The role of the producer within an album’s creation is often overlooked. They can have a major influence on a band’s sound by altering the recording and mixing processes, aiding in songwriting and providing general feedback on a whole array of topics. Many of the top producers have small traits that grow to define them and make them easily identifiable, but sometimes this can grow out of control, as I aim to explore in today’s blog; the third installment of a new five part series investigating the role of the producer.
David Draiman is best known as the frontman of American metal band Disturbed., who were initially routed in nu metal but soon grew into their own distinctive sound, drawing influence from acts such as Iron Maiden and Queensryche. As well as being a major songwriter for the band, Draiman co-produced their five studio albums, alongside his fellow bandmates and external producer Johnny K (who only featured on their first three efforts).
After Disturbed announced their hiatus in 2011, Draiman turned his attention to other projects, including starting an industrial metal band entitled Device and undertaking production duties for Trivium’s sixth and latest album Vengeance Falls.
Upon the first listening of Vengeance Falls several things stand out. Firstly, the album is much more concise and focused than 2011’s epic, yet sometimes scattered attempt, In Waves. Secondly, Draiman has put considerable work into Matt Heafy’s vocals, resulting in a larger range and a noticeably fuller tone. In addition to this Heafy has praised Draiman’s input into creating the vocal melodies present on the album; a duty he was used to performing within Disturbed. Naturally, this complete vocal overhaul has left Heafy sounding very similar to the disturbed frontman on many parts of the record, especially during the powerful choruses of the album’s title track, as well as Strife‘s unusual verse sections and No Way To Heal‘s pre-chorus.
Whilst the guitars and rhythm section remain typically Trivium, Draiman has played around with the song arrangements, choosing to turn their often complex, borderline-progressive tracks, into a more traditional four-and-a-half minute, verse-chorus structure. Despite the high technicality and thrash elements remaining witihin their sound, the Trivium presented on Vengeance Falls is significantly different to their previous outings to warrant many fans feeling disappointed.
Draiman’s production is all about efficiency; its about condensing a track to the bare minimum, whilst focusing on large melodies and solid musicianship. Although I personally enjoy the styles found on both In Waves and Vengeance Falls, I can’t help feeling that this is an example of where a producer has molded a band into his own style, rather than using their skill set to enhance the band’s existing musical vision, and that to me is a shame, regardless of the quality of the output.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this blog, please like, comment and subscribe to email updates.
Look out for Part 4 on Friday 19th September