Devin Townsend Project – Deadhead

While I was aware of Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad I didn’t really listen to any albums. Recently some older Devin Townsend videos from EMGtv appared in my youtube timeline (“Kingdom“, “More“). After skipping through these clips I finally started listening to a few more songs. Some of these I skipped fairly soon, others I listend to a bit longer. This one I kept returning to, I find that dark wall of sound rather enjoyable.

[New Album] Divine Ascension – Liberator (2014)

Artist:             Divine Ascension (Australia) 
Album:              Liberator (2014) 
Genre:              Progressive Metal / Power Metal
Similar Artists:    -
Official Website: / Facebook

Ususally I’m fairly impatient when listening to new albums. This was one of the rare occasions where I recognized that I was well into track 4 or 5 and hadn’t touched any buttons yet.

Divine Ascension is a female fronted metal band from Australia. Genre wise I would classify the music as power metal with strong progressive influences, but nothing overly complex. The vocal style is different from most modern female fronted metal that comes to my mind. I’d say it’s more or less a traditional singing style which I think is a refreshing departure from operatic or growling feale voices.

The album “Liberator” is the second album recorded by the band. It includes 11 tracks with no real disappointment. My biggest gripe with the album is that I believe that the vocals could be a little bit wider and more up front in the mix, if that makes any sense.

Continue reading

It’s been a while…

What started as a few weeks off ended up becoming a several months long hiatus. In the mean time I got another job and moved to another city. Now that I have settled in a bit, a couple of days ago I felt it was time to mark the occasion with some new gear. So I went and took home two blondes:

Fender American Professional Strat and Victory V40H “The Duchess”

  • The Stratocaster is a current model of the Fender American Professional series. With the three single coils and maple fretboard it’s good company to my black Double Fat Strat.
  • The Victory V40H is a pretty straightforward amplifier. It features a single channel with lots of clean headroom, a serial effects loop and a builtin digital reverb. It’s a great platform for pedals and effects, but also sounds nice on it’s own.

I’ve prepared some bits and pieces in the background, so I expect to get back into a regular posting schedule now. Topics will still be guitars, effects, music but also what I have learned from playing around with all that gear throughout the years.

Real Life and more Concerts

The so called “real life” is quite a bitch right now. My job is currently overwhelming me with work. While “more work” is usually good, it also means that my work life takes up more than expected of the 24 hours I have available on a regular day. To make things worse, I had to postpone my summer vacation until mid-September.

Today I walked by an ad for an upcoming show featuring “Dirkschneider” and “Doro” and thig lightened up my mood. This evening I went on a ticket shopping spree and ended up with the following shows I’m going to see in the next couple of months:

  • Dirkschneider” and “Doro“: I’ve grown up listening to Accept (feat. Udo Dirkschneider) and Warlock (Doro) back in the 1980s. I haven’t seen Mr. Dirkschneider live since Accepts “Objection Overruled” tour in the early 1990s. The last Doro concert I have seen was just few years ago and it was quite an event.
  • Paradise Lost“: This is the band that got me started on Gothic or Death Metal. This is actually going to be the first time that I will actually see them live.
  • Arch Enemy“: I am a big fan of this band and I have been to one of their concerts earlier this year. That was quite an amzing lineup (“The Haunted” / “Lacuna Coil” / “Arch Enemy”) and a great performance.
  • W.A.S.P.“: This is going to be another “first time”. W.A.S.P. is one of the bands that did grow on me in the last 10+ years. On this tour they are going to perform the full “Crimson Idol” album as well as a set of other classics.
  • The Iron Maidens“: I like Iron Maiden, I like good cover bands and I like boobs. So here we go. Sorry, couldn’t resist. 😉
  • Manowar“:Is this the first “farewell” tour Manowar is doing? I’m not sure, but I’m not going to miss this chance to see them live for the first time

Pedal Board 2.1-ish

Last year I started building pedal board with guitar effects (Pedal Board 1.0). That evolved quickly and I had to move to a larger board (Pedal Board 2.0). It all started because at that time I was moving away from software simulated amplification to a real tube amplifier. While in a digital workflow there is a convenient way to add different effects with a click of the button, in a “real world” signal chain a new devices have to be added.

Work in Progress

Once I got started I was quickly intrigued by the vast range of all the different effects available. It didn’t take long until I developed serious G.A.S. resulting in a growing pile of pedals to mess around with.

At the moment I am trying to build a new pedal board based on the larger PedalTrain that I used for the Pedal Board 2.0. Below is an overwie of the current status if the board and my thoughts of the effects included. Continue reading

NGD: Gibson Les Paul Standard

I have been playing Les Paul style guitars for a few years now (Tokai, FGN). I’ve come to appreciate the shorter scale, the lack of a vibrato system and that beefier sound these guitars tend to have. So far I didn’t feel the need for a real Gibson but in the aftermath of this years Musikmesse I went to the different local guitar stores to check some guitars out.

The current Gibson Les Paul product range is diversified into a whole lot of different models and configurations. Not including custom shop or reissue models I count 8 different models some of which are available in “T” (traditional) or “HP” (high performance) configurations. Here we go: Les Paul Faded, Les Paul Tribute, Les Paul Studio, Les Paul Classic, Les Paul Traditional, Les Paul Standard, Les Paul Custom Studio and finally the Les Paul Custom Standard

Major differences between the models include:

  • pickup models
  • wiring options
  • weight relief of the body
  • neck profile
  • neck joint shape
  • tuners (normal, locking. electric tuning system)
  • finish styles
  • available colors / tops

The result is that guitar stores either have only a few of the available models in store or if they feature many different models they will have only one or two of each. That makes picking “your” guitar quite a task.

Gibson Les Paul Standard T

It took me a while and various trips to different guitar stores in my area but finally I went home with this Les Paul 2017 Standard T. Here are some of the key features of the model and this specific guitar:

  • weight relieved body (3.6 kg)
  • nitro lacquer finish (Blueberry Burst)
  • asymmetrical slim taper neck
  • compound radius rosewood fretboard (10″-16″ radius)
  • Burstbucker Pro pickups
  • modern wiring with coil split, phase switch and bypass
  • locking tuners
  • aluminum bridge/tailpiece

Gibson Les Paul Standard T

Me and the guitar are still in the honeymoon phase and I am probably high on the vanilla smell of the Gibson nitro lacquer. So it is a bit too early to say how much I really like the guitar and how it compares to the other Les Pauls that I have (FGN, Tokai).

What I can already tell is that I consider the weight relief a good thing. The guitar sounds like I think a Les Paul should but it has the weight of the average Stratocaster which still is enough. Another thing I immediately enjoyed is how playable the guitar is in the upper register (frets 15-22). Granted, it still has the chunky classic neck joint, but I think the wider fretboard radius makes things more comfortable.

Musikmesse 2017

At the beginning of April 2017 I had a few days off and like last year I took the chance to visit the Musikmesse at Frankfurt. This year I had a little more free time so I also visited the Pro Light & Sound fair that takes place roughly at the same time.

The Musikmesse did take place from April 5th to April 8th and focused on musical instruments of all kind and recording equipment.

Like last year I walked through all the halls but concentrated on the drum and electric guitar areas which happen to be in one place. Again many brand names were missing or hidden in a separate business floor of the hall. Instead there is an obvious presence of small/unknown Asian manufacturerers of cheap(er) instruments and parts. Also, I noticed some free spots in the floorplan that felt odd. 

A nice feature in this hall is the drum and guitar camp. A major part are two large soundproof boxes in which performances by professional drummers and guitarists take place. Aside from these demo performances there are signing sessions and the presentation of the actual instruments used by the artists.

The three things that stood out to me on this years Musikmesse were:

  • That blueburst Gibson Les Paul Standard I checked out felt and sounded really nice.
  • Once again Vigier had the strangest design (see below).
  • Nik Huber showed some very beautiful but also very expensive guitars.

The Pro Light & Sound fair did take place from April 4th to April 7th. The fair focuses on stage rigs, lighting and live mixing equipment.

I can’t comment much on what companies were present or which were missing as I am not part of the target audience of this fair. From a visitors point of view was interesting to have a look at the different kinds of products presented and watch some demonstrations in the various booths.