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Man with a Clan

Posted: Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:26 pm
by Rainmak3r
Hi all,

after so many classical/soundtrack oriented pieces, I felt the need for something heavier, so I revived yet another effort I had put on hold for some time, and finished it this weekend:

https://soundcloud.com/lminiero/man-with-a-clan

It's a power metal song (even though I *had* to put some orchestral stuff in there anyway, it's stronger than me I'm afraid :mrgreen: ), heavily inspired by one of my favourite bands, Grave Digger. Their most famous album (and indeed one of their best) is called "Tunes of War", a concept on the Scottish fight for independence across the centuries, so I thought of framing my track within the same context. The silly pun in the title is indeed a play around that (man with a plan/clan). While the obvious influence are Grave Digger, the track ended up borrowing from many other bands I love as well: I can definitely hear a bit of Malmsteen and Iron Maiden, for instance, plus some Deep Purple too (the organ solo) and even Rhapsody (the orchestral+metal bits).

The process was similar to other more rock-oriented efforts I shared in the past, so I won't bore you with the details (unless you're curious about something, of course). One of the main changes is that I spent much more time on compressing the tracks, and I think it paid up, since it feels more "consistent" overall. Besides, as I did with Call of the 80s a few weeks ago, I used my POD X3 Live for all guitars, rather than Guitarix/Rakarrack: I used all four guitars I have at home to try and get different sounds for different parts (e.g., for the airy arpeggio it made more sense to use the Telecaster than the others), especially in the solos which actually use the same exact POD preset and yet I wanted a different sound (as if you actually have two guitar players taking turns). I struggled with the solos even more, this time, as the track was a bit too fast for me: I ended up recording each solo in chunks and stiching them up, as it would have been impossible to get a good take otherwise (and if Van Halen could do it, at least listening to what David Lee Roth recently said in an interview, I won't feel guilty about it :lol: )

Looking forward to your feedback, I hope you'll enjoy this!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:00 am
by crownbird
Wow, crazy! The solo's amazing, reminds me a lot of oldschool power metal, which makes sense from the bands you listed as inspiration. The organ solo's really unique too. Maybe vary up the drum beats as a suggestion, the fills however do sound nice. Nice guitar tone too, it's mixed very well.

I also thought the intro and outro were quite refreshing to hear. I especially like how you threw part of it into the solo for a few notes; I've always liked when artists do that (especially across whole albums or discographies), I'm not sure why it's not done more often actually.

Great stuff, I think this is probably my favorite metal track of yours as of yet.

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:43 am
by Basslint
Really nice! Your metal soloing here is spot on, you made a huge leap from "I'll be back for you" in terms of performance (I hope you will re-record that one, that was also a great track)!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:14 am
by Rainmak3r
crownbird wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:00 am Wow, crazy! The solo's amazing, reminds me a lot of oldschool power metal, which makes sense from the bands you listed as inspiration. The organ solo's really unique too. Maybe vary up the drum beats as a suggestion, the fills however do sound nice. Nice guitar tone too, it's mixed very well.
Thanks a lot, I'm really happy you liked how it came out! On solos, let's just hope I never will have to play them live... :lol:
You're 100% right on drums, and I'm afraid that's my laziness' fault... I had most of the patterns done last year already, when I started sketching this, and I basically reused them exactly as they were, by just adding new ones and fixing a couple of things. Maybe I should play with the DrumGizmo velocity humanization more, to see if it can help next time.
crownbird wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:00 am I also thought the intro and outro were quite refreshing to hear. I especially like how you threw part of it into the solo for a few notes; I've always liked when artists do that (especially across whole albums or discographies), I'm not sure why it's not done more often actually.
I like that a lot too, so while I was working on the solos I thought "why not recall the theme here?": I'm glad you liked it! In general, apart from being a cool trick, I think it also helps people memorize themes more easily too, since they're mentioned more times and in different contexts.
crownbird wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:00 am Great stuff, I think this is probably my favorite metal track of yours as of yet.
Thanks, this means a lot coming from a fellow guitar player and metal lover!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:20 am
by Rainmak3r
Basslint wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:43 am Really nice! Your metal soloing here is spot on, you made a huge leap from "I'll be back for you" in terms of performance (I hope you will re-record that one, that was also a great track)!
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I actually wondered what you'd think of the last minute, since it sounded way more Rhapsody than Grave Digger :lol:

You know, it's weird and maybe it's because it was the very first track I wrote, but when I listen back to "I'll be back for you" I actually sometimes feel that sounded better than some other rock things I did later: the heavy guitars sound really heavy, and I liked the scratchy guitars in the refrain; the bass was fat, and even drums sounded louder. But yes, I'll have to re-record it sooner or later as the mix in general wasn't great, and the solo definitely used the wrong effect: I do like that solo a lot, and I think I played it fine (not sure if I'd be able to play it the same again :mrgreen: ), but the "scratchy" effect made it sound worse than I wanted, especially in the faster legato run at the end which is an unintelligible mess..

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:53 am
by oscillator
That is a great song! I absolutely love the outro with the many voices joining! :)

The solo is awesome, and I like how it connects to the wonderful organ solo.

Great work!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:05 am
by Rainmak3r
oscillator wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:53 am That is a great song! I absolutely love the outro with the many voices joining! :)
Thanks! I like how "martial" and epic it sounds at the end :mrgreen: Having guitars play the same tune as the bagpipes was a late idea, but I think they sound really cool.
oscillator wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:53 am The solo is awesome, and I like how it connects to the wonderful organ solo.

Great work!
Thanks for the kind words! In my original plan, I had to accompany the organ solo with the guitar as well, but I gave up the idea pretty quickly... way too fast for me! I'm not sure I picked the best sound for the organ (I wanted something more distorted, like what Jon Lord sounded like), but overall I feel it's believable enough.

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:15 pm
by pdechery
This is an awesome track.

I'm not very much into this specific type of metal, but when I hear song with this quality I forgot about subgenres.

The solos as very good, if you did all that yourself you might be a hell of a shredder. There's even a keyboard solo (this one reminded me of Deep Purple best moments)

Mix-wise it sounds a little rough, but there's a "demo" in the title. So, nevermind. It would be nice, however, to hear this song with a more professional mix, like the ones from the bands that inspire you. I know these albums can have very professional mixes.

Great work!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:17 pm
by Rainmak3r
pdechery wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:15 pm This is an awesome track.

I'm not very much into this specific type of metal, but when I hear song with this quality I forgot about subgenres.

The solos as very good, if you did all that yourself you might be a hell of a shredder. There's even a keyboard solo (this one reminded me of Deep Purple best moments)
Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you liked it! The solos are a bit of smoke and mirrors: I did play and record them all myself, but I didn't record them all in one take, since I always made mistakes when trying to, or I would just mess up moving from one part to the other. So it's mostly the different parts played individually, and then stitched together. I did the same for most of the solos I recorded in the past. I'd like to say I'll improve my skills one day, but I'm getting too old for that to be a realistic promise :lol: The keyboard solo was indeed an attempt to evoke Jon Lord's style!
pdechery wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:15 pm Mix-wise it sounds a little rough, but there's a "demo" in the title. So, nevermind. It would be nice, however, to hear this song with a more professional mix, like the ones from the bands that inspire you. I know these albums can have very professional mixes.

Great work!
Gasp, and here I thought this was one of the pieces I had mixed the best... the "demo" in the title is just a matter of habit, actually: I did it for my first track, assuming I'd re-record this professionally one day, and so it stuck for all the others, but the truth is that will arguably never happen, and I doubt my mixing skills will ever improve enough to make them sound better than they do now :mrgreen:

Thanks for listening and for the feedback!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:27 pm
by jonetsu
It's well done. I'm not familiar with the genre, so I can't say much. Although the organ part might not be typical for such a piece :) One thing I noticed is that the snare drum seems to be out of the global picture, so to say. It seems to be coming from elsewhere that the rest of the 'musicians', more so at the beginning. At 4:27 where the snare sound changes when the 'bagpipes' are coming in, it blends more smoothly. Maybe the first snare sound is too clean.

Speaking of bagpipes, there is/was (was when I was living in Germany), a medieval metal band using bagpipes. This continues whit the previous discussion about traditional influences. You might not know about them. In Extremo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8j-I4qaM2o

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:42 pm
by Rainmak3r
jonetsu wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:27 pm It's well done. I'm not familiar with the genre, so I can't say much. Although the organ part might not be typical for such a piece :) One thing I noticed is that the snare drum seems to be out of the global picture, so to say. It seems to be coming from elsewhere that the rest of the 'musicians', more so at the beginning. At 4:27 where the snare sound changes when the 'bagpipes' are coming in, it blends more smoothly. Maybe the first snare sound is too clean.
Thanks for listening! Yeah, the organ may be a bit out of place, but the track in general became a bit of a "pastiche" of different genres anyway, so I just went with it :mrgreen:

The reason why in intro and outro the snare sounds more blended it is because that's actually a different soundfont there: for those snares/rolls I used the percussion from Virtual Playing Orchestra, using two different snares/rolls sounds for left and right to give the idea of a larger drum band marching. For the rock part, the snare drum is indeed one of the things I can rarely get right. In part it's because that's how it sounds in the Muldjord kit, so it may be time to look for a different drumkit, which I'm hesitant to do as I'm used to working with it (and I like it a lot in general). But there's also the fact that, in mixing, I didn't use different compressors for the different parts (e.g., kicks, snares, toms, etc.) but just a single "general" one (still experimenting with this), which probably benefited some components and harmed the snare instead. The page for the Muldjord kit also mentions some phasing issues between bottom and top snare, which I think I'm handling in Ardour but may not be getting 100% right anyway.
jonetsu wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:27 pm Speaking of bagpipes, there is/was (was when I was living in Germany), a medieval metal band using bagpipes. This continues whit the previous discussion about traditional influences. You might not know about them. In Extremo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8j-I4qaM2o
I didn't know them, quite cool! Seems like a cool mix of folk and metal (different from what is commonly called "folk metal", which I'm usually not a huge fan of), I'll have to listen to more. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:56 pm
by pdechery
Rainmak3r wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:17 pm ... and I doubt my mixing skills will ever improve enough to make them sound better than they do now :mrgreen:
Hi @Rainmak3r

You're a skilled musician, that's already a great thing. As for the mix, maybe experimenting with a little 'space' effects, like reverb, would improve. It's just a matter of taking time with it and experimenting, IMO.

But anyway, this recording totally speaks the message and has great energy.

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:03 pm
by Rainmak3r
pdechery wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:56 pm
Rainmak3r wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:17 pm ... and I doubt my mixing skills will ever improve enough to make them sound better than they do now :mrgreen:
Hi @Rainmak3r

You're a skilled musician, that's already a great thing. As for the mix, maybe experimenting with a little 'space' effects, like reverb, would improve. It's just a matter of taking time with it and experimenting, IMO.
I did use reverb, here, actually, using DragonFly Reverb: there's two different reverbs, a large hall one for intro and outro, and a room reverb for the song itself. I think I used a medium room setting for the latter, which might have been not enough to be noticeable though. I'll try to use a larger one in the future, thanks for the feedback!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:05 pm
by spamatica
Ah!
Never listened to Grave Digger but I've listened to plenty of other 80s metal in my days and this fits very nicely to that sound ideal (and I don't mean that in a bad way).
I think there were a few things with the mixing that could have been improved, tune the levels of the guitars between parts etc. And of course, there are no vocals(!) This really begs for vocals! :D
And the solos were great. I'm not much for solos myself (if I add one it's usually short) but these were very listenable! Especially the guitar solo was perfect, with great tone.

Thanks for sharing!

Re: Man with a Clan

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:28 pm
by Rainmak3r
spamatica wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:05 pm Ah!
Never listened to Grave Digger but I've listened to plenty of other 80s metal in my days and this fits very nicely to that sound ideal (and I don't mean that in a bad way).
Thanks for listening, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! As a quick reference to Grave Digger, this is the first track from "Tunes of War", which ships some cool bagpipes too :mrgreen: (even though my favourite track from that album was Braveheart).
spamatica wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:05 pm I think there were a few things with the mixing that could have been improved, tune the levels of the guitars between parts etc. And of course, there are no vocals(!) This really begs for vocals! :D
I do have some vocal lines in mind, especially for the refrain (which would basically "sing" the same tune the guitar riff does), so I'd like to add vocals sooner or later. The problem is that you most definitely don't want to hear ME sing them :lol:
spamatica wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:05 pm And the solos were great. I'm not much for solos myself (if I add one it's usually short) but these were very listenable! Especially the guitar solo was perfect, with great tone.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, I really appreciate this! Just to share some details on the guitar tone, I used a POD X3Live preset I downloaded called "Marching Out", named after Malmsteen's album, for rhythm guitars and main riff (which I used for "Call of the 80s" too), while for solos I used another preset that tries to mimic Gary Moore's tone instead. While not strictly speaking a metal tone, I think it sounds great for solos 8)