The Drums of Destruction EZX was produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Josh Wilbur together with Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler. Individually, they have been forerunners with several groundbreaking works in their respective fields for close to two decades and together, widely acclaimed for having shaped the sound that’s made Lamb of God a mainstay force on the modern metal scene.
The Drums of Destruction EZX comes with two full kits, one of which is Chris’ personal Mapex set while the other is a Pearl* Reference kit that was handpicked by Josh and used on several of his productions. In addition, it includes five snares, one extra kick as well as Chris’ trademark abundance of cymbals. It was recorded through an SSL4064G+, various chains of analogue outboard and captured with carefully selected microphones at Josh’s studio of choice, Hybrid Studios in Orange Country, CA. With its perfectly treated one-thousand-square-foot live room, it has proved time and time again in countless sessions to be an ideal location for ambient but still tight and defined drums that have a transparent character.
Combined, the Drums of Destruction EZX gives you Chris with his forceful, driving and unique style of drumming paired with Josh’s cutting edge but still organic-sounding production style. Add to that a broad collection of custom presets, both those engineered by Josh himself, resembling a selection of highlights from his catalogue, as well as those engineered from the ground up without any reference.
No matter how crushing your guitars or bass may be, a strong foundation of drums is a key factor in any metal mix. These are drums designed to destroy. Prepare for havoc and utter destruction. You have been warned.
Meet the team and get a glimpse of what happened behind the scenes during the recording of the Drums of Destruction EZX.
This video walks you through the facts and features of the Drums of Destruction EZX.
Hybrid Studios in Orange County, CA, is a marvel of modern studio craftsmanship. In addition to boasting a nine-hundred-square-foot control room stocked with the royalty of consoles, the SSL4064G+, a to-die-for collection of outboard gear and microphones it also houses a perfectly treated one-thousand-square-foot live room, ideal for capturing drums.
“Hybrid is a great place to make a sample library. The room is designed and tuned to be perfectly neutral. It really showcases exactly what the drums are giving you. Each cymbal becomes perfectly clear and not lost in a wash. That’s always important to me when tracking drums.” commented producer Josh Wilbur on why Hybrid was his number one studio pick for this project.
How did you get started in the music business and how come you found your home on the producer’s side of the glass? Was sound and production something that always interested you?
I think, like a lot of guys, it started with playing in bands. Then you realize how much fun you have recording. Then you start recording other bands. For me, I wasn’t really trying to “become a producer”. I just really enjoyed making records and was happy to engineer, mix or produce. I was happy to do anything that allowed me to be creative with other talented artists.
You’re coming up on almost two decades of making records. Looking back on your career, name a few stand-out moments and productions.
I’ve had so many great moments and tons of laughs. In fact, I judge the overall record experience based solely on how much fun I had during the process! Sometimes you remember moments that were monumental in your career, like when I was asked to produce Lamb of God’s “Wrath”, it debuted at #2 on Billboard! Obviously that was a huge moment for me. Receiving a Grammy for engineering on Steve Earls “Washington Square Serenade” was awesome. I was excited about that because there wasn’t a distorted guitar on the record. I felt like it was a great changeup. Shiny Toy Guns always holds a special place for my heart since I began dating my (now) wife during that record. It was also a very cool time for me because I was engineering for a lot of great producers at the time. I never knew what record I would be working on next but it would always be great. Gojira’s “L’enfant Sauvage” felt like a turning point for me in a lot of ways, so it holds a special place. More recently, mixing Megadeth’s “Dystopia” and Korn’s “Serenity of Suffering” were big “come full circle” moments for me. I think I actually got the gigs cause I mixed them both from a fan’s perspective and just made them sound the way I would want to hear them. In turn, they were both Grammy nominated. As far as actual kind of “in studio” magic moments, I’ve been privileged to witness a lot. One specific moment I remember was tracking “King Me” on Lamb of God’s “Resolution” record. We had saved it for last intentionally so that Randy would know his lyrics well enough that he could just perform it at the end, and really feel what the song was all about. We were tracking vocals in the control room and at the end he just went off and started going crazy, he really let everything he had out. And at the end of the song it comes to a dead stop, it was intense in a great way. I didn’t want to make eye contact with Randy since I didn’t want him to come out of the moment he was having, so i just stared straight ahead with him standing right beside me still holding the mic and catching his breath… It was powerful. Then finally I turned back to look at Randy. He looked at me and came out of the moment… He went from shaky breath catching, to a simple laugh of relief just as I hit stop. He knew he got some demons out. It’s the last thing you hear on the record and that whole outro still gives me chills.
You’re active in all fields of production: engineering, producing, mixing, writing and mastering. Is there one you prefer over the other?
No, not really. As far as mixing and writing/producing, I love it all for different reasons. Too much of anything can start feeling stale. Mixing is generally by myself and I enjoy the creative process of painting a sonic picture. Production and writing time is generally a ton of fun if you’ve got a great band or artist to work with.
In a mix, where do you usually start: the drums, guitars, vocals or something else?
I feel like this has changed for me in the last several years. Way back I would always start with the drums. But now, I kind of listen to a quick rough balance of the song and then just go with whatever I’m feeling excited about. On Parkway Drive I remember starting by mixing the guitars and bass together first. Then I muted them and worked on the drums. Then I brought them all together to see if my separate pictures fit (they probably didn’t). Ha!
Is there any instrument you generally struggle with more than any other in a mix?
Not so much. That really depends on the production, the recording and most importantly the actual instruments used. Sometime’s you’ll struggle to get something just right for hours, then the next record the same instrument will sit perfectly as it was recorded. Every mix is a different animal. Also, a different tempo and key can drastically change how instruments sit even if the same tones are used in a previous song.
Do you have any mix “trick” you generally fall back on?
I think with experience, like in any job, you come up with a handful of ways to deal with certain situations that arise. But that can be as simple as… “I tend to like this microphone on these kind of cymbals.” But I’m constantly changing up my approach and looking for a better way to do something. I think that’s half the fun of the gig!
If you had to describe your philosophy of sound, how would you put it? What is the most important thing according to you that makes or breaks a production?
The song. The production is secondary. Sometimes in the studio I may be presented with a song idea that is lackluster. If the artist’s response is, “yeah but it will be sick with harmonies, FX, production and stuff,” then my response is always: “How about we come up with a great part that works on its own, and THEN think about tricking it out.”
If you produced a record but couldn’t mix it yourself – who would be your first pick for the gig?
Andy Wallace. He’s great.
What was your aim going in to this project?
Well, I think this was a unique situation in that it started as an album tracking session. Toontrack caught me at the perfect time! The Mapex kit was actually left set up and mic’d up from the actual recording of Lamb of God’s “Burn the Priest – Legion: XX” album. So if any users ever wondered how would these drums sound actually used on a real record, they can hear them right there on the album. Then, obviously, with Adler’s kit being so unique-sounding I wanted to bring in another kit that could round out the available options to myself and anyone else who uses this pack, as well as one or two of my “go to” kick drums and snares. I also really wanted very clear controllable cymbals. I definitely think that was achieved.
Finally, there are a lot of Toontrack users out there that are striving for careers in this industry. Regardless of whether someone is looking to produce, engineer or write, any hands-on tips on how to get a head start and possibly avoid some wrong turns on the way?
Man…. Wrong turns are part of the journey. I’ve made my share, and I learned from all of it. I’m still learning. But I do think that there are rarely shortcuts in life. Working hard and treating the people you work for and with correctly is as valuable as the work itself. So I guess the short version is: work hard and don’t be a jerk! Oh and enjoy it! At the end of the day, we’re just making music.
Listen to a selection of the presets included in the Drums of Destruction EZX.
The Drums of Destruction EZX comes with two main kits handpicked by Josh and Chris.
Josh: This was my first time hearing this kit and it was great. The hardware was super cool too! You could just lift the drum right off the mount to change the head. Incredibly innovative. Chris’ Warbird snare is the same snare we’ve used for almost every Lamb of God recording. Chris is a big fan of getting a good amount of ring out of it with solid rimshots. But it can also take on a lot of different shapes with different EQ in the mix stage. The hand-hammered Mapex is the same drum used on Trivium’s latest release. I just really loved that drum. The 13 inch Black Panther is kind of a secret weapon snare. I’ve used it on a lot of records. It sounds cool tuned up super high or low and fat. Great drum.
Josh: I always love recording these kits. They are just so easy to tune and so musical. This particular one is 10”, 12”, 14”, 16” which as a drummer myself is the tom sizes i prefer. It’s such a balanced sound moving down the toms.
Josh breaks down his microphone positioning and signal chain philosophy!
|Kicks:||Shure BETA 52A –> Neve 1073 –> Distressor|
|Snares:||SM57 and Shure BETA 98A (blended on top) –> Sennheiser e 609 on bottom –> all Neve 1073 –> Distressor bussed together through the SSL G+.|
|Crashes:||All crashes were through API mic pres. The only EQ is minimal high pass filter. For microphones, I used:
AKG C451 B on the crashes
AKG C414 on the ride
Octavas on splashes
Neumann KM84 on hats
Neumann TLM 170 for room
|Toms:||Shure BETA 98A on top and Sennheiser MD421 on the bottom rack toms and AKG D112 on the bottom of the floor toms tops and bottoms were bussed together with EQ through the SSL G+.|
The cymbal microphones are positioned more as spots rather than overheads. It gives me more control over each individual crash and splash. The only compression was on the kicks and snares. The toms and overheads I never compress going in.
7×10″ Mapex Versatus Prototype
9×10″ Pearl* Reference
7×12″ Mapex Versatus Prototype
9×12″ Pearl* Reference
15×16″ Mapex Versatus Prototype
14×14″ Pearl* Reference
16×18″ Mapex Versatus Prototype
16×16″ Pearl* Reference
14″ Meinl* Generation X Filter China
12″ Meinl* Soundcaster Custom Distortion Splash
8″ Meinl* Candela Bell
8″ Meinl* Byzance Traditional Splash
16″ Meinl* Byzance Traditional Medium Crash
16″ Meinl* Generation X Filter China
*All other manufacturers’ product names are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Toontrack. See full notice here.
3 GB free disk space, 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended).
A working EZdrummer 2.1.7 or Superior Drummer 3.1.2 (or above) installation.