Genres: Hard rock, black metal, thrash, hardcore, punk and anything hi-gain
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
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. I like that the navigation fades in and out as you hover over it.
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 doesn’t need a whole lot boost wise but with the amp sim it’s appreciated. 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 portion 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.
A huge feature of the Audio Assault Hellbeast is the new cabinet section. The impulse loader is awesome and it would be very cool to see AA update their other amp sims to include it. The impulse selection included is a mix of cabs from older plugins and new inclusions as well but it allows you to use your own selection.
I have to be able to use my own selection of impulses and in this case I found it was easy to find great matches for the Hellbeast from across a ton of developers. In this case, my top picks came from Seacow Cabs and Dr.Bonkers. The MBGR-G 412 and FLTHY 112 from Dr.Bonkers made awesome matches but if I wanted a freeware option, Seacow Cab’s Zilla offerings sound massive.
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 high level of quality and when I considered the price vs. the package, it was pretty shocking.
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 and it doesn’t have to because I’d suggest Ola tone enthusiasts or really anyone that enjoys metal tones, buy both plugins.
Posted Feb 25th 2019