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DusK

finished Red Zone - Title Music, Night Mission - "The Broken Front"

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EDIT: Most recent version: Version 8

I subbed this over a year ago, and received 3 "No (resub)s" from the judges, and then pushed it to the backburner while I did a ton of other stuff. Here it is again, with me trying to follow their suggestions, applying what I've learned while working on my side project and Secret Bonus Point, and taking advantage of the new Mod Review system.

The remix is a metalcore take on two tracks. Lots of breakdownage and shred.

Remix: "The Broken Front"

Suggestions?

EDIT: Yeah, I spelled "music" wrong in the subject line. Typing in the dark without a backlit keyboard sucks.

EDIT: Judges' decision of the prior version can be found here.

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taking advantage of the new Mod Review system.

If you wanna take advantage of this you ought to switch your track status to 'Mod Review' instead of 'Finished'. ;)

Well if it isn't good ol' Jesper Kyd's work right here. Always cool to see people tackle lesser known games like this.

Might have been helpful to quote the judges crits, so people have an idea of the directions you've followed to improve.

Optionally, a link to the old sub would help the mods to evaluate whether or not you've adressed the concerns expressed by the panel.

Imho, as far as source is concerned, you've covered the material pretty generously.

Interpretation is tight and engaging for the most part, and composition is fairly intricate.

Oh, and: damn, you can rawk man! xD

Now for the crits:

-support sequence-synth at 0:42 and 1:58 might not be sofisticated enough for that type of song/atmosphere.

Try to switch to something more incisive/less round, sound-design wise.

Though when the synth is accompanied/doubled by the guitar from 2:09 to 2:28, it flows much better.

-the song is very rhythm (guitar) heavy and sometimes the lead gets buried/relegated to a subsidiary role.

I know the reason for this, and have zero problem with it. But some people might snap if you forget to properly abuse the lead tone.

Couple that to a fairly complex track construction, and you can loose some listeners along the way.

Again, I'm perfectly fine with the song being done this way personally.

-part from 3:30 to 3:40 is a little underwhelming. It may be too simple and/or repetitive in comparison to what's before and after.

Maybe removing those 10sec and jumping straight from the build up ending at 3:30 to the finale at 3:40 would help preserve momentum.

-overall, the drums are a tiny bit dry and straight forward for what you're going for here. But that's just a personal bias on this one.

Hope this helps. Now I'll let the shreddage experts chime in on the specifics. :)

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Yaaaaay crits.

If you wanna take advantage of this you ought to switch your track status to 'Mod Review' instead of 'Finished'. ;)

I wanted to see if anyone would be willing to take a look before I bothered the mods about it.

Might have been helpful to quote the judges crits, so people have an idea of the directions you've followed to improve.

Optionally, a link to the old sub would help the mods to evaluate whether or not you've adressed the concerns expressed by the panel.

Good idea. XD

I-support sequence-synth at 0:42 and 1:58 might not be sofisticated enough for that type of song/atmosphere.

Try to switch to something more incisive/less round, sound-design wise.

Though when the synth is accompanied/doubled by the guitar from 2:09 to 2:28, it flows much better.

Not sure I follow here. I'm kind of a synth noob. Are you saying I should try a brighter "airy" synth for that part?

-the song is very rhythm (guitar) heavy and sometimes the lead gets buried/relegated to a subsidiary role.

I know the reason for this, and have zero problem with it. But some people might snap if you forget to properly abuse the lead tone.

Couple that to a fairly complex track construction, and you can loose some listeners along the way.

Again, I'm perfectly fine with the song being done this way personally.

I hear ya on that. I boosted the mid-highs a bit more on the lead tone. They stand out better now.

-part from 3:30 to 3:40 is a little underwhelming. It may be too simple and/or repetitive in comparison to what's before and after.

Maybe removing those 10sec and jumping straight from the build up ending at 3:30 to the finale at 3:40 would help preserve momentum.

I'm not sure if I'd like that, but I'll give it a try.

-overall, the drums are a tiny bit dry and straight forward for what you're going for here. But that's just a personal bias on this one.

You mean sound/production, or lack of filler/variation?

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Not sure I follow here. I'm kind of a synth noob. Are you saying I should try a brighter "airy" synth for that part?

The sound is a bit too gentle/simple/round atm. Try to craft something more complex/convoluted.

With multiple oscillators and by manipulating the VCT and LFO controls, you can give your synth an extra layer of thickness or a even controled dirtiness.

You mean sound/production, or lack of filler/variation?
In a way, both. Subtle reverb should take care of the dryness, and I guess you could also vary the drum patterns a bit more often.

But like I said, it's a personal bias. Take that with a grain of salt. ;)

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Updated! I hated the sound of the drums with verb on em, and I felt that removing the beginning of the outro altogether detracted from it. So I didn't touch the drums, and added a delay to the guitar in the bass-heavy section in the outro. I also did some synth touchups.

Here it is.

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After listening and reading the judges thread, I'd honestly have to say this still is suffering from the same problems highlighed before. The track sounds generally overcompressed, with several parts fighting for room. For example, you can start to hear distortion from competing parts at 1:28 when things start getting loud. Synth at 2:08 is sooooooo loud. It was already really crowded, but this is way way too much now with the added synth. Listen to the cymbals, for example, as their sound gets way distorted from overcrowding (good example at 2:54).

Not sure if it's caused by the same problem, but machine gun kicks at 1:38 really sound "off" to me. As a matter of fact, the kick in general sounds like it has plenty of "click" without much "oomph" or "thud". Are you cutting out the lower freqs of it?

Intro strings sounded a bit messy, probably because you've got harmonies in lower string registers. Might want to narrow it down a bit or use move mid-range strings for harmonies a bit. Also, they sound really centered in the soundfield - consider panning them around a bit to get a fuller sound.

On the plus side, the performance is pretty cool. Some minor timing issues aside, it's well played throughout. Very cool, aggressive feel you've got going.

I recommend you remove all mastering compression, take all the mixer faders down to zero, and start moving them up one by one. Keep your levels under -3dB as you get each element sitting at a balanced volume level. Then bring in your mastering compression. During this process, I think you'll find some freqs on parts that can be cut to give additional breathing room to other parts. Good luck to you.

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Thanks for the tips. I did what you said about removing the mastering compression and such, and it helped a lot at figuring out good levels for all my elements. It was a little tricky to do, as the layout of this track is really messy (I'm much more organized with my more recent mixes compared to this one, thankfully).

Making the strings stereo REALLY helped in filling out the sound space in the intro. Good tip.

EQ cuts on my rhythm track were also done. I actually had no EQ on rhythm guitars at all, and it was a very noticeable improvement when I started making cuts.

So here it is, version 4. Anyone else got any pointers for this track? My guess is I got a good half a year or so before I can submit it, so I have plenty of time to keep working at it and make it better. All suggestions welcome.

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Something about the guitar starting at 00:53 just rubs me the wrong way. It just doesn't feel right; I can't really explain it better than that. "Stilted" might be a good term: it just kind of throws off the songs rhythm; it doesn't feel smooth enough.

Of course, that's just me.

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ARGH THE TITLE SOURCE IS SO LONG.

Hey, this mix has alot of METUL which is cool with me. Love the arrangment, its really brutal, and has alot of punch.

I'm hearing source which variation, and lots of it so i'm going to assume its all there, seeing as the judges liked it before. Where this falls a bit short is the production. It doesn't seem compressed to me, so i'm going to assume either you'd fixed that or my ears are broken - I hope the former.

I love the intro, but the guitars that come in at 0:20, they seem to get lost in the effects slightly, i'd bring them out more with some treble. They sound better with the drums and bass. The kick, like people have said, sounds mid heavy. Bring down the mids, and up the treble of the kick, that'll get you more realistic sounding kick. The machine gun style isn't going to fly either, you need more velocity change ups on your drums. The kick could use bringing down as well exactly, its alot louder than the rest of the drum kit.

Ok, so kick aside, you need to work on your mixing. at the moment, this sounds rather muddy. You need to give each instrument room in the mix to breath, and at the moment they are all fighting for the same space. Also, the bass end seems a little strong to me? I'd like clarification here from someone else, because my headphones are pretty bassy. The synth sounds a little vanilla but i'm happy to let it slide :P

Nice work man, you gotta spice up and clean up the production a tad but you do that and this will be good to go - assuming the arrangement is as good as I think it is :P

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Bring down the mids, and up the treble of the kick, that'll get you more realistic sounding kick.

I lowered the treb on the kick because Nutritious said it had too much click. And now I need to bump it back up again? GrraaaaaaaAAAA*shoots self*

You're prolly right about the kick and the bass both being too loud. I'll drop 'em both a bit and see how it sounds.

I'll also give the tracks some more EQing to try and let everything breath a bit more. Though tbh, I'm kinda thinking about re-recording the whole thing with the setup I used for the Secret Bonus Point tracks at this point. Soooo much easier to mix than this old track and these old tones. :(

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I lowered the treb on the kick because Nutritious said it had too much click. And now I need to bump it back up again? GrraaaaaaaAAAA*shoots self*

I said plenty of click without having the thump. Didn't mean for you to cut it down :<

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I said plenty of click without having the thump. Didn't mean for you to cut it down :<

Yep. Stupid me.:tomatoface:

Brought that click back, turned down the kick and bass a bit, seems to have helped. That also brought out the rhythm guitars quite a bit, so I knocked that down a tad too.

I've done a lot of EQ work on the leads so that they're not fighting for space with the rhythm guitars and synths so much. I was also able to turn them down as a result.

Anyway, here's version 5. The different leads are using different EQ setups depending on what I have going on at the time, so if anyone could point out any spots where I might have really screwed up the lead guitar EQ, please lemme know. Suggestions greatly appreciated.

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BUMPCHIBUMPBUMPPOW!

Been a week. Nobody has anything to say about v5, or is everyone busy with school? I've listened to this track a million times, and I'm certain it'll pass, but I need a fresh set of ears to correct that if it's aint! :D

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Personally not a huge fan of the overall guitar tone, but that's just my opinion.

That synth in the beginning is still struggling to be heard - and when it reprises later in the song I barely notice that it's there (and I only notice it because of the filter effect you put on it, which occasionally brings it to harmonic center-stage).

I also hear some distortion (hah, not the guitar tone). By all means, feel free to limit to -3, but you have to keep in mind that you can still get distortion in your tracks when you overload the limiter with gain. I would lower everything and then use the limiter on your master to raise the overall volume to an acceptable level. If it's cutting more than like... 0.3 - 0.5 dB, your levels are too high or your threshold is too low, pick one. It's a finesse tool, not a hack and slash tool.

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I think this counts as my first Mod Review! LUCKY YOU >:D

The opening reminds me what would happen a John Carpenter bass synth had sex with the Terminator 2 opening.

I'm actually surprised, Red Zone has some quite complex and unique sounding music, especially for the Genesis. And fuckin' 'ell, the source tunes are LONG.

Okay, breaking this down: for the style that you're doing, most of this works. The mix is a tad flat and lifeless, and on my Senny HD280 Pros, I'm not hearing enough bass. Then again, these headphones don't pump bass as much as they should, so I will test it in the car during lunch. I will probably suggest raising the low-mids on the bass so it becomes a bit more audible. This will likely help how flat it sounds right now.

The lead guitar's performance is good, but gets spotty at times. I am an absolute stickler for tightly-timed guitars, so what I would personally want is for you to go back and fix up timing on the lead, and potentially boosting the high end of that tone juuuuust slightly, so it raises above the rhythms. The volume between the rhythms and the lead is fine, but that little extra shimmer should make the lead more prominent and audible, thus addressing some fo the lack of high-end in the mix. Your guitar tone is crunchy and gritty, which works for this song. Maybe turn down the gain slightly since there's a bit of excess fuzz during parts that muddies up the mids.

There's an issue that happens from 2:33-2:45 where the combination of the kick and the guitars causes db clipping. This also happens momentarily at 3:43.

Arrangement-wise I believe this passes. I can clearly hear both Title and Night Mission in there, with some clever improvisation throughout. Nice work!

One last recommendation would be to variate the drums a bit more during some of the fills. You really take the super-fast kick and snare rolls for their money's worth, and near the end I started to notice how static it made some of the fills feel. There's no specific part I could say absolutely needs changing, but look throughout and see what can be done to change up some of these fills that aren't necessary to be syncopated to the guitars.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this, and it is getting super-close to being ready to sub IMHO.

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VERSION 6! Dear God, I'm gonna reach double-digits, aren't I.

Did some EQing to the leads. I think I brought out some shimmer. Did I bring out some shimmer?

EQ'd the toms that were causing the clipping at 2:33-2:45 and the other parts where the toms were also causing clipping. Wuddn't the kicks at all.

Added some parts to help with the lifelessness of the mix. Mainly leads where there were none.

Also tightened the lead parts that were spotty and added more drum fill variation. Which was a pain, because I no longer have that guitar tone in my library, so it got a little tricky keeping things consistent.

As always, will werk 4 crits.

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Two weeks, no feedback. I know, finals week, but my thread gets cold and lonely out there on the third page. Especially when I'm still trying to get this song into a submittable state.

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Thanks for being patient. I was busy battling an army of robotic zombie toaster unicorns that took up camp in my back yard.

Is the guitar at 1:08 supposed to be centered or is it really intended to be 100% hardpanned left?

Your timing definitely sounds a bit better, I'm still hearing a slight delay swing. You know what might work? If you try adjusting the audio clip manually forward a couple milliseconds for the lead guitar from 1:38 to 1:48. My ears may still be tricking me but I think that's the only section I hear anymore that has a noticably negative backswing.

Synth from 1:58 to 2:28 seems to be too loud, and is causing your master compressor to push the rest of the mix down. Might need to adjust the synth or remove it. One idea is to add a stereo widener to it so it doesnt sit dead center, nor be 100% panned over the rhythm guitars.

Loving the drum changes and syncopation.

This sounds nearly ready to sub. I'm really rooting for this mix to make it, the guitar is so raw and gritty. I really enjoy it.

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Thanks for being patient. I was busy battling an army of robotic zombie toaster unicorns that took up camp in my back yard.

Oh, you too?

VERSION 7!

With the changes you suggested. Sliding that lead did help quite a bit. I'm thinking maybe my POD's latency was messing with it when I recorded it.

That synth during the solo got a slight volume reduction. It's really hitting that balanced sweet spot on my ATH-M45s and my cheap little speaker setup, so I'm hoping I did the trick there.

Anyone got any more crits before I sub this little guy?

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Listening on my running headphones cause I don't have access to my mixing setup right now, but yeah, this is definitely improved from your tweaks. Still a little iffy on the left panned lead from 1:08 to 1:28, really makes the stereo feel unbalanced while its there. Consider moving it centered or at least closer to center.

You use POD? Which version? Wanna trade some tones? :D

This sounds about ready to sub, though I do want to give it one more listen on my home system if you're willing to wait a bit for confirmation.

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I'll wait as long as necessary. It'd be better than waiting four months for three No's. :D

I'll take a look at that panned lead too.

I use a POD Studio Pro UX1, with POD Farm 2, and I'm always down for expanding my tone library.

EDIT: If you're gonna put something in your home stereo, go with version 8. I panned that lead a little closer to the center and did a couple of other minor tweaks.

And much thanks for helping me out so much on this track. Once this is done, a blessing from your beard should put this mix on its way to the front page. :D

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This is pretty damn good, but what's with your kick sound? I can't quite place it, but it feels super-clicky and too up-front for my tastes. It just sticks out like a bit of a sore thumb but I can't quite place why. Would love if one of the other two workshop mods who specialize in guitar-driven remixes could chime in here ;-)

Everything else about this sounds pretty solid - there's room for production improvement but if the kick sounded different, I'd probably YES this myself as a judge :-)

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Finally, I get a chance to listen to this on my mixing headphones!

Aaaaand nope, no issues. This is ready to sub in my opinion. Headbanging to it right now, and I'm wishing you the best of luck.

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