ReMix: Castlevania "Death Tap"
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10,016,582 bytes, 5:42, 233kbps
From newcomer Mega Beardo (Ryan Postlethwait) comes some good, ole-fashioned Castlevania metal - a common pairing, to be sure, but only because it works so naturally. When I read "Death Tap," I think alternatively of surprisingly lethal tap dancing, a really dangerous beer delivery mechanism, or the infamous "Touch of Death," as seen in Kiss of the Dragon and, more hilariously, Fist of the North Star ("You are already dead.) Now I can ALSO think of a pretty bangin' metal arrangement that, while judges would have liked a resubmission with louder lead guitar, still rocks hard. Beardo writes:
"All of my VGM remixes thus far are guitar re-arrangements. I tend to lean more into the metal genre; Castlevania lends itself pretty naturally to that style of music as well. With my remixes, I like to learn all of the bass lines, melodies, and harmonies first. Then I start jamming on a certain idea to see what kind of originality can come out of it. For this remix, this is evident from the very beginning; I took the baseline underneath the main melody, added my own "voice," and used it as the basis for the intro.
I also like to introduce dynamics by stripping down a certain melody into a completely different idea. The second half of my remix includes the chord progression from one section and specific notes from another melody to build a much more melodic dynamic ending. It is hard to put into words, but hopefully my intentions were clear once the clean guitar interlude kicks in.
I use Sony Acid Pro 6.0 for recording, and I program the drums with Drumkit from Hell. My guitar of choice is an Epiphone SG G-400 that I have used and abused for the past 13 years. I run that through an Orange Tiny Terror head and into a Marshall cabinet. The cabinet is mic'ed using a really crappy Nady mic that I bought 5 years ago for $15 and am very surprised it is still in working condition. I record my bass tracks through a POD XT."
I love that Ryan explained some of his process & technique in general AND for this mix in particular. While the judges had some production nitpicks, and there was room for a bit more polish, I'm loving the ENERGY & SIZE of these guitars; rhythm guitars are huge, and I can see why the panel was concerned about balance, but I dunno... I actually kinda like the overpowering, over-sized "chugs of death" making everyone else - even the lead guitar - run and hide. It's distinct, to say the least, and makes things seem a little edgier & more manic. Great work on the bass, great changeups on rhythm - there's admittedly a lot to work with already in the source, but it takes skill & know-how to capitalize on that, which MB has. The segue into the clean, minimalist break is abrupt, but that abruptness kinda plays into the whole spastic, ball-of-energy vibe the arrangement has going for it. OA writes:
"This is a very nice metal song. I thought the arrangement was really good, and the only thing that is really bugging me is for the first verse, the lead playing is getting buried a bit. Great ultra-clean rhythm tone, makes it really punchy. It might be a bit too scooped, as there isn't a lot of pitch to it, but I can't deny the solid thwack it's giving me when it hits."
This is one of those situations where I know the judges panel was right in the sense that levels/balance are off relative to most metal mixes - and most notions of how to mix guitars in general - but it just didn't bother me that much, and I'm glad the mix passed as-is. I think Ryan's approach to arrangement, both as he describes it and as evident in the mix itself, is providing some really energetic, malicious, and dynamic results. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what else Mega Beardo sends us, and in the meantime I'm gonna turn to this mix whenever I wanna hear badass rhythm guitars that don't care what everyone else thinks.
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