Studioreport 2007 – Part One (Drums)
February, 05th – 08th 2007:
This is the beginning of the long-awaited Iron Savior successor to “Battering Ram”. After a long period of songwriting, the band finally entered the studio in early February 2007 to commence the recordings of the basics for the new material. Rough cue tracks had already been recorded in the Powerhouse Studio as the starting point for the drum sessions.
Until some days ago it wasn’t even certain in which studio the drumtracks would be recorded. Good decision: The first location was the Karo Studio near Hamburg, where many famous bands have already recorded (Hammerfall, Freedom Call, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Saxon, Motörhead,…) and Iron Savior has also done many recordings in this studio in the past.
The first day in studio had to be used for the drum soundcheck, because it was a totally new drumset Thomas used this time, a Pearl Masters Custom (Color: Midnight Fade). The drum sound is a bit different to the previous albums. This time the sound will be “straighter” with more of a cutting edge, short sounding tones after the stroke. This can for example be achieved by adhesive tape that is mounted on the resonant heads of the toms (see second picture), which adds a more modern touch to the sound. Here you can find some pictures of the drums during the recording session for the new Iron Savior release:
The room where Thomas played in was heavily soundproof, so you could hardly hear Thomas playing (talking not at all) without the studio equipment that brings the sound to the control room. In the control room Piet sat behind a huge mixing console, in front of him he had two big monitors displaying the virtual recording tracks. These monitors were connected to a Macintosh Computer, which was connected to different high tech hardware located in the hall of the studio, running a virtual recording studio program. Every instrument in the set, no matter if tom or cymbal, gets at least one microphone and is routed to a track on the recording system so that Piet can see and work with every individual sound. Hard to imagine for one who is not involved in such a recording process that this will later be an album that you can buy in a shop.
Yenz has also been part of the team in that first period, following the development of the basic rhythm patterns, so that he can add his bass elements at a later time. A long but effective time for him.
The first song I got to listen to when I came into the studio was a very cool song; my first impression: “Wow, that rocks!” I arrived at an intensive phase of the recordings of the song, the guys had already been recording for many hours that day and you could realize that by the concentrated mood in the studio. The song contained the typical guitar sound of Piet and a not that fast or difficult but very interesting drumbeat. During the recording Thomas wears headphones. He is able to hear everything he wants/needs through them: the computer playbacks from bass, drum-click (as a metronome) and guitars from Piet and everything Thomas plays has to be very precise because you can hear any tiny little mistake when you hear the live recordings with the computer as the timekeeper.
After a break and something to eat (Piet’s selfmade Maccaroni with tomato ketchup and the forgotten parmesan) Thomas was introduced to a new song he had not heard before, working title ” Piesel s’ hit 2007″, a bit “Priest like” and the drum parts reminded me of the song “Condition Red” which I like quite a lot because it especially kicks ass live. This song varies from the others on the album and it’s the only one of its kind. Thomas wrote down the arrangement of the song and a bit later the recordings for that song could be started. I am really sure that you will like this song and I am looking forward to your reactions. This song worked out much better again and that made the guys think more positive about finishing the whole drum recordings in the scheduled time. The first take of the recording could be kept, except for some accentuations that had to be done again.
Last thing for the day: trying to find something that could become a Japan bonus track and that was easy at all. The chosen title (the “Iron Watcher Medley”) was a bit more difficult to get along with, because it was a very spontanious thing to record and there were no cue tracks for this one yet by which Thomas could orientate himself. So Piet took an acoustic guitar to play some riffs of the song. So this time Thomas had to record with click only. At the end of the day, a long and intensive time especially for the band was over and the guys went home quickly to get some rest to be fit for the next day. Thanks to the guys for letting me get this impression and to have the opportunity to be part of it and thanks to Yenz especially for giving me a hand on the technical descriptions of the recording process.