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Recording Industry Association of America. Unleashed in the East Priest Category:Judas Priest. Fuckin' great. That's what we did on Painkiller. The band reunited with Tsangarides at Miraval Studios in France, where the band tracked the drums, bass, and scratch guitars. Travis, Tipton, Downing, and bassist Ian Hill recorded live as a unit, with Travis writing his signature intro to the title-track in the studio as Tsangarides and engineer Patrice Roullion were testing microphone placements.
It was just a cool place, very comfortable to just go and play whatever you wanted. I knew we were gonna be working on the 'Painkiller' song and it was meant to be a fast paced upbeat song. And I was just messing around doing the intro type stuff. Technically, it's four with the feet, one with the hand. So it's not a quad but I don't know, septuplet, quintuplet Shows you how educated I am on drumming, right? I had the 'Painkiller' idea in my head and they really liked what I was doing and they said, 'Hey, just do some more of that, some stuff like that.
Rarely does a drummer get to do an intro and especially one that really sticks. Given the fact that it exists now, I'm kind of blown away. It's cool. In , drum triggering and sampling were slowly making their way into the recording world.
Given the nearly-industrial drum sound heard on the album and the sheer throttling consistency of his double-kick work, it wouldn't have surprised me if Scott Travis had employed the early technology. To my astonishment though, Travis reveals the secret, or rather lack thereof. The drums on Painkiller were captured without sound replacement with the exception of one song. Compared to the robotic synthesis heard on Ram It Down and Turbo , or even the echoing chasm where Defenders of the Faith staked its claim, Painkiller 's real and unaugmented playing was a breath of fresh air for both the band and their fans.
And it's ironic too, because when I listen to that song, there's some drum fills… especially like the breakdown, the halftime breakdown section with the keyboards and whatnot But that was back in the day when we first started sampling stuff and triggering.
And so you didn't always pick up every single note. You didn't pick up all the nuances of the ghost notes. With drums, bass, and throwaway guitar laid down, one of Tsangarides' secret weapons was now primed and ready. While the band was still posted up at Studio Miraval in France, the producer brought in keyboardist Don Airey to contribute to Painkiller. Though Airey's atmospheric synthesizers take the lead on "A Touch of Evil" and their mechanized cries reverberate through "Battle Hymn," his work is actually contained throughout the entire record.
Airey's contributions were the key to obtaining the low-end that Judas Priest hired Tsangarides to capture, accomplished by recreating Hill's bass parts on a Moog sequencer and blending the two sounds together.
It just doesn't happen. The slower the song, the bassier you can get it. The faster the song, the thinner it's going to be. By using the Moog, we could use the attack from the [bass] guitar and the lows from the Moog. With basic tracks finished, Priest and Tsangarides relocated to Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands, and recruited Attie Bauw to record the vocals, guitar solos, and special effects, as well as drive the mix for Painkiller. It was Bauw's first metal project, but not his last.
Rob Halford would continue to hire him as needed for the bands Fight and Halford, and Priest as a reunited unit returned to Bauw to work on their concept double-album, Nostradamus. I reached out to Bauw, and, as it turns out, Painkiller is still fresh on his mind. Whether it's due to its 30th birthday or not, Bauw still recalls that record as a particularly special one in his career. It was like, they're so dedicated to their work and to their skills. They were constantly walking around with the guitars and practicing and getting it serious.
Just like top athletes are, you know. You do it You have to do that with that kind of guitar work. And they were really on top of it. I was assisting him to my best ability. But then, he had a back problem.
So, towards the second half of the session, he really had a back problem. And he had to lay down, so then I was sort of taking over a bit to help him out. He gave me a lot of freedom and I respected that freedom.
After spending the latter half of the s experimenting with synth guitars and brighter, more processed tones, guitarists Glenn Tipton and K. Downing were ready to return to their roots. Specifically, back to the days of Sad Wings of Destiny when they had first met young Chris Tsangarides. What began as a happy accident became a signature of Tsangarides' arsenal and by the time Painkiller came to be, he had perfected the sound: "the vortex technique.
The result is certain notes in the solos bouncing across the speakers, and the rhythm tracks nearly shaking in place with energy. Tipton's solo in the title track is the easiest example of the vortex in action, with certain notes and their delayed copies flying across the stereo field musically. K Downing's solo, which was actually the first thing I got to record as an engineer. I have been using this technique ever since.
It utilizes the room acoustics and the amplifier. Basically one side of the stereo image is the close mic of the amp and the other side of the stereo image is the room mic. Depending on where you put that, it achieves the tone you want.
There is no rule as to where you put that mic. You put it wherever it sounds the best. You'll find that depending on where it is, and what key the song is in and a few other variables, you'll find that when one play's the lead guitar solo for example - and you have the balance right -- you'll notice this random panning going on between notes.
This is because they are canceling themselves out with the phasing and because of the same frequency. And so it gives this really fantastic life to the solos. And it makes it that much more exciting. And then when you double [the guitar], you do it the other way around. I must say, that gives some kind of size to the guitars. When you listen with headphones, you want Otherwise it feels like you're deaf in one ear. Judas Priest.
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