Mike McKenzie

Composer | Sound Designer

Dead Lights and To The Death records!

I'm really excited to share this stuff today.  The first record is We Are Finite by Dead Lights.  Dead Lights is Greg Weeks' band with Brendan Roche, who also plays in Beyond the Sixth Seal.  It was recorded by Jonny Fay at Backyard Studios.  I got to play a solo on it too.  Greg has been working on this for a while and it's great to see it finished.  Introspective, melodic rock. Check it out:

Another record I'm excited to share is Battles by To The Death.  I've mentioned them before; I was working on the mix a little while back.  To The Death is Brendan Roche (Beyond the Sixth Seal, Dead Lights), Justin Chappell (ex-Beyond the Sixth Seal), Bill Ford (The Epidemic, Death Fart, Shit Machine) and Graham Landers (Draw Blood, Deepsend Records).  Jonny Fay tracked drums, guitars and bass.  I tracked the vocals, mixed and mastered this one.  It's a meaty slab of death:

AND the Nightkin test presses just arrived.  So we'll have a preorder for the vinyl release of Oath of Elucidation soon.  Got some other exciting news in the pipeline as well.  Check back!

- Mike

Reeling It In

Everything seems to take longer these days.  Outside of making metal records, I do a lot of freelance work.  If you're curious to hear some of that, I just posted a bit of a reel on my SoundCloud. You can check that out here:

Speaking of freelance work; a short film I scored is playing at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA on Wednesday the 29th as a part of the Different Faces Different Voices Film Festival.  The short is called Femina, Fuge! and it plays during screening 2.  If you're interested in checking it out, you can buy tickets here: http://www.brattlefilm.org/2016/06/29/screening-ii/

Next week, I'll have a possibly weird piece of music up. Thanks for reading. I like pretzels.

Beyond the Sixth Seal record

Finished To The Death last week. Stoked for those guys. Now, on to the next thing.  Unraveller is nearing it's completion; Beyond the Sixth Seal is about 80% finished with a new record.  We have 8 songs.  A new death metal project is taking form as well.  Some ugly stuff, I'm excited about it.  More about that later.  Got to get back to work, check out this cool synth piece from one of my favorite composers, Matt Creamer aka Norrin_Radd.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nothing special, just some casual riffs. #casualmonday

A video posted by Mike McKenzie (@stomachearth) on

Well, I'm bouncing the final mix for To The Death right now.  It's a mighty slab of foul death metal.  Definitely looking forward to seeing these guys play this stuff live sometime.  I didn't post anything last week because I was in the thick of it and just lost track of time.  Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't.  I'm guessing you didn't.  There's a lot of musicians out there who want you to pay attention to them and with so much information flying at your face all the time, it's nice to take a break.  But if you're reading this, thanks for looking at my garbage!  There's plenty more on the way.

Now, it's time for me to finish up the next Unraveller, which will be called Horror of Humanity.  It's often difficult for me to finish projects like this or Stomach Earth.  I just want to keep refining them, fixing them, changing them.  But that is a fruitless task.  It's easy to find things you want to change, especially as time passes.  Your tastes might shift a bit and maybe in a month you'll prefer slightly different guitar tones or different panning.  Or even different songs altogether.  I often leave the studio after recording and think of something I'd like to change.  For me, it's important to set a time that I'm going to be completely done and can no longer make any changes.  When that day comes, it's done, regardless of how far into I am.  The collection of songs ends up being kind of a snapshot of a particular time.  Kind of like a time capsule.  Sometimes, I listen to old records I've done and think, "why would I ever write that riff?" or something like that.  I'll never write those riffs again(hopefully), so it's important that they happened when they did.  So, I'm giving myself until June 20th to finish that record.  This public statement holds me accountable.  I'm pretty happy with the songs and if you liked the last one, I think you will be too.  Oh yeah, here's a great dog picture from the internet.

Hideous Riff Therapy

Hideous riffing helps the hands. #inhumanist

A video posted by Mike McKenzie (@stomachearth) on

My hand is starting to get back to normal.  I've been taking it slow but I can play a lot of the usual stuff with minimal pain.

We finish vocal tracking for the To The Death record tomorrow.  If you're into Dismember, Dissection, Disfear or just really filthy death metal I think you'll like their stuff.  I find myself singing Hellmouth often.

Not a lot to report until this is finished.  Everyone is playing the new Doom...I haven't had a chance to play anything lately but I can't wait to check it out.  Have a great week!

Finger Damage Inc.

A little physical therapy for my recently mashed index finger.

A video posted by Mike McKenzie (@stomachearth) on

For the last few weeks I've been easing back into playing guitar.  I smashed my index finger on my right hand on a table, causing the middle joint to bend completely the opposite way.  I didn't actually break or fracture anything but my finger was an unusable breakfast sausage for a few weeks.  It's only now starting to feel somewhat normal.  As a lefty guitar player, it hasn't been ideal.  But I'm getting back into it.

We start tracking vocals for the To The Death record this week.  Jonny Fay did a great job tracking everything else.  He's an incredibly thorough engineer (and person) so I'm ultra-prepared to mix this thing.  I'm really looking forward to working on this record; the band did a great job with the songs.  Real mean old school death metal.

Currently listening to the Streets of Rage soundtrack. Yuzo Koshiro rules!