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Mastering Metal Songwriting

Lesson 12 of 28

Metal Underground Submission Critiques

Eyal Levi

Mastering Metal Songwriting

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

12. Metal Underground Submission Critiques

Lesson Info

Metal Underground Submission Critiques

these air courtesy of metal underground dot com, which is a fabulous, fabulous sight you guys should all check out. Um, I haven't listened to these on purpose so that I would have on honest reaction, so, you know, if we don't like it, I'm sorry, but, you know, we might like it too, So who knows? So, uh, just wondering what you think. You want me to play it all the way through, or do you want to stop me when you get an idea? What do you think would be best for you? I wouldn't mind stopping halfway through. OK, and then here in the song out. Look after we talked a little bit. Cool. So what's this first? 1st 1 work like Kanye West. I'm king a cane, The resistance going right here. Something that bass player needs to chill out. OK, is distracting halfway through. So, uh, we're not really commenting on the recording. Um but I will say that, um, stuff being out of tune is distracting. Even when you're writing a song, it's like if something is not in tune, it's almost sometimes hard for me to...

hear. If the note of choices right uh, because one thing is coursing, which is cool to me on guitars. You know, we've got multiple guitars layered, just course, actually like Led Zeppelin. Another thing is if it's so out of tune, that I can tell really sometimes which way stuff is leaning when you have baselines, that air that busy and also that out of tune it's like I can't really tell what's Ah, what's going on? So it seems to me like, uh, in some ways, this song would be like 50 times better. There's the base would chill out and be in tune and play to the song. The vocals Modern nice A little. I like the intro. I thought it was cool. Uh, as we sit here at the what looks like the halfway point, I would almost say this feels like a kind of a natural end point for the song with me. I'm curious what's gonna happen, like for the equal length part that's coming after this. Um, I will say I I don't just like it. Overall, it's not really my cup of tea in terms of style, and I mean, I get it. I totally get it in with that said, I feel like it totally works for that kind of thing. Um, I would say there's some stylistic choices on the vocal that I would do a little differently. They tend to be really kind of choppy, like he just kind of touches each word following really closely. Yeah, following the referral closely and just kind of uh huh. Like there's no kind of there's no sustain on any kind of line on Ben the chorus. What I understand to be the chorus is really worried, heavy again, just kind of touching on each on each word without emphasizing any one of them. Um, and then that part to me is, is almost it it almost counterintuitive to what would be a catchy chorus, in my opinion, which would be, ah, longer drawn out, um, phrases or words or lines where you're holding notes for a longer period of time? I wander the basis. Is the singer seriously? I think overall, I guess if we were to say one one overarching things, it's a little busy. It feels like maybe everyone in the band's kind of I mean, I guess the drums are pretty settled into a pocket but it seems like several members of the band are kind of trying to be the star. I thought at first when it started playing that we were in for Neo Thrash with, Like the metal core influenced by Magothy California thing that happened in 2007. That's what I thought we were in for. But then it turned into 1985. Yes, that's exactly what I thought would, uh it wasn't bad to say. I mean I mean, yeah, but it's 2014 on either, because I don't know. It's not really important thing here. I'm not implying that it's crappy song like it's fine. It works for what it is. But I thought the section right after the clean guitar intro was either twice as long as it needs to be. Or so you can either just cut that in half or the second half of it. At the very least, bring in some little guitar lead or some element or something to sort of get you ready for the verse or up the pace of the drums. Just this something. It was just like, OK, I didn't need to hear that twice and another thing. Yeah, like you said about the chorus, I don't know if it's the business of the vocals or what it is, but it was just like it was just kind of kind of unmemorable. And maybe the vocals could just I don't get spaced out of them or or maybe a few more layers. Just something because I hardly even could tell it was the chorus. At first I thought, maybe, OK, maybe this is a little pre chorus, and then they're gonna hit a chorus. But then all of sudden, it was back to the divers again, just something to make that chorus, like actually sticking my head and feel important because it just kind of passed by. And I was like, I think it's the vocals and the base, uh, interacting like if the base chilled out and play longer notes, you could almost have the vocal be busier. I mean, I definitely think the vocal should be differentiated, but I'm a big, big believer based being like the hidden weapon in a metal arrangement can make or break a song all the way. Whether it's playing 16th or eighth, sir, trying to play a melody or something and, like, uh, it needs to set the stage for everything else. Toe kind of sore in a way, and it's not doing that's trying to be a lead guitar. So I'm wondering if it was playing actual chilled out, not chilled out but like driving bass lines that emphasize the core changes that the vocals could stay. Not as busy as they are, but busy er in nature and it not be so convoluted. But I definitely think that it's like it's not like, bad or anything. It's just a little convoluted. It needs to take aside from the going back into the intro, which is where it is right now. Outside of that, it needs just more needs to take some breaths. It needs some kind of, uh, and that doesn't mean that everyone has to drop out, except for a guitar except for a drum or whatever. It just means that there needs to be some variation in the parts in the time signature of the drum in the pacing of the vocal in the pacing of the guitar, there could be some longer drawn out chords that needs to be. They need to play with some variation in there. I'm really actually curious as to, uh I feel like this shouldn't make a difference. But it does. I'm curious as to who and the lineup does what and that can be really telling sometimes. Like if you've got vocals that are really, you know, choppy like this and kind of follow the guitar and it happens to be a guitarist doing it, then it's like, Well, maybe you should work on one or the other because no offense, but your brand isn't doing two different things at once, and that's like I think that's a prerequisite for, ah, singer guitarist. But then again, it could be a stand along guy or if it's the basis than, uh, trying to do too busy melodies that wants is kind of weird. So I'm curious. I'm just imagining I'm imagining a power trio, but I could be completely wrong. Uh, no, just Well, I I had a little comment about the vocals that if you know, if you're if you're going to engage in a style, if you're gonna follow something that's pretty tried and true like that that Iron Maiden locals like, really own it and go all for it. And it might. I don't know how you know it. Be hard to do it right, But you don't put in falsettos thing because that's what I was hearing. At least I wouldn't. Yeah, that's that's what I was kind almost expecting at the beginning with some, uh, interesting type thing Vocally, this actually think more of like, uh, made late eighties exodus overkill. Then, like Iron Maiden, It's like, that kind of way. The thrash stuff. Yeah, um, but I remain is more, uh, spaced out story, soaring kind of melodic content, but yeah, maybe with those kinds of vehicles that would work better. But it's Ah, it's not like it doesn't have potential or anything. Uh, I just think everyone kind of agrees. And he's just chill on some stuff, not all the time, But, you know, not all time. It all a little bit of that interspersed throughout go a really long way. All right, you guys want to hear what comes next? I'm curious if it's more of the same or we're going in a complete left turn or something, just mayor. Should the lead guitarist in the basis trade places, just switch instruments. I would just say, unless your guitar players like a real Ripper, don't give him, like, 24 bars. Yeah, that's but he was doing, minus it being out of tune part like, yeah, he was doing what? What I was taught that they should have been doing. Maybe not the no choice, like that style of bass player, and then vice versa. But it's structurally, it's not a bad idea. It'll have, like, kind of this long, drawn out like guitar solo outro thing. But like I said, the guy's got a shred over that mart. If you're gonna give him that long of a part, Yeah, it's gotta be the guitar God kind of guy Zach Wild or something? Something, you know, comparable in a school. Yeah, I mean it. I think what you said originally that this middle felt like an ending was right on. You could have come a little bit a little bit, you know, after where it comes right now, But they could have taken this solo idea and mm fixed it up and stuck it in here somewhere. And then still going back to the intra felt like kind of an arbitrary choice for Bruce. Yeah, just, uh, you know, like a copy paste. Kind of that works or not. I think you know, how long is this song too long. And so was very see pacing wise. You wanna wait six minutes to hear that one more time. The in part, they stuck in the middle. It's course again, very long solo be shortened by, like 75%. And then another chorus. So it doesn't really doesn't bring a new emotion to the table. You know, I would say if you if they're married to the structure, kind of I would say, go straight from that drop out intro in the middle of the song A make it half the length and then go straight into the guitar solo and then do, of course, out and make the solo shorter. So yeah, 25 he said, like, 25% of them. Yeah, I think the little little changes like that would up the quality. Significant, I would say. Just like looking at that. Just looking at the pro tools file having that drop out right there looks is just a weird place for it. Structurally in my falls off a cliff because it threatens. It's like right in the center of the song, which, to me means that that's a weird structure to me. If they really want their, it could work. If, like after that break is like a different key, you know, right? Like, do something just like who? You know, kind of spice it up a little, But just to come back to the old idea again, there's just like a yeah, it would definitely would need, like one of those. Like writing tricks. Yeah, some kind of modulations. Yeah, a delivery last course move or something. If you're gonna you're gonna hit it that many times, especially with it. Uh, with it doing basically the same thing is the guitar. You basically you're hearing the riff. You're hearing that rift in the guitar and in the vocals, like, way too many times. Like there's that entire extended intra right, which is kind of similar. And then that chorus that happened over and over. And then on top of that, the vocal which is hammering at home, it's just a lot of the same. So a variation, I think, is the latest game. Yeah, you know, And I guess, uh, fair enough if not commenting on the style or whatever. Style aside, you still think all that stuff that you said is absolutely appropriate for it to become a better son. I mean, it is not that far off a few structural things and stuff, and then you have a a lot better creation. Yeah, it could definitely be miles better with minimal and obvious tweaks. Whether you like thrash or not, people are saying they love the critiquing, and it could be brutal that get your song critique to submit something that you like, put your 100% effort into right and then get all this constructive criticism. But if these people apply it and can actually make these changes, just be that much better. So it's a pretty cool opportunity to get toe, let you guys hear and then hear what you think about it. Well, I mean, they could make it a way better song if they, uh you know, they assess the situation. And, you know, it's not that like what we say is the way in the light or whatever, but you know, like it will probably be a way better song. If if they take this to heart and I don't think we're being brutal, I mean better than better that they hear this from unbiased source like us who don't know them. I don't think we know them then to like Like we were talking earlier, like here from their girlfriends that they're the next Iron Maiden. Be thinking that for 15 years and then be 45 years old and not understand what happened because they thought they were in Maidan reincarnate or something. It's just better that they hear it straight. I think we're gonna be there, Simon cowl like he's mean. Yeah, he goes for it. I like it though, man, because everyone else is And I would even just Oh, yeah, I mean, we're definitely getting off topic here. I personally like that he is. I'm almost always agree with what he says. Everyone else is tiptoeing around these people's feelings, and he's just willing to create a bladder where Simon Ecologist makes people feel bad for just a critique. I think the problem with that is who told them that they had any business on TV in the first place? That's really weird about American Idol is like Simon Cowell's Not the back the situation. It's all the people lose all the surrounding them, who lied to them on and told them they had a shot. That's like, I think that's the rial horror story. Totally is. He's just like this voice of reality happening in reality Check. That's what we are, the voice of reality. Tell someone because he doesn't have any trouble dishing out compliments when something's great, he's like That was the best I've ever seen. Like you. He'll dish it out immediately if he recognizes it. So oh, and every once in a while, something is great. But that's, uh, just like this next song. Exactly. So this is candy. God can't got reflected designs a dialogue sorry and learn to read too well with the same song and one's master louder. But were they picked because they have a similar intra. I got to say this because this is something we were talking about earlier. Um, these guys obviously know how to play. I would see No, they're chord changes and have thought this through. But when you have too many stop too many stylistic elements that another band already owned. It sounds like a direct rip, even though it might not be like I have heard this on a few open records already. These maybe not these exact core changes, but the's voicings, these types of rhythms he steps to changes. These types of vocals are mid 2000 ish Open, but continue. I like over cool Thea first song on Blackwater Park. That's a faster version of Rift with different, slightly different harmonies. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hanging out of the first president was hanging over. Yeah. You know, um, I think these guys could be good and, uh, if they only borrowed from stuff other than lamb of God and Oh, Beth like, they emulate their styles almost not quite as fast as those bands with They emulate them like, almost so authentically that I'm sure that if they pulled from some other places, they could do something different pretty competently. But right now that stands. I feel like I'm listening, Teoh Elam, it gun and open jam session. And I'd like both those bands. So that's something that's not that I don't like it, but I agree that it's too derivative. And it, um we were talking about this before when we were prepping for this is for me. It's really easy to tell. And, you know, I don't want to generalize that it might not be the case, but it's really easy for me to tell a metal band where the dudes in the band just listen. The metal in this sounds like that. Sounds like a metal band of guys who just like that, you know, every T shirt, everything you know, everything they listen to at all times is just metal or some like slight variation of metal and of your wrong. Uh, certainly had me fooled. Yeah, definitely. It sounds that way. But like, you know, what was positive about it, though, is I think they've got good taste. Does like, you know, there could be some tweaks. Like maybe some stuff not repeat is much, maybe up some of the tempos like stuff like that, you know, But they seem tohave good musical instincts. It's just pulling from the wrong places and even, like, uh, their, uh, their choice of keys and chord progressions air cool, but they don't need to be voiced just like those bands and playing harmonic minor you can use all that stuff just like yeah, I think it's the combination. You know, when you combine certain things in a certain way, it's just going to sound like and you're pulling from that resource just going to sound like I mean, if you have that, like triplet rift happening thing and then the splash someone, the drummer writing on the splash Cymbal and then the guy kind of phrasing in a randy esque kind of way, it just is going to sound like lost the harmonic. But if you take out a few of those things, you know, don't ride the splash on apart like that, ever. Who? Because it's just gonna do that. And then, you know, obviously these guys aren't like a clean singing kind of band, but just make different vocal decisions that maybe would not be in a Labour God song at all. And then all of a sudden it will push it way, way out from you know, you could still do that guitar riff. Just do different vocals, do different drums, different whatever, and it will start to sound different. You know, like, uh, someone asked earlier, like the production wise like when it's when to lake. Yeah, kind of like give a band reconstructive surgery versus one to let him be. This is a case where if I got this pre pro, I would tell them this and tell like what we're talking about. Tell them come back in six months because I could probably handle it themselves, that they just refocused. Whereas with the other band, I would probably give them reconstructive surgery. I was gonna say nothing once. Yeah, I think that these guys just need to shift their focus. Man, I wonder how they are. Yeah, I also wondered, Yeah, I wondered how long they've been playing a tely east with this band. This sounds to me like and I don't think it's a bad thing, and I think it's a more common thing than a lot of people are willing to admit to. But I think you the likelihood for you to be kind of emulating for the first couple of years of the band or the first you know, your first record or whatever is bound to sound more derivative than that. What happens 10 years from that, you know. So that's I think this could very well be like kind of the growing pains of a young band. And all that said, It's like we're talking. It's still have great taste and it's still a good song overall, Um, but yes, if they kind of deviate a little bit from from their core taste and likes and pull a little less obviously from those, I think they could go into some really cool territory of their own. Yeah, definitely. Do you think I just thought of like you when you mentioned how you know younger bands and it's easier to tell their influences are on that you have more experience writing. You start to notice or they start to kind of grow just made me think of back in like 2007 or so. When my band put out our first E P. It was like a 56 on release, I think, and we went up to hang out on Metal Shop in 99.9 with this guy named Steve Rock. He used to be the metal shop post at the time. He's really friendly guy and stuff, but I remember at the time he said he he thought we would be a lot better in, like, two years or something. He's like, Oh, yeah, you know, they'll be a really good Bannon two years, right? Overheard that he said that or something, you know, and I wasn't offended, but at the time, I didn't quite know how to take that. I didn't really know what to make of it. And then Now, you know, you know, well removed from that period, I can definitely I don't understand what he's talking about, you know? So just take some time to grow sort of it, just like like listening to something other than metal. Obviously, he's huge for getting some outside influence in there. I mean, I can't see these guys don't listen to other stuff, but it does kind of sound like they're lean and really heavy on the their favorite bands. Well, it's I gotta say, it's a huge compliment. If due to have been around the block for a while, are like, Yo, you might do something cool of you Stick it out like that already is not not that like what we say is the way, But like, uh, I think we're paying them a big compliment. Now, I I don't know if these guys are old and stuck in their ways or young and immature. It's one or the other and probably not in between. But, um, like, so like, OK, I can hear that like, one of them listens to soundtracks because the way that the, uh, the cords move in this open the part. I don't Yeah, cool changes and black metal in there. Yeah, soundtrack. You apathy Black Natalie, It's Tate and it's tastefully done. So it's almost like, I mean, I guess what you're peeing ourselves, but like whatever it is that they're listening to, their instincts are good. Um, so I would be curious. Uh, I would just be curious to see what would happen if they made a rule. Like if this If one of us comes Teoh to the table with a riff that sounds like a slow down line of God or if we're not using it, Um, I'm not an anthrax fan, but I remember a while ago like I mean a while ago reading an interview with Scott in where he was being asked out similarities, and Metallica kind of like when they were contemporaries of each other. Uh, and he said that, um, if he came up with a riff that sounded too much like Metallica, even if it was a cool refuge, just ditch it on principle because he didn't want to be in their shadow. And it's kind of hard to be from that Aaron from, you know, thrash and not be in the shadow of It's still you, uh, is making a conscious effort, Teoh Not not sound like them, even if the similarities were purely accidental. So I think these guys should follow suit. I think based on these examples and where we left off with kind of hammered home had a draw influence from people. Uh, you know, when it's cool, when it's not and all that. I mean, there were still a few, uh, there's still a few examples left, but it just kind of feel like it cleared everyone. What are our message on that? If not, speak now because we're gonna move on. Okay. Cool. Uh, let's talk about writer's block. Um, that's ah, another one of those things that when I asked the Internet for what their biggest problems were writers blocking up consistently, and I know that it's it's made me to press in their past. Teoh be sitting there and looking at a guitar and just basically firewood or opening, opening a mixed session and just being like I don't know, uh, and not there being appointed time when I didn't know how to turn that around.

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 1

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 2

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 6f3d0a

Eyal and all the guests are awesome here and really provide a solid education on Songwriting and writing within the Metal genre. One thing that Eyal said that really struck a chord with me, was how Songwriting was being taught at the music school he dropped out of and how it was uninspiring. I completely and thoroughly agree. I own many, many books and videos on Songwriting and I cannot get past the first few pages because it doesn't speak to me and my needs as a Songwriter who is focused on writing Metal. I've been playing Guitar for 25 years now and this is the very first course I've seen that takes Metal songwriting seriously and as a subject worth studying. I would like to commend CreativeLive on having the guts to feature heavy music so prominently in their courses and thank them for helping us establish Metal as a more serious genre. One that is worthy of awards, praise, distinction and honor. In Metal and Strength, R. Ross Strength Keeper Songwriting/Guitars/Vocals/Arranging

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!

Marco Ramírez

Great course, I have enjoyed it a lot and I'm sure I will come back to reinforce many of the concepts shown through the videos. Right now I'm good to go with ideas to apply to my songwriting skills and reinforce several concepts I already had developed prior to this course. This is a great lesson series... even for advanced musicians, anyone can get stuck in this wonderful world of writing and this course shows you tools to get out the best of this process.