I am relatively confident about getting a somewhat decent performance with but I have no idea what my vocals will actually sound like through a microphone. I plan to make sure I produce something of a reasonable quality is to make sure I get the rhythm section recorded nice and early in the production phase to leave me enough time to work on getting the vocals as workable as possible.
After that it will be down to mixing and mastering which will be made a lot easier if I can get high quality recordings from each of the different aspects mentioned above meaning I don't have to do drastic processing to make them sound good and usable. If I can get everything right at the source it will allow me to me more creative with the mix having to not worry about instruments being out of time or sounding terrible.
All up I am very excited to see what I can produce both in musical performance and audio engineering. This project will be a big test of my abilities but if I can pull it off it will greatly boost my confidence in recording and performing. I'll be doing a few more blogs updating my progress throughout the project that's if I don't breakdown in the process.