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Velvet Revolver - Contraband


Velvet Revolver’s Contraband is this century’s Appetite for Destruction. From start to finish, Contraband is 13 songs of raw, dirty, rockin’ gold. I’ve likely listened to this album hundreds of times by now. Sonically, it’s mixed very well. But I think the recordings aren’t the greatest. For example, put this side-by-side against Velvet Revolver’s “She Builds Quick Machines” (from their follow-up record Libertad) which EXPLODES out of the speakers (even when you set their integrated LUFS’s equal for similar “busy” sections per song). Everything from Contraband sounds a bit flat and messy. This isn’t a fault of the mixing engineer, Andy Wallace, who is a legendary mixing god when it comes to rock. It’s however they recorded everything. Another analogy is comparing Disturbed’s first album The Sickness against their second album Believe. The band and mixing and mastering personnel is identical, but the records sound so incredibly different. And so it’s not the mixing or mastering engineer. It’s the recordings themselves.


At the end of the day, though, I’ll take Contraband any day of the week over Libertad. There’s nothing wrong with Libertad, it’s also a fantastic record, but the songs aren’t as raw and dirty and awesome as on Contraband. This goes to show that your songwriting is more important than your recording quality. This coming from an Audio Engineer? I know, I know. But it’s true. Focus on your songwriting first, kids!


RIP Scott Wieland. What a legendary singer. I’ve been singing along to Scott in my car for years. All of STP’s stuff, Velvet Revolver’s stuff, it never gets old.


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“Headspace” Copyright Velvet Revolver, RCA 2004

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