Big Fish Audio | Sound on Sound John Walden | Scott Rockenfield Queensryche Drums Product Review
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Scott Rockenfield Queensryche Drums | Sound on Sound

Reviewer: John Walden | Rating: 4 out of 5 Back to Scott Rockenfield Queensryche Drums product details

This is a recent addition to Big Fish Audio's Performance Loops series. The basic format of this series usually takes a complete performance from a single instrument type (all the drums, for example, or all the acoustic guitars) and then splits the performance into a number of shorter loops that can then be rearranged as required. However, this format is given a bit of a twist here. Over their more than 20 years, Queensryche have built a considerable following for their particular brand of heavy rock, and this sample collection essentially reproduces the entire drum performances from 17 tracks from their back catalogue (including tracks such as 'Silent Lucidity', 'Walk In The Shadows' and 'Eyes Of A Stranger', all of which appeared on the 1999 Greatest Hits album). And to ensure the authenticity of the playing and sounds, the tracks were played by Queensryche's drummer, Scott Rockenfield.

Each CD contains over 750 files (640MB), mostly as loops, but also a couple of folders of single hits. On the first CD the loops are wet, with some room mic ambience added, while the second contains the same loops dry. Loops are subdivided into folders based upon the original song title and, usefully, each folder name includes the original tempo. Within each song folder are, on average, more than 30 loops, and these generally vary from one to four bars in length. The loop names have been very well chosen, and this makes it easy to identify straight loops, fills, intros and endings.

The recordings themselves are excellent, with a good solid kick, and a suitably tight, but punchy, modern snare sound. The cymbals also have just the right amount of top end, without too much sizzle - all in all, the kit sounds great and would work in any modern rock style. The dry loops are right in your face, while the wet loops are not too wet (which personally I liked), but if you want something in between, it is simply a matter of running both versions together and adjusting their relative levels - this worked easily enough in Acid . However, as all the loops have been especially recorded for this collection, from a user's perspective the big plus is how easy it is to mix and match loops from the various songs - the kit sounds very consistent between the song folders. Of course, all this is topped off by some excellent playing and, while there are some straight-ahead loops here, there is also an abundance of intricate and quite subtle detail in a lot of the performances. One characteristic of Scott's playing is the ghosted snare rolls that sit between the beats, and there are plenty of examples of that here, which add a distinctive flavour to the drum tracks created.

Usefully, a good range of single-hit files (both dry and wet) are also provided. Aside from about a dozen very nice cymbal swells, these are dominated by single hits, covering the full spectrum of the kit. In the case of the kick and snare, this includes a series of four hits that could be used to create velocity layers in a sampler programme. Again, the recording quality is excellent across the board.

If rock is your thing, and you want something just a touch different, then this library is well worth exploring. The only significant downside is that the licence does not permit use in a library/production-music context. The collection contains plenty of excellent loops, and it is very easy to build a complete drum track. Despite the rather unusual basis for the loops, the end result works really well and the playing has plenty of character. While I'm sure these loops would appeal to a wannabe Queensryche tribute band, they would also sit comfortably behind a range of rock styles, from Audioslave to Linkin Park and all shades in between.

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