Rigged: Mayhem Guitarist Teloch

I’d hate to bash my own website’s features, because hey, Rigged is rad. We’d all (and by “we’d all” I mean “most of us would”) like to know how our favorite tones are achieved. But you know what’s more interesting? The story of how a rig evolves over the years. What cheaper gear was discarded when budget allowed? What sonic dead ends needed a k-turn? Then it’s not just a snapshot. It’s a narrative.

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So with Mayhem‘s new album Esoteric Warfare set to arrive on June 9th, why not get the backstory on the band’s guitarist Teloch? That way, once your preorder arrives and you throw that puppy on your turntable or what have you, you feel more connected. One with the record. Complete.

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When asked to this this, my first thought was, ok great, this is going to be a short one : LTD guitar plugged into a Engl, press record. But I can try to be more specific and also share some background on my so called “career” and what led up to the gear Im using these days.

My first proper guitar was a Kramer guitar that my parents bought me, can’t remember the model, but it was a pink one (argh), the black one was sold out. Of course I spray painted it black very soon so it would look cooler.

mayhem-rigged-teloch-BCR Hanging

I learned how to play guitars by listening to Metallica, and it didn’t take long before I was up and running. I had some friends doing the same thing, so we sat in our rooms, doing this shit over and over and over, of course I skipped school to play guitar. School was out of the question, playing guitar was the only thing I was interested in. We played in some bands for fun, and it didn’t take long before I ended up in the “biggest” metal band in my hometown at the time, called Legions. They where playing Thrash Metal, so I started getting more and more into that. And also I did some hardcore at the same time. Of course, things evolve, and I got attracted to Death Metal. Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, Obituary, Pestilence, Possessed, Death etc etc. Played in some Death Metal bands, but I quit that after I heard Mayhem –De Mysteries Dom Sathanas, I was sold, and started to write Black Metal songs. I had heard the Deathcrush album from Mayhem before, but it didn’t have the same impact on me as DMDS. In 1995 I started a band called Nidingr, still using the Kramer, and a Marshall Lead 100 Mosfet amp and a Marshall 4×10 cabinet, think I was using a Boss Metal Zone MT-2 on that rig. Kept on using that for some years, but dont remember what happened to it. After some time we started using 7strings in my band Nidingr, so I got myself a BcRich NJ Warlock 7 string with a fucking floyd rose (hate those things now).

After some years I started touring with Gorgoroth and I bought a Engl Powerball while touring and have used Engls since then. Have 3 of them now, Powerball1 & 2 + Fireball100, B52 Cab and a Engl PRO cab. Just before I joined Mayhem I got a endorsement with Esp/Ltd, and haven’t looked back since. They produce some truly great guitars! I picked out EC1000 to be my Mayhem guitar, and for Nidingr I use two LTD H-1007 and a LTD SC-607. The size and weight on the EC1000 is great for my style of playing, the neck is fast and smooth, and it keeps the tuning very well.

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For this Mayhem album, I used 3 different guitars, all of them LTD EC1000 Deluxe series, 2 VB and one VB Duncan, with different pickup configurations. Emg´s on two of them and one with stock pickups. One with EMG Hz (not sure what model), one with EMG81X and the last one Duncans. I never use neck pickups, always the bridge pickup, tone set to full, never touch those buttons.

mayhem-rigged-teloch-No buttons 3

When recording this Mayhem album ( Esoteric Warfare) I used the 2 of my Engl amps via a B52 cabinet, don´t know the model (see photo), used the Powerball 2 on most of the rhythm and fast arpeggio stuff and the Fireball for the more crunchy parts. I find the PB2 has a very cold sound compared to the PB1, the PB2 is also much tighter than the PB1, where as the Fireball has a much warmer sound than the other 2 amps. So for this material, those two amps where the amps of my choice and used thru-out the album. Ah yeah, and not to forget, I use Reference cables (Italy) all the way, the way that theses cables “open up the sound” is insane, recommended.

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When I was done with everything I added a guitar recorded via my Balance sound card into Reason 7. Used the soft amp in there and added a track in the middle, with mostly presence and hi mids, mixed lower than the main guitars,to get that chugga chugga nice sound. I did this in order to “dirten” up things a little bit, recorded all the songs in 1 take and didn’t care much about any mistakes, sloppy playing, it helped with the whole atmosphere as well. Its a nice trick I tend to use whenever I’m recording an album, the middle guitar I might add, not the sloppy playing.

Recorded the guitars myself in a borrowed studio with a standard metal microphone setup, Sm57 and a Sennheiser 421 via the Balance sound card, Reason 7 and a Macbook. I have used Reason since V1, so when it got the possibility to record in there I stopped using Sonar, that I have used for a long time. Reason 7 fulfills all my needs, its simple and got what u need, no extra plugins or bullshit like that is required. The last years all pre-prods I do and recoding is done in Reason 7. The only thing not recorded on the Balance/Reason7 setup on this album is the drums, everything else was recorded in Reason 7.

mayhem-rigged-teloch-From recording mayhem guitars

Effects, none. The only box I use is the guitar tuner (Korg something). Cable straight into the Engl. Usually to find my tone in a new environment I put all the knobs straight up, and do small tweaks from there.

Need to check out my other bands and releases, or want to ask me something about gear or anything music related? Head over to https://www.facebook.com/Teloch and I´ll try to help you out.

Written by

Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.