Ah, Ola Englund, his tone seems to be a pretty big deal these days and you’ll come across his name fairly often when traversing the online guitar universe. The guy is very gifted at creating good modern metal tones and his signature amp; the Randall Satan is proof of that. The Randall Satan was designed by Mike Fortin and is essentially a stripped down import version of the Fortin Natas designed to sear flesh.
Audio Assault has released a few pretty solid amp sims to go with their very cool and cost effective product line of drum samplers, processing plugins and more. This amp sim in particular was inspired by the Randall Satan and the “Ola tone”. The sim comes in a suite with an impulse loader as well as pre and post effects.
Right off the bat I can tell that Audio Assault put a lot of time into this plugin. The GUI and general aesthetics are a lot more detailed and polished than their previous offerings. There’s a simple but easy paneled suite type set up. Getting great tone quickly is a key feature of the Randall Satan and the Hellbeast carries that well as a plugin.
The Tube screamer included looks and sounds great. It matches up very nicely with the amp and you can use it to get some really nice cut to the tone. The real Randall Satan truly doesn’t need a whole lot boost wise but with the amp sim it’s appreciated as the Hellbeast doesn’t have the same midrange abilities. You can also bypass the onboard screamer or any other part of the Hellbeast suite which a must in today’s market. It makes it so much easier to experiment with different gear.
The amp really does look and sound like a Randall Satan to a degree that I really wasn’t expecting. The other AA offerings don’t directly represent any one product so their authenticity was never in question but this one is pretty obvious so here we are. The amp gives you a good taste of the real Satan’s tone characteristics but it was hard to dial in all of the bite you get with the real deal. The extreme mid bite in Ola’s tones can be recreated with the Hellbeast but you need to do a little processing and you definitely need to use the screamer.
The impulse response / cabinet section is another improved component from past releases. It’s more versatile and some of the included files sound pretty good, there’s a nice selection of options.
If you prefer to use your own IRs you can load them into the Hellbeast cab section or bypass it for your own impulse response loader. I found it was easy to find great matches for the Hellbeast from across a ton of developers. In this case, my top tones came from the FREE Seacow Cabs HES412 and the MBGR-G 412 from Dr.Bonkers Sound Lab but even old freeware stuff like the Catharsis and GuitarHacks stuff sounded great. Try your favorite 412 and 212 options!
Moving to the post-EQ section, it’s a rack mount where Audio Assault included a number of bypassable options in rack format like EQ, delay, chorus and reverb. All of these components have a pretty solid of quality and with such a crazy low price, it’s hard not to see the package as a great bargain.
The chorus is versatile and to me, a subtle chorus on a heavy tone can really work nice to thicken up a mix or create a clear difference in tones while quad tracking. The EQ is more than useful, the delay sounds really good and the reverb sure doesn’t sound like a throw in either. Overall, the post section is a hit.
UPS / DOWNS:
It’s a solid offering and if you want to get into the “Ola tone” ballpark without breaking the bank, the Hellbeast has your name on it. It’s simple, easy going, cost effective and it sounds really good. Audio Assault makes it easy for their users to get a good tone fast without a lot of hassle and the Hellbeast has just become easily their best product to date.
Don’t compare the Hellbeast with NTS Suite because they are just different animals with the same general purpose. While a lot of time and hard work surely went into Hellbeast, it’s not meant to compete with NTS Suite as they are miles apart in price. I’d suggest all Ola tone enthusiasts or really anyone that enjoys metal tones, buy both plugins.
See more – Meet&Greet with the Hellbeast
If you already use the plugin – check our Hellbeast presets in the Preset Vault