Those lads at It Might Get Loud Productions have been busy over the last year or so… it seems like only yesterday we interviewed Ron about the launch of the company with Kvelt Drums. Today they have a number of releases available, including the unholy trinity of drum kit VSTs; Anarchy Drums, Riot Drums and Djenthugga. We’ve decided to cover all three in one triple-decker review.
IMGL specialise in drum kits that have an authentic sound that is deliberately raw and ready for you to process as you desire. These are not super high-end, world famous studio, radio-ready samples but they are recorded professionally with a variety of mic positions and plenty of hits so that they sound realistic. Each kit also comes with suitable MIDI groove packs played by a real drummer (also sold separately).
Anarchy in the USA
We’ll start with Anarchy Drums, which is the most recent release. Inspired by 90’s California Skate Punk, what you get is a real nice punchy, crunchy kit that suits an up-beat punky sound but can be moulded to rock and metal tracks. Comprising of over 2800 unique samples you can totally get away with playing super fast beats on this kit without ever sounding like a machine-gun in a cheap computer game.
These are totally raw samples so apart from the dynamics and saturation already baked in via the real microphones and tape used to capture them there is no further processing, allowing you to take full control over their final tonal destination. Bringing more control is the elaborate, yet very easy to use, mixer section. From here you can control the levels of the close mics, room mics and overheads individually, for each kit piece. Incredibly useful for fine-tuning the ambience.
Finally there’s the routing window which allows you to set up the outputs of the plugin to your DAW mixer. There are three options here, the ‘songwriting’ setup just outputs everything to a single stereo output, then there’s a ‘simple mixing’ option which combines the mics for each kit piece, resulting in six stereo outputs. Finally there’s the ‘matrix’ option which gives you full control over exectly where each microphone gets sent to (up to 16 stereo outs). This is the one to go for if you really wanna get your hands dirty mixing with this kit.
There’s a handy ‘soundcheck’ function that just plays beats on a loop (with a few options of playing style) to help you get set up. You can also adjust the MIDI setup here but it comes set up with standard mapping that will work with most MIDI packs. We’ve been stealing MIDI from our Toontrack packs to play this and they work perfectly.
Punk and Disorderly
Prior to Anarchy Drums, we were treated to Riot Drums. This is another faithfully DIY recorded punk kit with all the same functionality as the Anarchy plugin. It’s a different kit and a different room and we feel like the player really smashes this one. The ambience is great. This really sounds like a live drumkit and would be perfect for heavy, dirty punk records.
Once again, the samples are raw and plentiful, allowing you to steer the mix where it needs to be. Tonally, everything you need has been captured, you just need to slice and enhance as required. Again, there’s a variety of close and room mics to blend in to make that room sound just the way you want it.
We kinda prefer this kit to the Anarchy kit, purely because it’s more gutsy and beefy. And we like guts and beef. That said… Anarchy is going to be best for a lighter, brighter plunk sound.
Time Djentlemen, Please
Finally we gotta tell you about Djenthugga Drums. This is like the cheeky, chunky, kinda brutal little bro to the uber-hench Anarchy and Riot twins. There’s no cymbals on this kit, just kick, snare and toms. You also don’t get the fancy mixer or routing options. You can adjust the EQ for each piece in the only screen you get. At least we think it’s EQ… the only labels are for ‘DJENT’, ‘JAZZ’ and ‘BEEF’.
Yet for all it’s simplicity, Djenthugga delivers a solid barrage of sound capable of confidently underpinning a tight, heavy metal track. The lower price reflects the lower functionality and number of samples, but the quality is still top-notch.
If you’re one of those guys/gals who likes to write and record dirty punk and metal at home but you don’t have room for a drumkit, or the patience for a punk drummer… It Might Get Loud probably have a kit that will work for you. This is not a Slate or Toontrack product and these kits were not played by world famous drummers in world famous studios by world famous engineers. And that’s exactly WHY they are perfect for the authentic sound of your Crust/D-Beat/Pop-Punk/Woteva bedroom studio project. And the prices are far more agreeable too.
PS. If Anarchy and Riot are twins, with Djenthugga the vicious runt brother (see earlier analogy) then Kvelt Drums is the sinister, creepy uncle they’re all a bit scared of. Also worth checking out if you’re making lo-fi black metal. 😉