Thrash/death scandinavian style metal mix - opinions much appreciated


Doeds Groed & Floede
Aug 11, 2006
I've been following what's been going on here on this amazing forum for quite a while now and I think it's time for me to share a mix with you. It's the first track ever to be released by our band (GhostCell) and we've produced everything ourselves, moreover it's my first mix ever to be heard by anyone other than me. Also my first shot at vocals ever.

I've used a lot of the things I've learned on this forum in the mix and recording stage and you people have been immensely helpful with all your knowledge.

The style is scandinavian metal somewhere in the softer end of the thrash/death genre. All mixed ITB (using Cubase SL3), jackson guits, ESP bass, DFHS, vox sm58.

(Link removed. Look below for final version)

I'm really hoping on some feedback on the mix 'cause the ever so hideous "mixing-my-own-stuff-for-ages"-syndrome has hit me and I need fresh ears on this. And ultimately me and the rest of the guys need to know: Is this sound good enough for a demo?

Hope you can help us out on these matters.

EDIT: In post #13 I've put up a link to a new version with a thoroughly edited tom sound - I'll put the link here as well: (Link removed. Look below for final version)

Lemme know if it's better. Cheers!

UPDATE: The final version (posted in post #15) of the track can be heard HERE
I *REALLY* dig the music, but your synths need better EQing/placement to come to life. The arpeggio synth (that is playing a lot, for example at 0:50) is not cutting through the mix at all.

Metal people often make the mistake of burying synths in the mix too much, even though they have an independent function in the song.

Snare sounds weird in the double bass parts and the toms have no bottom and a very high clicky attack that is a bit too much, IMO.

But: I'd rather listen to your band all day than to something like Job For A Cowboy with the fabulous Andy production - simply cause I don't like their songs ... and yours is cool.
I agree with the toms, they sound all clicky and weird, the rest of the drums sound good, I don't know how much of the Low-Fi sound is coming from mp3 compression, hard to tell. The music kicks some serious fucking ass though man. I'm loving it :) What did you use for the guitar btw?
Thanks for the feedback guys!

KeithRT99: Well I actually did high cut the OHs and then again the drum bus brutally around 15k because they had something weird going on in the higher frequencies that just seemed to do nothing good for the sound. Maybe I should shelf it a bit instead of that hicut.

PostMortem1666: Thx man really glad you like the music and sound - when you worked on something for so long it's great that someone actually likes it.

Smy1: I could really use some help on those synth issues - this is the first time I've used synths ever. What would you do to those synths - what EQ changed do you think would do it - they are lowcut around 150Hz right now and theres a slight doubledelay on 'em as well. I can hear what you are saying, they are a bit muffled right now.

About those toms... They just won't sit right in the mix and they sound ehhh... not so good so I need to work on them some more. Are there any obvious things you think would make them sound better?

Cobhc: Thx!! Yeah those toms... Need help on those as mentioned. We've worked with micing Peavey Ultra and a Marshall JCM 2000 up with sm57 both single miced and fredman style. Our cabs suck - no V30s in them. After three years of trying to get the right guitarsound (in dark barns and basements without seeing the light of day) we all got suicidal and bought a PODxt which is what you hear on this track. Big bottom amp with a TS9 sim in front. When theres bucks enough for some v30s and a 5150 we'll try micing that up so we can get that fat sound. Guitars are jackson ps1 with EMG85 bridge. Tuning is Bb.

Downtime: thx a lot man - see above.
Diblan: Cool good to hear - yeah drums are a matter of personal taste. I like them as well apart from the toms and some of the cymbals. Bassdrums are DFHS the 22" Premier kick blended 50% with andys kick triggered through drumagog. The snare is the 14" pearl 2 as far as I recall - theres a steinberg spectralizer on the drumbus for that extra snap.

Thanks again guys - just fire away - and if anyone has specific advice on the tom and synth issues mentioned I'd be extremely grateful.
Nice! I like it. I think this works, the problem for me is that you can recognize the DFH snare instantaniously, which I am kinda sick of. The guitars sound brutal man, don't need to mic an amp. I wouldn't have guessed it was a pod. I like the depth in the mix, the sounds themselves might not be the best but you have separated them well, except for the keyboard but I don't mind that at all ;) In fact I think that the keyboard is creating the depth so whatever you do with it, make sure it's way back there so you don't lose that depth.
Ok, been using the past two days on tom sound. Here's a new version of the song with new toms. There's been some heavy processing on them - EQ, comp, gate and verb so I'm looking forward to hearing if they're better now:

Here goes:

Let me hear if its better. Thanks for the feedback!

It is better, although now the toms disappear a bit. :)

Regarding the synths:

Try making them really tiny frequency-wise, hipass at 300hz or higher. Also, look at your guitar EQ, what frequencies did you cut there? Try placing the synths there? Simply cut everything EXCEPT for the frequencies that you cut on guitars. And take off all delays reverbs. Only put them back on when you have the synth clear in the mix. I agree with what Frankzappa says about mix separation.

Those guitars sound crushing. Your POD tone is very good and I would have never guessed that it is a POD!

Back to the issues, namely synths and toms:

Synths: synths don't need to be big in an arrangement like that. They just need to be heard. The "bigness" will come from bass and kickdrum and in your case the guitars. So do this: mute everything except guitars, bass and synths and set an EQ to a Q of 1 to 2 on the synth channels. Then boost by 8-10db and sweep it, while the guitars and bass are playing. At some point you will find a point where the synths stick out. Take off the boost. Cut EVERYTHING except this frequency on this channel and raise the volume on the synths. Bring all instruments back and see if it helped.

Another thing: automate the synths. Whenever they come in, make them a bit too loud for 2-5 seconds, then slide their volume back to an "in the mix" volume. That way you grab the listeners attention, but the synths won't be too loud during the whole mix.

Toms: raise their volume in the fills a bit. They are hard to distinguish from the kicks. But they sound much better than in the first mp3!
@ Smy1: Thanks for the good advice on synths and toms - I've raised the toms now - and I'll definately use your synth tricks on the next productions - right now I'll leave the synths as they are on this track (a bit muffled and not-so-up-front).

To hear the final result, click HERE
Impressive stuff Kromann... what are the synths?

Thx - btw that TGM stuff kicks some serious ass! Synths in the chorus are two instances of Rob Papens Albino 2 (amazing softsynth especially for ambient stuff) - one is mixed with a very distant guitar fill playing the same notes. The appegio synth in the bridge is the Cubase SL3 native A1 synth with some doubledelay and lowcut around 300Hz - it's ok for that kind of thing.
Thx - btw that TGM stuff kicks some serious ass! Synths in the chorus are two instances of Rob Papens Albino 2 (amazing softsynth especially for ambient stuff) - one is mixed with a very distant guitar fill playing the same notes. The appegio synth in the bridge is the Cubase SL3 native A1 synth with some doubledelay and lowcut around 300Hz - it's ok for that kind of thing.

Certainly is... and cheers!

I use albino 2 myself as well, love that stuff... also, im still suprised how good the built in synths in nuendo/cubase are.