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Mastering Metal Songwriting

Lesson 25 of 28

Song Critiques With John Browne

Eyal Levi

Mastering Metal Songwriting

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

25. Song Critiques With John Browne

Lesson Info

Song Critiques With John Browne

talk about some songs that some people submitted. So, uh, we haven't heard these before. And so you're gonna get our honest feedback on this And, uh, like, yesterday is part of this conversation and, uh, focus on any aspect of it, Whatever you want. Just any any kind of isis. And if there s anything that could help these guys either write a better song or quit music, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever for the better end result is for everybody, you know. So all right, so this is marigold death of me. And I think, uh, what we did yesterday was kind of went up to, like, maybe a good halfway point song and then decided we wanted to listen to the rest. So, uh, so it's Amerigo death and me. And so it was cool. So all right, there on the bridge, The first thing that came to mind Tell me, uh, uh, agree, Disagree. It's pretty traditionally structured, which is are, you know, neither here nor there, but I think that there's a lot of copy paste action going on where, as even if you're using ...

a traditional structure should probably helped the sections evolved a little more when they come back, and I think it takes too long to get to the second chorus. But by the time it was into that part way through that second verse, I was already starting to zone out. What do you think about that structure so far? The structure was cool again, like what you said just takes too long to get to the second course. Maybe they should have half the verse or taken out the pre course or done something. Just cut it down. Yeah. Do you think everything you said? I think the course could hit a little, like be a little more emotionally impactful if it was like a different key or just something, because it just kind of feels like the whole song, even if you're the chorus just kind of like it kind of keeps hitting that scene. I think it's the verse. That's the problem. I think if the verse vocals were uh, reworked to be more or tense and interesting, melody and then the chorus would resolve nicely. One other little grape ahead. And it's kind of boring, like the engineering production side of things a little bit. But some of the screams and growl type stuff that's layered in under the singing just seems a little bit like to disjointed. I know they're doing like the same words in the same rhythms and stuff, but I don't know if it's like the vowel sounds not quite lining up, right. Like I know when I'm working in the studio with Vocalist. A lot of times I'm telling them, Toe like over enunciate their vocals cause a lot of screamers tend to like have, like one defined vowel sound that they do, regardless of what the words are. So in the case of this, you have like a guy singing, and he's pronouncing his vowels a certain way because he's singing. But then when he does a screaming voice, or maybe it's another band number, I don't know. But the screaming or yelling vocals are kind of more dislike one vial sound, and it just makes them not really like stick together, you know? So I think that that's actually, uh, issue across the whole song. And what that sounds like to me is just a lot of kind of unrefined, unnecessary stuff, just kind of in there, like, uh, intros kindly. Uh um, some of that stuff you could take out from the verse and maybe save it for that worst. Yeah, like it would make no difference, really, if it was gone. Like, uh, and I believe that both songs we listen to yesterday also had intros on them. And it's just a thing. Too many bands just have injuries when the reason, you know, I thought was a called intraparty, but I think it needed to be worked into the song. Yeah, it's not a bad far at all. Sounded kind of cool. Just instead of taking, like, 10 seconds to come into you could just haven't make that sound for, like, two or three seconds just kind of appear. And then the song hits, You know, just go back to the chorus as well. They didn't really jump up as you said with a chorus, and I think I think the guitars needed some Or maybe an extra secretaries, like panning it wider or something. Yes. Okay, this thing does make that perfectly. Yeah. Also, I thought that it's hard at first because I'm listening to you wanna monitor bit? Sound like guitars were quite buried while being quite loud at the same time, I was almost kind of a little bit muddy. Yeah, I don't think the mix is, uh I think the mixes that great, but I think I'm with you guys. The only thing I'm not sure about like, uh is whether the chorus or the versus the problem the because the first thing that struck me is really musically need between, uh, intro side was just that the verse melody didn't seem like a melody. What it seemed like to me was one of the writing exercises that it did in the previous section. It was kind of scene like, uh like, like the first notes you go to when you figure out what notes work over cords, but didn't seem like a melody to me or anything. And if I feel like if it was an actual melody, uh, and it would it would resolve better if it was a different style of vocal er or something. I just I think that the chorus, I think that the course just isn't set up properly, and if it was set up properly, then it wouldn't need them much tweaking just to get past the second courts as well. Yeah, I like that. It opened up, especially the drums, but I think they were trying to fill in too much space. Especially guitarist. He's just trying to fill in every single space. There was almost no space. Oh, yeah, with the busy river. Yeah, you go back to that. It was called. It was like the feel overall for songs Feeling quite good. And I thought the open up would be quite it would be good, but he didn't leave any space. Yeah, so I'm gonna just bring us right back to that because I was starting Teoh, how many times have started to be starting zone out, but important. So I want to just bring that back Teoh back into my memory. But, um, this is important the like, one of the things I think people need to pay attention to when critiquing their songs or valuing the songs. And at what point people start to get bored straight up, like, you know, a minute and 10 seconds in most people start, uh, get bored or start texting, or I want to fall asleep or shoot themselves. Then maybe something around, maybe little before. That needs to change. So just check out this bridge again. Ron is It's the thing is the Russians. It was cool. He had this to run it. Um, it's weird. It's like almost have you eliminated that run. It would actually be quite cool. Yeah, totally follow the ref a little bit more as well would give it more space as well. Obviously, that's just kind of sugar kind of thing, but well, I think I think that the contrast is what would be cool about that. Where is that? Didn't really the kick following or it didn't really happen too much earlier in the songs. It would help separate the bridge from everything else that I had on the bridge. I can't remember the question. Yeah, my son cooler. If you open that thing up toy, let's see what's going on. The chorus drum wise Large crashes. Yeah, see a few goto up in hat for even a china or something. It's like it's cool, like you said, that it's cool. It opens up, but maybe it just chills up to you could even be like offbeat China or off beat open hat. Maybe it's like that kind of thing, you know, I don't know. Just like something something to like, or even symbols on the staff's, like, occasional Stop that get, you know, just Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, no. On every single one, Just the ones that's like a kind of impact for sure. Accidents? Yeah, anything to take it out of, because that's only off me. That one of the off beat plus the kicks following their Yeah, plus eliminating the hoist high and wiggly wiggly thing. I think I think it should be almost bigger than the course when it comes in, or at least the same size. So it feels really have, like, heavy, you know? I mean, I feel like I'm at like a, uh, bar lake. And there's a good drummer in a blues band Closed on that part off. It was really cool, actually. Going into, like, a different keep version of the chorus. Yeah, that was really cool. Why don't we just start listening from there and keep going at it Was slick move necessary, I thought playing it once we've been calling the Tom thing. He did. Maybe even doing the whole section on the Tom should have been called to bring into the next bit totally. I feel also like maybe the sect. If it was gonna happen again, the restated chorus, maybe yet another modulation You have a second time would be cool. But as it is right now, I'm here by the second time through. You don't realize that it's just the course in a different key. But what I am realizing is that offered it to me. So I feel like second time through Yeah, maybe we said Tom's and maybe modulate the key again. Um, what's having once? Yeah, that would've sounded better. You or just have it once and don't do that little production trick at the end of the vocal. That's not necessary. That part, the transition and bother me was the stutter before it just seemed ill placed, like, uh, like we should. It seems to me, and I don't know this was the thinking, but we should use a stutter because it's a popular trick that's used. So where we gonna throw it in? Let's just throw it in there. Uh, it just doesn't It doesn't seem to me like it's, uh, it's like the best place for one but this trick right here, I think it even some bad without the guitar with a guitar. Fill it as well by the bushes. The vocal. Yeah, drop everything out. You were talking about that yesterday is a really good a trick dropping everything but the vocal out sometimes would be like Oh, wow, that sounds cool now. Yeah, I don't have to add anything. It totally think I talk with you on that man. Just the local. Can you play when we're talking about? Sure, starting. If it if it did, it would know workers to start along Me, maybe even making a complete stop. So there's a little gap before it comes in. I'll make the course and a little more powerful. So it meets like rather than a slur. Just may. You know me. He got totally It would give it more space. The one thing I did think on first listen is that even though I think this is, it's like a good transition. It's still hearing the chorus too many done. Even though it's in a different G. It's like too many times before it goes back to the course again, like, um, that I think that that little space that you just suggested would have probably been enough. Teoh. At least not have it sound like it's just being beat into your head over our over, over, over, over. There is three courses in this song already. Plus the bridge across the bridge has had, which is indifferent key, which is cool again. Yeah, I think I think I agree was too long. I think. I think that's cool, that it's in a different key. Definitely cool. It's just it goes too long and the transition back into the courses too quick. Maybe one of the courses should be half the size that it is. Keep the longest one for the ending. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that goes back to what we're saying. Resin of the original pacing and structure of song Need needs to be shortened. Yeah, to keep it a little more interesting. But it's not that these guys soccer no, notice that she just It's the part. Everyone struggles with song structure. Yeah, like, uh, the these guys could have a good song on their hands if I think they, uh, tweak some stuff, um Makesem necessary changes. So it's quite country. Yeah, so don't quit. Okay. All right, let's listen to the other one. Unless you guys have anything else to Adam, this one, we're good. All right. Cool. Um, this is by Costil elfin on Del Camino. Cool. That means the end of the way for anyone that's wondering, huh? One thing out and we can get right back to listening to it is that crash is just really distracting. Okay, start time of this here. Uh, I don't see how long this song is. Um, curiosity. 55 minutes on foot, four minutes and 26 seconds long. So I mean, we haven't gotten even to the halfway point, but it kind of continues the way it started. That is way too long for that. But I think this one needs a lot of work. Um, but one thing that I'm having a hard time with is I can't tell if the mix is part of was throwing me off journalists in past. Yeah, I thought there's a couple of really cool riffs on the cool riffs, but repeat too many times. Yeah, and it's like they're not, like, built up Well, I think, uh, I did hit some variations at the end of a couple of the repeats there, which was cool. They were thinking about the changing it. Yeah, like, definitely e for effort on ah, on having variations. But I'm not sure that this is This is exactly the way it sounds to me. Like a song sketch or something. Yeah. Yeah. Doesn't sound to me toy like a song like, uh, there. There's there's some, like, riffs, so that could be riffs, variations and stuff like that. But it's just like I, uh I got kind of bored right away. Um, yeah, I didn't pick up on the rial structure yet. Yeah, me neither. And honestly, within the first half second, I was, like, just because of the next, You know, um, I kind of cringe to There's, like, a lot going on a lot of garb, Garbo. And like the 600 Hertz range, something like that scenario on the guitar is just really just like it's just like clouding everything. So maybe the song would be more enjoyable right out the gate. If it was just like you can actually hear stuff a little clear. Yeah, the mix is tough. And that I think that that's Ah worth mentioning. Um, there's an age old cliche that and our guys, or whatever would say that you listen past the demo or whatever. Like, uh, don't worry about the quality of the recording or whatever. Uh, great song will shine through. And yet maybe we're biased because we've got three producer engineer mixers in the room, but I just don't think that's true. I don't think most people can listen past the mix. I don't know that some albums that great. I have a terrible makes some, but like they're rare, I think. And, uh, usually they're They're classic and like if you listen to rain, blood or something, it's so old that production was different back then, I guess. Yeah, exactly. Or something like that. Yeah, it's like and it's not a bad. That's just the first thing tomorrow, but it's not bad for, like, imbalanced or anything. It doesn't sound like a demo. It might have something modern, but I think you can listen passing mix, but only to a certain point. At a certain point, it's like so bad. It's kind of just like Oh boy, like this just has such glaring flaw that I'm not saying this is necessary at that point. But if something could have glaring enough laws that it's very, very hard to just so did you know when I'm That comes to mind, though, that it doesn't just have a terrible mix by any means. But it's alien strapping young lad album, one of my favorite albums ever. It's insanely happy, and I love Devin Townsend, but I don't know, like the Lohans, not that good. The snares, like really squished. There's just, you know, like the mixed I don't know, like it's really not that exciting, but it's still one of the heaviest alums I've ever heard. So I definitely listen to that. I don't really think about the mix. It doesn't bother me, you know. The thing is, though, you're talking about one of the most brilliant metal musicians on the planet, all right, but But I mean, if we're talking about, can a good song that way about mixing, Yeah, in some circumstances, it can. I just think that that Devin Townsend is an example is like he's like an outlier like, Yeah, it's like free is free territory like that Dude's worst day is going to be better than most people's best day by a long shot. So it's almost like anything puts out whether you're a fan or not. It's just such a high level of composition. Yeah, that I think, yes, sure stuff like that cannot wait mix because But, I mean, a band like this I don't think can Like, I don't think that this is, uh, strong enough material. I think that, you know, maybe was some work or whatever, but I think that in this in this case and needs to be presented in a better light, like put yourself in and our guys shoes getting this. How long do you think it would be before they really on next? Um, and it could be that something awesome happens 15 seconds in, but I don't think that this would stand. The 15 2nd 12th test with was was someone who was going to possibly invest money in the band or give the band a future or something like that? I don't think it would get out the gate. And, uh, I think that the mix has a lot to do with that. And here's where the Sun goes next, you know, let's try it out. Happens go somewhere different. I think those Ben's kind of speak for the whole song. Like the fact that they let those Ben's go. Uh, like the same attention to detail and standards just kind of reflect in everything. Uh, like it could be better in almost every aspect. Plan could be better. Refraining could be better. Structuring could be better Pacing could be better, Just like everything about it could be better. And, uh, you lots of times when I hear, like one detail like that or like symbols that are so loud that like they hurt or like, uh, Ben's that air just wildly out of tune. Um, it gets it makes me think that people aren't either. Somebody is lying to this band and they're believing there, believing with their friends, say, or they're just not working hard enough on their music. And they need to put more time in or they're 13 years old, which, in that case, good job like no, seriously, like if these guys were 13 than cool because, like by the time you're 16 you might be good. Uh, these guys are might have some problems, you got to say, Yeah, I think overall, I mean, we've We've talked about how it's so long. I think my impression is that it's a result of kind of a stylistic confusion or trying to do things with a style that shouldn't be done. A lot of people love trying to, you know, have like, there really epic song, which I mean to me. This is what it seems like they're trying to do the that has the big solo on the and it does all this stuff and artsy but something this fast and this brutal and like with all those like like those those almost blast beats. Um, it doesn't really lend itself well to that style just because it's so exhausting. I mean, it really kind of reminds me of the the first Lamb of God album when there, which I mean they're great songs on that on that album because they're short. I mean, some of those songs are like less than than two minutes long, but that's that's why it works. I mean, like, I would enjoy something it I don't think it still be the best song in the world. But if we cut it off at that point where we can see it was a drop like, I mean, I was kind of getting a, you know, fairly good vibe. But then when you zoomed out, I was like, Oh, my God, we have like, I felt like a shiver and I I don't wanna see me, but it's like it's such an easy thing to dio. Just make sure it's not me and do like, uh, it's actually being nice to tell a band that needs to get their shit together, that they need to get their shit together, cause, uh, not many people have the balls to say that to somebody. And I started the best thing that could possibly here because if they take it to heart and get better Well, hey, there a better band, as opposed to If they just continue on this path of low standards and anything goes like, you know, they're not gonna have a future like this, they need to get their shit together. I wanted to say I think if I feel like is this, um, riff salad going on with this one, did anybody discern the chorus because I don't like the closest thing to the course I could think of was one of the lead guitarist with shredding a liver. I think that was the closest thing to a course in the whole song. The okay again, like they didn't introduce it. A tall during the song came out of nowhere, like the rift before, as well, just came out of nowhere. The rift after I think, came before it was like just before the break. But in terms of a structure, there isn't really a structure. It'll now it's just like a sketch. And, uh, I think also, like maybe some specific things are that Okay, so it's cool. The idea of like doing something fast into something choppy to break it up is one done. Well, that's cool. But in this case, it's just like jarring in in a way that's like that makes you wonder, not listen to it like the This thing. Harmonic doesn't really need to be there. A lot of stuff let me way. That is a when it goes from low to high, which happens a lot of song whenever goes too high. It's like the drums have to let it seems like they have to do something different, which is, I think, that that's just the drums. Don't always have toe match. Every single move that they get tired of makes this kind of. It's just not that well thought out. It's like it's almost like there are playing the same instrument. Him Don't, uh, don't realize it. So I thought of the rift after that was quite good. Which one? The slow. The one way goes really slow. Halftime later on. Its later Yeah, um, the way I should start agree. That's like an intro to me. No way. That's best. Yeah, I agree. Almost ditch everything else and just use that and start a new song. Sounds like a really good interest to do a variation of that riff to at some point and kind of double up on the tempo todo kind of driving or something like that. That's the way you could extend. It creates a floating things totally. That's totally like a core. If that you could do stuff where they said it's in Tripolis as well. Isn't it all that for the rest of songs? I was like anyway, but yeah, maybe do it in the alternative set of in the trip, but sound pretty cool too. As a good idea. Yes, that's a trick. Uh, we're actually talk about that later. Is using a modeling triplets. 2/8 notes. Yeah, that could be cool. You know, um, if I kind of like expanding on what he said if they were to keep these riffs and short in the song and it would end right here, I still don't think it would be a good song. Um, I think these risk we all need to be, like, 1/3 or half or something is long and would need to be like changing. Before you know it, they be need to be on the next year for just maybe, like one of those, like, minute and 12th long songs like a hidden track on a slip knot record or something like that. Where if you're not gonna follow a structure it needs to like it needs to be badass enough and like changing up enough to where it's it's like the what? The song. But like in this in this case, it's just not it's just a mismatch. So yeah, I honestly would just be curious And how old these guys are. You think, uh, and that has a lot to do with it. Um, well, it could have a lot to do that it would just be very telling. Um, so I think I think it needs work. I think increase anything else. And who's to say not it. Happy that it didn't have another one of those, like, faded intro things that we've heard on all the songs. What is the intra forgot? Should I kick to the start? Yeah, there was the first thing that really stuck out to me was kind of like, Weird. Uh, we're hammer on full, often. Assemble that made me want to, like, stick a screwdriver in my years.

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.