SWEDISH DEATH METAL/HM2 TONE TUTORIAL

Image result for Swedish death metal

Oh the buzzsaw, how I love that gritty, razor sharp audio catastrophe. Wanna sound like Bloodbath? How about Entombed? Well this tutorial is going to give you a good push in the right direction.

BANDS TO REFERENCE:

Bloodbath, Entrails, Entombed, LIK, Entombed A.D, Hypocrisy, Grave, Dismember

STEP #1:

Do your research. Always listen to a metric ton of the genre and tones you are going for. This gives you a goal to shoot for but it also makes sure that you know when you have found what you are chasing. It can also help to research the gear being used so you know how the plugins are working together. The buzzsaw does allow for some flexibility gear wise as long as you have the main ingredient.

STEP #2:

Get yourself an HM2 plugin. There are not as many of these on the market as there should be but there are a few. In fact, that motivated us to add the HM2 to our developer challenge!! Kazrog has the Stockholm, the TSE X50 2.5 has one onboard, Frankenline has a 32bit pair of HM2 plugins, Amplitube has the metal distortion 2, and you may find a few others kicking around. The pedal settings traditionally are to put every knob at max but on the plugin versions we brought the level knob back to about 7-8 to avoid the extra digital noise.

STEP #3:

Now you need an amp sim but the common misconception about the Swedish tone is that you need a high gain amp. The HM2 supplies the distortion so amp wise, you really don’t wanna use a lot of gain. If you add gain or distortion from the amp, it’ll get messy fast so do it sparingly. With the pedal knobs all cranked, your tone altering will need to happen on the amp. For a starting point the bass on the amp shouldn’t go passed 5, the middle would be 0-10 to your taste and the treble could be anywhere from 4-7.

Amp wise, a lot of the bands of that era used the Peavey 5150 and I have great news, many developers offer a variety of 5150 sims. Guys also used Marshall JCM 800, JCM 900 and other Marshall amps. The market is also packed full of Marshall plugins so finding one won’t be difficult, you likely have a few now. Many other amps have been used with the HM2 to create the buzzsaw tone and you will have to experiment to find your thing. In the list below you will find a solid list of amps that we thought really worked great for the buzzsaw tone.

The absolute best total package plugin for the Swedish DM sound is the TSE X50 v2.4.8. There is just no way you will do it better or easier with software. It’s a full suite from gate to post FX and it’s also got the highest quality HM2 plugin built onboard. We used the onboard gate, TS, HM2, X50 sim, onboard loader and Mesa OS impulses. After that

STEP #4:

Grab an impulse loader and toss it into the signal chain after the amp sim. This would be another moment to use your ears and just find an impulse or blend of impulses that fits in or helps the saw sit nice in your mix. We had good luck with a selection of 212 and 412 cabs. The cabs of that era seemed to just be whatever 412 cab was available at the time so really, try tons of impulses.

STEP #5:

Now it’s time to add some necessary processing tools to help harness the beast we have created. This will be a lengthy step in comparison. Don’t skip this step because without processing, the HM2 will take over your mix completely. With the knobs maxed on the HM2 it can also put out a lot of unwanted frequencies that can destroy a mix so you really need to tame the beast.

  • First we will add a gate to the start of the signal chain. The HM2 requires a gate at all times. Every DAW comes with a gate and a lot of amp sims include them as well. It needs to be a clamp when you mute the strings.
  • Next we should remove some of the unwanted frequencies before we smash the signal into the amp sim. Please see our post here about removing bad frequencies before the sim.
  • After the impulse loader we added a multiband compressor with the Sneap settings. See our links on Sneap multiband compression.
  • Next we added an EQ plugin with both high and low pass filters and a bit of cut in the mid frequencies somewhere. You’ll be able to hear the sweet spots.
  • Saturation if you feel it’s necessary. Don’t get too crazy here; you will make a mess.
  • A limiter here would be good but don’t just put one on there and crank things up. Look into how to use a limiter because if it’s done wrong, things get mushy quick.

STEP #6:

Spend your time tweaking until you get what you want out of the buzzsaw. Controlling the beast of the northern realms is one thing but getting it to do what you want is another battle entirely. If what we gave you here got you to Stockholm, so be it but we suggest spending a while and save a variety of chains.

OPTIONAL STEP #1:

Some people suggested we try putting a tube screamer in the signal chain before the HM2 can give it more bite. We tried it with nice results. Any tube screamer will do with the gain on 0, tone on 3-5 and level between 3 and 5. Remember it will add noise so you might have to adjust your gate.

OPTIONAL STEP #2:

Try some radical or outside the box EQ curves in either pre or post EQ processing. A lot of bands that use the HM2 during recording have experimented with adding some interesting processing tricks to put their own stamp on the tone. Once you have a handle on how the basic signal chain works, start experimenting.

HASR CHAIN #1

  • Kuassa Efektor Silencer
  • TSE X50 (Gate, HM2, X50 sim, Mesa OS impulse)
  • Fab Filter MB w/Sneap settings
  • Fab Filter Pro-Q
  • Brainworx Saturator

HASR CHAIN #2

  • Kuassa Efektor Silencer
  • BBE Green Screamer pedal
  • Kazrog Stockholm HM2 pedal
  • Kazrog Marshland 800 sim
  • Impulsive loader w/Ownhammer Marshall 412
  • Fab Filter MB w/Sneap settings
  • Fab Filter Pro-Q
  • Fab Filter Saturn w/the tube setting

FREEWARE CHAIN

  • DAW gate
  • Frankenlne Helvetes Metal HM2
  • Lepou Hybrit
  • Lancaster Pulse loader w/Gods cab impulse
  • Xfer OTT multiband comp
  • Softube Saturation knob