Alien Lard Song 4/5 - Wheels (Rain Down Hell)

EDIT #1: Ok, made a few changes. Not sure if I was too conservative with them or not.

  • Brought all vocals down by about 2-3db across the board
  • boosted some high mids slightly in guitars on choruses

Those two changes seemed to make a big difference to me, but is it enough? Still wondering if the chorus vocals are still too loud? Dunno.

Hey folks. I’m almost done my 5 song Alien Lard project. The last song is practically mixed, I am just re-recording the first verse in the next couple of days as I didn’t like the original lyrics.

Anywho, same general vein as the previous 3, aggressive, raw and heavy with some Helmet/Mark of Cain vocals (@ColdRoomStudio). This was the song where the technique of aggressive vocals clicked - That video that Andrew (I think) posted a while back helped a lot!

NOTE: LANGUAGE WARNING on this one. Just a couple of f bombs in the bridge in case that offends anyone.
I’ll hopefully post the final track in a few days and will get to a bunch of BTR songs here too.


Sounding really good, Dan! Vocals are killer - much improvement in that respect! Instrumentally and mix wise it sounds spot on to me…

FWIW I think you could drop the level of the lead vocal a few dB and the lyrics would still be clear as a bell, but the music would sound bigger… that’s my AUD$0.02


Really glad you said that! I was thinking the same re vocal level.
Tell me, how do you go about mixing vocals for a song such as this where it is quite stripped back in the first verse, full on chorus, mid level 2nd verse. I found the vocal poked out a lot in the first verse, but sat well in the second. I know it sounds obvious enough to just pull down the first verse vocal, but it was an interesting thing to try and make the vocal fit each section as it builds, ebbs and flows.

I actually tried something quite different in the chorus during the “rain down hell” lines. I obviously have a double track vocal, but I also have two forcibly whispered tracks slightly off centre and distorted as all get out to add some harshness and intensity. It seems to work, although I could perhaps pull that down a fraction too.

sounding good. I would agree with Andrew, the instruments are feeling a little small to me as well.

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I just mult the lead vocal as many times as I think it needs a significant change to match the song structure. I usually find that is much easier than automating a million parameters to get a single lead vocal part to sit right in each section.

I often end up with a first verse vocal, a chorus vocal, a second verse vocal, a bridge vocal, and some kind of special effect vocal. Sometimes I only need one verse vocal.

Usually there is still a need to automate volume and effects within each vocal mult, but if there is a set “baseline tone” for each section, the automation is much simpler and less daunting.

I noticed that - I thought it sounded :+1:


Entertaining tune you’ve got here!

I listened to this earlier on my ipad and I was thinking that the chorus vocals might be a bit too loud for the music but I’ve since listened to your song 3 or 4 times using my headphones, through my laptop and the more I listen to the song, the less sure I am about my initial impression. I think the vocals on the chorus may not have much frequency competition and they cut through really well throughout the song but especially in the chorus because you’re singing in a higher range/ register. I think you could bring in some brighter guitar frequencies in the chorus to bring up the musical excitement. There seems to quite a bit of mids in those guitars. The guitars work really well in the verse because they’re more sparse but the wall of power chords in the chorus sounds to me like it would benefit from a bit of frequency excitement (brightness). The frequency of the chorus vocals and the chorus guitars do compliment each other in that they allow the two instruments to own their own space and the vocals have no problem rising about the guitars but I think you might be forfeiting a bit of power and excitement. Maybe just a touch more brightness on the chorus guitars and a slight lift in guitar volume on the chorus will give things a boost. Your chorus vocals are so prominent now that I don’t think you’d lose them even if you kicked the guitars up a notch.

I like a lot of the stuff that you’re doing in this song. You build the verses nicely. You give this a raw, live feel almost. The vocal melody on, “The wheels on the truck etc. etc.” has a cool “heavy metal nursery rhyme” feel. That’s the hook of the song for me, though I do like the verses a lot also and all the other “attitude” vocals. You do a great job of industrializing your Alien Lard songs. They’ll fit nicely together as a single album project.

One tiny thing I might add is, I wasn’t sure if the snare and the toms were popping as powerfully as they could be. It could be just where my ears and mind are at right now and what I was expecting. The drums do sound good but I’m wondering if you could maybe get a bit more power/ volume out of that snare and those toms…(Update) I’m listening again and the snare cracks through really nice in many spots and I’m feeling unsure about everything I said about the drums. :thinking: I’ve heard this song so much that I’ve lost perspective, haha. How did that happen so quickly?

Don’t trust a thing I say! …Except, you’ve done a great job on this tune!

Thanks @Wicked. Wonderfully insightful comments. Flattered that you listened so many times.

Interesting. In the earlier songs, I really fought against harsh frequencies fatiguing the listener. But yes, I can see how a little boost in some highs perhaps in the choruses might give it a nudge, combined with pulling the vocals back a tad.

What a great phrase!

Yeah, the snare seems to be affected by the mastering software that I use more than anything else. I will attempt to tweak that too!
Thanks for losing perspective with me!!!

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Sounds good to me Dan, I think the short solo is very effective because it has no extra parts and it fits so well. And the bridge is the high light for me, it takes everything up a notch. You could even just stretch that out to the end and maintain that momentum, tack on a little squeaky ending to match the intro, just a thought.

Nice work!

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Hey Dan,
Souds like a great recording, though I agree that the vocals are a bit too prominent in the verse parts in relation to the instruments. I hesitate to add my usual comment on metal drums: I just don’t like all that clickyness of the kick. I’m listening on my laptop speakers, so I’m probably not hearing much under 200 Hz. Maybe if I grabbed my headphones… Ah, now it sounds a lot better! To my taste there’s still a lot of click (but I’m just an old fart who stopped enjoying metal when Led Zeppelin stopped making albums). However, the balance between click and bass is good! Maybe it’s worth knowing what it sounds like on a smartphone or labtop? That’s how a lot of music is ‘consumed’ unfortunately…

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