Metalcore Music. Part 1 - The Beginning

author: xASxIxLAYx date: 09/15/2006 category: music styles
rating: 8 / votes: 40 

Introduction

Hardcore and metal have gotten together to create another useless subgenre label, metalcore. With metal's brighter side and hardcore's darkest, metalcore combines pretty much singing, screaming, heavy riffs and breakdowns into a melodic song. Metal for the emos if you want. I'm not bashing metalcore, in fact I love it (it's just that I think all these subgenres are pretty stupid) since everyone says that most of the bands I like were metalcore. As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engaged, Trivium, In Flames, Himsa, Norma Jean, Shadows Fall, I all consider them pretty much metalcore (and trust me I don't care if you post saying what is metalcore and what isn't, to me these bands are and I don't what to mix my head with all these bands and subgenres).

The Sound

It's hard to sound good playing metalcore genre music when you have a small 15 watts that can get hardly any distortion. So your best bet is to buy a good distortion pedal, or even a new amp (if you have the money and think you deserve it). In my case I have bought a guitar port and can get the perfect tone. So whatever situation your in, be sure to have a lot of gain! In my case I like to have the bass and treble up to max. If you have guitarport here are some good settings for a modern metalcore sound.
Amp model : Line 6 Insane
Cab model : 4x10 2001 Line 6
Drive - 10; Bass - 10; Middle - 7; Treble - 10; Presence - 9 
Stomp     : Effect Model - Screamer; Drive - 100%; Gain - 100%; Tone - 100%
Gate      : Threshold - -8dB; Decay - 43%
Compressor: Threshold - 0dB; Gain - 11dB
EQ        : GAIN (top to bottom)  5.4  3.4  8.6  3.2
EQ        : FREQ (top to bottom)  200  440  8.9k  1.6k

Tuning

Hardly any band use standard tuning in this kind of music. You want a heavy feel, thats why you have to tune down. My personal favorite is (from low to high) C G C F A D. But you may prefer D G C F A D or D A D G B E or even B F# B E G# C#. There are a lot of tunings you can use (to write your own metalcore songs, but if your doing a cover I suggest you just tune down exactly like the song suggest, so you get the closest as possible to the wanted sound). Just remember to tune down, it sounds better that way.

The Basics

Ok so, I'm supposing you know how to hammer-on, pull-off, palm mute, and all the other basics. So I'm not going to explain them all like the other lessons do. But I will put some example riffs that include them. Riff 1: (a small and simple riff I made that uses palm mute and pull-offs).
                         p                          p
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-----3-2------3-2------3^2------5-3------5-3------5^3--|
|-----0-0------0-0---------------0-0------0-0-----------|
|-0-0------0-0------0-0------0-0------0-0------0-0------|
pm. .      . .      . .      . .      . .      . .
                         p                      
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-----3-2------3-2------3^2-----------------------------|
|-----0-0------0-0---------------8--------7777-10101010-|
|-0-0------0-0------0-0------0-0-(^let ring)------------|
pm. .      . .      . .      . .
Riff 2: (I got the idea of this riff in a lesson I read. It's not really metalcore, but it's fun, different riff that can be used to warm up your hammer-on technique).
   h    h    h   h   h    h   h   h   h   h   h   h   h   h   h   h
|-0^12-0^11-0^9-0^7--------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------0^10-0^9-0^7-0^5---------------------------------|
|------------------------------------0^9-0^7-0^5-0^4-----------------|
|----------------------------------------------------0^7-0^5-0^4-0^5-|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
Intro. I think the intro riff is very important, it gives the listener an idea of the song so you can decide whether you will listen to it or not. Some cool intros I like are and that you should learn: "94 Hours" (As I Lay Dying), "Washing Me Away In The Tides" (Trivium), "Downfall" (Children Of Bodom), "The Crimson" (Atreyu), "Suffucating Under Words Of Sorrow" (Bullet For My Valentine), "Wolfchild" (Himsa), "Scream" (In Flames), "Rose Of Sharyn" (Killswitch Engaged), "This Is My Own" (Shadows Fall), and a lot more. Here are a few intro riffs you can practise. Riff 1 - the intro riff to "Bed Of Razors" by Children Of Bodom. You may think it looks hard at first, because you need to learn all these notes by heart and play them as fast as Alexi Laiho. But the trick is to learn it in parts. So seperate the riff in 4 parts, then take your time and go part by part. Memorize the notes and play them slowly. Then when your comftorable start playing it faster.
|------------------------------------------------10-8------------|
|-12-8---------8-11-8---------8-12-8----8-10-12------12-10-8-----|
|------11-9-11--------11-9-11---------11----------------------11-|
|----------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------|
Riff 2 - the intro riff to "Elegy" by As I Lay Dying. I love this riff, I think it sound very good when you know it right and with a lot of distortion. It maybe challenging at first, but again cut it into parts to make your life easier.
       p  p  p          p   p  p            h p
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------0---------------8/10-878-7^8^7----------|
|----8^7-10^8^0---0----8^7-10^8^0----------------8/10-878-|
|-00------------0-0--0------------------------------------|
pm..            .    .

      p    p p          p    p p
|------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------0---------------------7-8----7---10-8-7----------|
|----8^7-10^8^0---0----8^7-10^8^0---5-8-----10---8--------8-10-7-8-|
|-00------------0-0--0---------------------------------------------|
pm..            .    .              . . . . .  . . .  . . . .  . .
Verse. In most of metalcore songs the verse is very heavy and involves screaming. Again I tabbed examples of verse riffs. Riff 1 - this is the verse riff to the song "Collision" by As I Lay Dying.
                    h p   p
|------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------7^8^7-------------------------------------||
|-------8-7-5------------8^7-------8-7-5---8-8-8----10-10-10-||
|-0-0-0-------0-00-----------0-0-0---------8-8-8----10-10-10-||
pm. . .       . ..           . . .
Riff 2 - this is the verse riff to the song "This Years Most Open Heartbreak" by Funeral For A Friend. I like this verse riff alot, and it sounds very good.
   p
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-1^0-0-0-1-0-1-0-0-0-0-2-2-0-0-2-2-0-0-----3---3h5-----|
|-1^0-0-0-1-0-1-0-0-0-0-2-2-0-0-2-2-0-0-1h3---3-----3h5-|
|-1^0-0-0-1-0-1-0-0-0-0-2-2-0-0-2-2-0-0-----------------|
pm    . .   .   . . . .     . .     . .
Chorus. Personally I like it when they sing during the chorus becauses it differs from the chorus alot more. Most guitarists during a chorus play some power chords, sometimes with another small riff. Riff - this is the chorus riff to Atreyu's "Ain't Love Grand. Riff 1 is played during the chorus along with some power chords (riff 2). Riff 2 is the power chord progression.
 h                      h
|----------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|
|----9-9^10-9-9-12-10-9-----9-9^10-9-9-10-9----|
|-0-0-0----0-0-----------0-0-0----0-0-------12-|
|----------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|

|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------5-5-5-5--3-3-3-3--|
|-0-0-0-0--3-3-3-3--5-5-5-5--3-3-3-3--|
|-0-0-0-0--3-3-3-3--3-3-3-3--1-1-1-1--|
|-0-0-0-0--3-3-3-3--------------------|
Breakdown. Breakdowns are pretty much like an interlude but useally is muted power chords. They can be a lot of fun, and add more depth to a song. They give you a chance to stop screaming and take your breath. Well actually theyre alot more than that. Riff 1 - breakdown riff of the song called "Forever" by As I Lay Dying.
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|---------------333222000222-|
|-888777555888?-111111111111-|
|-000000000000---------------|
Riff 2 - breakdown riff in "Enlightened By The Cold" by Shadows Fall.
|-----------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------|
|------------3---------5-------------2-----3--2-|
|-0--0--0--5---5-----3---3--0-0-0------3---1--0-|
|-0--0--0---------0---------0-0-0--3------------|
Solo. Great old solo. What would we do without him. Solo - to the song "Dying In Your Arms" from Trivium.
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|-17-17-17\14-16-16-16\12/14-14-14-9-7-let ring-------------7-9-9-|
|------------------------------------------------9---9h10p9-------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
                                                            
|---------12-10----------------15-13-12-----------------------------------|
|----13---------------15---------------15h17p15----------10-8-10-12-13-15-|
|------14-----------------16----------------------------------------------|
|-14----------------------------------------------17~---------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

|-12----------12----12-----------------12-------12-----10---------10--------|
|----13----13----13-----------------13----13----13--------------12----12--12|
|-------14-----------------------------14----------14--------------12-------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|

|--------------------10-------10----8----------8----8-------|
|-----------------12----12----12------------10----10---10---|
|--------------------12----------12------------10-----------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------|

|----------8-------8-------13-12-10---12-10------10-----------------------|
|-10----10---10---------------------13------13-12---13-12-10-13-12-10-----|
|----10---------10----------------------------------------------------12--|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Conclusion

Keep practising and continue listening to metalcore! Hope my example helped and that I made you a somewhat better player.
More xASxIxLAYx lessons:
+ Metalcore Music. Part 2 - Harmony Music Styles 09/22/2006
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