Metal Underground Submission Critiques


Mastering Metal Songwriting


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 I haven't listened to these on purpose so that I would have honest reaction so you know and 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 and then hearing the song out after we talk over cool so what's this first first one we're playing kanye west okay, can the resistance going all right here goes wait wait my way my way something that bass player needs to chill out okay is distracting me. All right, wait teo through. So, uh we're not really commenting on the recording, but I will say that I'm 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 he...

ar if the note choices right? Because it's one thing is coursing, which is cool to me on guitars you know, we've got multiple guitars layered and just course actually like lead zeppelin everything is it 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 the song would be like fifty times better there's the base would chill out and be in tune and play the song uh with the vocals modernized a little I liked the intro I thought it was cool uh as we sit here the what looks like the halfway point and I would almost say this feels like a kind of a natural end point for the song of me I'm curious what's gonna happen like for the equal length part that's coming after this um uh I will say I I don't just like it overall it's not really mike cuppa tea in terms of style and I mean I get it I totally get it and with that said I feel like it totally works for that kind of thing. I would say there's some stylistic choices on the vocal that I would do a little differently they tend to be a real kind of choppy like he just kind of touches each word following a riff really closely yeah following the referral closely and just kind of death uh uh uh uh uh uh like there's no kind of there's no sustain on any kind of line on dh then 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 uh that part to me is is almost it it almost counterintuitive to what would be a catchy chorus in my opinion which would be 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 it's yeah, I think overall I guess if we were to say one one overarching thing is it's a little busy and it's it feels like maybe everyone in the bands kind of I mean I guess the drums were 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 magnets castle I thought california thing that happened in two thousand seven that's what I thought we were in for but then it turned into nineteen eighty five yes, uh it's exactly what I thought I would uh it wasn't bad to say I mean I mean, yeah, but it's two thousand fourteen on dh well 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 just cut that in half or the second half of it at the very least bring in some little guitar leader some element or something to sort of get you ready for the verse or up the pace of the drums yeah just this something it was just like okay, I didn't you hear that twice and another thing 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 a bit more or maybe a few more layers just something I heard leaving could tell it was the chorus at first I thought maybe okay maybe this is a little pre chorus and then they're going to hit a chorus but then all of sudden it was back to the verse again thank you just just something to make that chorus like actually sticking my head and feel important because they just kind of passed by and I was like I think it's the vocals and the base uh huh 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 base being like the hidden weapon in a metal arrangement can make or break a song all the way whether it's thanks sixteen eighths or trying to play a melody or something and like it, it needs to set the stage for everything else teo 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 like driving bass lines that emphasize the court changes of 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 it needs to take some breaths it's 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 I think there 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 in 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 brain isn't doing two different things at once and that's like I think that's a prerequisite for a singer guitarist but then again it could be a stand along guy or if it's the basis than ah 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 um uh no, I just know well, I I had a little comment about the vocals that if you know if you're if you're going to engaged in a style if you're goingto 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 or something, you know, because that's what I was hearing at least and I wouldn't yeah that's what I was kinda almost expecting at the beginning was, uh three interesting type thing vocally this makes you think more of like uh made late eighties xs over kill them like iron maiden it's like that kind of wave 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 locals who 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 no, not our all time it all a little bit of that interspersed throughout go a really long way, right? 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 in some way chorus 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 twenty four bars yeah, see that that's what he was doing minus the being out of tune part like yeah he was doing what what I was thought the base should have been doing maybe not the no choice like that style of bass playing 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 part if you're gonna give him that long apart yeah it's gotta be the guitar god kind of guy zach wilde or something something you know comparable in a school yeah, I mean it I think what you said originally that this middle fell like an ending was right on just could have come a little bit a little bit, you know after where it comes right now but but they could have taken this solo idea and fixed it up and stuck it in here somewhere and that's still going back to the intro felt like kind of an arbitrary choice for bruce yeah, I'm just uh you know, like a copy paste kind of that works or not I think I, uh how long is this song too long course pacing wise you wanna weigh six minutes to hear that one more time in part they stuck in the middle it's the course again they're very long solo important be shortened by like seventy five percent and then a miller chorus so it doesn't really doesn't bring a new emotion to the table you know let's see if they're married to the structure kind of I would say go straight from that dropout 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 twenty five lucky said like twenty five percent of them yeah I think little changes like that would up the quality significantly I would say just like looking at that just looking at the pro tools file having that dropout right there looks is just a weird place for it structurally in life falls off a cliff because it's written it's like right in the center of the song which to me is means that that's a weird structure if they really want there it could work if like after that break is like a different key you know like do something just like you 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 it definitely would need like one of those like writing tricks yeah some kind of modulations yeah a deliver it last course move or something if you're gonna you're gonna hit it that many times especially with the uh with it doing basically the same thing guitar you're 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 happen 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 game yeah, you know and I guess uh fair enough not commenting on the style or whatever style side yeah I still think all that stuff the u s is absolutely appropriate for it to become a better song means so it's not that far off you know so few structural things and stuff and then you do a lot better creation yeah could definitely be miles better with minimal and obvious tweaks whether you like rational 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 hundred percent 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 to let you guys here and then here what you think about it well, I mean they couldn't make it away better song if they uh you know, they assess the situation and I'm not you know, it's not that like what we say is the way and the light or whatever but you know, like it'll probably be a way better song if if they take this to heart and I don't think we're being brutal mean better 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 later for talking earlier like here from their girlfriends that they're the next iron maiden be thinking that for fifteen years and then be forty five years old and not understand what happened because they thought they were our inmate and reincarnate or something it's just better that they hear it straight, I think yeah, 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 ever tuned into that is 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's tiptoeing around these people's feelings and he's just waiting for simon ecologist makes people feel bad for just a critic santa and I think the problem with that is who told them that they had any business on tv and first place that's were really weird's matter about american idol is like simon cowell's not the bat in this situation it's all the people that lose all the surrounding them with lighted them on and told them they had a shot that's like I think that's the rial horror story absolutely totally is he's just like this you know voice of reality happening in reality check that's what we are the voice of reality tell someone just 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 he'll dish it out immediately if he recognizes it so oh in every once in a while something is great but that's uh just like this next song exactly so this is cannes god can't god reflected designs dialogue sorry I learned to read too well in the same song once master left but for they picked because similar interests yeah I got to say this because this is something we were talking about earlier this guy's obviously know how to play casino their core changes and have thought this through but when you have too many stops to 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 court changes but the's voicings these types of rhythms he steps it changes these types of vocals are uh mid two thousand ish yeah the first song on blackwater park that's a faster version riff with a slightly different way way way wait hanging on the first present I was hanging over yeah, you know, I think these guys could be good and, uh if they only borrowed from stuff other than lam a god and oh beth like they emulate their styles almost not quite as fast as those bands but 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 as it stands, I feel like I'm listening teo lam a gun and open champ session and I like both those bands so you know it'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 to meddle 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 I listen tio at all times is just metal or some like slight variation of metal and of your wrong eyes certainly had me fooled yeah definitely sounds that way but like, you know what was positive about it, though, is I think they've got good taste for sure 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 to have good musical instincts it's just pulling from the wrong pushes and even like their their choice of keys and cord progressions air cool, but they don't need to be voice just like those bands and playing harmonic minor, you can use all that stuff just think, 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, he's just going to sell it. I mean, if you have that, like, triplet rift happening thing, and then the splash someone the drummer riding on the splash symbol and then the guy kind of phrasing and randy asked, kind of way, it just is going to sound like I mean, 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, because it's just going to do that and then you know, obviously these guys are like a clean singing kind of band but just make different vocal decisions that maybe would not be in a labor god song at all and then all of a sudden it'll push it way way out from you know you could still do that guitar riff just do different vocals to different drums different whatever and it will start to sound different, you know, like, uh someone asked earlier like the production wise, like, uh when it's when to lake? Yeah, kind of like give a band reconstructive surgery versus wanna let him be. This is a case where if I got this pre pro, I would tell them this until, like, what we're talking about it tell them to 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 honestly really almost one yeah, I think that these guys just need to shift their focus, man I wonder how old they are. Yeah, I also wondered, yeah, I wonder how long they've been playing asleep with this band. This sounds to me like and I don't think it's a bad thing and I think it's more common thing than a lot of people are willing to admit too, but I think you the likelihood for you to be kind of emulating for the first couple years of the band or the first you know your first record or whatever is bound to sound more derivative than that what happens ten 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 yeah if they kind of deviate a little bit from from their core uh taste and likes and uh and pull a little less obviously from those I think they could go into some really cool territory of their own yeah definitely what do you think I just thought like you when you mentioned how you know younger bands and it's easy to tell other influences are and that you have more experience writing you start to notice or they start to kind of grow just made me think of back in the two thousand seven or so when my band put out our first dp it was like a five six seven release I think and we went up to hang out on metal shop ninety nine point nine 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 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 band in 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 could definitely I don't understand what he's talking about, you know? So just take some time to grow sort of unjust 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 in real heavy on this the their favorite bands well, it's I got to say it's a huge compliment if dudes who have been around the block for a while are like yo, you might do something cool of you stick it out like that are a is not and 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 like so like okay, I can hear that like one of them listens to soundtracks because the way that the cords move in this open party those are 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 well, I mean, I guess what you're being ourselves but like whatever it is that they're listening to their instincts are good 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 teo to the table with a re that sounds like a slow down line of god or if we're not using it I'm not an anthrax fan but I remember a while ago like him I mean a while reading an interview with scott in where he was being asked of us similarities to metallica kinda like when they were contemporaries of each other uh and he said that if he came up with a riff that sounded too much like metallica, even if it was a cool riff you just ditch it on principle because he didn't want to be in their shadow there is kind of hard to be from that aaron from thrash and not be in the shadow it's still, uh is making a conscious effort teo 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 who 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 I just kind of feel like, uh, is it clear to everyone what are our message on that, if not speak now, because we're gonna move on. Okay. Cool. Uh eh let's, talk about writer's block that's ah it's. Another one of those things that when I asked the internet for what their biggest problems were, writer's block cannot consistently. And I know that it's it's made me to press in the past. Uh, teo, be sitting there and looking at a guitar and just basically firewood or opening, opening a accession and just being like, I don't know, uh, and not their being appointed time when I didn't know howto 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.


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!