White Noise Studio, Winterswijk

Sordide – Hier deja mort

Bandcamp : https://sordide.bandcamp.com/album/hier-d-j-mort Mixed and Mastered at White Noise Studio by Marlon Wolterink august / september 2018
The first time I worked with Sordide was during the recording of their White Noise Session in september 2016. We stayed in contact and they asked me to do the mix and mastering for their split with french band Satan. They contacted me again and asked to work on ”Hier deja mort” .

Hier Deja Mort mix preparations:

We discussed on how exactly we would approach the workflow. Sordide planned to record all instrumental tracks at Les Grandes Gaudières, France with Master of Goats. Vocals were to be added later by themselves. Based on the previous mixing session the band would record the guitar at least twice. This was done  to guarantuee a wide, thick stereo image. To make sure I had more flexibility while mixing in the vocals the band would do premixing on location. Stems were then created and sent to me to work on in the final mix. I requested guitar, bass and drum stems and at least seperate  kick and snare tracks. Especially with blast beats, they definitely need more mixing to keep them in balance. The vocals were sent as seperate tracks.

The Hier Deja Mort Mix:

So all stems and tracks were sent to me and I went through them to see how it all sounded. One of the first things I did was to check the overheads track.  I eq-ed left and right side slightly different to enhance the attack of the crashes. The overhead track then went through the stereo dbx 166 ( original version) compressor for some dynamic control and to use it’s great seperate peak limiter. This evened out the cymbals for a great sound. I did automate this compressed track later to lift some cymbal accent to enhance vibe and musical flow. Toms and overheads were on the same stem, so I duplicated the untreated track and edited that track to have only the toms. This made it more easy for me to change the balance were needed and add some eq, only on toms. Elysia’s Nvelope plugin helped to reduce some cymbal bleed in it and enhance the toms attacks. It helped the toms to cut through the mix more. Snare and bassdrum were automated to fit the flow. of the music. The band wanted a bit more natural sound, so no clicky metal kick on this album. The bx_subsynth enhanced the 60hz region in the bassdrum a bit. Sometimes eq works fine, sometimes a subsynth plugin works better. The subsynth worked best in this recording. The bx_subsynth is based on the dbx 120 subsynth, and generates lowend which is there or is a bit lacking. And does it pretty cleanly. Eq would have muddied it all up. Both snare and bassdrum went through the hardware dbx 160a compressors for some snap and extra body. Lot’s of DBX on this album…

Guitars:

The guitars on ” Hier deja mort ” had a litle bit of compression for more body. Low ratio, slow attack. Right and left channel were eq’d differently. This was done to cut some frequencies which stood out too much. It also created a bit of space for the top end of the bass and vocals.

Bass:

I love some good bass playing and think bass definitely needs to be heard. Especially if it really contributes to the harmonic content of a song instead of being just an extension of the guitars. With Sordide, this is absolutely the case. Ben’s bass has a punk-esque vibe and sits in its own little musical space adding aggressivenes and awesome counterpoint to the guitars.  We went for a more midrangey sound which has some edge to it. So we made sure the bass on ” Hier Deja Mort ” wasn’t sounding too thick. Tweaking the 500-900hz region and the 1200hz region helped a lot with that. The bass has a tad of chorus on it. It makes it more 3d and gells nicely with the music. Volume automation helped to push and pull the bass inside the track. We brought it a bit more forward were needed and a more back were the bass was a bit more accompanying in performance.

Vocals:

So the band has another quite unique feature. All 3 members sing. Think of a band like Mastadon in that regard, only this is black metal orientated. Drummer David and guitarist Julien do the bulk of the vocals and Ben has more of a second / third vocal role, although he has  lead parts too. The 3 vocal tracks contained both lead parts and choir parts. I went trough them and split it up in lead parts and choir parts since those parts need to be mixed a bit differently. Urei 1176 type compression and Neve style eq was used on all vocals and different degrees of reverb and delay to enhance certain parts of the songs. And ofcourse, the vocals were contantly balanced off against eachother to achieve an even sound.

Hier Deja Mort Mastering:

The mastering did not involve balancing the tracks to eachother, that was taken care of in the mixing stage. Some global eq tweaks were done ( mainly hi mid range and hi end) and the entire master went through my awesome BAse ( ssl5000 from the inside) compressor. It added a bit of glue and some 3d depth. The Transformifier was used again to add some hi frequencies boost. The Grundig transformers used for this boost add some nice harmonics while rounding off a few transients which were peaking too much. Great set of tools. The masters always go back and forth between me and the band. So after a bit of tweaking and a few revisions, we delivered masters for digital release, cd, vinyl and tape.