"Dark Invitation To Armageddon"
Studio Reports

Part 4 (01.06.07): More Guitars!

Sunday 22.04.2007

Another bloody Sunday! And the hangover is as present as ever. Jani Luttinen was recording his solos today with a brand new Ibanez 2610 Prestige. The solos on this album will be very much "Egyptian" sounding, if you can picture what I mean in your sonic little thrash metal heads. We also have some melodic solos in the good old style of King Diamond stuff. A very productive day this one was, half of the solos done! Yeah!

Tuesday 24.04.2007

Mr. Luttinen was nowhere to be found as he was working. So, me and Timo Nyberg took care of all the remaining guitar solos, leads and other hell crushing sounds. To be on the safe side we put really a lot of stuff on tape. All kinds of "twiddly, twiddly" bits, bends, dives, plectrum licking and distortion overdrives. We also came up with some additional nice melodies for the chorus parts. This is the first time I can really start to get a grip of the big picture how the album will sound. I can honestly tell you that this is the best stuff by The Scourger so far! There's so much emotion on this album that it is almost scary. Last time, when we recorded "Blind Date", we didn't have much time to put some "extra spice" melody stuff on the tracks and I think you can really tell the difference with this new one.

If I would have to compare this stuff to some other bands, then I would describe this as mix of stuff like Exodus, Nevermore, the old The Haunted style and with some bits and pieces that are reminiscent of Testament. Okay, so what's still left to do? We are thinking of asking some "gueststars" to add a few solos here and there. Also, some acoustic stuff needs still to be recorded, together with the intro and some keyboard effects and samples. Okay, I'm off to continue with the preparation for the first single release and Jari will write the next chapters of this diary.
Stay tuned and cheers!

Part 3 (15.05.07): Guitars and Bass

Friday 06.04.2007

This day turned out to be a total disaster! Jani Luttinen had arrived at the studio before me to tune the guitars and to seek out a fitting guitar sound. So far so good, but then the trouble started. There was no way for us to get the main guitar fine tuned! Even the fat E string sounded like a roller coaster going off track, making the guitar totally useless. The whole day was wasted with the exception of the guitar sound which we kicked out of the Peavey 6505. We felt really down because of the setback, so we headed straight for the bars in Kallio.

Saturday 07.04.2007

I woke up at Jani's place around eight the next morning in a terrible hangover. And who did I find down on the floor? Hehe, our bassist Kimmo! He had entered some time during the night, which I couldn't recall at all. We kicked Luttinen out of bed and started our search for a new guitar. We headed straight to Levytukku and explained our problem and they were kind enough to provide us with an Ibanez for the duration of the recordings. We chose one with a solid bridge, because those ones tend to keep the tuning better than the others.
Anyway, we headed back to the studio and after a few beers we were back hard at work. The new guitar was just a dream compared to the old one and we tracked four songs today! Mighty good indeed. There was more of an "old school" vibe to the recording, just two rhythm guitar tracks per song and some additional tracks for some of the chorus parts. We also recorded longer takes to get a more "live" feeling to the guitars. I think we succeeded as the guitar tracks sound really cool.

Sunday 08.04.2007

Another day and still six songs to go. It really feels like an enourmous task. Well, there's no other way than to grab the bull by the horns and start recording. Yesterday we recorded the easy ones and today we tackled the trickier ones. We recorded four songs and then it was time to down tune the guitars. We normally use guitars tuned to standard D, but now we wanted some more buzz, so we tuned the fattest string to C. And I can tell you that it kicks serious ass! The two remaining songs were recorded using this tuning. Awright, the songs were now in the can. Two days and ten songs put to tape with an amazing speed and precision. I challenge you to do the same! There was also an instumental song floating around but we decided that it won't fit this album so we dropped it. Anyway, this album is going to be around fifty minutes long so we will instead record a cool intro to open the album. Yes, next up...the bass!

Sunday 15.04.2007

Yo, still with me? Can there be a worser day to record bass than on a Sunday? I think not. We hit the twelve o'clock ferry to Seawolf with Kimmo and started the task at hand. Once again I suffered from a hangover, but Kimmo was sharp as a knife and ready to bash the hell out of his bass, which was great, indeed. As we entered the studio we bumped into Mike and Andy from Hanoi Rocks, the guys should be recording their new album but instead they were chilling, having a few beers and watching the Borat DVD. Way to go, guys! As they didn't invite us to join them we started the bass recordings instead. Kimmo had done his preparation well and today we had the bass tracks to six of the songs ready. I was mainly focusing on throwing some bad lines and jokes in the air,a thing I do well when in hangover. Four songs left until tomorrow!

Monday 16.04.2007

I hit the studio after work and Kimmo was already there finishing the songs. What's the fookin' hurry? Today was quite straight forward and the bass tracks are on tape now, and that's what really matters. I've always had this view that the bass is a somewhat bogus instrument in heavy metal, but Kimmo proved me wrong during the recording of this album. The bass really brought the low end to the front and added a lot to the sound of the guitars. I've seen the light, thanks to Kimmo!
Cheers for now!

Part 2 (28.01.07): Drums

Tuesday 02.01.2007

Hola! This is where the actual work and story begins...
The physical feeling was a bit tired and shaky because the new year's party had been going on for a couple of days. We started by recording the pilot guitars. On the last album we didn't have proper guitar tracks for me to follow when recording the drums, so this time things are way better from a production and arrangement point of view. We wanted to make everything by the book and this felt as a good approach to start the recordings. We nailed down 11 tracks of which one is an instrumental. When finished, I left for home to sleep to hangover away, embraced with anticipation for what was to come...a night of the lizards!

Wednesday 03.01.2007

Back in the studio. The hangover is gone and the feeling is much better. I am able to set up the drums and today was reserved for tuning and sound check. We hit some sort of a house record when fooling around with the overheads. The tuning of the drums was made by Jyty "My hands are shaking a bit" Tirola, thanks man for a job well done! So, the day ended with the drums being in tune and ready for the actual recording. Everybody had a satisfied look on their faces. The actual recording can now be done from a foundation well built.

Thursday 04.01.2007

Recording day! A huge dose of coffee and some cigarettes and I hit the task at hand. Now as we had a good demo for the guitars it gave me and Aaro (producer) the chance to experiment with the songs. We recorded 8 songs today and the drums sound amazing!

Friday 05.01.2007

Yo! So eight tracks are finished and three to go. I had left the ones last, which I hadn't quite worked out fully yet. We tried some different stuff for these tunes and a couple of hours later we had them in the can. Hell yeah! The feeling is amazing. A big thanks goes to the following people: Aaro, Hannu, Jyty and Mitro.

Later that same evening I talked about the recordings, over the phone, with Jari and we both feel that we have a nice combination of some progessive and in your face thrash on this album. We also decided to throw some bones to the dogs by sharing with you, in this early hour, some of the song titels that will be on the album. Be prepared for "Never Bury The Hatchet", "Deformed Reality" and "Cranium Crush".
Keep the scene alive!

More pictures in the pictures section!

Part 1 (31.12.06): Preparation

Awright people! Only three days to go and we start recording the drums for the new studio album at Seawolf Studios in Helsinki. There are currently 11 songs to choose from and let's see how many will end up on the album. After the recording of the drums we hit the road with Napalm Death and then we will finish the album during the last winter and first spring months. We feel a certain need to work without a specific deadline for the different parts of this recording. This means that we will take some time to find the sound and production we think that the songs need. Well, what about the songs then? At this moment in time we don't feel comfortable to share any titles yet. We want to reserve the right to change things, if we feel like it, you propably understand this more than well. However, we can tell you that in the last months or so, three different album titels have been considered. Now it feels like one is clearly above the other two. Anyway, as things progress check this space for more info...
Sepi and Jari



Sunday 28.08.2005

A hard wind was blowing when I arrived at the Viaborg island. Surrounded by German tourists, I made my way to the very homey Seawolf Studios. I was in a very good mood entering the studio, and we had even brought the drum set over from the mainland the day before, so all was set to go. After a few cups of coffee and some cigarettes I was ready to start the job at hand. The drum set I had with me is a brand new Pearl SMX session custom set, color: marine blue fade. Here is the setup for you drum freaks out there:

Bass Drum: 22"x18" , 22"x18"
Toms: 12" , 13" and floor tom 16"
Snare: 14" x 5,5" PDP cx series (wood)
Pedals: Pearl eliminator
Cymbals: Hi-hat 14" Zildjian, crash 16",16", 18"Meinl, splash 10", 10"Meinl, china 18" Paiste, ride 20" Zildjian.

I use Promark Mike Portnoy signature series sticks (of course) and Remo emperor or pinstripe skins. The producer for the album is Aaro Seppovaara of Blake. He is definitely the right man for this job, as it is really easy to work with him.

After we had the drums all set up, the hard work began. The fine tuning of the sound was reached rather quickly, even though we had time, three whole days had been reserved for the drums. A short warm-up and then we hit the recording button. I started with the intro track that kicks off the record, it's a really simple piece but it was nice to get a feel for the recording and the metronome. Hey, you might want to know that all of the drums were recorded with the metronome keeping pace and without any rhythm guitars. This is in a way easy for me as I have written the music to the entire album, no problems there! What happened in the end was that I recorded all the drum tracks in one day, this took about 6-7 hours. Hell, when you get going there's no reason to stop. One more thing, I can tell you that I am more than satisfied with the result.

Monday 29.08.2005

The theme for the day was to dismantle the setup and pack it away. I played some demo guitars for the tracks just to make sure that all the parts where right and so on. As my look wandered around the studio walls, I noticed a gong hanging there on one of the walls! Damn, a heavy metal album should have some gong hits on it, right?, maybe? We recorded some samples of it and we even thought we could use it in some song. That was very much the most exiting thing of the day, so nothing left to do than get the drums on the ferry and to land with both feet back firmly on the mainland.

Wednesday 31.08.2005

Heading out to the Moonman Studios in Karjaa. The weather was most excellent and we all had a really nice vibe among us as we arrived. Aaro met us in the courtyard and shouted out: "Welcome to the country side, boys!" and we answered him: "Yeah, right, let's get the stuff inside and start the work". In the studio: it was our intention to get a really solid and heavy rhythm guitar sound for the basic tracks, so we used the Mesa Boogie Rectifier amp and the ENGL cabinet combination. It kicked some serious ass, but the sound was rather tricky to play with. We fired up the Jacksons and the recording started rolling. The first day of the session ended six o'clock in the morning of the next day, say what, huh!

Thursday 01.09.2005

Wake up call at 12 AM and breakfast in a bar that looks like a country side house. Back in the studio: we started playing around two o'clock in the afternoon and didn't finish until three o'clock in the middle of the night. We had a few beers and then we hit the sack. Well, we didn't get much sleep because we were so tired that everybody was just laughing all the time. Finally, around six, we passed out. The feeling was very much like staying at a summer camp.

Friday 02.09.2005

Wake up call around 11 AM and the same coffee routine that yesterday and then back to work. Thank good, only one track left to play, our hit single "Hatehead", hehe. It took a couple of hours to re-track that one and the we were ready to grab our stuff and hit the road back to Helsinki. With Exodus playing on the car stereo our tail lights disappeared around the bend…that's about it!

Monday 05.09.2005

Back at Seawolf. Some additional guitar tracks will be recorded, for the clean sound and the "high end". We had with us Stig Evil's SansAmp PSA-1, which suited the purpose really well. The sound came out really clear and kickin', just as it should be. We tracked for about seven hours and that was it, we had it in the can. All rhythm guitars are now done. The solo guitars will be recorded later at Moonman Studios. I can promise you that some wicked stuff is coming your way! Now, I will pass the pencil to J. Hurskainen who will enlighten you about the vocal sessions in the second part of the studio diary.

Seppo Tarvainen


Monday 12.09.2005

All right, time to record vocals at Seawolf. The first day was devoted to "Grading:Deranged", "Enslaved To Faith" and "The Oath & The Lie". Some short notes about how we like to work, before going into details about the specific songs. We usually start with the verses and do them to the point where there are no phasing or wrong words or dull tones around. Then we hit the chorus and last but not least we focus on additional screams, repeated lines with effects, double tracking and so on. Starting with "Grading", some warm up and I hit the vocal boot and we had the song on tape quite quickly. The main thing with this song was that we needed to get the chorus "evil" enough. The line starting with "Inside your mind.." had to be really hitting and intense. Fortunately, Mr. Seppovaara, our producer, had some nice arrangement suggestions for this one and so we got it working really well. Because it is the opening track, it is very important that it sets the listener straight away into the right mood. Anyway, I also added some additional lyrics to this song in the studio to fill some gaps.

As you might realize, eight hours of doing vocals for this kind of music is physically very demanding. You gotta be careful that you don't destroy the voice on the first day. During the sessions I also had some problems with breathing, because on various occasions I felt like the air was running out in the recording boot. Hell, or might it be so that I'm getting old...hah! Well, the nice point to Seawolf is that anytime during recording you can pop out for some fresh "sea air" and get your lungs and mind sorted out. Over to the next track. With "Enslaved.." we wanted to capture some spontaneous rage on tape. I think we succeeded. We did some final decisions about the arrangement for the part where the lyrics go "Angels of enforcement..." and then we kinda had it in the can.

Then to round things off on the first day we did "The Oath & The Lie". This is one fast ride from start to finish and very straight forward to sing but the timing has to be just right. Usually when we do this one live I tend to follow the drums more than the guitars to hit my mark on time. In the studio we had no problems with the verses but the chorus needed some fine tuning. We sorted that one also out quite smoothly with our producer and basically we where ready with the first three tracks, well actually four, because "Hatehead" was already done earlier in the summer for the single. There was no need to re-record any parts for that one.

Tuesday 20.09.2005

Bugger. Eight days between the first vocal session and the second one. Not good. Not good for the mood, not good for the concentration, not good for the feeling. This was mainly because some post-production had to be done for the guitars. So, but hear, hear, this was not all! I also felt a flu getting a grip of me. Our intention was to get the vocals for "Exodus Day" and "Maximum Intensity" done. "Exodus Day" is tricky because it has this really progressive chorus with tempo changes and all. As you probably know, you get to usually hear all the right notes in a song in the studio for the first time when recording because stuff might get blurred at the rehearsal place. This adds nice tension to the recording, right? Anyway, we played around with the vocals, seeking the right solution for the chorus. It was during this stage that my voice finally gave up. So, there was nothing else do than head back to the mainland and try to get hold of some cure for the oncoming flu. Anyway, some of the warm alcohol drinks seemed to work and we tracked "Maximum Intensity" late the same evening. The chorus for this one was changed a bit from the original version we recorded for the demo, way back in 2003. This made for some challenge as you have to fight off the old melody that you have been living with until now. As the hour was growing late we had to push "Exodus Day" to the next day and I had to try and get as much rest for my voice as possible.

Wednesday 21.09.2005

Another day, another song. Well, after we fine tuned the vocal arrangement for "Exodus Day" yesterday, we nailed it to tape pretty quick today. Moving on, next up was "Chapter Thirteen". This is one of those stomping tracks that can be a bit dull if the production isn't right. Luckily Aaro's production lifted this song to a new level and it was great putting down the vocals for this one. Lyrically this song deals with the daily grind that people more or less have to be part of in order to survive. The thing I like about the lyrics for this song is that each verse ends with a note about "Chapter Thirteen" instead of repeating it in the actual chorus. So, anyway, as my voice was not yet up to extreme abuse, we decided that two songs a day keeps the doctor away...

Thursday 22.09.2005

Final day at Seawolf. Two more songs to go, "Pain Zone" and "Feast Of The Carnivore". The second a bit older song we put on the album is "Pain Zone". The first version of this one was recorded for the demo in 2003. Since then the lyrics has been changed a bit and some keyboard effects has been added to the song. My only actual struggle with this one was that the old lyrics kept popping up in my head. Then finally "Feast", as we call it. Now, this one has a tricky main riff to sing on. I tried to make the vocals as sinister as possible because the subject and the mood of the song is really haunting. After some hard work we had this one pretty much where we wanted it to be. Only some small things left to do and then the vocals for the album will be ready.

Sunday 25.09.2005

Over to Moonman studios in Karjaa. The last thing left to record was the spoken vocal to the intro "Decline Of Conformity". We also double tracked some stuff and added some effects to the vocals before the final mix. Well, there you have it. My parts for "Blind Date With Violence" are ready, recorded with blood, sweat and massive noise abuse!

Rock Hell,
Jari Hurskainen