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*NO* Zelda 2 "Thrashin' the Temple"

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Artist: Sole Paradigm
Real Name: Devin Paquette
Name on Forums: SoleParadigm
Song: Thrashin' the Temple
From the game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Remix of: Temple theme
Original Composer: Akito Nakatsuka
Probably one of the coolest songs from any soundtrack has to be the Temple theme from Zelda II. Even as a kid I rocked out to it. The track always sounded metal to me. I know some would disagree. But I could hear it clear as day in my head. In 2007 or so I took a crack at it. The first time I made an attempt it wasn't fast enough. I had matched the original tempo and was just not happy with that. So I sped that up. And also, I was playing through a Spider IV combo amp mic'd with an SM57 and the guitars just sounded way too thin. Starting from there, over the years I've taken several cracks at it using different mixing and miking techniques. But it wasn't until a few years ago I realized that for this to be as epic as I wanted it to be I needed to think bigger than just metal. My thoughts turned to Dream Theater's Octavarium album and Metallica's S&M. So I saved up for a copy of EWQLSO Platinum and Symphonic Choirs which took a couple years. Once I learned how to use those I went to work. 
For the final version, I used an Axe FX II amp modeler for guitar and bass plus Superior Drummer 2.0 with the Progressive Foundry kit. The thing about this track is that it's loud, fast and heavy with just those instruments. When adding the orchestra and choir parts I had to be careful that they didn't get lost in the mix. So when using the mod wheel for dynamics I didn't go too low so as to not lose those instruments. Some EQing helped as well.
This track will punch you right in the face from beat one and will give you a pummeling with little room to breathe. It's heavy as all hell but it also has heart and soul. It'll make you wanna pick up a sword and shield to fight whatever battle you're fighting in life.
I hope you all love it as much as I do. If not, well... at least it gets my head banging on my way to work. :)
Edited by Rexy
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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2019/10/15 - Zelda II "Thrashin' the Temple"
  • 4 weeks later...

At :11, it's already apparent this was mixed too hot, so you're left with a lot of muddiness and at other points crunchiness; check out 3:39-4:01 where some padding gets added in and the whole thing just becomes mud.

Strings also sounded pretty fake, and when you go through more of this, pretty much all of the orchestration sounds pretty exposed. Maybe others would say it's serviceable enough, and I'd agree if the mixing were more reasonable and mitigated the realism issues.

The rock part sounds pretty solid though, albeit too crowded. I think the orchestration and synth components weren't mixed very well, and I didn't get a sense that these parts really shared the same soundscape/room, e.g. the brass at 2:51, which should have had something more like a big hall sound.

Pull back the volume some, let the parts breath and tweak the mixing of the orchestration to sound fuller and more realistic. A strong arrangement concept that's been hampered by the production/mixing not being sharp enough or balanced, but that's not to discount Dylan's great concept and big energy here; don't sacrifice the energy, but do make sure things aren't too cluttered.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2019/10/15 - (1N) Zelda 2 "Thrashin' the Temple"

Arrangement-wise, this track went through some fun places.  It goes through one run-through of the theme, then further development starting at 1:44, culminating into an intense guitar solo at 2:29 that keeps the momentum going into the D section's return at 3:17 and an ending based on the intro.  Hence, the source is dominant throughout and handled with good intent, with no segment repeating the same idea.

I feel you should've watched out during the buildup at 2:51, with the backing brass breaking away from the chord progression halfway up the scale.  Changing the G note in the sequence to F# is a quick fix and more appropriate for the D major chord at that measure.

Alas, I am with Larry about the production - mixing is way too hot, with clipping at 1.3dB and pumping all over the place.  Consider bringing down the sound levels for all of your instrumentation to make it easier for your master chain to process.  With that out of the picture, the guitar tones are mixed in well with the drums and synth instrumentation - yet, not the orchestral parts.  When present at the same time as the brass or string sections (or both), the guitars get lost in the mix - so see if you can make some adjustments to the EQ on any of these instruments to give them their own designated space.

Different articulations for your orchestral parts would also be nice to have.  You've demonstrated velocity variation thanks to your pizzicato strings at 1:44, but finding places for extra attack and release changes can further add realism, as well as slightly adjusting timings to before or after the start of each designated beat.  With the rock part of the arrangement sounding solid, this aspect won't be a dealbreaker if not addressed in a newer version, but it is something that should at least get checked out.

I do not deny the raw energy, and you're not wrong with the "fierce determination" direction.  It's one that I'd like to hear on OCR in the future, but in a revised form that revises the mixdown.  Bring the levels down, and look into both EQ changes and added realism for the orchestrated parts.  Keep going, Devin!

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Edited by Rexy
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  • Rexy changed the title to 2019/10/15 - (2N) Zelda 2 "Thrashin' the Temple"

I really love the ideas you've brought to this.  Great arrangement, lots of energy.  Performances sound really good with plenty of little touches added.  Progresses really well from section to section, keeping it interesting.

I will echo 100% the issues with the track pushing the levels way too hard.  It's hard to bring this many elements to the energy level you while keeping a clean sound, but it is possible.  This needs a complete rework on the mixing/mastering side, making sure to avoid clipping & squashing things with a compressor.  Also agree with Rexy's take on the notes on the 2:51, as it definitely was not clicking together correctly note-wise (and thanks to her for the specific note callout making it easier to fix).

Sweet track, just needs production love.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Nutritious changed the title to 2019/10/15 - (3N) Zelda 2 "Thrashin' the Temple"
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