A modern homage to the heavy metal style pioneered by Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) advances the genre with new vocal hooks swirling in an aggressive undercurrent of guitars, bass and drums. Of the band’s three albums, the most recent two, Scream Aim Fire and Fever, have debuted in the top five on the Billboard 200, and BFMV has sold over two million albums worldwide. FOH engineer Dave Nutbrown and monitor engineer Mark “Yogi” Novissimo have been tirelessly touring with the band for the past year, traveling across Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. Night after night, they rely on Sennheiser microphones for vocals, guitars and drums and Sennheiser wireless personal monitors for reliable performances.
”Despite the fact that there are no wedges, the stage at a Bullet For My Valentine show is exceptionally loud,” said Nutbrown. “Fortunately, we are able to use a collection of Sennheiser mics that have excellent on-axis fidelity and unparalleled off-axis rejection. So we have no problems, whatsoever. Overall, the band’s crunchy, guitar-driven sound is a combination of classic metal with some modern variants, like exaggerated front-head click on the bass drums.”
To get that crunchy guitar sound, with just the right amount of bite and tone, Nutbrown relies on paired Sennheiser MD 421 II dynamics with Sennheiser e 906 dynamics. One set of mics covers Matt Tuck’s rhythm guitar and the other set covers Michael Paget’s lead guitar. The capsules in each set are right next to each other and, as such, avoid phasing issues. “Their twin guitar sound really defines the band, and it’s critical to get that right,” commented Nutbrown. “It’s very forceful, with the MD 421 II delivering the low-end crunch and the e 906 delivering the high-end brightness. The band members are very discerning, and with this combination they are quite pleased.” Six rock-solid Sennheiser ew 500 G2 wireless instrument systems give the band members freedom of movement without compromising front-end fidelity.
Tuck, who is also responsible for lead vocals, prefers Sennheiser’s classic 945 capsule on a Sennheiser ew 500 G3 handheld transmitter to everything else that he has tried. “It has just the right blend of clarity and brightness in his ears,” explained Nutbrown. “It’s the kind of thing where the technology kind of falls away and he’s just singing – or growling.” The 945 capsule features a super-cardioid pickup pattern. For backing vocals, and to reject the wall of crunch coming off the back-line, Nutbrown peppers the stage with four Sennheiser e 945 wired vocal mics, featuring the same super-cardioid pick-up pattern.
Michael Thomas’ drum kit bulges with double bass drums and a full rack of toms. Because the bass drums play such a prominent role in BFMV’s music, Nutbrown pays special attention to achieve just the right blend of bottom-end thump and top-end clack. He uses the combination of a Sennheiser e 901 on the inside and an e 902 on the outside (a combination that is fast becoming a modern classic among live engineers) to strike that balance. For snare, a Sennheiser e 905 conveys the crack of stick on top, while a Sennheiser e 614 condenser mic handles the sizzle of the actual snares below. Rim-mounted Sennheiser e 908 Ds cover the toms, delivering a nice, tight sound with excellent off-axis rejection. Finally, Sennheiser e 914 small-diaphragm condensers provide perspective as overheads and hi-hat mics. ”BFMV has traveled all over the world, playing in incredibly diverse situations with a long list of bands, and the Sennheiser ew 300 IEM G3 wireless personal monitors have worked flawlessly, without a single hiccup,” said Nutbrown. “That’s the kind of reliability that typifies Sennheiser’s products. And the support of Sennheiser’s Global Relations team helps us keep the tour running smoothly.”