#1
Hello guys!

Long time no see (starting to become a habit).
Thought I'd pop in, seeing as I'm about to start pre-production with my band Pigeon Lake. I've tabbed down our songs (all but one), and are uploading them for constructive criticism.

Now, first of - the tracks are scetches, more or less, in varying degrees. Some tracks have most of, if not all, the melodies and riffs laid down, while others lack a tad bit.
Drums are also a bit "stock" (as Lars Ulrich would say), since it's mostly up to our drummer what to do behind the kit.

To wrap it up; some places may seem a bit... lacking, as a whole. Please keep in mind vocals will be added to a big portion of the different parts.

I would like your comments on the following;

1: Did you enjoy the music as a whole (I am aware this might be subjective)?
2: Favorite part/riff/melody?
3: Least favorite part/riff/melody?
4: As a whole, what mood would you describe the album with?
5: Did it vary, both melodically and/or mood-wise, without straying too far from the main thematics (in terms of mood, ambience and feel).
6: Is it any good?
7: Would you buy our music/see us live, if given the chance?

As a final note; not trying to revolutionize any genres, nor are we afraid of cliches. We only want to write enjoyable music, based on our common inspirations and tastes.

If you would like me to criticize your work, leave me a link with your comments.

Thank you for contributing to making our album better, and hope you enjoy listening.

Cheers
Christopher // Pigeon Lake
Attachments:
Pigeon Lake - GP5.zip
Last edited by Christopher S at Oct 18, 2013,
#2
I typed up a big thing, but I lost it, so I'll just cover the points.
1. Yes, I enjoyed the music.
2. Anywhere you sped it up. For instance, in "Confrontation" and "Discrepancy" you've written and delegated to the beginning and end a bunch of really righteous riffs; I would have liked to have heard more of these! Awakening was good. Absolution likewise.
3. I thought Epiphany was weak; Doubt didn't hold my interest until you hit that slow riff at the end.
4. Not sure.
5. It didn't. I heard a lot of similar progressions, riffs, structures, melodies, etc... and the tempos, despite varying, felt plodding (except in certain instances, like in Confrontation and Discrepancy)
6. It is. I think I would rewrite certain parts, but I see what you're going for. The album as a whole listens like a bit of a draft-copy. You can make it better; you demonstrate the ability to stretch out and write catchy riffs, but a lot of the music is that distorted chordy stuff with melodies overtop; although that is fine, the fact that you show a lot of potential in your abilities makes me want to see you get out of that formula.
7. Yes.

I think if I heard this with vocals I might alter my opinion.
#3
1: Did you enjoy the music as a whole (I am aware this might be subjective)?
Yea man it's definitely got some catch to it

2: Favorite part/riff/melody?

Bar 74 of Vengeance
Intro to Discrepency
Absolution Part 1 is also really nice except the Big (layers) bit is a bit too "layered"
Absolution Part 2 is actually my favourite track it's the most brutal in my opinion and the chords are written out well. The verse is good, the whole track as a whole is just really well written.

3: Least favorite part/riff/melody?
I dunno man

4: As a whole, what mood would you describe the album with?
Kinda reminds me of like a really sludgey and less intense Machine Head

5: Did it vary, both melodically and/or mood-wise, without straying too far from the main thematics (in terms of mood, ambience and feel).
It's good man, it works with itself and doesn't overstep the boundaries

6: Is it any good?
Sure

7: Would you buy our music/see us live, if given the chance?
Sure


Heres my constructive crit on the album as a whole and that would be,

Let the drums get a bit more wild, for example bar 222 of Epiphany is way too weak with those drums. I would have written them with a 32nd note blast beat. I understand that this is the equivalent to 290bpm sixteenth notes and that is an insanely hard speed to keep up however the music really calls for it. I would probably drop the bpm to about 260 and make it a blast.

Anyway nice work brother
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1
#4
1. Not as a whole. Bits and pieces were good.

2. Bar 105 - 113 of Confrontation. Pretty evil sounding and a good 'climax'/heavy bridge riff.

3. Most of Discrepancy.

4. Bleakness, subtle tension, fear but not the urgent kind, sort of low level anxiety I guess. Its kind of hard to pin point but something in that general area.

5. No. Aside from Absolution, Doubt and bits of Confrontation, the themes were too similar to stand out from each other. A lot of the songs kind of blurred when put back to back due to the chord progressions used in the album, and they're also incredibly ploddy with little expression, aside from Absolution.

6. I don't think it is, but others may say otherwise. Its just a bit bland I guess, there's a lot of stuff in here that I've heard other bands do before and either do better or intersperse with more interesting things. There are a good few moments here and there but they don't justify having an albums worth of sort-of-filler on them. Absolution is too good an outro to waste.

7. No, I just don't find it appealing enough and I go to gigs almost 99% of the time for the music. Sorreh
o()o

Quote by JamSessionFreak
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#5
Thanks for your reviews guys.

First, a general reply; as previously mentioned, these are drafts (in varying degree). Most of the songs will probably come out differently than they're laid out here. Specifically the drums will be more lively and creative.

To EpiExplorer:

Quote by EpiExplorer
5. No. Aside from Absolution, Doubt and bits of Confrontation, the themes were too similar to stand out from each other. A lot of the songs kind of blurred when put back to back due to the chord progressions used in the album, and they're also incredibly ploddy with little expression, aside from Absolution.


What you're pointing out here is actually a tad bit pleasing. Creating a melodic backbone (chord progressions a.s.o) was the main goal. However - letting it get blurry is not the intention. We are heading in to pre-production as of now, and a lot of the songs will get reworked and added to establish a higher level of individualism. The vocals, especially, will contribute to this.

While we're at it; do you have any specific suggestions towards something?
#6
Hey, man, long time since I've listened to any of your stuff. Even though I don't listen to this genre too much, I gave most of these songs a listen. Overall, it's pretty good stuff. Once again, not exactly me preferred genre, but it's still interesting to come here and hear what people have come up with, regardless of genre.

I'd say that overall, most of the songs have a pretty dark/mysterious feel to it, probably because of the dissonance or out of key parts. This isn't bad though, I remember most Opeth songs would have that similar sound to it. Which type of vocals are you gonna have overtop? Growls, high pitched screams, both? Maybe clean vocals in some spots? Some of these guitar parts are brutal so I'd be sweet to hear with vocals.
#7
Thanks Mustard! Good to hear you're getting the same vibe/feel from it I do (and as intended).

In terms of vocals, most of it will be clean singing. I'd say about 80/20 (maybe 70/30) in "favor" of clean. I don't know if your familiar with Katatonia, but the way they utilize singing is a big inspiration. Also, I'm a sucker for pop choruses, and several of the intended choruses are written with a "hook" in mind. However, there are parts (the bridge in "Doubt", the Confrontation part from "Confrontation", +++) that will feature a mix between mid/high screams and low growls.
Thing is, I'm not very proficient with screaming (technique wise), so it wears my voice down rather quickly. Now, from a studio perspective, that isn't that much of a problem. However, I do prefer being able to reproduce my studioperformances in a live setting.

We've got a couple of the songs demoed out. If you want, give me a PM/message, and I'll link it to you.
#10
I'm gonna listen to the first few songs right now. So far, song 1 is seeming really cool. Very cool atmosphere, everything is layered well. Oh, that was short.

Epiphany is alright so far. It reminds me of Katatonia. At least, some Katatonia-like vocals would go pretty well with it. Without vocals the song is kinda bland, of course. Add a catchy vocal hook and it'd be pretty solid.

I really like when bar 9 of Doubt comes in. Dat progression. However, as the song carried on, I got kinda bored of it. Vocals will have to save it.

Confrontation is a good change of mood/pace. However, once again, as the song carried on, I kinda stop paying attention. I mean, it's probably just that my attention span sucks ass. I like the variations that you stick over the various iterations of Confrontation.

I skimmed through the rest of the album anyways. I like how you revisit themes in the last song. 109-124 might be one of my favorite parts of the album. Ending on a major chord was a pretty nice touch, too

Despair had some cool melodic ideas, too.

Overall, though, gonna have to agree with epi and sameold. 80% of the album didn't really stand out in any way. Hopefully you fix that later.

Ah! Bar 96 of Discrepancy was also used in 134 of Epiphany! Cool.
#11
Thanks a lot RedDeath.
As I might have mentioned (and you pointed out), our "brand" of metal/hard rock does have quite an emphasis on vocals. Being the vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter of the band (plus my main influences), a lot of the parts have interesting and driving vocal parts written.
Also, in terms of making things stand out, we are indeed going to go a couple of rounds with the music to make that happen. A lot of the leads are just stock thingies I've put there to sort of "mark" the part - like "we should have a lead here". Our lead guitarist and I are going to go through most of the tracks, and write and re-write some leads here and there, add details (and so on).
Expect ebow+slide!

I appreciate you mentioning Katatonia, as it's been a main influence for most of the songs (not the only, ofc). Most of the vocals on the album does have resemblance to Katatonia (a long with A7X, Stone Sour and Stonegard), and I have intentionally dialed back the excitement in some parts, instrumentally, to leave room for the vocals to create dynamics and harmonies/dissonance.

I'll try to update the tabs as soon as pre-production is over (3 weeks-ish), and hopefully you'll find the time to give it a second listen!
#13
1: Did you enjoy the music as a whole (I am aware this might be subjective)?
Ehh it was pretty structurally sound. I would jam it if it came on the radio or something.

2: Favorite part/riff/melody?
Bar 66-74 Vengeance
And all of Confrontation

3: Least favorite part/riff/melody?
Intro to Doubt.

4: As a whole, what mood would you describe the album with?
Like a hack and slash horror movie.

5: Did it vary, both melodically and/or mood-wise, without straying too far from the main thematics (in terms of mood, ambience and feel).
A lot of the songs kind of blended together.

6: Is it any good?
Yes

7: Would you buy our music/see us live, if given the chance?
Sure

I wish there was more feels. It's all really dark and moody. Some happier or more aggressive sounding tunes would've been nice. All in all I think Confrontation is the best track. Pretty good album though.
cig
#14
@Christopher S: Hey buddy, just here to give some bits of advice. Don't expect a full crit but I might come back later to do that in order to get C4C. I'm fine-tuning a few things of my own to check whether they're worthy of putting up here.

First off, regardless of whether I'm writing for vocals or not, I write music so that it is entertaining without needing them. So I would recommend trying to add more layers, melodies and depth to your compositions by doing that. There is plenty of room for additional keys and synths.

Second, minimise the number of repeats. I used to write like you are now. The remedy is constant variation. Never play anything the same twice. Even if it's only slight variations, just make sure they're big enough to notice.

Third, try experimenting with more unique tonalities. You definitely did that with the opening track and a few leads that induced the Hungarian Harmonic Minor in the later tracks but the rest of it is left very unmemorable which I believe is due to the uninteresting harmonic content.

Finally, this reminded me of Draconian and Moonspell (around the Night Eternal era). Not a bad aesthetic but it needs a bit more flash to it. Try diversifying a bit more. Pick a genre which you aren't familiar with and start looking for something you like. Once you've found it, dissect the music and include an element of what it was that you like into your music.

I look forward to see what you can do with it when you are finished with the pre-production.
#15
First of all; Thanks for a lot of helpful feedback. I really do appreciate you lisning in and taking time to contribute to making our album better. Incoming wall of text
To summarise (as an answer to the both of you);

Don't get me wrong - music can only benefit from being interesting without vocals. I have in no way deliberately "played down" the excitement to leave room for vocals - however, I've left "room" melodically for the vocals, meaning the vocals will work as a potential counterpart to the music. Katatonia use this with great effect (as an example), and got me into this.

The pre-production will hopefully contribute towards layers, swells, variations and things to keep the dynamics and diversity. Most of the music is written by me, solely, however tracks like "Vengeance" and "Confrontation" (which were mentioned as the better oens) have been through a round of pre-prod already. Basically, I strongly believe (by experience) that having the entire band giving their touch and fresh ears to the songs will help them stand out more, along with getting a more finished sound. Our lead guitar player will contribute to leads, riff variations and layering with details, the drummer will definetely put his touch to it (he's an old funk/jazz drummer), and the bass player (with his background in noisy hardcore punk) will give a fresh perspective to it as a whole. To wrap this train of thought up; while I do write most of the music, they are just sketches. I will most definitely update this with pre-prod done.

As for keys, synths and so on, we will keep this to a minimum due to the fact we do not have a keyboard player, and never will. While we do like to dabble with ambient moods, melodies and layers, keys/synths as an instrument will never play a major part in our music - and we aim to perform our music as closely to the records as possible. Basically - all our songs are intended to be performed live, pref. without a backing track.

I have no idea what the Hungarian Harmonic Minor is. I just stumbled upon the main melody by accident, and thought it sounded cool. Musical theory has, in no part, been used deliberately throught the writing.
#16
OK, I've posted something here and I'd like some C4C but as promised, I'll give a full critique by answering your questions in the original post as well as your reply.

BTW, something that really frustrated me with your notation was that you had dotted triplet notes. That's the same thing as a note that has no dot or triplet. Your biggest offense to this was in Discrepency, in verse 1 and many continuing sections. Also, where is track 6? You skipped 5 to 7 for some reason. Should that gap not exist and there be just 9 songs or is there another?

1. Bits and pieces of it. As already mentioned, I found the pieces with more unique tonalities far more interesting but as a whole, it's OK.

2. Bar 66, i.e "Riff" in Vengeance, Awakening and Absolution Part 1.

3. Tracks 2 and 3 were really dull IMO. They seriously lack energy.

4. In mood/tonality, very much like Moonspell in Night Eternal era.

5. Not enough variation IMO. I mean there is a clear structure but never quite a big enough build up in them. They often lack the necessary energy.

6. It's OK. It has plenty of potential, but needs a lot of work.

7. I don't watch live shows. Period. Besides, I have my doubts as to whether you even intend to come to Australia.

Your lead guitarist will definitely be using theory in this assuming there is shredding and he/she wants it to be melodic. Don't shy away from music theory. I think everyone would benefit from theory. I mean, as much of a theory nut as I am, I don't say "lets write a riff in 15/16 with a polymeter in 7/8 in the key of Bb minor" (although not to say some people will/won't find that effective); but when I do start adding layers to an idea I've just written, I can start using theory to take advantage of what I have. This means the ideas will be varied yet thematic, which is my main gripe with this album. A lack of variation which people before me have already spotted.

If you don't mind, I'd like to know what your band members think of the feedback here and in addition to that, I'd like to hear the finished product when everyone has contributed to the songwriting process, including vocals (tab them if you can).

I hope I wasn't too harsh, you can go tear mine to bits if you feel like it.

Good luck when you get into the studio BTW. Make the most of your time there by learning your parts perfectly at home.
#18
Quote by Christopher S
Hi again guys!

Thought I'd let you know, if interested, that our single from this album is now out on YouTube and Spotify. Would be cool to hear if it turned out like you guys imagined listening to the GP-files.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHypSnVtPV8

http://open.spotify.com/track/5uZpOzmcs59zYDr8LOL4SM



That's pretty cool, its like current Mastodon mashed with Eyehategod.
o()o

Quote by JamSessionFreak
yes every night of my entire life i go to bed crying because i wasnt born american