#1
I'm in a band and we mainly cover metalcore music. All of the songs I've wrote for us has had a melodic metalcore style but metalcore is too common these days and I believe it's dying out and I'm really interested in melodic death metal which is basically metalcore but more heavier/extreme. In song writing (as in the instrumental part not lyrics) which things define melodic death metal? Bands I have in mind are In Flames, Darkest Hour and Bleeding Through. What can I do to my music which would make it melodic death metal as my metalcore songs are in the B minor scale (as we play in drop B tuning) and the harmony is usually thirds between the two guitars and the bass, a lot of the time, follows the main tune or drives the rhythm or tune. The songs are pretty fast consisting of mainly 200-240 bpm apart from breakdowns. What can I do to have a melodic death metal sound?

Thanks
Last edited by reverend_jake at Feb 20, 2009,
#2
Darkest Hour is my drummer's cousin's band. I can ask him a little about it, if you want. I know 'em personally.
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#3
Quote by headbangerbuggy
Darkest Hour is my drummer's cousin's band. I can ask him a little about it, if you want. I know 'em personally.

That would be great thanks

I really like the sound as it has the melodic elements of bands like I Killed The Prom Queen and As I Lay Dying but they are more extreme but I can't seem to work out how they are different which I can usually analyse most styles. :S

And maybe that's why it appeals to me so much.
#4
Quote by reverend_jake
melodic death metal which is basically metalcore but more heavier/extreme.

Bands I have in mind are In Flames, Darkest Hour and Bleeding Through.

Uhm,

Start listening to some Melo Death.. That would help. The Clayman album from In Flames..
At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity, Kalmah.. Stuff like that.
#5
Quote by sam b
Uhm,

Start listening to some Melo Death.. That would help. The Clayman album from In Flames..
At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity, Kalmah.. Stuff like that.

Well those bands I mentioned are only ideas and it is heavily desputed their genre and they are borderline metalcore/melo death but each of them have been defined as melodic death metal. Another band I had in mind was Children of Bodom but they are power metal as well and they have a keyboard which we don't have lol.

Oh and those bands are also the sound I'm looking for - something along the lines of each.
Last edited by reverend_jake at Feb 20, 2009,
#6
Quote by reverend_jake
Well those bands I mentioned are only ideas and it is heavily desputed their genre and they are borderline metalcore/melo death but each of them have been defined as melodic death metal. Another band I had in mind was Children of Bodom but they are power metal as well and they have a keyboard which we don't have lol.

Oh and those bands are also the sound I'm looking for - something along the lines of each.


A really good band to take a listen to is The Black Dahlia Murder. Their melo death metal sound is really unique
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#7
Quote by hatchet130
A really good band to take a listen to is The Black Dahlia Murder. Their melo death metal sound is really unique

Yep =] I listen to them and I love them! That's also the sound I like.

But what techniques and scales do these bands use?
#8
My little guide to melodic death metal.

Hope most of what I'm saying will be of some use. Remember this is just my opinion on how to construct a good melo death song so don't come flaming me with corrections be nice about it okay? TS might even know some of this already. Remember, I haven't read up or studied composition I just got some tips from my sis (who has) and analyzed a few death metal and melodic death metal songs. And if you don't know about some of the songs/bands I'm speaking of, don't post 'linky' just youtube it okay? Cause if you ask me for a link i'll just link you to some gay porn and be like 'take that bitch111=!'
______________________________________________________________________
VERSES
With the verses you have quite a few options. It all depends on personal preference but that doesn't mean you have to use the exact same verse layout in every one of your songs. For example you could use a clean passage with spoken word for a line of your verse and after the lyrics are finished in that line you could change to distorted then go back to clean and start over again (used in the intro of Square Nothing and some other songs from In flames' Clayman album). Another method that could be used is the simple chord progression harmony, you know the 3rd then 5th ect. (Check out Swim by In flames) or maybe you'll opt for a pedal point like take on verse riffage (a variation of this style is used in the song Cold by At the gates)
Ex. is as follows

a----2---3---2---5-4---4h5p4---4---4--4-4h5p4
e--0---0---0---0-----0----------2--2--2----------

something like that. A falling bass line is also a good to use but don't go over board with it like some pop ballads do. Just little touches like these help.

PRE-CHORUS
Falling bass lines along with chromaticism is a safe option when choosing a pre-chorus (presuming you have one) You may also want a counter melody of the one of the chorus
or verse or maybe create a whole new melody based on your chorus melody and verse melody combined. A good pre-chorus can make a song; whilst the chorus can be slower paced try to make your prechorus catchy and lively and above all brutal. This of course is just and option; you may also want to replace this section with a bridge.


CHORUS

Writing a chorus is pretty straight forward: provide a slight alternative to your previous chord progression and play that straight, mix the notes up or even play it arpeggiated.
Don't be afraid to lay a lead melody on your chorus either; these can work great just don't go shred on it otherwise you'll have too much going at once.

Melodic minor is your key scale here. When making up a melody try diffrent variations of it (playing it out of order, different phrasing, ect. ect.)
In a melo-death song you really need to have a driving lead guitar melody. Listing to In flames songs should tell you that. The melody really needs to be the center of the piece.

INTERLUDES, BREAKDOWNS, SOLOS, AFTER-SOLO RIFFS AND BRIDGES
You'll need to mix it up with acoustic passages as well (See Moonshield by In flames). An acoustic passage is to melo-death as a breakdown is to metalcore. But don't go using acoustics too much-just use them when the time feels right or if your song is missing some color. The guitar solos don't have to be very long either but straight after the guitar solo a harmonized riff/lead is needed. This is a good idea to transition between completely un-related riffs because straight after your solo has finished you may chose to go back to verse/chorus. To do this you may hold a note for a couple of semi-breathes the last note of your solo, whilst the other guitar starts on that note and begins the harmony chord riff that may be a variation on verse/chorus. Then you could fade the harmony out and hit it home with the last chorus which could be a key change(although between the harmony and the chorus you would probably want a keyboard/drum/bass riff, gives it more color (see in flames' only for the weak))!Alternatively you could provide a bridge which should be in a contrasting key to the rest of the song and normally are a perfect 4th apart from the rest of the song's key signature. Bridges are also considerably slower and sadder than the rest of the song.

INTROS/OUTROS
I'm not going to fully cover intros or outros here because depending on what type of song you have a different type of ending will suit it. For example, if your song is epicly long and has many acoustic passages you may want to write a riff that summarizes your song then get your vocalist to do a high-pitched, falsetto scream over it before fading that and using a variation on one of your acoustic passages (see Behind Space for an example of this type of ending) which you might like to end with harmonics. If its just your radical 2 mins melo-death song then you may chose to end it bluntly with the main riff/chorus.
In other words its up to you.


OVERALL STRUCTURE
This has nothing to do with melo-death but mainly with writing a song in general.
Also give or take other 'parts' of this song structure: depending on the mood of the song you may not even need a prechorus, interlude, guitar solo, breakdown or bridge: these are all optional parts of a song structure because these are all transitional passages. Its is a good idea to put these in if you have a song which sounds like a bunch or riffs strapped together recreating an late 80s hit. (see metallica's the day that will never come...or something like that)

Here are some examples of song structure that I came up with by analyzing a few songs:
ex1)Intro,prechorus, verse1, verse2, chorus, verse3, prechorus, chorus, breakdown, guitar solo, harmony riff, keyboard short solo, key changed chorus.
ex2) Intro, verse, chorus, bridge. outro
ex3) Freeform: Remember, you can also be creative and follow absolutely no song structure whatsoever. Another similarity to classical
ex4) Chorus, Bridge, guitar solo, verse1, verse2, chorus
ex5) Intro, verse1, chorus, verse2, verse3, transitional riffage, pre-chorus, bridge, chorus, interlude, breakdown, guitar solo, riffage2, bridge2, pre-chorus2, chorus, verse4,
________________________________________________________________
^ Not the proper names or anything just my personal take on this subject. To learn the proper theory composition for dummies and songwriting for dummies is pretty good. Might confuse you a bit tho, all this stuff about AABA and pinnicles and crap. This is a highly simplified take on things. Made easy for TS.
________________________________________________________________


Listening recommendations:
Skyfire
Raintime
Be'lakor
Pain Confessor
Aeveron
archeon
cadacross
mors principium est
imperanon
naildown
kaliban
Gardenian
Blinded Colon
Dusk's embrace
Arch enemy
In flames
At the gates.

Thats all I can think of off the top of my head. Wiki some more if you want.
In bold are the ones you should mostly check out.

ADDING YOUR OWN INFLUENCE:
If you don't like some of those bands, thats cool they're just what I like listening to. If you like metalcore bands and if you enjoy playing metalcore as well thats okay metalcore is cool when done right and if fused with melodic metal you can create something totally unique and original. Its not good to exactly copy the song structure of your fav band.
Check out L.O.G's newy Wrath and their song 'Grace': good example of how melo-death can be fused with melodic metal without being ****ty. Sure there's not a ton of melo-death in there; its pretty subtle but that all it needs to be. If you wanna give your song a metal core edge go ahead!
Also don't stay away from new in flames; sure some of their newys sound crap but although they have watered down their style somewhat they have included their own influences, even if they may be pop.

Anyway I hope this has been of use to you T.S or anyone else curious about melodic death metal.
Hope T.S's band goes well!
~~~~~~~~~
^EDITED 28/2/08
I put a few more stuff in here, to make it more easy to navigate and also some stuff about song structure and transitions.
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Last edited by Shredoftheday at Feb 28, 2009,
#9
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#10
Wow that was great help thanks! Especially about the equivalent breakdowns.

I used to write melodic metalcore music along the lines of IKTPQ and AILD but I see that music is too common and similar now; what are the main features which differentiate melodic metalcore and melo-death? Apart from breakdowns ofc which will be a big difference.

Again thanks for the help
#11
Quote by reverend_jake
Wow that was great help thanks! Especially about the equivalent breakdowns.

I used to write melodic metalcore music along the lines of IKTPQ and AILD but I see that music is too common and similar now; what are the main features which differentiate melodic metalcore and melo-death? Apart from breakdowns ofc which will be a big difference.

Again thanks for the help


Thanks, I'm glad you found it useful.

The main difference are your melodies. In melodic death metal you need to draw influence from classical: but not Malmsteen virtuosic neo-classical or Paganini. You need to listen to the sweet melodies. Tomorrow i'll try to get some listening recs from my sis.
Oh and getting into folk makes alot of difference as well. You hear some stuff on Lunar Strain (in flames debut record) that's definitely got some folk stuff in it. But using folk music; it doesn't all have to be acoustic. Take some folk elements and use them in your distorted playing.
Besides the sweeter melodies melo-death has a totally different vibe. Its hard to know what I mean, I know but when you compare a melodic metal core and melo-death song you'll see the difference in attitude by the musicians. So yeah, try listening to alot of other genres: metal or not metal . Take the elements of the song you enjoy best and fuse that into your playing.
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Last edited by Shredoftheday at Feb 26, 2009,
#12
Quote by Shredoftheday
Thanks, I'm glad you found it useful.

The main difference are your melodies. In melodic death metal you need to draw influence from classical: but not Malmsteen virtuosic neo-classical or Paganini. You need to listen to the sweet melodies. Tomorrow i'll try to get some listening recs from my sis.
Oh and getting into folk makes alot of difference as well. You hear some stuff on Lunar Strain (in flames debut record) that's definitely got some folk stuff in it. But using folk music; it doesn't all have to be acoustic. Take some folk elements and use them in your distorted playing.
Besides the sweeter melodies melo-death has a totally different vibe. Its hard to know what I mean, I know but when you compare a melodic metal core and melo-death song you'll see the difference in attitude by the musicians. So yeah, try listening to alot of other genres: metal or not metal . Take the elements of the song you enjoy best and fuse that into your playing.

Ah ok I do usually notice the difference but it's hard to explain. I didn't think it was that though. Another thing I've noticed which differentiates them both is that melo-death is usually very dissonant.

Where are the death metal influences in melo-death then?
#13
Quote by reverend_jake
Ah ok I do usually notice the difference but it's hard to explain. I didn't think it was that though. Another thing I've noticed which differentiates them both is that melo-death is usually very dissonant.

Where are the death metal influences in melo-death then?


Well, I havn't listen to that much mellocore so I wouldn't know much.

The main things that are borrowed from death metal are the obious ones: downtuned guitars, death growl, image ect. ect.
Apart from that melodic death metal bands to put it simiple are bands playing death metal in a more melodic style.
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#14
Quote by Shredoftheday
Well, I havn't listen to that much mellocore so I wouldn't know much.

The main things that are borrowed from death metal are the obious ones: downtuned guitars, death growl, image ect. ect.
Apart from that melodic death metal bands to put it simiple are bands playing death metal in a more melodic style.

Hmmm ok; well my melocore band plays in drop B and we have growling but I still class us as melocore (nice term btw never heard it).

Do you have guitar pro? Because I can send you one of my songs if you do.
#15
Quote by reverend_jake
Hmmm ok; well my melocore band plays in drop B and we have growling but I still class us as melocore (nice term btw never heard it).

Do you have guitar pro? Because I can send you one of my songs if you do.

No I don't have guitar pro; I'm too cheap to buy it Sorry
Maybe you can record one of your songs or something with a cellphone?
I've read some of your other threads; It sounds like you guys know what your doing. Don't feel pressured into changing your sound because alot of people classify it 'fagish' or 'gay'. If melocore works for you and you can express yourself to the fullest in that style of music then go for it; we need a good metalcore band some day !
Nothings stopping you to experiment with your sound either though. I personally think you should become a mello-death band mainly because you'll get a lot more respect and there's tones of melodic metal core bands out there just like you said.
Also mellodeath is lyrically different from mellocore as well; mello-death lyrics tend to be more abstract, poetic and artistic than your standed mello core lyrics.
Example:
For all the times you left me bleeding
Clouded, weakend by the haze
Cut of my pride, enough to forgive
Reconcile, back to square nothing

It seems I lost my direction
Don't have the strength to let it slip
Have no desire for the shore
Just let me play here for some time

Spent some quality time with the demon of mine
He said "I like the way you struggle but you know I'm here to win"

Is this how I want to spend my days?
Shadowed, it fears me, my utopia
Try to find some peace to destroy
These are my sins, I'm heading to fall
Never understood though I accepted
All the weakness that I discover
You gave me a place to hide and lost the key
Drowend my head just to see it sink (to the bottom)

Spent some quality time with the demon of mine
He said "I like the way you struggle but you know I'm here to win"
Spent some quality time with my borrowed smile
The gleam is replaced, rip me open and erase me

or

Back against the wall
What the **** just happened?
(Don't you cry)
We've been here before
Bring it on, taking action
(No more lies)

I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I know I gave it all I got,
No, I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I'll tell you that its not your fault.

But honestly, you're killing me,
I'm sick of us wasting time,
I took your heart, tore it apart,
Watching us die tonight.

Take me for a fool,
What the hell were you thinking?
(All this time)
Now I have to choose,
'Cause I'm done, no more faking.
(Let me out)

I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I know I gave it all I got.
No, I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I'll tell you that it's not your fault.

But honestly, you're killing me,
I'm sick of us wasting time.
I took your heart, tore it apart,
Watching us die tonight.

Everything will be alright,
I'm watching us die tonight.
Everything will be alright,
I'm watching us die tonight.

I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I know I gave it all I got.
No, I'm not gonna blame this on you,
I'll tell you that it's not your fault.

But honestly, you're killing me,
I'm sick of us wasting time.
I took your heart, tore it apart,
Watching us die tonight

guess which is the metalcore lyrics?

I recently listened to some AILD and BTBAM and the difference is very subtle; most melodic metal core is based on new inflamesxold metalcore. Mellodeath is based on
deathmetalxmelodys in iron maiden, folk and classical music.
All in all, mello-death is much more musical and atmospheric then mello-core which has a more of a grooving badass vibe.

Record some stuff for me!
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#16
I have been accused of being a poser and wanting to force myself upon a genre just for the label but I'm actually experimenting with different styles of music and see how it sounds with my own personal touch to the genre.

I have put some research into it over the last few days and using the net and combined with your help I think I have an accurate apprehension on what defines melo-death and I realised some of the songs I have been writing could be defined as melo-death.

Currently my band have no recordings yet even though we should have soon for GCSE coursework but I do have midi-converted mp3 files of my songs which I could send you.

Refering back to where you said about melo-death has classical influence (I thought this when I first read it but I didn't bother mentioning it); well I believe my music does as well as I also play double bass and I was in my county's youth orchestra and have been in many others; I currently am working on arranging Camille Saint Saens's Danse Macabre to adapt it to metal

I could probably email you one of my midi-converted mp3's if you want :P if you pm me your email or something.
#17
Okay guy, some people had some good recommendations but you forgot some stuff. Essential melodeath listening, right here for yas.

Arch Enemy- Doomsday Machine (Nemesis, Taking Back My Soul)
Insomnium- Above The Weeping World and Across The Dark (Devoid of Caring, Mortal Share, Last Statement, Where The Last Wave Broke, Against The Stream, Into The Woods)
Mors Principium Est- And Death Said Live (Birth of The Star Child, Bringer of Light)

As far as what defines melodic death metal, it's basically death metal with melodic guitarwork which is usually harmonized (almost always in 3rds). Vocals are usually growled but sometimes melodeath has clean singing mixed in. Drumming is similar to metalcore but with less emphasis on breakdowns. Being good on double bass and knowing blast beats will help, but there's really no substitute for good timing.

As far as your scales, you should learn natural minor, harmonic minor, even major scale can be useful in melodeath so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with relative minors in order to incorporate both, i'm sure you can find a lesson around here so i'll leave that to someone more suited. Emphasize heavily distorted melodies, 3rd harmonies, maybe 5ths. Remember melodeath doesn't need to always be fast, a slow chorus with carefully selected notes can potentially work very well. Happy playing mate!
Last edited by ninjainvader at Feb 16, 2015,