Thursday, September 15, 2011

Annihilator's "Betrayed" by Mike Harshaw

  Well this time I'm changing things up a little bit, I'm having a special guest do this post. I'm hoping this turns out to be a sort of regular thing where I can showcase some of the great musicians I have been fortunate enough to work with at one point or another. This week is Mike Harshaw
Mike Harshaw
Mike with Warmachine
  I remember the first time I saw Mike, it was June 6, 2006. I know that because he was playing a show at a metal club celebrating the date: 6.6.6. I was immediately blown away by his skills. He looked so young and yet he played as if he had been doing it forever, lots of confidence and power even back then. Being in the same scene meant that I obviously saw and heard a lot from Mike and his band at the time, Nexus. We did a bunch of shows together (including both the filming and the release of Warmachine's DVD) and eventually Mike got hired by Mastery, a band in which he can display his full abilities. Most recently I had the pleasure of playing a show with Mike as we opened for Accept here in Toronto. I am very happy to have him as my first guest on the blog, I guarantee he will blow your socks off with his rendition of Annihilator's "Betrayed" from their latest, self-titled album. Enjoy! 

  Here's what Mike had to say about the song:

  "Annihilator is one of those bands that I've always known and liked, but not untill recently did I really start to seriously get into the band. Being Canadian myself, I am pretty proud to call Annihilator a Canadian act. I really respect that after such a long career they have managed to put out such a variety of albums while staying true to their sound. That is why I decided to "Betrayed" off of their latest self-titled release "Annihilator". I was really impressed with how awesome this record was being such a recent album. I sometimes have trouble getting into some of the newer cd's and find myself constantly listening to classics like Megadeth's "Rust in Peace" or Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and other greats from the past. 

  "I chose Betrayed because I can't listen to this song without getting really pumped up. A really catchy and driving song like a lot of Annihilator's material. I liked the drums a lot in this song. One of the first things that caught my ear was the cymbal grab fills that happen in the middle of all the choruses, such a tight fill and works so nicely with the guitar riff. I also dig the fills that appear at the end of each verse before the chorus: building off the snare, going down a couple toms and then making the fills more complex, incorporating different snare/tom fill combos as the song goes on. I really love how the drummer builds the fills progressively as the song goes on. You can tell the attention to detail in how the fills are placed and created. As the song progresses, so do the fills.

  "When I was coming up with how I would play the song I tried to sort of take that idea a little further, changing/extending a couple fills. Especially the fill at the end of the last verse before the last chorus. Another cool part is the intro when the actual beat starts. I've always been a fan of those type of slow double bass/low tom grooves. With flams being played on the snare drum and toms to give it that extra fat sound. Of course the end is totally killer, all out double bass with the snare on the downbeat for a fast heavy finish. Can't deny that haha. The guitar, like any Annihilator tune, was really catchy and driving while also being melodic. The one part that especially caught my ear was at 3:12 to 3:30 in the video. This melodic lead section totally reminded me of the Amott brothers and Arch Enemy. Just a supper cool harmony part that really did it for me. Back to the drums for this song, I tried to stay true to what the drums do on the record but I can never help putting my own little twist on things. Hope you enjoy! \m/"

  Mike Harshaw (Michael Arthur Andrew Harshaw) was born in 1988 and has been playing drums for about 8 or 9 years. He enjoys playing anything from classic rock to heavy metal, specializing in progressive speed metal. He has played in many different groups along the way, currently with Mastery: A Toronto/Austin TX speed thrash metal band fronted by Billy Milano, (S.O.D/M.O.D). Hailing from Grimsby, Ontario, Canada Mike plans to have a future playing drums and music.

  See you guys next time. Don't forget to add your comments and follow me if you want to be informed when the next post is up \m/

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