Users of the original Drumkit from Hell virtual instrument were no doubt surprised at the direction taken by creator Toontrack in their last major offering, Superior Drummer 2.0. While Drumkit From Hell was tailored for metal bands and musicians, Superior Drummer 2.0 featured a sound library that was suitable for a wider range of musical styles. And while this in no way detracts from the comprehensive nature of the sounds featured on Superior Drummer 2.0, musicians in the metal genre would fall back on DFH to deliver the goods on their recordings.
Well aware of its large audience falling in the metal genre, Toontrack has since rectified this seeming oversight with the release of The Metal Foundry SDX, an expansion pack for Superior Drummer 2.0, which as its name suggests, is geared toward the heavier side of drumming. At 35 GB, the sound library featured in The Metal Foundry is larger than that of the flagship programme, which weighs in at 25 gigabytes. A total of seven new kits featuring around 300,000 sound files of single hit drum recordings are the USP of the product and the hits are by none other than Tomas Haake of the mighty Meshuggah, who was also the drummer on the original Drumkit From Hell.
I'm not sure if this is standard, but installing The Metal Foundry on my computer took ages, over an hour, even though I have pretty souped up specs. Online activation of this product is required and once you've done so, you are entitled to download midi grooves created by Gene Hoglan and Dirk Verbeuren from the website, which should be a plus for anyone looking to use programmed drums on their recordings.
Load up Superior Drummer 2.0 from within my sequencer and then the switch to Metal Foundry kits was a tension free experience. Unlike some other awesome drum VSTs which rely on hard-disk streaming, Superior Drummer (and hence The Metal Foundry by default) relies on your RAM for sample streaming, so on some of the massive kits on this product, it would be advisable to have a minimum of 4 GB of RAM on your machine or run the risk of something going horribly wrong.
Say you don't want to rely on a preset kit. That's entirely feasible with The Metal Foundry's 12 kick drums, 14 snares, nine options for rack tom 1, seven options for rack tom 2, seven options for rack tom 3, eight options for floor tom 1 and nine options for floor tom 2. Five of the kicks In addition, there are five hats, besides options for six crashes, two rides, a splash, a cowbell and a spock. Sounds on these kit pieces can be in the form of flams, sidestick, centre and edge playing on the snare, bell, bow and edge on the ride and tom rimshots.
However, if drums aren't your forte, you have the option of using presets put together by Devin Townsend, Daniel Bergstrand, Pelle Gunnerfeldt, Pelle Henricsson, Eskil Lövstrand, Magnus Lindberg, Mattias Eklund, Jocke Skog and Fredrik Thordendal, which are perfectly usable on a recording. Some of these presets mirror the sounds heard on the kits of well-established drummers such as Joey Jordison (as can be heard on the imaginatively named Snotlip preset)!
Being an SDX expansion, The Metal Foundry boasts all the cutting edge features of Superior Drummer 2.0, including adjustable microphone bleed and a full-fledged mixer. I found it was fairly simple to map one of the preset kits in the software to my e-drumkit within minutes to trigger sounds that were expressive, realistic and comparable to the drum sounds on the best CDs in my collection, thanks to Superior Drummer's great mapping feature. The final verdict: this software is a must have in your VST collection if you're into recording drums for metal but want to avoid the hassle of miking up a real drumkit.