Op-Ed: Can the Axe FX Be Used in Doom Metal?

This week”s guest post comes from guitarist Raphael Pinsker of Brooklyn doom outfit Fin”amor, who just dropped a great new album, Forbidding Mourning, which you can nab here. The boys made some waves when we dropped their rig tour clip a few weeks ago, which you can check out below before you read some of his thoughts on the gear necessary to make quality doom.

I used to be one of those “tube amps and pedal train pro” dudes. My guitarist and I both had 6505 “s and I had a growing pedal collection. As our band started incorporating more atmospheric elements I began experimenting with delays, reverbs, wahs, etc. My goal was to be one of those dudes that took 15-30 minutes to set up his entire rig… Then Julian got an Axe FX II.

At first I was like “this is blasphemy, what about your tube amp tone and pedals!” Every practice his set up time got shorter and shorter and within a few weeks he had homemade tones that shattered whatever farts my 6505 decided to blow out of its cabinet. Granted, I could’ve invested into more high-end amps that would cater towards our sound more than the Peavey, but when I heard the digital replicas of a Framus Cobra, along with a Diezel Herbert and Engl Powerball, I was shocked that I could not spot almost any tonal difference from the originals!

In retrospect, I think online slots it was because I was sold into the longstanding mantra of metal and rock needing the “warmth” of tubes, shortly followed by “something something digital SUCKS.” At shows I was stuck fiddling with cables upon cables, a pedal power brick, and on the off chance that something didn”t work, my entire rig was shot (this happened). I don’t disagree with the fact that tubes really do sound great and have been a hallmark of most metal up to now, but I’ve also come to realize that digital has come a long way from the amp VSTs and Line 6 pods Julian and I used to mess with for days just to get some semblance of a sub-par tone out. It didn”t take long for me to invest in an Axe FX and sell my entire guitar rig.

As we started getting more experimental, we decided that we needed a platform that could mirror what we were achieving within the studio, but within a live context. The Axe FX offered us limitless tones and the ability to create layers using various effects which created sonic textures and aural landscapes. We were able to create (or download) crushing tones that would work great for anything we could possibly need, and customize them further in any way we wanted. It was like both of us having 7 different live amps with just as many full stacks and a pedal board thrice the size of my original …all in the size of less than one tube amp.

I always find it funny when we play shows, or I”m at a show where they have these dudes that swear by their enormous rigs. Orange and Sunn O))) amps biamped into two Emperor full stack cabinets. *shots fired* ( ( ( w o w m u c h d o o m s u c h h e a v y s o c r u s h i n g ) ) ) We”ve played shows where bands have an 80″s arena band backline of the most obscure amps, cabs, and pedals you can”t find… and here is Fin”amor carrying our entire live rig in our hands – literally – guitar and MFC 101 in one hand and our Axe FX in the other. We just plug and play. It’s easy, takes like five minutes at the most to set up, comes with no tube headaches, and best of all…we save a ton of space onstage and in the transports.

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While we could make the joke that, as opposed to other bands, we aren’t compensating for a lack of something with the sheer size of our rigs, it’s really not about that, or the versatility of tones, or even their quality. At the end of the day, Axe Fx is what makes practical sense for our band setup. It lets us be as creative and atmospheric as possible within a reasonable budget and limited transport space. It just works.

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