11 hours ago
BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - STEINER IN ELLIPSES: Every story needs conflict, and here we introduce a new element in the narrative, one that possesses extremely powerful energy. Benevolent? Malevolent? Both? Yet to be determined. But it’s going to have an impact either way. We’ve all encountered something like that, right?
To represent this sonically, I knew I wanted it to be (ahem) fast and furious. I also always wanted to wrote a true thrash/extreme metal tune. And I knew this was the conclusion of the first of four parts of the album, so it needed a grandeur in its climax. For me, this all pointed towards Devin Townsend/Dethklok world, and that’s when I realized I needed Gene Hoglan slaying everywhere in order to make this track’s brutal sprint to the end of Part 1 come to life.
Making the demo was a blast, except for the guitar solo. There was no way I could approximate the metal shredding it needed, and I believe in Complete Demos. So I called for…the soulful, funky stylings of Rick Musallam?! Somehow I just thought it would be fun to give him a whack at it. Sure enough, he came in and shredded it with a slightly bluesy edge (a bit of Hammett/Mustaine, perhaps), and the demo solo ended up being the album’s most unlikely keeper.
I also wanted the riffing to feel more “dangerous” and slightly loose as opposed to “modern/tight”. More 1986 thrash than 2018 djent. So I called…Mike Keneally? Yes! The riffs were actually quite difficult *mentally*, and the odd-time intro/outro was a bitch and a half, as was the ascending climb riff leading up to the ending (my nod to Strapping Young Lad’s “Shitstorm”). MK ate those tough runs for breakfast, and gave the track a whole different feel than “Awesome Metal Guitarist X” would have been able to provide.
Overall, even though “Steiner In Ellipses” was only 2:23 in duration, it was one of the hardest pieces of the album to bring into a finality that really worked. There are 17 mixes of the demo and 22 mixes of the final studio version. (No joke!) Mixing extreme metal has “rules” in order to avoid low frequency muddle problems generated by super fast kick drums and low-tuned guitars in unison with bass. “…And Justice For All” aside, there *are* real benefits to reducing low end and increasing compression in metal mixes. And yet, this song had to fit on an album where the low end was, in general, fat AF. Balancing the needs of the song with the needs of the album was something that Forrester Savell and I were working on right up until the very, very end. It was the second to last mix to come home - only “World Class” took longer.
Finally, the song - and Part 1 - ends with a nod to the coming Storm. A few people caught that. Did you? ... See MoreSee Less
1 day ago
JANET FEDER SPEAKS: I’ve said plenty about her - now it’s time to hear from her in her own words. Let’s Rock catches up to guitarist/composer Janet Feder (author of “Angles & Exits”) in her first interview since the release of “Scenes From The Flood”. How did a classically trained (and degree'd) acoustic guitarist end up using roach clips, split rings and plastic “superballs” to create unique sounds on a baritone? Janet explains it all in this 30-minute interview. ... See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
TWO BRAZILIAN GIRLS TALK PROG: I thought that might get your attention. I know I’ve posted a lot of interviews lately but this one is absolutely unique, thanks to the clever editing and the 65-SONG PROG PLAYLIST (in 16 minutes?!) curated by Lorena Coelho and Nina Goulart of Desordem Progressiva. Come for the lo-fi hipster fashion, stay for the Deep Prog Questions. And make sure to watch to the end to see how to debase yourself with a writing utensil after playing “Marry Fuck Kill” with Emerson Lake & Palmer. ... See MoreSee Less
4 days ago
BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - "A QUICKENING": As I set out to build "Scenes From The Flood", I really studied Pink Floyd's "The Wall" from a sequential standpoint, and how it flowed and why I thought it worked. Some of what kept it interesting for me were the (pardon the pun) numerous sudden scene changes. From the helicopter end of "Another Brick In The Wall Part One" to the thudding opening chord of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"; the buzzing end fall of "Empty Spaces" into the funk groove of "Young Lust"; that sort of thing.
This is what inspired the thinking behind the two-minute "story time jump" that comprised SFTF's fourth track, "A Quickening". A couple of expositional elements have been established - an optimistic start, a query on reality - and now events happen quickly. More important than what those events are is the idea that they *can* happen quickly, more so than ever (insert value judgment on that here), thanks to...well, we're going to go meta here, but what platform are you reading this on?
Musically, I'd never before tried to do anything remotely "drum and bass"-y, so this was a plunge. The Korg Kronos' onboard drum loops and patterns provided a near limitless palette of chop-sy bit-sy grooves, and I just went for it. I looked for a better bass synth sound than the SWR Mo' Bass but I just couldn't find one, so I went with that...which gave it a bit of a Mike Keneally "Physics" vibe. It's an homage, right? After that, I just piled on the layers, and always knew that the purpose of this song was to jangle the nerves, move the story forward, and get to the blistering climactic song of Part One, "Steiner In Ellipses". The crazed double-time ending is another homage (non MK) - anyone able to ID it?
Speaking of Keneally, I ended up doing everything on this track except these two really high guitar arpeggios which my clubby bass fingers just could not make sound good. So Keneally was kind enough to cut those for me. As always, thank you MK! ... See MoreSee Less
BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD: Here's a deep dive into the climactic song of Part 1, the extreme/thrash metal fireball that is "Steiner In Ellipses", featuring @GeneHoglan, @MikeKeneally & Rick Musallam. 22 mixes until it was final. 22! Read (top post): https://t.co/W0IOfDV3q6
Thank you so much to DPRP for this extensive review of "Scenes From The Flood". Gotta hand it to the Dutch progressive rock community - they have been awesome and everywhere on this and all progressive releases. It's amazing.
Time to relax and enjoy some sunday prog with reviews on Bryan Beller, Paul D'Adamo, Elusion, Introitus, Mangeur de Rêves and This Winter Machine. Cheers ☕!
@bryanbeller @Musicman820 @WinterMachine01
JANET FEDER SPEAKS: I’ve said plenty about her - now it’s time to hear from her in her own words. Let’s Rock catches up to guitarist/composer @JanetFeder (author of “Angles & Exits”) in her first interview since the release of “Scenes From The Flood”. https://t.co/VpY1qqRqlt