Damage is a triple A rompler that uses Native Instrument’s Kontakt player to house a massive soundbank of devastating percussion sounds that smash their way through your productions. The Kontakt player concept has been gaining traction for a while, and revolves around a self contained, non-editable version of the Kontakt sampler; Kontakt has a very clever scripting engine built into it that allows ambitious mechanics to get distilled into simple to use top level controls, and when combined with custom user interfaces the Kontakt Player can be made to feel like an instrument in its own right. NI are obviously very happy with Heavyocity as shown by the advertising co-branding, so let’s take a look at the ins and outs to see if it’s worth the pretty large price tag…
Requires: Win/Mac, standalone or VST/AU/RTAS, 30GB for install
|Price at Review: £239 Damage is packed with unique, dirty sounds. It’s not going to be your go-to plugin for main drums, but it’s great for cinematic sounds and garnish. Just make sure you have plenty of free space for the install.|
Like any good rompler, the included sounds are very unique. Heavyocity have gone fire and brimstone on everything from burning pianos to smashing cars with wrecking balls, but they’ve dialled things in a little and recorded some classic snares, cymbals, and other percussion staples with world class equipment to make sure that the resultant collection still resembles drums. The quality of the sounds is pristine, and ensembles were recorded with unbelievable precision, but don’t expect to load up Damage and smash out your main drum section if you’re producing any dance or beats music. The sounds in Damage are huge and intense, and there’s little if anything in the way of clean, snappy hits that you might typically use to drive a track. Damage comes into its own when using it as the bells and whistles (not that there are many bells and whistles included) of the percussion of your track.
there’s an array of amp envelope sequencers that can be set to note on messages to allow you to switch between them
The loops are split into a few different general feels, ranging from ‘mangled pop’ to ‘epic organic’. In the broader categories, there are patches that load in loops on every key over two octaves, allowing you to layer up and create big parts. It’s impressive how well the timing and general sound of all the loops sync up, even if it does feel a tiny bit lazy to use them, and to really get busy with tweaking individuality there’s an array of amp envelope sequencers that can be set to note on messages to allow you to switch between them. There’s also the option to load individual loops into the player, which brings up a different interface page.
In the individual loop mode, loops are sliced and individual slices can be panned, pitched and level adjusted, and there are four controls each for randomness, freeze, and ‘slice drop’ (which skips slices rhythmically). The four controls for each make the effect incrementally stronger, quicker, or larger, and everything keeps time no matter what happens. There’s a reverse loop button too, but weirdly it doesn’t follow the behaviour of the rest of the controls and actually shifts the playhead back; rather than playing from slice five after hitting reverse on slice three to get a 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 effect (as you would get if you froze slice three for two slices using the freezer), it plays from slice two again. Each slice in the loop can also be individually triggered, and all the effects are also triggered from keyboard keys. You can also drag the loops, with timing data in tact, into your sequencer – great for putting your own spin on things after using a loop for inspiration.