Here is another one that you guys haven't heard before. I have been chipping away at it for literally years and now it is finally written. This is definitely on the heavier side for me. But I think it has some pop flavours still there... Enough to fit on the album.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one...
I might want to have another listen in a day or two, but my initial thoughts are that it's a great thing to see you stretch yourself as an artist. It certainly has that patented Cameron Pierce sound, but in a minor key. I was uncertain throughout the first two verses; they struck me as somewhat sterile, but by the time I got to the middle, I was sold on it. I liked the ascending scale in the solo, the change of dynamics throughout (including dropping to a whisper), and the third verse was suitably punchy and ballsy. It all leads up to a 'I-don't-care-take-it-or-leave-it' ending. Mic drop and walk away.
Putting my hypercritical Cam-only glasses, the only possible thing that might improve it even more would be to re-examine the intro and first two verses to see if they can be beefed up another notch. Listening again to the first half, I think it's the synth part; it's cold and eerie, but also slightly annoying. Everything else is solid, but that's definitely the weak spot in the whole recording. Maybe drench it in long delay? Add another one an octave below? Change to a different sound altogether? I dunno. Otherwise, I really like this and your approach to it.
I went in and tweaked the synths parameters. I added in another octave sort a mixed in there and changed the tones a fair amount to let's say something different. It has some of the character as before but tweaked, less hollow sounding maybe... I don't really have the words. But less annoying is my hope haha. Still pretty eerie and cold. While I was in there I tried to get the piano part to come out more. I ended up tweaking a fair bit. I noticed some nasty clipping on the 1st two chorus lead vocals luckily I had another section to cut and paste to save myself some work. Sounds cleaner and less clouded there now... I also put a slight stop following the main groove of the verse before the chorus to really make that chorus hit harder.
I am really glad that your comments about the the feel and atmosphere of the song are in line with what I was trying to accomplish. Like you said, its got my trademark sound but I'm also stretching here a bit... So that is encouraging. Thanks so much Mike...
I'll leave the original posted mix to compare against the new mix/version...
It's a very subtle change to the synth, but a good one. A darker tone and maybe more of a violin approximation. The first version was more buzzsaw-like. And as I said, once the middle hits, it really gets into its stride. I can't say I really noticed the other tweaks you mentioned but I'm also not strictly A-B'ing with headphones either. Plus like I always say, with almost anyone else, the first mix would probably get a thumbs up from me, but I know you want nit-picky detail (which the material deserves, in all honesty). So anyone reading this in the future might think I'm being a bit of a hardass, but a finished, polished full mix always deserves more scrutiny than a one-take rough acoustic demo.
I'm on a cheap speaker system and not on my computer listening to this. I like the emotional energy a lot and could really get hooked on this song. My biggest issue is totally different than Mike. I thought that the drums could do a total rework.. (would love JP to do live ones on this)...
In the intro and beginning verse parts I see no need for drums at all. BUT, my issue is I'm not picking up enough bass either in the drums or regular bass tracks. I could also imagine a lot more energy could be injected with drums in various parts that would suck the listener right into the middle of this. I know that's a tall order but I'm just stating what I would like to hear.
I admit, I was a bit shocked to read Stan's comments. But I went back and had another listen, and he's right. The drums do have that 80's synth feel and lack a certain vitality. The intro and verse parts might just need a hi-hat instead of a snare (with the hi-hat playing eighths) to keep time. I can hear fills in the choruses, but they're getting lost in the mix. The bass part in the first pass is actually much stronger than in the second version, so I'd definitely go back to that.
But again, and I think Stan would agree with me, the mix as it stands is not bad. But should it be tweaked to the highest level possible? Absolutely.
Thanks for the critical ears Stan and thanks for the re-listen Mike.
As always you both bring a mature keen musical ear that I greatly benefit from. I read the comments on the drums and thought, well you know what I'll dig in a try some new ideas out. The further I dug in the more I realized there is a lot gained by redoing the drums. I tried to make sure the bass and drums are coming in strong. Thank you so much again.
I originally started this song off with that electronic sounding kit in the original verses - That was the song seed along with the piano. So it was natural to keep it. But I think as things progressed that sound became not the best for the track. I am feeling a lot more energy in this new drum track. Not sure if its 100% there but its closer I think. I never really consider myself to be any kind of metal musician but this is verging on it pretty hard especially with the new drums. I think I dig it. I don't know if you guys noticed at all. But there is quite bit of triplet rhythms in this track. That is not something I have done much at all in my original work. I think those triplets are pushing things into that metal drumming vibe. Which works well I think.
I will definitely keep working on it. Its an album track for sure so, I'm gonna make it the best that I can possibly get it.
Stan if you have a moment - I'd greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on "The inner Fire" which I posted here a little bit ago...
Wow, it certainly does change things. There's a lot more energy and increased dynamics all around, and it causes a subtle shift in the chorus which was totally missing before. At times it's almost on the verge of overplaying, but not being a metal musician myself (mmm), it may be better than underplaying. The triplets are much more obvious now than before; in the previous versions it was only hinted at in the verses. As I said at the beginning, it's good to hear a stretch in styles. I'll be interested to hear what Stan thinks.