#1
I'm writing riffs for my new death metal band, and grouping them into songs. But I have no proper experience structuring death metal songs.

the style of my death metal band is like a faster Cannibal Corpse, our sound is similar to Decapitated's Winds of Creation and Nihility albums. there are lots of tremolo picked riffs, low death growls, etc. We are not a band that does choruses like thrash bands such as Metallica or Anthrax might do, although we love them

how many riffs do you guys think should be in each song? and how many times could a riff be repeated etc? Should riffs barely be repeated at all? on Reign in Blood, Slayer barely did any choruses or repetition which is quite a big influence for us. Basically any guidance on structuring death metal songs would be really helpful, thanks
#2
I cant help much with cannibal corpse, but as far as bands like slayer or children of bodom they do have song's where they repeat. Bodom especially. In bodom songs they have an intro riff, a verse, chorus, and a breakdown riff (its more of a keyboard solo but it goes where a breakdown would) and a guitar solo.

So, I would write the verse/chorus first, then find an intro that goes into that. If your determined to make it more thrashy with tons of guitar riffs, just write like 4 different verses in the same key, though that might take a minute.
#3
Quote by hansome21
I cant help much with cannibal corpse, but as far as bands like slayer or children of bodom they do have song's where they repeat. Bodom especially. In bodom songs they have an intro riff, a verse, chorus, and a breakdown riff (its more of a keyboard solo but it goes where a breakdown would) and a guitar solo.

So, I would write the verse/chorus first, then find an intro that goes into that. If your determined to make it more thrashy with tons of guitar riffs, just write like 4 different verses in the same key, though that might take a minute.


Bodom are not death metal, that doesn't really help.

Slayer's earlier stuff had barely any repetition at all, listen to the whole of Reign In Blood and you'll hear that there are very few or indeed no choruses (I can't quite remember).


TS: Really, there's no guide lines for stuff like this, I tried writing some DM a while ago and thought to myself "Ok, cool, that's that riff, what next? New riff? Or does one of the old riffs work here?". Basically feel it out, don't worry about structure because it doesn't matter, it's all about getting what you think fits next and making sure it flows well.
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#4
basically what Zaphod_Beeblebr said, there isnt set number of riffs that must be in a single song. Personally i dislike choruses. You can try structuring song like this

Intro - the beginning, build up. Maybe some winding riffs would do, play a short(ish) riff, repeat with a slight variation (like adding more notes with hammer ons and pull offs etc.), maybe squeezing more notes into the same time frame to create that "its gonna blow!" feeling

Verse 1 - i would pack some dissonant stuff in here, not too different from the intro, so that there wouldnt be that big of a jump

verse 2 and so on - my personal favorites are either slow heavy and brutal riffs (good example is morbid angels god of emptiness) or tremolo picked melodic riffs, so naturally i suggest one of these two for next verses

chorus - naturally stick it between verses, if you look at quite a lot of bands, frequently chorus is similar to the intro riff(s). Maybe play the most catchy part of intro, slightly slowed down/sped up as chorus? Write some different riffs if you want some more variety, but remember, choruses are catchy, otherwise there is no point in repeating the part that is supposed to be the hook, since nothing new is presented in chorus

solo - self explanatory, i hope you are more into necrophagist/vital remains types of soloing rather than Nile/Slayer (if you like solos at all)

outro - all out fast crazy riffing spree or lead stuff (read: solo 2), if you choose to make one more lead this is a nice time to change a key if you want


of course this is one of hell knows how many song structuring models, you could just take on riff and evolve it during every verse, start completely simple, then add some notes, some techniques etc. its all up to you

good luck
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#5
Quote by kerkhammet
I'm writing riffs for my new death metal band, and grouping them into songs. But I have no proper experience structuring death metal songs.

the style of my death metal band is like a faster Cannibal Corpse, our sound is similar to Decapitated's Winds of Creation and Nihility albums. there are lots of tremolo picked riffs, low death growls, etc. We are not a band that does choruses like thrash bands such as Metallica or Anthrax might do, although we love them

how many riffs do you guys think should be in each song? and how many times could a riff be repeated etc? Should riffs barely be repeated at all? on Reign in Blood, Slayer barely did any choruses or repetition which is quite a big influence for us. Basically any guidance on structuring death metal songs would be really helpful, thanks

Those are all kind of subjective questions.

How many riffs per song? It depends. I've written a couple songs that are about the same length, but one use four riffs over about 5 minutes while the other used 12 or so.

How many times to repeat? Again, it depends. I've got this one song which is really progressive and classically inspired and pretty well removed from the standard "verse-chorus" structure, but I used two of the riffs at least twice each.

Don't think of a chorus as a repeated part in a song. That's how they're used in mainstream music, but bands like Protest the Hero and BTBAM use them completely differently. For example, BTBAM has a song which ends in a really tremendous clean part (no, I'm not talking about Selkies) with tons of textures and such going on. It's the high point of the song and everything before that part built towards it.

Really, when writing songs with a non-typical structure, it's important to look at where each riff begins and ends and how they fit together. I have a song I just finished that had two distinct parts, but they didn't fit together as I'd originally intended, so I had to compose a brand new passage to fit in between them and make the two parts come together.

Or you could just make like Opeth and make a riff salad.
#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Bodom are not death metal, that doesn't really help.



Hmmm, always thought of them as melodic death metal. Anyways if cannibal corpse is death metal, and children of bodom is not, then I hate death metal.
#7
Bodom's definitely melodic death on their earlier releases. I haven't kept up with them, but their early albums were certainly well within the bounds of the genre.
#8
Quote by hansome21
Hmmm, always thought of them as melodic death metal. Anyways if cannibal corpse is death metal, and children of bodom is not, then I hate death metal.


not a big fan of CC either, but bodom isnt death metal.

Try some late Death (Symbolic and Sound of Perseverance) for more melodic type of traditional DM


i wonder, does Black Dahlia Murder classifies as melodic death metal or deathcore?
Quote by the_white_bunny
the point of life is to die.
and pay taxes.


Quote by /PurpleWhalez/
Blasphemy as severe as this is fucking unforgivable and by bullshito code you must commit sudoku for disgracing famirys honoru.
#9
kerkhammet,

Thats the best thing about Death Metal, doom Metal, Etc. There is no set rule anything goes.

Just play what feels right and sounds good to you and your band.