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Advice needed (early to mid 80's metal sound)

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by \m/Antisocial\m/, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. guitarguru777

    guitarguru777 Member

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    Actually posting your mixes is a great starting point. We could tell you what you are doing wrong by hearing it.

    Below is an article I put together on some recording basics. A TON of this info comes from threads and advice I received her on this forum:

    ===============================================

    Getting a good tone
    The 1st priority when recording your tunes is getting a good tone either using DRP's or by micing a cab or amp. The better the tone going into the software the less work you will have to do later on when mixing. I go by the saying SHIT IN SHIT OUT, No matter what you do to a crappy guitar tone after recording it will still be crap! Even the cheapest amps can get a good sound. Bands like Carcass recorded using a Marshall 1x12 combo for some guitar tracks along with 4x12 cabs and a Peavey 5150. SRV used Dumble, Marshall and Fender combos. Hell on the album Family Style, SRV recorded a solo on a PIG NOSE with a 5" speaker! So just cause an amp is small doesn't mean it cant get a good tone. Proper mic placement can make the smallest amp sound huge if done properly. More on proper mic placement later.

    Guitars are a big part of your tone aswell (duh!!). The pickups, electronics, picks, and strings all attribute to our tone as well as your technique. The best advice I can give is find something that works for you! Dont try to copy someone elses tone. Its nearly impossible, you can get close but not exact. 90% of a guitar players tone comes from his hands and technique, and no one can ever replicate that perfectly.

    One thing for starters that most guitarists fail to realize is there is usually more than 1 guitar track recorded on any given song. For rhythm guitars in metal and rock theirs usually a minimum of 2. One panned right and one panned left (see more info on panning below). By doing this it leaves the stereo spectrum open in the center for things like vocals, bass guitar, kick drum, and snare drum. Remember to pan your guitars around in the mix till you find a good spot for them to sit. This is probably the most invaluable piece of experience I ever learned. PANNING IS KING!

    Use as little effects and EQ as possible. Try and record your guitars using no effects other then distortion or a WhaWha pedal. Over EQing something will kill you mix faster than an anything. Get as much tone as you can out of the AMP before recording your tracks. If you find yourself boostin or cutting frequencies more than 2 or 3db then you know the sound going in wasnt good at all. This means you should go back and re-record all of your parts with a better tone. Also keep in mind that moving the mic around the speaker will provide different frequency enhancements. On a Celestion v30 speaker moving the mic 2 or 3 cm up, down, left, or right can yeild completely amazing changes in tone. Experiment and move the mic around to try and find the Sweet spot. Same goes for different speakers. 4 v30s of the same design will all sound slightly different.

    What makes a good guitar tone?
    This subject is purely subjective! Its all about your preferences, and what YOU and your ears find pleasing. Things you want to strive for when getting a good tone are:

    1. Clarity - make sure the sound doesn't have to much bass or to much treble. Do any of the frequencies hurt your ears? Do any of the frequencies compete with any other instruments in the mix?

    2. Cleanliness - This is probably the single most important aspect. Good technique = Good tone. Is the playing tight? Are there any mistakes? String noise? Trem spring vibration? All of those aspects affect the over all guitar tone.

    These are things you should think about when choosing a guitar tone.

    What settings should I use on my amp?
    This one is another subjective topic. What sounds good to you? My biggest advice for this in particular is dial in a tone on the amp you like. Then test the tone with your mix and see how it sits. I tend to always get guitar tones LAST when doing a mix. Its easier to find a guitar tone that fits your mix then try and EQ everything else around your guitars.

    Here is something to try. Dial in what you think is the perfect guitar tone for your amp. Stick a microphone in front of it. Get a mag light, and point the microphone directly at the center of the cone, straight on, about an inch back from the amp. Record it then go listen back.

    Now lets take the same test and lets move the microphone an inch to the left. Record your part again. OMG ITS DIFFERENT!!

    Lesson number 2 my friend! Microphone Placement! (see below)

    Lets do it one more time. this time put the microphone back in the center and just tilt it at a 45 degree angle to the front of the speaker.

    OH MY GOD IT CHANGED AGAIN!!!

    Lesson #2 again.

    Proper Microphone Placement:
    Yet another subjective concept when it comes to recording. The above examples should have shown you that this is just as an important part of your guitar tone as your amp and guitar.

    The technique most often used when recording guitars is referred to as CLOSE MICING. The term comes from the proximity to the amplifier of the microphone to the speaker. This technique produces a very present sound that is perfect for Rock / Metal type of playing.

    Technique 1: ON THE CONE
    This technique refers to the placement of the microphone to the center "cone" of the speaker. if you look at a speaker there is a place in the center of the speaker where there is usually a beveled disk looking thing. This is the speaker cone.This is the place where you can pick up the best frequencies of your tone, but if you are not careful there could be some pretty horrid ones too.

    Technique 2: Off The Cone
    This technique refers to the placement of the microphone away from the center of the speaker. This technique can be any place on the speaker not right on the center with the microphone at a 90 degree angle to the front of the speaker.

    By placing the microphone in this spot it is possible to pick up additional bass frequencies as this is where the speaker does most of its movement. The closer you get to the center of the speaker the tighter the sound will be with more definition. The further you move out the less definition there will be. This may be the sound you like, it may not be. Like I said previously this is purely subjective. Find a good place between the cone and the edge of the speaker that sounds best to YOU, and sounds best for your mix!

    Technique 3: Angled (off axis)
    This technique is similar to technique 2 but it is at an angle to the front of the speaker. This technique give a more "mid scooped" sound that may be useful in some circumstances. This technique I find also reduces some of the high end buzzy frequencies that can be annoying with some speakers.

    Experiment with these techniques till you find what you prefer! Always check every speaker as they all sound different!

    Putting it all together:
    Ok so now you have an idea of how to get a good tone. Here are some additonal pointers that you should keep in mind when recording.

    1. Don't try and replicate what you hear on a CD in a "mix" - Keep in mind that what you are hearing from your speakers is a MIXED guitar sound. All of the other instruments in the mix are helping to drive that guitar tone into what you are hearing. Especially the Bass Guitar! in addition to that there are normally anywhere from 2 to 4 guitar tracks on any given song in the rock / metal genre, sometimes even more! you cant replicate this sound from a single amp and guitar so don't try! once your guitars are multi-tracked the sound will fill itself out. There is also the "mastering" process which tweaks guitar tone.

    2. Back off on the gain - Most guys into rock and metal usually crank the gain. This is ok in a live setting when the amp doesn't have a mic in front of it, but not when recording. Too much gain just adds mud to the mix. It kills the definition of the guitars and cuts down on its dynamic response. If you find yourself reaching for the gain knob for more distortion DONT DO IT. Once you multi track your guitars the amount of gain you want will be there. A good area to start is cutting your gain about 25% of what you normally use live. Start there and once you multi track listen to the clarity and definition. The guitars will be clear and defined yet the gain will still be there.

    3. The Performance Is Everything! - Keep your tracks as free from noise as possible. Try to lift your fingers cleanly to reduce unwanted string scraping or open string ringing. When multi-tracking guitars make sure all the tracks are in perfect sync timing wise, unless of course thats the "technique" you are going for. But in rock and metal tighter rhythm guitar tracks mean a better over all guitar tone. Alot of the time, I'll end up taping up strings that arent getting played, dampening springs on a tremolo system, put hairband around the headstock, everything I can do to reduce string noise.

    Getting the sound "on tape": The term on tape refers to the actual process of recording the guitar either on your 4 track, PC, or recording system. Whatever way you are recording, be it a 4 track, PC based software, or a big all in one unit the techniques above are the same for all of them.

    Multi-Tracking Guitars: The term Multi-Tracking refers to the technique of recording the same guitar part or variant there of multiple times. This is probably THE most useful technique when recording rock and metal. This technique has been used by everyone from Jimi and Eddie to Metallica and (insert new flavor of the week band here). The idea behind this is to give yourself a BIG guitar sound without having the guitars too loud in the mix. By separating out the performance into 2 parts you can leave the center channel of the mix open for the instruments that should be there.

    How many tracks should I record?
    This is another subjective decision. usually I tend to do no more then 2 per guitarist in any recording situation. I find that doing more than 2 per guitarist clouds up the mix. If both guitar players are on their game 1 per guitarist may be enough to make it sound great!

    Panning:
    This is the most important thing when it comes to mixing and recording. Panning is a technique used to make instruments louder or quieter on a given "side" of a stereo mix.

    For those of you that are not familiar with how "stereo" works here is a quick bit of info. Sterophonic sound or "stereo" is a technique by which 2 "tracks" are played simultaneously in sync one being considered the LEFT side and the other being considered the RIGHT side. This technique was founded in the 1920's Using 2 speakers and sending 1 signal out the left speaker and another signal out the right speaker we achieve stereo sound.

    Stereophonic sound was the precursor to Multi-Track recording. It is what actually makes it possible.The Multi-Track technique was founded in the 1940's and its origins are debateable, but most notable use of this technique was by Les Paul and Mary Ford in the late 1940's.

    Having 2 tracks playing simultaneously give you a "stereo" sound. One signal is panned hard left and the other is panned hard right. by turning the volume up or down in either speaker you can move an instrument or sound around in "the mix". A pan knob or adjustment changes the volume of the sound in question to be louder or quieter in either speaker. By turning a pan knob to the left you are decreasing the volume of that sound in the right speaker thus putting that sound on the "left" side of the mix. by doing the opposite it is being moved to the right side of the mix. in all honestly its much more indepth and complicated but this is a generic introduction to all of this. So a basic knowledge of the technique is all that is needed.

    So how does "panning" relate to my guitar tone?
    This is how you can turn a thin basic tone into a stereo monster / wall of guitars! By recording your rhytm guitar parts twice then panning each performance left and right it makes your guitar sound fuller.
     
  2. guitarguru777

    guitarguru777 Member

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    General Recording Information:

    EQ and Frequency Response
    This is a general guide for finding areas to EQ when mixing, remember not to OVER DO IT. Its always better to PULL frequencies then add them. Adding frequencies just ads noise!

    50hz -
    Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like bass drums, toms, and the bass. Reduce to decrease the boominess of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on loud bass lines like rock.

    100hz -
    Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments.
    Increase to add warmth to piano and horns.
    Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity.

    200hz -
    Increase to add fullness to vocals. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar
    Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments.
    Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals.

    400hz -
    Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume.
    Reduce to decrease boxy sound of lower drums like bass drums and toms.

    800hz -
    Increase for clarity and "punch" of bass.
    Reduce to remove "cheap" sound of guitars.

    1.5Khz- (probably the most problem frequency when recording guitar)
    Increase for clearer, cleaner bass.
    Reduce to remove dullness of guitars.

    3Khz -
    Increase for more attack of guitars.
    Increase for more attack on low piano parts.
    Increase for more clarity on voice.
    Increase for more attack on the snare or other drums.
    Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals.
    Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals and guitars.

    5Khz -
    Increase for vocal presence.
    Increase low frequency drum attack.
    Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars.
    Reduce to soften thin or tinny guitar

    7Khz -
    Increase to add attack to percussion instruments.
    Reduce to decrease sibilance or that annoying ssss sound on singers.

    10Khz -
    Increase to brighten vocals.
    Increase for slight brightness in acoustic guitar and piano.
    Increase for hardness on cymbals.
    Reduce also to reduce sibilance

    15Khz-
    Increase this will pretty much brighten anything, but use sparingly as this will enduce hiss into your mix.

    These are some general areas to look at when EQ'ing a mix. One thing that everyone should learn when mixing is how to use the stereo spectrum effectively. Often times instead of reaching for the volume knob if you cant hear something, try panning it left or right till you can hear it.

    Overview
    When a Q control is available, play with it to see what widths will give you the best results.
    Remember, these are just general starting points, and by all means do not overdo it!
    It is always better to cut to achieve the results you are after.

    Re-amping

    Before I get into re-amping the most important thing to remember in this process is DO NOT EVER EVER EVER EVER PLUG THE SPEAKER OUT FROM YOUR AMP TO THE LINE IN ON ANY PIECE OF MUSICIAL EQUIPMENT! YOU WILL BLOW UP YOUR AMP AND THE INTERFACE!!!!!

    Reamping is a process by which when you record your guitars you record the dry signal right out of your pickups into your DAW then when you have finished recording you go back and play that signal back though an amplifier with a mic on it.

    This technique was popularized by John Cuniberti. John came up with the technique while recrding a live album with Joe Satiani. John was not happy with the bass tone of the DI or the amp do he ran the DI guitar back through a direct box in reverse and re-recorded the bass guitars with a mic in front of an amp. More on the history of re-amping by searching Google

    Anyway .... back to reamping.

    Re-amping is done by taking a Direct Box and splitting your guitar signal to 2 sources. The signal from the direct box gets fed into your DAW via an XLR cable, the "thru" on the DI Box is then sent to your amp and cab with a mic in front of it. You can then record to 2 separate tracks. One the clean DI signal from your pickups, and the other the mic'd cab. Or you can just record the DI track to your DAW and use the amp just for monitoring. Either way the choice is yours.

    Part 2 of the re-amp process is a bit freaky (im going to get a shit ton of flack for this but my results work and I know others that do the same thing), and there are multiple debates about how it should be done. There are now devices on the market called re-amp boxes. What they do is allow you to send your Direct Recorded guitars through the re-amp box and back to your amp at the same impedance. Honestly I have gotten better results without them. I just run a cable right from my interface into a tube screamer then into the amp without a re-amp box. Like I said the process is debatable, but use whatever works for you.

    So what are the benefits?

    Well #1 is if you dont own a tube amp you can have someone that does re-amp your guitars through their tube amps! This is commonly referred to as a re-amp service. I offer this through my studio and the rates are very cheap. I have not seen anyone charging more then $50 for the service per song. So this is a really cheap option to get great tone from your fave amp at a reasonable price.

    #2 is you can get the rest of your instruments sitting in the mix perfectly then fit your guitar tone around the other instruments. This is the best use for re-amping in my opinion.

    #3 as your amps change you can re-amp all your old stuff! This on its own is a great way to test out different amps. There are no other factors involved. Its the same performance through different amps. So you can really get an idea of what amps work for you and dont.
     
  3. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    As a band we want to communicate our anger as honestly as possible. If I have to sit there and do take after take I can hear my lack of enthusiasm in my playing later.

    That kind of feels dishonest to me, does that make any sense? When I listen to modern metal it sounds like they're trying to cover up their dishonesty and lack of enthusiasm with all these fancy new production techniques like fake-loudness.

    It sounds like fake anger, fake metal and unconsciously I respond to that. It feels totally contrived. I just think these guys are just sheltered people from a nice suburb trying to market anger like it's a cool emotion to feel. Like, they're trying to impress people with their anger. It just doesn't feel real. I hate being angry it's horrible and I want everyone to know just how horrible it is, I dont want to make it sound cool or polished or 'audience friendly', that's morally wrong! I want to frighten people so they dont become like me, I dont want girls do dance around to it.

    I dont think being angry is 'cool' or anything, I dont like being such an angry person but I am and playing in a band is the only way I can release it. Sorry for going on.
     
  4. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    THANK YOU!!! You're an awesome guy, really thank you so much for taking the time to lend a hand. This place rules \m/\m/
     
  5. Force666

    Force666 Member

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    Dude, you need to grab some scissors, put on some raw blackmetal and cut yourself. :loco:
     
  6. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    That kind of pathetic self-pitying behavior has nothing to do with black metal music, see what happens when you pay too much attention to pop trends? You lose touch with reality. Maybe you should take the scissors to one of your gimmicky studio toys. Stay out of my way.
     
  7. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    Dude, you really need to chill out some. "Gimmicky studio toys"? Look, there's people here willing to help you. More help than you'll find on pretty much any other forum. But you're probably not exactly winning over friends here. It's very clear (and take no offense by this) that you have NO idea what is involved in the studio recording process. And I hate to shatter this unrealistic vision you have, but even with the bands you've described as influences or inspiration, it's VERY rare to just show up at a studio, mic up the whole band, press record, perform the song, and you're done. Sorry...it just doesn't work that way (in most cases). I don't care how good the band is. It's a LOT of work. On the musician's side, on the engineer's side, on the producer's side. A one take wonder is very rare. You will do LOTS of takes, and retakes, and even more retakes. And then punch in parts that aren't worth retracking the whole part. And then do lots of little overdubs here and there. And build layers and layers of tracks to get that thick sound. And as far as "gimmicky studio toys"...they are the staple of what we do...and have done...for many, many years. You really have no idea what was involved in recording those great albums that you love. You want to sound like Anthrax? You'd better get damn good at quad tracking your guitar parts. And that, in itself, is a lot of meticulous work. If you can't keep that enthusiasm in your playing when retaking parts...that's not the engineer's fault...that's yours. That's something you need to work on. It's just something you have to overcome when in the studio, if you want to maintain that same energy in your playing.

    Now, don't take me as being too harsh with you. I like the fact that you like this music, and you want that kind of sound and vibe. And I applaud you for wanting to do this yourself since you can't seem to get the sound you want in a studio. I told you I'd try to help you when/if I can. You know the type of music I mainly do. And there are quite a few others around here that can help you too (who are better than me). I just want you to open your eyes to the reality of what's involved. What sounds raw and energetic may sound deceptively simple. But it's really due to the work of good musicians, a good engineer, and a good producer, who can squeeze those performances and that level of energy out of the musicians.
     
  8. Supra1

    Supra1 Member

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    +1
    and
    buy a DeLorean and go back to 80s cause in our time everything suck and everything is gay.
     
  9. Habsburgs

    Habsburgs Member

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    HAHAHA what a fag!!

    \m/\m/ HAHA :lol:
     
  10. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    lol dont tell me to chill out like I'm the asshole here! That snide little weasel came along and attacked me. I retaliated, that doesn't make me the "bad guy". What are you sucking up to him because he has an "online rank" in this forum? I could give a shit who is. The miserable boo-boo should fuck off go back to his Fall Out Boy albums where he belongs.

    I wasn't old enough in the 80's to play in a band, I was a baby. I think 80's metal sounds better, that's just my opinion. It sounds human and real. Modern metal sounds weak and frail. It sounds like it's being held together by fake-loudness because the band members are too pussy to play metal like men.

    Some of you guys clearly like gay metal, that's obviously your preference and that's fine too. So go listen to it and get off my dick. I came here looking for advice not a nerdy-ass flame war
     
  11. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    lmao you know what, to hell with this nerdy ass place. Half of you are a bunch of bedroom guitarists and have probably never even played live.

    My dick is bigger than you.

    I appreciate the advice I've received and I respect some of the guys who replied but the rest of you can kiss my ass. I told you I have a temper and I get angry very easily.

    As far as I'm concerned you boo-boo's are destroying metal music with your boy-band like approach to it, it's no fucking wonder people steal music these days because modern metal sounds like shit. If people learned to respect it again they'd pay for it.

    Modern metal is a homo-erotic fashion show and nothing more. Fake anger, fake drums, fake everything. It's manufactured in the same way pop music is produced. It sucks and you're a pussy for being a fan of it.

    What a bunch of thumb sucking wimps. I'm out of here
     
  12. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    Dude, I was more than willing to help you out, but with this attitude...I'm done. I don't have time for it. When you grow up a little bit, come talk to me. You should also seek counseling for your "anger" issues as well.
     
  13. JonWormwood

    JonWormwood Member

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    At least he's gone. :err:

    Grwolf, I can't wait to show you some mixed mp1/gp tones we are goofing with in pre pro
     
  14. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Why? lol so I can become like YOU? I dont think so pal. Listen brother you've been cool so far and for what it's worth, I'm sorry for losing my temper but that guy was a prick to me. What, it's okay for a 'distinguished member' of this forum to come along and suggest another human being should cut themselves with scissors?

    How is that even acceptable with you people? The cheesebag obviously doesn't know the first damned thing about black metal music.

    I know how this works man, I'm not popular here so every four-eyed sack will come along and type "mean things" on their mothers cum-encrusted keyboards in an effort to fit in and bond with others here. I got some good advice but I wont stand for being bullied by a bunch of wheezing norms.
     
  15. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    You guys are telling ME that I have the issues here? You're sticking up for a sociopath because he has an 'online rank' and I dont, well that makes you in need of therapy not me! How can you even brown nose up to a snide, passive-aggressive little rat like that? What a nasty little bastard.

    Man you seriously need to get out more and find better company. People like that will poison your soul.

    Listen to some real metal and get some fire back in your belly, dont turn into another passive-aggressive damagecase like fuckwad back there huh
     
  16. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    Oh well, I tried to help. Some people just don't get it though.

    Anyway, can't wait to hear it!! And quit calling me grywolf. You have my GP damn it...it's Mark! :lol:
     
  17. guitarguru777

    guitarguru777 Member

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    All right im gonna tell ya this right now ya sniffling little cunt fart .....

    YOU DONT KNOW DICK!

    You came here asking for our fucking help and when we gave it to you, you turned around and said NO THATS NOT WHAT I WANT. I tried getting more information out of you to help you but you decided to be a cunt and bash everyones taste in music.

    80s metal sounds like it does cause they didnt have the advanced editing featured they do today. If you call it copping out then what the fuck ever dude. Metal is about PRECISION and POWER. 99.9% of the metal bands in the world use punch-in's, editing, and "post production" to make albums sound the way they do.

    Thats why when you go see these bands live they sound like shit!

    As for making the comment about being a bedroom guitarist........

    Mother fucker i should smash your fucking face in. I have produced and played on more albums then your mother has sucked dicks. Quite a few who are at platinum status now. So shove your bullshit theorys and poor taste in production out the fucking window!

    I grew up in the 80s mother fucker, and you know nothing about the attitude or what real fucking metal is. Yo uhave no fucking idea cause your some pussy wipped little suburbanite with no clue WTF falling on hard times is . I LIVE IT MOTHER FUCKER. You only dream it. There is a difference.

    Now go away you little piss ant, I have no time for your bullshit.

    You are probably the type to walk around in a cut off denim vest and pants tighter then a fucking anaconda strangling a wild boar. You probably have 1000 patches on your jacket and a flipped up cap that says "INJUN" on it meanwhile you have no fucking idea why Joey Belladonna did it in the first place. You ar eprobably the type that will ONLY PLAY MARSHALLS! cause they are the sound of "metal". Probbaly only use Tama Drums cause they are METAL, and only play pointy guitars cause they are METAL!

    Its assholes like you that killed metal dead. Cause you took what WE DID and turned it into some commercialized bullshit. YOU have no fucking clue what metal is all about, and no fucking clue WHY we played faster, louder and meaner then anyone on the planet. Your just a little bitch that wants to be like the big boys.

    Well your dicks not big enough bitch boy.

    YOU FUCKING POSER. (hows that for getting all 80s on your ass bitch!)
     
  18. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    ^^:D :D I approve of this sentiment...especially as a fellow old timer. ;) :lol:
     
  19. Fama

    Fama Member

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    Is this guy for real? I think we should award him the "Best Troll of 2010".

    You think 80's metal sounds better - that's ok. But when you say "I'm not attacking people who like modern metal", and then say things like "Modern metal sounds weak and frail. It sounds like it's being held together by fake-loudness because the band members are too pussy to play metal like men." or "Some of you guys clearly like gay metal, that's obviously your preference and that's fine too." or "The "in your face sound" makes metal albums sound gay, it's like those bands are so weak and scrawny they have to hide behind fake-loudness to make up for it.", do you seriously expect peoplet NOT to feel offended?

    Do you seriously think this:

    Sounds more metal than this:

    (don't get me wrong, the Megadeth song is a good song, I just don't think it sounds more "real metal", especially the kick drum)

    If you honestly do (and you're not a troll), then that's ok - you've got your opinion and I've got mine, but you could tone down your arrogance...

    Edit: Ok scratch that, he's either 100% troll or just a plain idiot :lol:
     
    #59 Fama, Dec 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  20. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    It's not arrogance, it's sheer ignorance. (though I personally prefer the Megadeth as well ;))
     

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