German technical death metal outfit CONTROVERSIAL have been waiting in anticipation for the release of their newest album Revelation (out October 24th, 2019). To keep the fans satiated in the meantime, the band has put together both this dual-guitar playthrough of their new song “Modern Era” off the new record, as well as a written Rigged below! A double-whammy for the ages — check it!
In the playthrough, guitarists Emil and Hendrik power through what is an absolutely intense and relentless banger. Chock-full of blast beats, a tight guitar tone, and some killer vocals, “Modern Era” is a well-rounded tech-death tune that’ll have you coming back again and again with each listen. And in case you were wondering about how the band executes their live show, check out their extensive written Rigged below!
Right after our beginnings in 2013 and the first rehearsals, various requirements for our setup were formed, which we implemented and expanded piece by piece in numerous creative sessions. Thereby, the most important for us were:
- Playback of backing- and click tracks,
- Individual stereo monitor mixes for each band member,
- Programmed control of guitar effects,
- Location-independent reproducibility of our sound and
- Light programmed on the music.
After a few iterations, this finally led to the compilation of the following devices, which are all installed in a single rack:
- Rack computer with Reaper as the central control unit
- The X32 Rack as the central unit for signal processing and distribution
- Alesis DM5 as bass drum trigger unit
- Fractal Audio Axe-FX II as guitar modeling amp for both guitarists
- A drawer with bass effects (Darkglass B7K, Moer Radar)
- 4-channel headphone amplifier + 1-channel radio link for in-ear
- Power distribution and junction panel
In addition, we use various custom cables and microphones for the drums, which are built into the Toms to ensure a faster changeover and to make our signals more independent of the location. This makes our setup very autarkic: All our signals converge on the X32, where they are preprocessed and forwarded. For the band, this happens via five separate stereo monitor mixes for all band members. The FoH technician gets 15 channels (8x drums, 1x bass, 3x guitar, 1x vocals and 2x samples) from us via a separate stage box (Midas DL32), which are all pre-processed and normalized to 0 dB. A simple summation of these signals results in a very suitable FoH mix!
Remote device control is realized entirely via Midi. It controls:
- Presets from the Axe-Fx II
- Effects from the monitor desk
- The floor light setup of the band
- The light of the house
The core unit is a 4×4 midi interface. The data packets are sent from the DAW via individual midi-tracks. The Axe-FX II switches between scenes in a classic way. The special feature is the handling of our guitars. When Emil and Hendrik play both rhythm guitars, they are completely left and right in the panorama. If one of them plays a solo, the computer-controlled Axe-FX switches the respective lead guitar to a lead channel, which is in the middle of the panorama and is output via a separate channel. In order to avoid a collapse in the stereo image, an additional rhythm guitar is played as a backing track on the missing side.
The monitor desk switches a drum FX return in some parts. The effect is a big drum hall. A pre-produced reverb will never be tight on the played signal, so we decided on this more live solution. The FX return is also transferred to the FoH via the sample bus.
The midi signal for the floor setup is directly looped back into the midi interface. This avoids unstable Midi-Looper software solutions. In MA2 on PC the Midi signal is used to switch executor, jump to cues or activate macros.
A similar Midi signal is transmitted to the FoH light place. The transmission is done by a Midi -> Ethernet -> Midi converter. When we travel without our own crew, local technicians are usually critical of our setup. However, so far every critical mind has been convinced of the functionality of the setup, which at first seems so complex.