Arcane Malevolence brings creativity and originality to each song in their debut album, Wicked Turn of the Vine. Their progressive metal music is packed with something for everybody: interesting melodies, strong rhythms, and humor. We got to talk to Arcane Malevolence's guitarist Mike Devaney, who recorded and mixed their new album. Read on to learn more about this Connecticut band and pick up some tips to take to the studio and the stage.
- Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” describe your sound.
It could be labeled Progressive Death Metal. The guitars are heavy and distorted, and range from dissonant to melodic. The drums are frantic and full, and the vocals are a mix of growling, singing, and overall wackiness. The songs flow through a variety of themes, often switching key and time signatures.
- Describe your ideal studio environment.
I like the home studio, because it's more intimate, and there's less pressure to get things done quickly. Having a lot of expensive equipment and the right acoustics at home would be the true ideal, but obviously that's not often realistic.
- How often do you try to put in studio time?
I put in a lot of time when the band is trying to put something out, otherwise I'll be doing occasional individual experimentation.
- What kind of studio equipment do you use to record?
I record into my HP Pavillion dv9500 laptop using Cakewalk Sonar though a Presonus Firestudio Project audio interface. Each guitar track has three inputs – a Shure SM57 angled against the speaker cone (of a Peavey Valve King), an SM94 a foot or so away from the speaker, and a DI box. I've typically done the bass through the DI as well, but I've been liking to mic that too lately – it sounds more full and natural. The drums use 8 mics, two on the kick, and two condensers on the cymbals. The vocals are through a condenser.
- How do you approach recording a song?
Generally we will tab everything out first so we know exactly what we're doing. Then, I'll lay out the click track in Sonar, which is often tricky because of tempo changes. After the prep, the preferred order is guitars, then drums, then bass, then vocals (everything done separately).
- What do you do if you're trying to record and it's just not working for you?
Sometimes you just need to step away for a few minutes, maybe drink a beer.
- How do you know when it's right?
The best indicator may be when you're getting a good tone. Notably with guitar, moving mics even centimeters can make a huge difference in the tone.
- I noticed that your cover art and band photos are very colorful. Do your performances mirror these images in any way?
Our performances are colorful, not in the literal sense, but in so much as the movements and over the top gestures of our front man are very animated. This combined with our sound creates a very engaging piece of performance art, elegant and varied, with a lot of different flavors. The band photo is a good representation, or caricature, of our sound and personality.
- How does that branding help you connect to your fans?
A lot of our appeal comes from the fact that we stand out from other metal bands, both in our sound and in our appearance. We definitely turn heads, and above all stand out from the traditional metal sound. We get complemented a lot for doing something different.