In the Studio: Posthumanism

Picking up the pace big time

Studio Report by Juha Untinen, written 16 Apr 2009

The composing of songs for the next Vortech record started in late June 2008, when three songs were completed in quick succession with working titles (in order of composition): Transcendence, Xenomorphosis and Posthumanism. During the next months, a total of 15 songs were done. The final narrowing down resulted in 11 songs being chosen for the album, and the post-preproduction (?!) could start in early December 2008. During post-preproduction all the songs will be checked for final adjustments and the final drum programming will be done.

Once all things have been finished, it is time to start recording the final guitars and bass for the album. I should have my splitter box by then, which allows me to record both a clean DI signal and a dirty signal at the same time, allowing for more choices during mixing. After they have been recorded, it's time for the lyrics to be finished.

In early January 2009, all the songs were finalized and the studio sessions began. Each song receives a barrage of 2 rhythm guitar tracks, 2 lead guitar tracks and additional rhythm guitars at tactical positions. The bass will handle the lowest of the low frequencies. The album itself will consist of 11 songs, chosen from a number of new tracks. This time there will be no standalone ambient tracks, but the songs themselves will feature the usual touch of ambience.

All guitar and bass tracks were finished on 18 January 2009, and then it was time to start writing the lyrics for the album, and going through all the videos and pictures from the recording session to compile a nice coherent clip.

A studio gear video was released on 7 February 2009 and so far 3,5 songs have finished lyrics with the progress being slow but steady with no rush. In late February, most of the songs had lyrics and it was time to start recording them with a few still missing lyrics, but they will be done in time. The last of the lyrics were completed in early March and the final vocal recording session is set to start in mid-March.

Gear used

For the demo guitars, it's been a choice between either directly miced up Engl Powerball + Mesa Boogie Rectifier 4x12" STD with an SM57, or a preamp signal from the Powerball with various impulses using KeFIR. All guitars were recorded with Schecter 007 Blackjack.

For the album guitars, it will be the preamp signal from Engl Powerball into various impulses which are yet to be chosen. Most likely a combination of Mesa 4x12" and Marshall 1960 impulses. The guitar signal will be split during tracking for monitoring/preamp signal recording and for a clean DI (Redeye)(Fireface 400) signal for other uses.

In the end, I finally went with Poulin's excellent Soldano SoloC VST plugin for the rhythm guitars, along with the Marshall 1960 impulses (G12T-75).

For the demo vocal tracks, I have been using the T.Bone SC450 mic into the Fireface 400. For the album itself, it will most likely be the AKG C3000B that was used on the previous album, but we might test out other mics too and see if there's a new type of sound to be had.

For the album, the vocals were done with a Shure SM57 into an RME Fireface 400. Two songs were done with a T.Bone CD 55.

All the demo bass guitars were recorded directly into the Fireface 400 DI, and the sound was a combination of bass amp emulation (Ampeg SVX) and a clean DI signal. The bass guitar itself was Ibanez BTB555-MP.

For the album, the intention is to record a clean DI (Redeye)(Fireface 400) signal and a dirty signal from Tech 21 Sansamp. The bass sound will also be further processed with most likely the sweet sounding Ampeg SVX for some roughness and a clean DI signal for bottom.

In the demo songs, it was a pretty even split between Addictive Drums and Superior Drummer 2.0, but in the final album I'm quite sure it will be Addictive Drums once again, since SD2.0 doesn't quite cut it sound-wise. Especially the snare in Addictive Drums (Pearl Signature Ferrone) sounds very good for fast stuff.

The album will use Superior Drummer 2.0 after all, since it was easier to convert the pre-composed MIDI tracks from AD to SD 2.0 format, and I also managed to get a very similar snare sound from it. Overall the drum sound is quite clear and a little more space-y than the very dry drum sound of Deep Beneath.