Song Critiques With John Browne


Mastering Metal Songwriting


Lesson Info

Song Critiques With John Browne

And talk about some songs that some people submitted so uh we haven't heard these before and so you're gonna get are honest feedback on this and uh like yesterday is her part of this conversation and uh focus on any aspect of it whatever you want just any any kind of isis and if they like yester anything that could help these guys either write a better song or quit music you know whatever whatever the whatever for the better end result is for everybody you know so all right so says marigold death of me and I think what we did yesterday was kind of went up to like maybe a good halfway point in the song and then decided we wanted to listen to the rest so so it's amerigo deafened me and uh school ah yeah no no all right there on the bridge the first thing that came to mind tell me uh uh agree disagree? Um it's pretty traditionally structured which is our you know, neither here nor there but I think that there's a lot of copy pace section going on where as even if you're using a traditiona...

l structure I should probably help the sections evolve a little more when they come back and I think it takes too long to get to that second chorus like but by the time it was into that partway through that second verse I was already starting to zone out what do you think? That that structure so far the structure is core 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 chorus or done something, just cut it down. Yeah, you think I agree with everything you said? I think the chorus could hit a little, like be a little more emotionally impactful if it was like, in a different key or just something, because it just kind of feels like the whole song, even if through the chorus, just kind of like it kind of keeps hitting that, saying, I think it's the verse that's the problem, I think if the verse vocals were reworked to be more like our tents and interesting melody, yeah, then the chorus would resolve nicely one other little grape ahead and it's kind of more unlike the engineering production side of things a little bit, but some of the like screams and growl type stuff that's layered in under the singing just seems a little bit like two disjointed, another 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 vocal ist a lot of times I'm telling them toe like over and nch their vocals because a lot of screamers tend to, like, have, like one to find vowel sound that they do, regardless of what the words are. So in the case of this, you have, like, a guy's 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 just like one vial sound, and it just makes them not really, like, stick together, you know? So I think that that's actually 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, intro is kind of, uh um, in some of this, if you could take out from the verse and maybe save it for the worst, yeah, I think it would make no difference, really, if it was gone like, and I believe that both songs we listen to yesterday also had intros on them and it's just I think too many bands just have injuries for no reason. You know, I thought I was a calling trip part, 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 ten seconds to come into you could just have it make that sound for like two or three seconds just kind of appear and then the song hits you know, teo, go back to the chorus as well they didn't really jump up as you said with the chorus and I think I think the guitars needed some more maybe an extra secretaries like panning it wider or something yes, okay, just something does make the perfect yeah also I thought at the time that I fixed because I'm listening to one on a monitored it sounds like the title quite buried well, 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 verse is the problem because the first thing that struck me is really musically named tweet, you know, interest 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 I did in the previous section it is kind of seem like uh like like the first notes you go to when you figure out what notes work over chords 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 or if it was a different style of vocal or something I just 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 past the second course 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 riff yeah, you go back to that it was called it was like the feel overall the song was feeling quite good and I thought the open up would be quite it would be good but it didn't leave any space yeah so I'm gonna just bring us right back to that because I was starting teo wait timeout started be starting zone out so I want to just bring that back teo back into my memory but this is important though like one of the things I think people need to pay attention to and critiquing their songs are valiant songs and at what point people start to get bored straight up like, you know, a minute and ten seconds in most people start tio, get bored or start texting or one fall sleep or shoot themselves, then maybe something around, maybe little before that needs to change. So just check out this bridge again, ron, I think is the rose. It was cool he had to run. Yeah, it's it's weird it's like almost have you eliminated that run? It would actually be quite cool. Yeah, yeah, totally follow the ref a little bit more as well would give it more space. Well, obviously that's just kind of like 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 arrest didn't really happen too much earlier in the songs it would help separate the bridge from everything else I had on the bridge. I can't remem good question. Yeah, my son color if you open that thing up totally let's see what's going on the chorus, drum wise, large crashes, yeah, c h ugo and hat for even a china or something it's like it's cool, like you said that it's cool that opens up but maybe it just chills up to you could even be, like, off beat china or off open hat. Maybe so it's like it's like that kind of thing, you know, you don't know just like something, something something to like or even symbols on the staff's. Occasional stop. But, you know, just oh, yeah, cool. Yeah, like that. Something like that? Yeah, no on every single one, just the ones that's like kind of impact for sure. Accent? Yeah, anything to take it out of the off one of the pieces, plus the kicks following the plus eliminating the highest high and wiggly wiggly. I think I think I think it should be almost bigger than the course. And when he comes in or at least the same size so it feels really had, like, heavy, you know, I feel like I'm at, like, a, uh, bar like and there's, a good drummer in a blues band just a little close on the right for the part off it was really quite you are not going into like, a different version of the chorus. Yeah, that was really cool way just start listening from there and keep going at it, it was necessary? I thought, playing it once we've been cornered the tom thing that 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, um maybe the sec if it was gonna happen again, the restated chorus, maybe yet another modulation your second time would be cool, but as it is right now, I'm hearing 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 I heard it too many, so I feel like second time through yeah, maybe we said tom's and maybe modulate the key again what's having ones? Yeah, or just have it wants and don't do that little production trick at the end of the vocal that's not necessary that part of the transition and bother me was the starter before, you know, it just seemed ill placed like, uh like we should, it seems to me and I don't know this was thinking, but we should use a stutter because it's a popular trick that's used so where we gonna throw it and let's, just throw it in there, 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, the guitar fill it as well by the bushes. The vocal yeah, drop everything out you were talking about that yesterday is a really good trick dropping everything but the vocal out sometimes would be like, oh, that sounds cool now, yeah, I don't have to add anything it totally think I'm with you on that man just the local can you play when we're talking about sure starting it. If it did, it would not work just a little along me, maybe even making a complete stop so there's a little gap before it comes in, I'll make the course south of the more powerful it means like rather than a slur just may no, tony got totally it would give me 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 you hear in the chorus too many times, even though it's in a different key it's like too many times before it goes back to the course again like that, I think that that little space that you just suggested would have probably been enough, teo, at least and not have it sound like it's just being beaten into your head over and over, over, over over there's three courses in this song already plus the bridge across the bridges had which is a different key which is cool again but nothing 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 chorus is 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 originally the original pacing and structure of the song needed needs to be shortened to keep it more interesting but it's not that these guys soccer no no it's just it's the parlor everyone struggles with song structure yeah like uh the these guys could have a good song on their hands if I think they er tweak some stuff um makesem necessary changes so it's quite country yeah so don't quit all right let's listen to the other one unless you guys have anything else to add on this one we're good all right cool um this is by hostile el fin del camino cool that means the end of the way for anyone that's wandering one thing out and we can get right back to listening to it is that crash it's just really distracting wait no way oh god I e way start time of this here uh along this song his curiosity fifty five minutes on foot four minutes and twenty six 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 but one thing that I'm having a hard time with isa can't tell if the mix is part of what's throwing me off janet listen past yeah thought there's actually a couple of really cool restaurant they're cool riffs but repeat too many talk yeah and it's like they're not like built up well I think I did hear 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 on having variations but I'm not sure that this is uh this is exactly the way it sounds to me like a song sketch or something yeah yeah it doesn't sound to me toy like a song like uh there there's some like riffs so that could be riffs, variations and stuff like that but it's just like uh I got kind of bored right away um yeah, I didn't pick up on a real structure yet yeah, me neither and honestly within the first half second that was like just because of the maxi no, I cringed there's like a lot going on a lot of garb garbo and like the six hundred hertz arrange 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 could actually hear stuff a little clear yeah, the mix is tough and, uh, that I think that that's ah worth mentioning age old cliche that and our guys or whatever would say that you listen, passed the demo or whatever like, uh, don't worry about the quality of the recording or whatever ah great song will shine through, and yet maybe we're biased because we've got three producer engineer mixtures in the room, but I just don't think that's true, I don't think most people can listen pass the mix I don't know that's some albums that great, I have a terrible mix some, but like they're rare, I think, and 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 get exactly if something like that yeah it's like and it's not a bad that's just the first thinking of mine is not bad for like imbalanced or anything, you know it doesn't sound like a demo it minus 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 a little boy like this just has such glaring flaw and I'm not saying this isn't really at that point but if something could have glaring enough laws that it's very very hard to just sewed it and you know what I'm what comes to mind though that doesn't doesn't have a terrible next planet means but it's alien strapping young lad album it's like 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 snare is 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 albums I've ever heard so I definitely listen to that I don't really think about the mix doesn't bother me you know the thing is though you're talking about one of the most brilliant metal musician on the planet all right but but I mean if we're talking about you know in a good song that way about mixing yeah in some circumstances can I just think that that that devin townsend is an example is like he's like an outlier like yeah it's like frieda terror is freak 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 that I think yes sure stuff like that cannot wait a 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 with some work or whatever but I think that in this in this case in the city presented in a better light like put yourself in and our guy's shoes getting this how long do you think it would be before they really on next and it could be that something awesome happens fifteen seconds in but I don't think that this would stand the fifteen second ten second test with a was that it was someone who was going to possibly invest money in the band forgive the band of future something like that I don't think it would get out the gate and 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 on go somewhere different ah wait wait I think those ben's kind of speak for the whole song like the fact that they let those benz go uh like the same attention to detail and standards it just kind of reflect and everything uh like it could be better in almost every aspect that plane could be better refreshing could be better structure and 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 you bends that air just wildly out of tune it gets it makes me think that people aren't either somebody is lying to this band and they're believing they're believing with their friends say or they're just not working hard enough on their music and you for more time in or their thirteen years old which in that case good job like no seriously like if these guys were thirteen then cool because like by the time you're sixteen, you might be good uh these guys are twenty five might have some problems 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 a like they're really epic song, which I mean to me this is what it seems like they're trying to do because it has the soul of the and it does all this stuff aren't even something this fast in this brutal and like with all those like uh like those those almost blast beats 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, um the first lamb of god album when they're which I mean they're great songs on that on that album because they're 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 would 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 I felt like a chevron I don't wantto see me but it's like it's such an easy thing to dio just your shorts not mean do like it's actually being nice teo tell a band that needs to get their shit together that they need to get their shit together because uh not many people have the balls to say that to somebody and 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 like 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 it's awesome riff salad going on with this one did anybody discern the chorus because I I don't like getting rid of the closest things of course I could think of was when the lead guitarist was shredding all over I think that was the closest thing to a course in the whole song the yeah, just because okay again like they didn't introduce that a tall during the song just came out of nowhere like the rift before as well just came out of nowhere the riff 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 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 down. Well, that's cool, but in this case it's just like jarring in a way that's like that makes you wanna listen to it like the uh this thing the french harmonic doesn't really need to be there a lot of stuff wait that is a when it goes from low to high which happens a lot of songs wherever it goes too high it's like the drums I 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 to 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 don't don't realize it so I thought of the riff after that was quite good which one the slow the one way goes really slow halftime oh god later on it's later wait nothing that's the best that I could not take the song should start angry that like an intro to me oh god that's the best of the whole song yeah, I agree on almost ditch everything else and just use that and start a new song sounds like a really good interest you do a variation of that riff to at some point and kind of double up on the ten persons like doing and doing yeah, I don't get a kind of driving or something like that I mean that's that's the way you could extend it creates a floaty thing's totally that that's totally like a course that you could do stuff when it's in it's in tripolis as well, isn't it for the rest of songs anyway but yeah maybe do it in the alternative sort of in the trip sound pretty cool too has a good idea it's a trick we're actually talk about that later using a modeling triples to eight notes yeah, that could be cool you know um and if I kind of like expanding out 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 he's risked all need to be like a third or half or something is long and we need to be like changing before you know they be need to be on an extra for just maybe like when I was like minute and ten second long songs like a hidden track on a slip knot record or something like that where if you're not going to 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 uh yeah, I honestly would just be curious to know how old these guys are gonna think uh has a lot to do with it well, it could have a lot to do with it it would just be very telling um so I think I think these work think, increase any anything else to say about it. Happy that it didn't have another one of those, like faded intro things that we've heard on all the socks. What is the interest for god? Kick to the start? Yeah, there was the first thing that really stuck out to me was kind of like, weird. We're hammer on full, often assemble that made me wanna, like, stick a screwdriver in my ears.

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!