Thus Far - Thus Far - Song Review - Modern Progressive Metal from Los Angeles, California, USA

Thus Far - Thus Far - Song Review - Modern Progressive Metal from Los Angeles, California, USA

Thus Far has a good self-titled single out right now and I had the pleasure to listen through it. All in all, the song has a lot of good stand-alone points, but also some things, that as a professional audio engineer, that I would have changed around a bit in the mixing and production process. I will go more in-depth and talk about the individual components of the track, namely the guitar, bass, vocals, and drums, and then talk about the overall production. Let’s dive in on this track!

The guitars are played so well. The band felt like it was centered around the guitarist and his riffs. He can absolutely play his instrument. A lot of the riff writing, clean and ambient parts reminded me of modern progressive metal, like bands including Spiritbox, Periphery, and ERRA. The tones of djent or modern progressive metalcore lend themselves to being very similar on this track to the previously mentioned bands. In this case, the guitarist went all-in on the djent tone, and I think that the guitars, by themselves, sounded great. The clean tones were magical though. I love nice, ambient, wide clean sections that make it feel like you are floating. As a prog metal guitarist, I highly appreciated all the fun tapping parts he did. He also managed to find catchy ways to break up the heavy sections through catchy riff writing. Overall, good execution on the guitars.

The bass was very similar to the guitars for most of what I want to mention. The tone was good by itself, and he followed along with the technical riffing well. I liked his melodic sections where the bass could be more open and breathe a bit more. He was tight and syncopated well with the drummer. He did a good job of adding what the song needed for the bass end and not stepping above or going under what was required. Good job on the bass work!

The vocals were fun. His vocals, both the screamed and the regular singing, reminded me of modern Chiodos. There is a lot of nature clarity to his screaming and singing tone. He had a catchiness to voice as well, which is needed in heavier music like this. Also, considering they used choruses in the song, he did a good job of making those vocal melodies stand out. They also might have used a mic that boosts the treble frequencies of his voice to also help it pop out a bit. I enjoyed his singing and screaming quite a bit.

The drums sounded very good. I liked that they were able to keep the dynamics of the drums in the mix, especially when he was doing his snare rolls during the breakdown about halfway through the song. The kick was nice, thick, and punchy. His cymbals were almost glassy sounding. His China cymbal was awesome. I love the way it was able to punch through the mix and give those parts more energy. He is a dynamic drummer as well, knowing when to go heavy and when to bring things back into the pocket. Great drumming!

Now it is time to talk about the overall production. I will add some of my ideas to this section that I think would have made the mix a bit better. The rhythm distorted guitars are too loud in the mix and over dominate the vocals, snare drum, and even the bass at times. They seemed very hollow sounding at times as well. It seemed to me that he had massive boosts at the 1,000 K frequency with a very wide Q. That is one of the ways you get the classic djent tone. If you don’t know audio engineering, this is just basically saying the middle frequencies were all super boosted according to what I was hearing. This could also account for the hollowness of the tone as well. There were also times when the spectrum of sound/wall of sound that I am used to hearing in metal music, could have been utilized better.

Okay, so how do we fix these things? There are a few different ways that we can go about getting the mix a bit more leveled out. Like I said earlier, the guitars would sound great if they were soloed or by themselves, but in the full band context they seem a bit off putting at times. I always follow this rule for mixing; snare, kick, melody (lead guitar or vocals) should all be about the same volume level. First, we lower only the distorted guitars in the mix. This will help with the issue of the guitars overpowering the snare, vocals, and bass and will help the overall mix sound like there isn’t a big, unnatural EQ the 1,000 K, mid-level frequencies. The other way is to keep the guitar where it is in the mix and raise the volume of the snare and vocals to where the guitar, snare, and vocals are all about the same volume, but not stepping on each other. Might have to use subtractive EQ’ing to EQ out frequencies from some of the other sound sources to had everything fit together.

The vocals hid behind the guitar a lot of the song as well, both singing and screams. I’d just either do a general boost on the vocalist’s volume or a dip in the guitars volume. Subtractive EQ’ing could help make the vocals stand out. A lot of the time, tenor vocalist’s tone and upper harmonics are in the same sound area that the electric guitar takes up, so EQ’ing out some of the 3,000 to 5,000 K range on the guitar can help clarify the vocals.

The last thing I would like to mention and recommend would be to find a way to fill out all the space in the stereo image during the heavy guitar sections because at times these areas felt empty to me. I think a very wide reverb and delay on the vocals would have made a big difference it to fully make the heavy sections feel less empty. Then I would EQ the reverb individually to make sure that you are only wanting the correct frequencies to come through the reverb. Also, I would have loved to have a wide snare hit with lots of reverb. I am thinking like a similar reverb and snare tone like to Periphery or REFLECTIONS. There is no dead space in any of their productions and I think they could be good bands to reference when mixing lots of guitars, drums, and bass together.

This all being said, the song is still very good and very listenable, so don’t let this scare you away. At the end of the day, this is all just my opinion and my thoughts. The music writing is very intelligent with lots of good breaks for dynamic changes and pauses. The riffing is amazing and every bit as good as ERRA. I enjoyed listening through the track and hope you will as well. Thank you for reading!

I am Adam. I am the guitarist and audio engineer for the instrumental progressive metal band Circles of Namibia.

In conclusion, Metalhead Community Team congratulates Thus Far for their single, Thus Far, and wishes them the very best in their future careers. Thank you for reading.



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