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Old 08-19-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
darksatan666lol
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"Genre hopping"

I am in need of some outside opinions here.

Not too long ago I started a solo project. My original idea was to focus on atmospheric black metal. Stupid idea, I know. Limiting yourself right out of the gates. I noticed that my songs were just as sludge and doom influenced (if not more) than black metal.

I'm fine with that so I let my writing just go naturally in that direction.

Now, after writing 6 songs I'm hearing death metal and thrash. None of this was the product of a conscious effort. I'm really picky about albums being cohesive so I'm just wondering, am I looking into this too much?

I know a cohesive album has just as much to do with production, tone and overall delivery, but is it insane that in a single EP I have black, doom, sludge, thrash, and death metal?

Below I will post three demos that are the most unlike each other. I've never written and composed an entire album by myself before. I'm a longtime drummer and semi recent guitarist so this is all new for me.

Don't be shy to tell me "that song doesn't belong on the same album as the other one."

I know its all based on opinion but I really want a second opinion. Please feel free to give your input even if you don't have time/feel like listening to the demos.






Last edited by darksatan666lol : 08-19-2013 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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No, I'd argue it's actually much better to have that degree of variety. I have quite a few albums that I just can't sit through because they have no ups or downs.

I realize this is in pre-production at this stage, but WHOA, watch your levels. The compression on that is just insane in places. Quite like some of the grindy bass in the first one and the atmosphere of the third.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
darksatan666lol
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The funny thing is, there is no bass haha. Just the behringer hm300 (boss hm-2 knock off).

The quality is garbage. These are just hastily recorded for personal reference. I forget riffs easily if I'm not constantly playing them. I'm in a mode right now where I finish something and just move on to the next song. I probably won't play any of these songs on guitar until I have to record in a studio setting, so no matter how shot the quality, its helpful to have it.

Thanks for your response!
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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More variety is better. Not if one is PE and another track is ABM but you're fine with a bit of variance, and several of those genres have a lot in common (thrash played a big part in sludge, for example, and doom an even bigger part. as did sludge to doom)
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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you're subgenre hopping. i think that if it's all metal then you shouldn't be concerned.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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Well, something can be said for sticking solely to one aesthetic. However, I honestly enjoy it a lot more when bands don't worry about sticking to the formulaic approach of one aesthetic.

Btw, I wouldn't worry too much about bringing in outside influences like that. Bands like Rotting Christ, it could be argued, aren't traditional formulaic Black Metal. (Look into the "classic" Greek Black Metal aesthetic.) As long as it's Metal, the only ones who will care if you mix aesthetics will be the elite-est of the elitists.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:14 PM   #7
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I'm on the verge of releasing a death metal EP under the name Radical Meek. It started off early thrashy death metal, then it went all tech-death, then there was a Lamb of God type track... I tried to make sure they all sound relatively cohesive, production-wise, and it's all the same vocalist (me!) growling in the same style, so it all seemed to fit pretty well, even with the varied styles.

I found that the track order makes a difference, too - my EP sounded really weird, like it changed genre halfway through, til I reshuffled the tracks a bit and it sounded more like it was just varied It'll be fine!
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:49 PM   #8
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I think we've all experienced something like that. My band started off...Dragonforce meets Nightwish, then was full-blown symphonic metal for a while, then we got into the more progressive side of things, and all that Dragonforce influence got pushed out to make room for Nevermore riffs. Our music is all over the place on our first album, as yours might be, but I think you'll find that you settle into an understanding of your style and your tastes after writing maybe two or three dozen songs, based on my experience.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:23 AM   #9
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I think it is great to have variety on an album, but in the rare occasion that a band successfully creates one cohesive sound within a single album without becoming redundant (ie, Tool's "Lateralus" in my opinion) it is truly a great experience. But this is incredibly difficult to do, I think. Let your writing flow out naturally. If you come up with a country riff or folk blues song, don't snub it because "it's not the sound your about or going for." Being able to cross into various genres is such a musically liberating feeling; don't box yourself in. You can still create concept albums and have variety of sound in them. Look at Pink Floyd.

At any rate, with the direction that the music industry and distribution is taking, I don't think complete albums are going to be around much longer. This is not scientific in any way, mind you, but the fact that getting music out to an audience is becoming so much more accessible lessens the need to compile an entire album's worth of material and distribute it as a package for convenience of market. If you think about it, most songwriters in the world are publishing material song by song with sites like Youtube and Soundcloud around.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for all of the reassurance, people. I was obsessing over being cohesive.

And paquijon, I agree with you completely about albums not being important to the majority of the world these days. I'm not gonna make money off of this album. I'm doing it for myself and the people I know that still enjoy albums as a whole. It's gonna be a free download. Almost definitely.

I may even have all of the tracks flow into each other. That gets pretty annoying for people that like single mp3's.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darksatan666lol
And paquijon, I agree with you completely about albums not being important to the majority of the world these days. I'm not gonna make money off of this album. I'm doing it for myself and the people I know that still enjoy albums as a whole. It's gonna be a free download. Almost definitely.


Hm...I don't know if I agree with that bolded part, personally. I mean, yeah, album sales don't work like they used to, and it can't be relied on as a sole source of income. I'd just like to say, though, that you should take care not to fall down the slippery slope into thinking that you can't make money with music, period. That, in my own experience and in the experience of many people I've talked with, is a myth. It's just different now, and there are a lot more "how-to's" written on the old method than there are on what needs to be done now.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paquijón
I don't think complete albums are going to be around much longer.

This makes me sad in the brain, I'm one of those people that never uses shuffle and always listens to albums from start to finish
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGoetz
Hm...I don't know if I agree with that bolded part, personally. I mean, yeah, album sales don't work like they used to, and it can't be relied on as a sole source of income. I'd just like to say, though, that you should take care not to fall down the slippery slope into thinking that you can't make money with music, period. That, in my own experience and in the experience of many people I've talked with, is a myth. It's just different now, and there are a lot more "how-to's" written on the old method than there are on what needs to be done now.


I didn't mean that in a general sense. The thing about making money that is. I'm solely speaking for myself. What I'm doing is a one man project so obviously touring isn't gonna happen. Touring is where the money is.

And not as many people immerse themselves in albums today. I know there are still people who like to have a physical album, and read the lyrics while they listen to it start to finish, but it seems like this is the "playlist" era.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeretiK538
This makes me sad in the brain, I'm one of those people that never uses shuffle and always listens to albums from start to finish

That's me too, man.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by crazysam23_Atax
That's me too, man.

Everyone always asks, "HeretiK, you living Adonis, what if there's one specific song you want to listen to?" Then I go through the whole album til I get there

Edit: Actually listened to TS's demos, sick stuff! I'd love to hear the completed tracks
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:13 AM   #16
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Just to throw a wrench in things, have you considered that your definition of cohesion might be too narrow. For example, a band like Mr. Bungle used constant genre hopping, often many times in a single song, but it was these frenetic recurring shifts that tied everything together.
If you want a collection of tracks to work as a whole, they really only need to share one element, idea, theme, gimmick, whatever. Genre is only 1 of an infinite number of things you can use to give separate songs a sense of likeness. And genre for me is a terrible option, as music is written first, and then someone comes up with a name for it after. They are used as general reference points so people can describe music when playing the piece/idea isn't possible. Also, you can refine any and all genres into increasingly more specific sub genres ad infinity...till your songs end up as a single tone played start to finish and nothing more.
[sidenote: metal heads have taken there sub genres to a ridiculous point that serves only an elitist function and is tolerable only because the electronica kids spew out 42 new sub-genres over there vegan breakfast, half of which would make suitable Philip K. Dick titles]
So my suggestion would be to regard your album as an idea (a story, a mental state, an emotional response, a concept, variations on a theme, etc) and not where record shops might file it. Deciding to write a death metal song because you like death metal is not a song idea.

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Old 08-27-2013, 11:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animus6
[sidenote: metal heads have taken there sub genres to a ridiculous point that serves only an elitist function and is tolerable only because the electronica kids spew out 42 new sub-genres over there vegan breakfast, half of which would make suitable Philip K. Dick titles]

This shows both an ignorance of Metal and EDM. The reason Metal has so many subgenres is there are so many different styles. Within each of the main subgenres, there's different styles. As such is the case, people like to have an idea of what they're listening to, stylistically.
The same thing applies to EDM and also Hardcore. It's arrogant to assume Metal/Hardcore/EDM culture should conform to your idea of how genres should be named and work within various music cultures.

Anyway, that's enough of that. If you want to continue this discussion, you can PM me. Otherwise, leave it, yeah?
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:33 AM   #18
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The most important thing to do with cohesiveness of an album is the personal touches. Create a little similarity between songs - if you have a cool effect in one of your songs, put a similar effect in another song, that sort of thing. Keeping the instrumentation coherent throughout will also aid the feel of the album.

Don't forget that an album should ebb and flow, dip and soar, and not just be "one long flat scream" and you will make something artistically valuable
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:54 AM   #19
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Sorry to bump this thread up but I found something. "Cohesion" on an EP is a lot harder than on a full length. Now that I abandoned the idea of an EP I feel the opposite of my original post. I think I need even more variety.

With my "left over" tracks, I'm gonna rework them and do a little EP B-side type thing. Perhaps I should be more selfish and care less about pleasing my friends and whoever else considering I'm releasing it for free and not even playing shows. In other words, this is releasing an album for the sake of releasing an album. If I get any underground attention, that's great, but it isn't the ultimate goal. I'm just writing music that I wanna hear.

Anyway, with a full length, I feel you can have a large variety between songs and still be cohesive with creative track order. The thing I'm struggling with now is what song to put first. I want it to encompass me as a musician. I want it to foreshadow what's to come. This is a completely different topic now so I'll stop.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:26 AM   #20
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Just do whatever you want. Who cares? It'll be cohesive because it all came solely from you.
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