Welcome to my very first official solo album. ‘Apocalyptic Dreams’ is an instrumental metal album with 12 tracks. I actually deem this as melodic metal but there are some old school style metal riffs yet with many hooks and melodies. Guitar solos are a mix of melodic lines, speed, and feel. I didn’t want to crowd every song with guitar solos though. I wanted to leave room for the rhythm guitar parts to drive the song. That’s something that seems to be missing in most instrumental metal albums, so hopefully this album filled that gap.
The genre is indeed metal but of course metal music has many sub-genres (instrumental metal being one of them). Apocalyptic Dreams has a prominent classic heavy metal style that comes from my early influences like Metallica, Megadeth, and Testament. But there’s also a melodic metal feel that stims from some of the Euro metal bands I listen to like Nightwish, Evergrey, and Sonata Arctica.
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Apocalyptic Dreams Track List
Jason Stallworth – Released December, 2013
01 – Redemption
02 – End of Days
03 – Facing the Guillotine
04 – Apocalyptic Dreams
05 – Dark Forces Shall Bow
06 – Out There
07 – Mission: Terminate
08 – Legion of the Underworld
09 – As Iron Sharpens Iron
10 – Fire and Ice
11 – The Healing
12 – The Epicist
Recorded, mixed and produced by Jason Stallworth
Mastered by Mike Olson at JMO Services, LLC
The Making of Apocalyptic Dreams
I had always wanted to record my now album, but especially an instrumental metal album. It took me over 2 years to complete this album and there were many, many hang ups along the way. First was getting used to recording music through a computer (recording software). I had been out of the loop for a while and was used to those old plug-in-and-play digital recorders (I had the original Fostex DMT8). I eventually got it down though.
The other set-back, and probably greatest hurdle was finding a guitar tone I wanted to use. I had the Line 6 POD XT Live but something was missing. Once the POD HD500 came out I upgraded. I had my frustrations with both units but eventually dialed in a tone I liked using the HD500’s Angel FBALL which is the ENGL Fireball amp sim. I was also using a variety of VST plugins (LePou’s Legion and Recabinet). I went back and forth on tones, recording, re-recording; I must have re-recorded some tracks more than 100 times. I was literally driving myself mad with tweaking different tones from different amps. I ended up going with the HD500 FBALL (ENGL sim) in the end, and I’m happy with that.
You’ll also hear some clean and ambient tones throughout this instrumental metal album. Some of these have a synth effect but these are all guitars. I used the HD500’s Fender amp sim for the clean parts and the ambient sounds are coming from different reverb and delay settings I programmed. There’s a very cool spacey effect I was able to dial in. It captivated me so I hope it has the same impact for you guys.
All of the recording was direct (HD500 for guitars, plugins for bass, and Double Bass Mania’s pre-recorded drum loops). Although I was using pre-recorded drum loops, the drums were challenging. I wrote the music first then had to go through thousands of loops, compiling different loops to various parts of the songs trying to find loops that fit those parts of the songs.
Believe it or not I didn’t struggle too much with the final mix downs. I recorded through headphones some but most of the time I used my KRK Rokits while recording and mixing. I would dump the tracks to an mp3 from my studio and then listen to them on multiple sources (computer speakers, 2 types of headphones, and my car). I decided at the last minute to have someone else do my mastering. I originally wanted to do every single part of this project in-house but no matter how good you think you are at something it’s always better to have a second ear involved. Mike Olson, owner of JMO Services LLC, had reached to me to have some of my music played on his online radio station. He ended up doing the mastering for Apocalyptic Dreams which turned out amazing. I can honestly say I’m proud of this project being my first instrumental metal album, or rather, my first album in general.
Gear used on Apocalyptic Dreams
ESP M-1000 Deluxe guitar (most songs)
Ibanez RG1570 guitar (certain parts on 2-3 songs)
Dean 5 string bass (using Presonus Studio One plugins)
Line 6 POD HD500 (Angel FBALL/ENGL Fireball; Fender sim for clean and ambient tones)
Presonus Studio One Pro 2 recording software
Presonus AudioBox USB interface
KRK G5 Rokit monitors
Beta Monkey Double Bass Mania drum loops (versions III and IV)
Apocalyptic Dreams Album – Special Thanks
– Christ, first and foremost.
– Candy, my beloved soul mate. Her love, support, and belief in my dream is beyond anything I’ve ever known. This album may not have ever been released had it not been for her support.
– Mike Olson at JMO Services LLC who mastered the album Apocalyptic Dreams. Thanks for your patience and guidance as well.
– My parents Miller and Sherri Stallworth who raised me with love and believed in me enough to support my passion for music. They bought me my first guitar at the age of 15.
– Ron Goodman who was my musical mentor in my early years and fueled my interest in music. He’s a phenomenal musician, guitarist, and songwriter. Had it not been for Ron I may have never picked up the guitar.
– Ronnie Miller who went with my dad and I to pick out my first guitar (that bright red Gremlin) and who introduced me to Joe Satriani’s music (Flying in a Blue Dream).
– Uncle Fred (Freddie Stallworth, my dad’s brother) who encouraged me to get into music. I started messing around with his old acoustic; he restrung it for me and bought me a Mel Bay chord book.
– Eddie Gray for being a close friend and brother. He introduced me to my first real band that he managed. Ed and I later formed our own band. He’s been a huge encouragement in me creating this album, listening to demos and giving me feedback.
– Tom Sherman for also being like a brother. Tom joined the band Ed and I formed, which was short lived. We’ve been close friends since and he’s always encouraged my music. He kept pushing me to get this album complete as he was also listening to my tracks and giving feedback.
– Will Pufall who was the worship leader for Harvest Outreach in Pensacola, FL. Not only did I learn much from him musically but he gave me the freedom to play my own style and guitar solos in our church group. He also wrote his own music and had some of his songs published. Will passed away in 2009. He is indeed with Christ now.
– Jon Castillo, worship leader at Bridgeway Church in Wesley Chapel, FL. Jon has always inspired me his talent, compassion, and love for people. I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with Jon consistently over the years. He’s also been an encouragement to get this album out.