90 Second Sound Design - Metal Horror Ambience

90 Second Sound Design - Metal Horror Ambience

Voices of the Deep

In terms of creating creepy drones and ambience, a favorite source material is easily recordings of metal objects where friction is involved. Groans, squeals, squeaks, scrapes, the list of possibilities goes on. All of these things can take on a new form when you pitch them down to various degrees.

For this demo, I picked some quick and easy to obtain props I used in my Metal library that could provide a wide range of possibilities when processed.


Pitching down the movement of chains on its own can generate many strange chime-like sounds. Reverse them and they really start to get interesting. I also found that moving them around on different surfaces such as a grate or sheet metal provided some nice additional ambient texture after pitching them down. I found this preferable to recording the chains and a more static texture separately and layering them later.

Sheet Metal

I’ve managed to get some really great metal scraping sounds by gouging sheet metal firmly with a notched trowel. When I pitch them down they become these terrific deep groaning sounds. The beauty of it, is that depending on how hard you dig into the sheet metal, you can get some totally different results. I have to admit though, these were extremely un-pleasant to record - like nails on a chalkboard times a million.

Processing Choices

To be frank, the processing here is simply me having a bit of fun. I hesitated to add anything other than the pitch shifting. The reverb is really helpful for giving it a sense of space though if it is to be used as an ambience. A recent favorite are some of Eventide’s reverbs including Mangleverb and Blackhole. I’ve been doing a deep dive into Eventide’s bundle after recently acquiring it, I’d like to do a whole separate review for some of these soon.

I’ve also been in love with Byome lately from Unfiltered Audio. It’s essentially a rack of modular effects and controllers. I’ve been getting into Eurorack (as much as my wallet is willing) and this definitely scratches that itch while working inside my DAWs.