ReMix: Castlevania 'Death Tap'

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Castlevania

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.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 12 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2013-08-25 12:26:55
The chugs do have a lot of toughness to them, which can make it go either way for folks. Aside from minor points such as balance like others have picked out, I quite liked it myself. I particularly liked how you were able to get the guitar work to mirror melodies that would normally be done on a piano or organ, giving it that extra emphasis. Breakdown and on from there was the best part in my opinion, I think you nailed that section well. Not bad for the first ReMix at all.
Bahamut
on 2012-07-26 12:59:52
Interesting style you have here, it exudes a particular type of minimalism, at least as far as metal is concerned. I personally didn't like the transition to the slow part, but otherwise I found this a nice listen and would love to hear more!
Marmiduke
on 2012-07-07 11:46:49
I'm amazed we don't hear as much of this genre here on the site outside of the hybrid-styles and the novelty mixes. Maybe because its really, really hard to pull off. And for the most part, that feat has been pulled off here.
This is a nicely made, substantial metal mix that gets into the details of the melody line and has a good time infusing it with the power of those guitars. I wasn't as enthusiastic about the actual sound though, but it may be my own personal taste. Fullness in sound wasn't kicking in for me, and as has been repeated a few times, balance was a margin off the sweetspot for the perfect metal sound.
Overall, its a positive effort and a nice, aggressive sounding trip through familiar territory. Obvious room for improvement, but an encouraging debut all the same.
Mega Beardo
on 2012-05-27 22:02:19
SuperiorX;861499 wrote: Oh yeah this is niiiiiiice! Those chugs are something wicked indeed, I don't mind the mixing balance it's not as noticeable to me. And someone else that uses Sony ACID Pro has their DAW of choice! I, for better or worse, use it as well. Nice work!

Glad to see I'm not the only one that uses Sony Acid around here! I've been using it for so long, I haven't really seen a reason to learn something else.
I appreciate the comments from everyone, and I'm very excited to be on OCRemix. I'll definitely keep all this in mind when I get to work on my next tune.
Korak the Mad
on 2012-05-18 09:02:28
HA!

I favorited this song on Youtube about three months ago.

Still one of the best remixes of Heart of Fire I've heard so far.

Yay! Mega Beardo is now part of OC Remix.
Magellanic
on 2012-05-18 08:56:16
Its such a shame that the balance issues can't be resolved as this is a great mix. If the balance was altered this could easily go to being an AMAZING mix.
...the snare sounds tiny and plastic. This maybe tradeoff though.

Definitely agreeing with BONKERS here. Also, the breakdown could really have done with having something to keep some of the momentum going BUT this is really great. Mega Beardo clearly has a lot of skill. I'm really looking forward to hearing some more of his tunes.
KyleJCrb
on 2012-05-18 00:09:28
Haha, I remember when Stevo linked this guys' Mega Man 2 album (which you should all go check out, by the way.) All I can say is that this guy has put together a great, hardcore metal arrangement of a classic theme. Don't pass it up!
SuperiorX
on 2012-05-17 22:56:07
Oh yeah this is niiiiiiice! Those chugs are something wicked indeed, I don't mind the mixing balance it's not as noticeable to me. And someone else that uses Sony ACID Pro has their DAW of choice! I, for better or worse, use it as well. Nice work!
BONKERS
on 2012-05-17 22:13:09
Far from perfect of course(as others have posted. Balance is a bit off and is a little weird. The Rhythms overpower everything and the snare sounds tiny and plastic. This maybe tradeoff though. Traditionally Snares really have their snap and power from like 140-250Hz , the problem with that is that it sort of negates the effect of getting super heavy rhythms in a sort of way.)
But the arrangement is solid and 99% of people won't even notice the other issues as much.
Wouldn't be surprised if this becomes very popular.
audio fidelity
on 2012-05-17 22:09:32
I just came on hear to post that your name is awesome and made me laugh out loud.
Stevo has some competition.
Track is clean and VERY metal. Solid.
But crit is that you're missing some high-end energy in your master. That's what I feel as the track gets into it.
Gario
on 2012-05-17 20:07:50
Sure, the balance is a bit odd (lead is drown, the hats are a little overpowering, etc.), but I love that tone for the chugs - that's exactly the kind of metal I love listening to. Makes me do this :banghead: without the brick wall. Which is awesome. If you're going to do metal, go all out and make it chuggy as fuck, that's what I say, and you succeed in this regard, hands down.
Great work on this, man - I am now looking forward to more from you.
djpretzel
on 2012-05-17 19:40:42
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.