Mastering Metal Songwriting

Lesson 14/28 - Making Transitions


Mastering Metal Songwriting


Lesson Info

Making Transitions

You write some cool transitions um you said earlier that lots of your songs are predetermined structurally which I think is interesting. I was wondering uh if you determine the structure in advance how do you get out of the problem of square peg round hole if, like you're just riding the wrong part next? Like, how how do you get around that if if you're sure that when you start writing this is the verse and therefore this is a three course and this has to be the course or whatever, but like, the rift is just wrong uh, how did you know? I mean, how do you get around that transitional e starting match or something? Well, I definitely, um I write in order that that's kind of like the basis for my thinking. I understand what you're asking is I write everything in order whether it's from the middle of the song or the beginning of the song or from the bridge or whatever it is I write in succession, so it would if I have an idea for the chorus and that feels pretty flushed out and I kind of k...

now what that's gonna look like, and I think maybe even recorded it I mean, program drums to it and everything I won't go backwards to the verse I'll go forwards to the second burn um if I could get from the chorus to the next part from the first from the first part I wrote to the next part in the sequence um then by the time I have a two or three of those loop together then I can go back to the beginning of the song and if this you know if parties the same his part b structurally it's a lot easier to pull it from that kind of put them in from like okay figuring out the chorus and then I've got a great verse and then I got a great bridge but now I need a pre chorus and a verse that are kind of like these puzzle pieces in the middle a tte leased for me personally writing in order like I said whether it's from the beginning of the song from the middle of the song writing in order and then going back and instead of filling several gaps just feeling like one gap like so from right from the middle of a song all the way to the end and now you have just the beginning of the song to the chorus to write um so that's that's a huge um a huge thing for me also um I think I just have a certain way of of hearing things in my head in regards to transitions um it usually has a lot to do with the pace um if I if let's say I do have a verse and I kind of know what the chorus is going to be if I'm looking to bridge those two pieces it's gonna have a lot to do with the pace of it that's gonna have a lot to do with the rhythm of it the drums um it's going to have a lot to do with whether or not there there's going to be some kind of musical break there if things are going to fall out and just like maybe for a couple seconds there'll just be a guitar or there'll just be a drum fill or something. Maybe all that all the incidents with the drums cut out there's just a fill right before the chorus or maybe everything cuts out and it allows for a couple of words right before the music kicks butt into the chorus. Um, one of our newest songs the last one alive is a perfect example of that there's a couple quick words over basically nothing and then the big you know crescendo word comes in and it's the beginning of the course. So figuring out like what? What's the pace of this and what's the overall vibe bond mood of this and what's the vibe in mood of this and how do I get their logically is usually to me has a lot to do with the the groove in the pace and the time signature of the of the la times it's the drums I think it helps a lot to like ask yourself when you got I think you gotta ask yourself feel wise or and if you can answer this, just try either or is ask yourself if the next thing needs to be a resolution or the opposite it needs to build into something like if your current riff wants teo goto a place of greater attention well then you've got, uh you've got some pretty specific things you can do like play more dissonance toughly speed up the drums up the picking like there's just a bunch of things that you can pull from bag of trick wise, whereas if you know that it's got to resolve there's exactly the opposite or uh or whatever there's there's a bunch of definite tricks you can use to at least check it out. I've noticed sometimes that if you say I'll set a loop where was the last time through it? But I just don't know what's coming next, but I have some things got to come next he's at the end of song uh like I said, a loop on the last time through into maybe the first couple of bars and tried to actually just listen teo where it wants to go and I can't come up with something definite I'll try to two opposite approaches and usually one will inform where to go, even if it's like a stupid cord. Usually you can tell that you khun tell if that's the right tonality, at least, and if you've got the right analogy, you go from there, or you can at least tell us the right kind of timing, like you gotta basically hunt for clues. I mean, sometimes you finally you just write stuff and riff will go into the next rift into next year just flow out like we're right, but if there's if that's not happening, yuzhou asking the right kind of questions tends to solve it like, uh, where we going? Two quick things out at you mentioned like cutting something out like before course or something like, don't underestimate just removing things for one bar, even half a bar like that could be like a huge difference, like a nice boy mental break for a second where was kinda sucks you into the next part where you maybe even like adding one measure just like something like that, doesn't it doesn't always have to be a lot, really, and then eyes going to bring up peter winters he's written a lot of soil works albums, and that dude has always really impressed me with his transition because we just come up with like, really really simple ideas, but they're just really smart, you know, like when I hear like, oh, that's really cool how we just added that part there like it's, that's all I can say just listen to a bunch of peter, which is air, soil, work and start paying attention to these transitions, and then we're gonna help you realize how good transition can be very simple it's just spent spent a lot of time thinking about it, you know, like just we can also lose you there, so you can also listen to a lot of demon hunter for a lot of peter, which is you do attract with you guys, I know we'll be are on the same day or did, but I take a lot of pages more lately than early stuff, but I take a lot of pages out of that out of his writing style there's a perfect example on one of our newer songs artificial light, where he every once in a while, he'll throw apart into the structure that almost doesn't make sense. Structurally, if you were to look at like on paper because they'll they'll do a fairly ordinary kind of song structure, they'll do an intro and then they'll go into the first verse and there'll be some kind of pre course and there'll be a chorus and then go turn around and they'll go into the second chorus and the pre chorus and you're like oh here comes the chorus and it's not the chorus it's some kind of part and usually it's like a really he likes to do really fast growing crazy parts in in the spaces that you're not expecting a different part to be in um and we did pretty much that structure that I just explained we did in the song called artificial light where it's like okay, here comes the chorus and it's not actually here comes the pre chorus and it's not the pre course it's this like little burst of energy that happens for four bars that's a total people peter witches check you know is probably a good thing to just identify these tricks and try them even if when you're trying them doesn't work at least you tried it and uh and worked it into your vocabulary if there's no there's I mean obviously didn't know no telling in advance of tricks gonna work but I think the more tricks you khun go to the better and uh you know so what if he's a mental guys he's really good but yeah, I think that what you're uh I mean it's not actually called this but I think that the taking stuff out was basically a palate cleanser you just heard so much of one type of sound that you always need nothing before hearing a whole different kind of sounder it's just something's weird about it now they honestly think it serves the same purposes of about so I'm just not one good peter, which is example, cares to look it up on youtube but it's a song of the damned it's like the last track on natural born chaos? I believe so there's ah, just listen to the way he goes from the verse to the chorus like early on in song and in the very last chorus does like this extra measure interjected there with, like, this little phil and this like just for a second it's like ooh and then and then it comes back to the familiar chorus that's just one part when I heard that it's just like that's, so cool and easy and smart and it just like it just works. So I think your mind totally the stuff he's talking about, I think most of the time if you were to categorize it are unexpected little usually short little variations in structure that only happened once in the song, and they're just kind of like these little surprises that, like kind of take you off guard for a second and kind of like when you think you had a structure figured out like all of a sudden there's this weird part that's that's like usually what his tricks looked like but I mean they're done it's like a perfect example of how to do it right? Yeah it's probably good teo cops in that then at least for the sake of understanding how it works totally and it's you know, it's a perfect example were talking about earlier about like, taking kind of a big picture ideas, which is that you know, like these little bursts of special things that happened once a song that you're not going to be lifting any kind of actual material if you take that kind of mindset you're just taking just the overall vibe of kind of how you flush out of song and incorporating it whatever your left turn needs to happen here yeah that's now that you're goingto used the exact same left turn booth concept of a left turn after going out on a certain path for long enough curious just ask him like where he got his ideas return additions from for sure because I arrive like kind of ripped on him rip his ideas off a little bit not not straight rip offs but you know influence for sure so I just be curious like okay, you know what inspired you to start looking at your transition? Is that what you do because it's got to come from some uh you could probably hit him up and ask him let me know if you, uh, let me know if he tells you he seems to know exactly what he's doing. So I'm saying that I guess so when the last things we talk about is this example we found from beyond me a demon hunter song. If it loaded, let me just check that out. Because when we don't crash, when we were listening to it before on our phone calls is pretty extreme transition. Yeah, this is a just preface it by saying this was an example of going from one of the fastest parts on the record to probably the slowest chorus, at least slow his course of a heavy song on the record. So it's kind of shows the progression from fast, really slow, no d'oh, just out of curiosity did ever in any of the pre perversions, it goes straight from one to the other, like from super fastest super slow. But I say you always have the middle ground. Yeah, yeah, that was that's from the bridge into the chorus. There's a, you know, from the verse to the pre chorus to the course essentially does the same thing. Um, but it's trying to find that I mean, because it's really fast double kick, and if it's a fast guitar riff on dh screaming so it's like all the way extreme in this on this side and then trying to go like two a picking guitar part in like kind of a mellow like ride cymbal thing and a vocal melody um for one like in the pre chorus there's ah there's a singing vocal the guitars were still heavy the drums are kind of more midtempo than they are all the way down tempo so it's the drums take a little bit of a break not as soft as the chorus the guitarist a really heavy but then the vocals and you know introduce a melody so it's kind of like a a gradual progression to getting into the course and there is kind of like a little tag at the beginning of this chorus um they never did and I for the self to lead it's kind of this weird turn around that doesn't happen it just happened to the top of the chorus and then it goes into the actual uh course guitar melodies and stuff that also helps it kind of helps the transition it's just it felt right to tag that little I think at the beginning of it as kind of like a segway into the actual course thank you it has to do with the fact that the drum stop yeah which is a great transition to assist you said dropping something out for a second even if it's not it's not that trick like the four course where you drop everything out still it's stopping the momentum to allow something of lower intensity to come in and then I feel like it's almost unexpected that it's going to go as slow as it does, which is also cool because it's almost like if you not expecting it you think that this is going to be where coz it was unexpected that it takes it even further down a notch but I think were getting there. So do we have any questions? We do have some good questions. Yeah. Um from the chat room keys wants to know what about having writer's block for arrangements like I have one hundred riffs for hundreds of riffs recorded but end up getting stuck trying to figure out where to go next door to continue creating arrangements that are the same. So like to break out of doing what it sounds like he's good at in having compelling stuff, but it's all just sort of like the same I think we covered that a little bit and like learning other people's material well, writing an order like he was saying, like I feel like there's information left out of the question which is, are the riffs isolated like is it like hundreds of just single riffs just living in space or they like isolated sections where, like you have one riff going to the next, and then, like, three wrists together. And then maybe on isolated one to think well of the wait till tomorrow to find out. So that'll be that'll be the cliffhanger for tomorrow's. Yeah, he should come up with an answer and let me know.

Class Description

It’s easy for musicians to get so caught up in the latest gear, plugins, and presets, and forget that ultimately, it’s all about the music. Join Eyal Levi and special guests Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter), Todd Jones (Nails, Terror), and John Browne (Monuments) for an in-depth exploration of what it takes to craft great songs.

Eyal will share the tricks of the songwriting trade he’s learned over years of experience as a producer at Audiohammer Studios (The Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, Whitechapel) and guitarist for Century Media/Roadrunner artists Daath. Throughout this two-day course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the three core components of metal/rock songwriting. You’ll learn about basic song structure and riff-writing; melodies, leads, and vocals; and fine-tuning the arrangement to take your song from good to great. Eyal will be joined by special guests -- from musicians to producers and more -- who will empower you to take your songwriting to new heights.


Mike Lamb

This was a massively inspirational and incredibly helpful course. By the end of it I had a notebook full of incredibly useful tips and tricks, and I definitely plan a rewatch as soon as possible. I've been in bands writing songs for the better part of 15 years, but this has put a lot of focus on some of the corners I've cut or the areas where I've been lazy with the smaller details. No matter where you are in your songwriting you'll definitely benefit from this, and Eyal articulates everything in an engaging way and positive way. Even if you think you're a good songwriter, there's a tonne here you can benefit from. 10/10 - Thanks Eyal!