*Final Update August 9 2014 - Tons of minor changes/fixes, Intro rework
*Updated piano counterpoint - 2014/01/11*
*Added Clean Guitar Lead - Intro - Fixed Dynamics issues, 2014/01/13*
Hey guys and gals. Here's my latest completed song, for anyone who wants to take a gander at it. Hopefully someone will enjoy this one.

(I posted a WIP of this song before but it was not done and I am reposting it as a "finalized" version)

This is a song about an artificial construct (a machine with an AI) and its struggle to attempt to understand human emotion through logic and reasoning. As such, the song employs several themes and ideas, focusing on mechanical and mathematical riffing/drumming, with splashes of "emotional coloring" throughout by the use of unconventional chords and harmonies.

There are also counterpoint sections meant to express struggle by using counterpoint themes with call and response between the voices (guitar/guitar/bass) to attempt to express an introspective thought/reasoning process.

tl:dr; Cyborg metal.

No I can't play this on guitar, don't even ask.

Please, Listen With Headphones If Possible- Do Not Use Tux Guitar. If you do not have Guitar Pro 5, listen to the MIDI file.

If you decide to use tux guitar anyway, it will **** up every instrument patch change in the song (of which there are several), **** up the bends, the pinches, the slides, and **** up the ending, be aware of this.

I will c4c within reason... please don't link me an entire album or 8 songs to critique.
Last edited by JazzDeath at Aug 9, 2014,
I remember the WIP. What an impressive work! I really like the 13-14 bars, that melody on the lead guitar is very seductive. The song is dotted by many complexe shreddings but what really impress me is how the mood of each sections fits with the theme, but also as a whole.

Personal taste here, I prefer how your ''WIP'' begins (everything steps in but the lead is already at a fair level)

There's so much energy going on especially on the Reformulation section and when it cuts to a rest and the piano kicks in. Wow haha some catharsis right there! I was wondering... There's 2 piano tracks playing along but can't it be played by the same guy?

I know you said you can't play it (the song) but did you grab a guitar to write it or you did it just by ear? Because sometimes the fingers positions seems impossible to guess.

Overall, that's probably a perfect piece, I don't know what could be missing! The only problem is that I don't know many guitarists that could play these tracks :P
Last edited by Craziork at Jan 10, 2014,
The 2 piano tracks are split into 2 because they're meant to be split between 2 hands, whether it's playable by one pianist or not, I'm not entirely certain. (I haven't analysed the chords and their shapes in enough detail to answer this question) Either way at the recording process it can be recorded separately or as one single part, it doesn't matter so much because this piece is composed purely for studio (i.e not for live performance).

Same goes for guitar. Some of the parts, when I write them, I will have a guitar in hand, some of them I do not. Often even if I do have a guitar in hand, I tend to hear things I would like in a piece that are past my technical limitations as a guitarist, so I then modify my original templates until they become what I think would be best in the song, regardless of how hard it is to play.

Some of the finger positions, as they are written at this moment, are surely impossible, I tend to focus on the composition aspect when I'm writing a piece.

I used to actually try to tab out the guitar parts like I thought a guitarist would play them but over time after playing some of my older songs with different guitarists, I've realized that some guitarists play the same thing differently (some think about tone, some work around limitations, some like to limit movement on the fretboard) so I avoid wasting time arranging something that I'll need to rearrange later anyway.

Since it's a studio project, I know a guitarist that can eventually record this stuff and we'll modify the fingerings/chord shapes or overdub several tracks to make it work.

If I eventually play it live, every song will have a live version where things are either modified, or sample backing tracks are added to fill in the gaps.

Thanks for listening!
Used tuxguitar.

Still sounded amazing.
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Quote by JazzDeath
The 2 piano tracks are split into 2 because they're meant to be split between 2 hands, whether it's playable by one pianist or not, I'm not entirely certain. (I haven't analysed the chords and their shapes in enough detail to answer this question)

Not playable by one person the way its currently written. Though it is two separate parts, they overlap on the same position of the keyboard, so it would be impossible to play. If you were to transpose one of the tracks up or down an octave it would be closer to playable. Track 3 (left hand) would be pretty intense but it isn't unplayable for the most part. Bars 81 and 82 on both tracks can't be done unless your hands are about a foot and a half from thumb to pinky
Kurzweil K2500xs
Thanks for the kind words everyone.

I fixed the piano part, I still don't think it's very feasible to play it with two hands considering the first measure's overlap but I arranged the dynamics, the let rings, added some chords on the melody and got rid of the stupid link notes I had everywhere so it's much,much easier to read and comprehend now. I think overall it sounds better...

I wrote a template for the first idea like 2 years ago for this song and came back to it once I had a concept I thought fit the character of the riff, so I've been working on it more seriously for about, 4-5 months on and off.

I generally work on about 3-4 pieces at the same time though, other than the times I get into a serious composing flow and write out most of a piece one shot in one day (quite rare).

I tab out everything as I compose and rework it as needed so, I tabbed it out as I went along.
*Song update*

I considered Craziork's comment about him preferring the introduction of my wip version and decided the intro sounded too empty for my tastes. I added a jazz guitar lead before the distortion solo in the intro to try and rectify this and I'm rather pleased with the result so I uploaded it. I also fixed one measure in particular (52) which always bothered me but I didn't know what to do with.

Fixed a bunch of small minimal shit no one will hear, like palm mutes being the same on all guitar tracks, proper rhythmic accentuations for hammer on/pull off placements, making sure slides/pull offs are the same for every track.
Wow. After your helpful comments on my tab, I regret not having anything to criticize here. Usually when seeing a prog track on here I would looking for certain common flaws like, time changes don't feel natural, sounds to busy, lacks a sense of direction, etc., but I don't see any of that here. Kudos.

If this could be reasonably recorded, I'd buy it. That will certainly be a challenge though. I write in the same way, with guitar only occasionally in my hand, and just paying attention to what notes are being played without thinking about how to play them until recording time, and I find myself having to change things a lot to make them playable.
This was really creative! Great piece of work.

Firstly, I think it should begin at Initial Observations.

Emotional Assessment reminds me of Cynic, or Exivious. Nice use of the clean, muted guitar.

Begin Calculations to Refomulations enters death metal territory in the vein of Spawn of Possession but with hints of jazz as well as the neoclassical.

Artificial Emotions could do with some work, I think. Maybe make it a bit 'brighter'? It's quite melancholic in amongst the frantic pace and mood of the rest of the track.

Questionable Variables was without question, the highlight of this track!!! This part got me tapping my foot and drumming on the table! I'm tempted to say keep this whole section in 8/8, as it was just so catchy. Having said that, the variations in time signature and the riffs worked very well. One thing I tried was to replace the last semi-quaver of all instruments with rests in bar 98, so there was a brief pause before Questionable Variables. It seemed to complement the rests earlier in the bar. Just a thought.

The ending was like dying (not that I'd know). Good job! I always get this feeling at the end of Bastille Day, by Ohm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGht9fypgTw and not because of the heart beat.

This is my type of metal. Teeming at the brim, full of notes. Chaotic in the most organised way, with little bits of order (in this case Questionable Variable).

Stuff like this really needs to be recorded! Please do
Hey, sorry for the late reply. I had listened to it before, actually, but never gotten the chance to crit. I'd been quite busy... and actually, still am. I'll get you a proper crit soon, but it is really really ****ing good.
Yeah, still really ****ing good. You've always had your signature sound, I think it all culminated in this piece. It's really twisted. I can't think of anything to crit, so I'll mention my favorite parts. Bar 13, that's badass. The guitar solo that comes after. Everything between that and 81 was alright, but nothing particularly special. After 81 it started to get badass again. 103 and 111, those were sick. The change from distorted to clean at 114 seems to happen a bit abruptly. Bass is really good here, as usual. 119 and on is probably one of the most twisted things you've written. I ****ing love it.
"Final" update.

Made a bunch of changes to the intro, a lot of groove changes on drums; tried to make some of the cymbal work less busy, which was much harder than I thought considering how the riffs require unusual pulses to accentuate the guitar properly. Checked every note and the underlying chord to make sure everything works and there are no unwanted dissonances.

Fixed both complex counterpoint parts, put clean guitars on the first one to make the notes less grating and to make the counterpoint more obvious.

Changed the bass throughout to make repeating riffs come off differently due to the underlying bass.

Simplified the slap bass ending, reworked and fine tuned the drums.

Removed some of the weirder experimental ideas to give it a better flow.

Added some harmonies on the bass notes in the last riff to give it some unusual, eerie colorations.

Hopefully it's actually finished this time...
This is my first time critiquing a piece, and overall, I really do enjoy your work. Your musical vocabulary is incredible, and is honestly way above my level of theoretical understanding. I'll try to be as thorough as possible as far as what I feel and envision. It'll be extremely long. So, I'll write out all of my thoughts and then make a summarized section at the end. I'd like if you'd be able to critique my two pieces "Tempest" and "Invictus." But if you're strapped for time, I'd recommend Tempest.


A Seed Encased In Steel
Very nice introduction. The clean melody has a weird vibe that kind of hints toward tranquility and "innocence." The chord voicings are nice and full. It may not make much sense to anyone but me, and not to say that it sounds at all like it, but this is the same sort of feeling that I sense from the clean section of CAFO by Animals As Leaders. With that said, it's quite a bit more intense than that particular section, given the tempo of both the clean guitars and the drums. Furthermore, it does a very nice job of building up, especially with the addition of the distorted guitar.

As far as the flow, it flows very well. My only gripe with this section is with the distorted Gm/C chord ending so abruptly. This was most likely intentional, but to my ears, it sounds like one of those chords that you want to let ring out for a little bit longer (especially if it's downstroked slowly).

Initial Observations
The slow tempo and the chord choice creates a very contemplative atmosphere that is accentuated by the lead. The initial lead gives a very spooky, ghostly, yet contemplative vibe that somehow manages to briefly mellow out in the 16th bar, but it returns in the very next bar and persists throughout the rest of the section as a result of dissonance. Another feature in this part that helps create the atmosphere are the ghost notes in Track 7. Awesome detail.

Emotional Assessment
The lead kind of reminds me of the beginning of "How Could I?" by Cynic, at least as far as the double picking of each note goes. The section name is pretty appropriate here, as you have that lead part, which has single notes double picked in exact 16th notes whereas you have a beautiful arpeggiated track in the background. In a way, it very much is like a machine in a thought (or loading) process as it attempts to comprehend what's going on around it. The use of harmonics at the end of that section is very creative--it reminds me of a robot saying "computation complete" or something like that. The cyborg now "knows" what the emotions were that he was observing.

Begin Calculations and Change

In my mind, this is where the cyborg tries to "understand" what those emotions were. It knows the emotions by name, but doesn't understand what it's like to feel those emotions. It's funny, because this section definitely has an edge of aggression, almost to a point of aggravation and overload.

Dispute and Dissension/Reformulation

The cyborg is troubleshooting. Again, we have the exact 16th note double picked notes. It seems to be a little less exact than it was in "Emotional Assessment," where each note was only picked twice before moving onto the next note in the line. Furthermore, as referenced by the 8th note dyad parts, there seem to be a few hiccups along the way of the machine resolving the fact that it can't comprehend the essence behind its observations.

Artificial Emotions

The chords definitely have a strange contemplative sound that is certainly far from happy, but not quite sad. The drums build up gradually over this section, and the underlying 16th note feel (which has seemed to represent the quality of being "robotic") of the bass is very pronounced--even more than before when the cyborg simply did as a cyborg was expected to do (that is, compute).

Rational Approaches to Irrational Behavior / Questionable Variables

Rational - 16th note groupings, rather steady (albeit quick), simple to follow rhythm. The cyborg tries to carry on with its routine functions after figuring that it's "emotions" were a mere "imitation" of what humans actually feel. It seems as if it wanted to delete what it had seen, processed, and tried to replicate. The cyborg goes into autopilot mode as a way of saying "screw it," which is ironic in itself. By the last measure of the section, the routine procedures seem to be stopped, as it was ineffective at forgetting what it had experienced.

And that's where we get into Questionable Variables, where the rhythm is a bit more complex than before. Furthermore, the harmonies and level of dissonance seem to increase in this section in comparison to the previous section. Incredible concept.

As Logic's Weave Begins to Unravel

By this point, the Cyborg's "brain" begins to melt a bit as a result of trying to "understand" rather than simply allowing itself the moment to "feel." This is the result after the entire timeline from "processing and analyzing" to a borderline crazed obsession.

This section is incredibly imaginative. Between the awesome melody and picked bass interplay and then the eventual shift to a slap bass tone (which emphasizes a gradual lack of robotic precision due to malfunction), this may be my most favorite part of the song due to its sheer originality.

Fatal Error

The conclusion, and the ultimate demise of the Cyborg....

It's sad when I think about it. The entire time, there seemed to be a sense that the Cyborg was actually able to feel but got caught up in trying to understand the feelings around it.



Absolutely incredible piece. There was a lot of hard work that went into this piece, and there was a lot of attention to detail on this one. There were some parts of sections that somewhat reminded me of some songs from awesome bands, but in no way does that mean it was a copy. This was pure genius.
Last edited by D2BII at Aug 9, 2014,
I don't think I have (or will ever have) enough musical culture to appreciate your work at 100%...but it was really amazing!

I really like bar 24.; it sounds really cool to me, even if it may be quite simple compared to the rest of it!
Also the "Dispute and Dissention" section was really good, I like how it fits in the piece, as well as "Artificial Emotions".
The overall "tension" is really well transmitted to the listener.
And naturally, I found the whole story of the song and the sections quite genious!

Thanks for sharing!
@JazzDeath: Thanks for your crit again, much appreciated. I'll try not to be too much of a kiss-ass now.

A Seed Encased In Steel: I really love the chord progression in this. It's simultaneously beautiful and complex. Very hypnotic melodies, although maybe leave the triplets in the distorted guitars right until the last bar of the section. They're a little distracting in the bars preceding 13. The percussion fills are really well written with regards to accents. I wish you would use this chord progression again though. Maybe in another track, you could write an "ambient" Jazz track (I'm thinking Bohren and Der Club of Gore) based on these ideas.

Initial Observations: What makes the section is actually the transition at the end IMO. The melodies and the like are all very nice but the dynamics and accents in that last bar really come off as punchy and powerful.

Emotional Assessment: This section really starts driving when the third guitar changes at bar 29. I love that change. I also remember this section having a really shitty transition until this version. You've rectified that quite nicely.

Begin Calculations: The riff here reminds me of one of my favourite rhythm guitarists, Joe Haley from Psycroptic. He writes these absolutely insane riffs that are actually at a similar level of difficulty that you write at. I really aspire to be like him as a player some day. You being able to write like that is no small feat either. It's also reminiscent in the fact that there is this interchange of rhythm and lead playing constantly.

Change: I love that interval-based transition at the start of this section, really cool.

Dispute...: This is a nice little "chill-out" section, although maybe consider using this section as an actually "chill-out" section later as well.

Reformulation: You already know I love that riff.

Artificial Emotions: I don't know if this would have sounded better with a classical guitar. I mean it feels a bit odd to me, plonking a piano in the middle. Normally I would have one (piano) at the start (and here) to make it more cohesive or (to get the same effect) use just a classical guitar. This section itself is very good though.

Rational Approaches...: Ha! That riff is f***ing insane dude! I should just practice your pieces to get my chops up to speed! I haven't been so completely floored by a pedal riff since The Obsidian Conspiracy by Nevermore. I love the hi-hats in the percussion in this section too.

Questionable...: The percussion here really starts to drive the point home of where the piece is going. Bar 112 has such a cool approach to legato and pedal riffing. This is the only section where I think I have a legit complaint. I think bar 115 should be twice as long and the guitars should shift up another minor third to "complete" the transition so you start the next section going down from the previous. Just my opinion anyway.

As Logic's...: This makes me think of Blotted Science in so many ways. The dissonance is great, you get this "hopelessly falling apart" feeling.

Fatal...: Very appropriate ending considering the narrative.

Overall, fantastic work man! I wish I could collaborate with you. Let me know when you have another one up. I always enjoy your stuff. Thanks for the music!
Whoa man. It's been too long since I've listened to something of yours. I think this song is going to take more than just one listen to process mentally, but I'm gonna tell you, that whole beginning bit until 33 is so pretty I was thinking "wtf, jazzdeath is mellowing out?". Not the case haha. Well maybe not yet. The rest of the song is a bit more like what I'm used to hear from you. I honestly start losing track of where you're going structurally at some point during questionable variables, but it's just that kind of piece, and it sounds like you're going for some expression of mental disorientation anyway. That 404 error ending is hilarious haha. in a good way.

Well I've missed this stuff man. good job as always.
Just wow. This is one of the most interesting and well executed concept pieces I've heard, period. It's amazing how you describe the concept and the music sounds like exactly that. I picture the music video being a stop motion or crude cartoon of the cyborg observing people and wandering and wondering. And musically this is just extremely intricate and the math/mechanical vibe is ever present. The steadily ringing feedback chord on the LEADS track was a smart, creative touch.

The intro was just beautiful. The bright and curious lead parts dazzled me. The way the bass and the lead danced around each other in Emotional Assessment was mesmerizing. The rhythm section kills from Begin Calculations to Dispute and Dissension.

Reformulation was a flawless transitional passage. The driving nature of Artificial Emotions makes me picture our cyborg creating his emotions. The drum beat here is flawless. Rational Approaches feels confused in a good way. It's very frantic and I enjoy that a lot. I can hardly wrap my head around the rhythms and notation. Like, I'm amazed a single brain could come up with any of this.

Questionable variables feel extremely bebop/jazzy and I love how the drums breakdown towards the end. The abrupt slowing of tempo at the As Logic's Weave section perfectly conveys his systems going "DOES NOT COMPUTE" and the descending leads illustrate the collapse of his "sanity". I enjoyed the quirky off-kilter ending illustrating his death. The erratic drums and the atonal bass notes really wrapped the whole song up in a nice bow. All in all, this is a masterpiece. It inspires me to be a better writer.

It'd be an honor if you had any critique to offer about my writing. Here are a couple of my songs. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1656381
Last edited by Million Dead at Sep 15, 2014,