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Amadeus 2008-05-25 03:20

Heavy theory
 
OK, I realize this question is vague, so I'll try to formulate a basis for discussion to make it a bit more interesting to everyone.

My bandmate came with a new song on the synth the other day, a slow, massive, rolling thing and I instantly felt it had potential as a metal tune. Thing is, I can't seem to get my guitar to give it the full heaviness I'd like; I've tried various rythms over power chords, some harmonic and melodic minor stuff, off-key chromatics.

That's the background, now to the aforementioned basis:
What do you do when trying to get something really really heavy? I'm thinking not so much fast edgy trash or death - my usual style of choice - but more just a massive wall. Any tips on good places to start?
And please don't say downtuning. There's a reason I put this in the theory forum.

tmfreak 2008-05-25 10:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amadeus
OK, I realize this question is vague, so I'll try to formulate a basis for discussion to make it a bit more interesting to everyone.

My bandmate came with a new song on the synth the other day, a slow, massive, rolling thing and I instantly felt it had potential as a metal tune. Thing is, I can't seem to get my guitar to give it the full heaviness I'd like; I've tried various rythms over power chords, some harmonic and melodic minor stuff, off-key chromatics.

That's the background, now to the aforementioned basis:
What do you do when trying to get something really really heavy? I'm thinking not so much fast edgy trash or death - my usual style of choice - but more just a massive wall. Any tips on good places to start?
And please don't say downtuning. There's a reason I put this in the theory forum.


Your best bet is doing either powerchords or doing one of those barchords that would normally make a powerchord on a dropped instrument. (1 bb5 bb8 chord) That means root note, a double flatted 5th and double flatted 8th note. That chord usually makes things kind of heavy.

It seems like you'll have to find a chord progression that makes things heavier than normal, or playing in a mode like the lucrian which is some pretty nasty stuff. (its the diminished scale, so one can assume its harshish sounding)

Theres not much to tell you. Been there done that but you'll have to just keep playing around. More than likely you're not going to get heavy out of something that sounds like its a lead without making the guitar play chords and the only really "heavy" chords are the 2 i mentioned. Everything else is brighter, more melodic, or dissonant and unresolved.

Amadeus 2008-05-25 11:11

Actually, that might do me some good... I'm enough of a newbie not to think specifically about things like locrian mode and suchlike. Could be the thing.
And I don't really think I need to do any lead on this, as the synth already carries a melody - it's just that he writes these classical-ish pieces and I feel that they could reach a higher level, i.e. metal.

tmfreak 2008-05-25 11:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amadeus
Actually, that might do me some good... I'm enough of a newbie not to think specifically about things like locrian mode and suchlike. Could be the thing.
And I don't really think I need to do any lead on this, as the synth already carries a melody - it's just that he writes these classical-ish pieces and I feel that they could reach a higher level, i.e. metal.

Yeah see thats what i figured.

Yeah trust me i know how it is not to know this kinda stuff. I find that once you learn some sort of theory and applying it you can never go back to those days of randomly finding good shit and coming up with "original ideas."

So... the cure i see is learn more and try to apply more. That way it keeps things feeling fresh and it has a little more order than you would normally have.

brainsforbreakfast 2008-05-26 11:23

I hate to say this, but listen to some Dimmu for ideas how to support synths with a guitar. :smash:

tmfreak 2008-05-26 12:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainsforbreakfast
I hate to say this, but listen to some Dimmu for ideas how to support synths with a guitar. :smash:

Or pretty much most over the top european metal. Dark Tranquillity has it now and again, but its much more tasteful in my opinion than other bands out there.

TruthDevoid 2008-05-26 14:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainsforbreakfast
I hate to say this, but listen to some Dimmu for ideas how to support synths with a guitar. :smash:


Everybody knocks Dimmu, but In Sorte Diaboli has a lot of cool shit. It's a solid CD and Hellhammer is a fuckin beast on it. But anyway, yeah check out that album if you wanna get some good ideas with guitar and synth. As far as getting it to sound heavy, a lot is going to depend on your tone combined with the bass guitar. Keep in mind that your powerchords and 4ths are going to sound a lot heavier and fuller once the bass is added in the equation.

davie_gravy 2008-05-26 15:40

Wanna make it sound thicker? Stack some 4ths to your root.

Example...

E5 powerchord would look like

D--9
A--7
E---

Stack a forth on it for a

D--9
A--7
E--7

or you can even stack the diad (Em here) for a

D--5
A--7
E--7

which is actually playing the second voicing of Em.

brainsforbreakfast 2008-05-27 05:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthDevoid
Everybody knocks Dimmu, but In Sorte Diaboli has a lot of cool shit. It's a solid CD and Hellhammer is a fuckin beast on it. But anyway, yeah check out that album if you wanna get some good ideas with guitar and synth. As far as getting it to sound heavy, a lot is going to depend on your tone combined with the bass guitar. Keep in mind that your powerchords and 4ths are going to sound a lot heavier and fuller once the bass is added in the equation.


Tremolo picked powerchords sound that much less random and that much more heavy if you add some double basedrums to the equation.

St.Nice Person 2008-05-27 06:44

2 guitars? If so they could play complimentary pieces? Not really sure What ur definition of heavy is though, I don't tend to find synth infused metal Heavy (in general not saying it can't sound cool). My friend came up with a riff the other day and i wasn't really sure about it until we practised and it sounded awesome. Some riffs need loudness and the rest of the band to carry them.

brainsforbreakfast 2008-05-27 06:57

Still, it isn't how individual instruments sound but how it all comes togheter.

You can take almost any riff and go.. wtf, this sucks, not heavy, not metal.

Put everything togheter, and suddenly it's STOP! Hammersmashed face time! :smash:

Chris Rezendes 2008-05-30 12:45

Three guitars. Two dirty, one clean. The clean one plays chords, the first distorted guitar plays power chords. The third can follow the synth or, even better, follow the first guitar in octaves.

brainsforbreakfast 2008-05-31 08:09

chords, riffs and leads, eh?

Just make sure to take the time EQ'ing the shit out of every instrument and vocals, because with that many instruments in the mix with added distortion and what not, it's probably going to be one frostbitten fuzzy/muddy shitcrap.

Amadeus 2008-06-12 02:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainsforbreakfast
chords, riffs and leads, eh?

Just make sure to take the time EQ'ing the shit out of every instrument and vocals, because with that many instruments in the mix with added distortion and what not, it's probably going to be one frostbitten fuzzy/muddy shitcrap.


Yea. You're talking about black metal, correct?

As for the doubts about synth infused metal, it's no longer an issue for us, as we've switched it to piano. Funny thing is, it became easier to do something that really felt heavy. What I did for the basic rythm was mark every other beat with the appropriate power chord, variations with the fourths and diads, and then doing triplets in between, varying between root note and falling/rising depending on the progression of the song. The rest I'll keep to myself until we make a recording of it. Didn't turn out all that crappy - now, if we could just find a bassist and a drummer that I don't feel like using for some creative redecoration of the walls, we're all set.

fiery(arm)pits 2008-07-20 23:31

a few great ways to make heavy music is to use diminished 5th's. it makes the music incredibly dark and creates tension. also it helps to add ALOT of distortion into the sound. there are a few scales out there that you can use to create heavy music. here is a heavy scale that i use in many of my songs in drop c: (but you can still use drop d)


C|-------------------0-1-3--
G|---------0-1-2-3-4--------
C|-0-1-3-4------------------


other than that, just experiment and you'll be able to come up with some pretty heavy riffs.

Unanything 2008-11-01 13:35

I think you may have to bite the bullet on how "edgy" it sounds. Single notes will also work. You can still have 'speed' that overall works at a slow tempo. Outro' to Nile's Sarcophagus?

Staccato phrases too might work.

Amadeus 2008-11-01 15:35

Not a native English speaker. "Bite the bullet"?

I did do the bridge a staccato. However, all in all, my love for thrash took the better of me in this particular song, but hey, we like it.

Unanything 2008-11-06 13:38

Basically "accept the fact".

Hmmm. Slow staccato would probably work too. Just listen to loads of records with the kind of thing you think you are looking for.

Amadeus 2008-11-22 02:59

I did do something like that on another song, where I took the time to explore how a simple melody with few notes could be glued together with main theme. I think that one will be on the demo that we'll hopefully get to record in a month or so, so maybe there'll be a myspace too then.
But, all in all I'm afraid that the metal part of our repetoire will have to stay in the rehearsel room until we get a few more steady people for the band.


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