Listen to Heretical Musings by Antitheist.
Ken’s Gear, Part 1
Ken Here. On this blog we’ve decided that we’re going to cover some different topics related to the band. Since, to date, Zach has done all of the songwriting and lyric writing on all of our recorded output, he’ll be covering some influential albums to him. Stuff that kinda shaped where he wanted to take the project. I figured I’d cover some stuff that had more to do with me bringing my sound on the material. Since it was mostly written by the time I showed up, I had to put my stamp on it by working within the context of the songs we’ve already recorded. Aside from note selection and phrasing on the leads and bass parts, my biggest stamp on it is the sound of the gear we decided to use. In this post, I’ll cover the setup that we ran through with the bass rig:
The bass end of the recording was pretty modest in the grand scheme of things. Even when I was primarily a guitarist, I was very minimalistic when it came to effects and pedals (When I played live in Impurity, my signal chain went Schecter Loomis -> Mesa Single Rectifier -> Marshall 1960A copy. That’s it. No Wah, no verb, nothing). I’ve pretty much carried that same philosophy over on bass. I prefer active basses, active pickups when possible, and a more modern sounding amp. I get a lot of flexibility but at the same time, keep a relatively simple signal chain of Bass -> Amp -> Cab.
I used two different basses on this recording — An Ibanez SR1206 (the newer premium models with Nordstrand pickups stock) tuned to standard 6’er tuning (BEADGC) and a Cort Curbow tuned C#F#BEA (C# standard with a high string - I cant see myself finding a use for a low G#). Both are stock for the time being, though the Cort should be seeing a preamp change coming before too long. I used the Ibanez on Bridging, Empty Throne, and Magi (with a capo on the second fret since the song is in C#), and used the Cort on Heretic’s Fight. I had initially planned to use my Warwick fretless 6er, but I was having some modifications done to it during the recording. It’ll definitely show up on the next release, as well as my Chapman Stick.
The amp in the picture is an RH450 running into a Carvin 2x12. THe 450s are amazingly versatile, with a 4 band semi-parametric EQ, an awesome compressor and a tube emulation section that…actually fucking works. It can grit up real nice, or do the ultra-clean modern sounds really easy. On most of the tracks, we ended up using a semi-clean bass tone from the 450 for just about everything. However, in order to get more cut on the high notes and clank from the bass, we also re-amped the signal through a JCM2000 into either a Marshall 1960 or an Orange 1x12 depending on the song.
As far as effects go, we actually kept it fairly clean. A lot of compression and some distortion but not much else. We had tossed around the idea of using a bass wah on the intro to magi, but it didn’t really fit the vibe in practice.
Next post, I’ll cover my guitar setup for my leads and harmony bits.
Albums That Matter - Moonspell “Wolfheart”
I think, as an artist, it’s important to trace my roots…creative endeavors don’t happen in a bubble. There hasn’t been original music made since the first caveman that decided to beat on a hollow log with a sabretooth tiger bone. I’m going to use this space to periodically write about some of the albums that changed me in a serious way as an artist and shaped our sound in some way.
So Moonspell was really the first ‘extreme’ band I discovered. Up to that point, I’d been pretty deeply rooted in classic rock, classic metal and thrash. Ever since I had my own income, I’ve bought a TON of music so at a fairly early age I’d already run through most of the aforementioned genres and was desperately seeking something new. Through complete chance I heard a Century Media compilation where I was introduced to Portuguese metallers.
Wolfheartis a pretty unique album…there’s never been much else like it in the metal world and not even in the rest of Moonspell’s catalog. Moonspell has done some amazing stuff, mind you, but the style has drifted a bit throughout the years. It’s ostensibly black metal…but even though doesn’t describe it well considering what Emperor was doing at the same time. The closest band I can describe to this is Primordial…and even that’s not right. Primordial is pretty rooted in the Celtic sound…but some of the (and I loathe to use this word) “folky” elements are there.
The track that really nails it for me on this release is “Alma Mater”…I think if you’re familiar with Antitheist, you’re going to pick up quite a few things right away…the triplet feel to the rhythms (which is near ubiquitous in our music), the vocal patterns, the synth choir arrangements, obscure vocals. Speaking of the vocals, this song features some of the finest extreme vocals. Frontman Fernando Ribeiro is simply screaming his ass off at points and alternating that with an opera-like clean chorus. This song is hard as fuck to sing…and as proof, Fernando doesn’t even remotely sing it like the album version live.
Anyway, this album opened my eyes and ears to a completely different style of music and scene. It sent me out in search of this thing called black metal…and I wasn’t really expecting what I ended up finding…but this was a very, very significant step in my creative development.
Q:WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT ON YOUR PLANET?
Can’t speak for Ken but I need to visit Japan, China, Mongolia, etc