Hello all.

So here is my attempt at making some symphonic black metal;


Everything is composed, performed, recorded, and mixed by me. I still struggle with practically all aspects of the process so any comments would be gratefully received.

I prefer not have too much gain on my guitars, which I know sort of bucks the trend for black metal. I prefer to have a cleaner, more clear tone (more like a sort of death metal tone really) so I know that it doesnt really fit the mold very well.

Anyway, happy to C4C with anyone who wants to have a listen.

Hope somebody enjoys it.

Great composition man! I really loved it.

The gain in the guitars is actually good, but I think there's too much high end to it.
You could remove a little bit of the overdrive/distortion from the vocals, unless that was really the sound you intended to achieve.
Kick drum could be more clicky in my opinion, you know, give it a boost at around 2-4khz and 5-7khz. Your snare sounds very weird for me, like it is not a snare meant for metal at all. Cymbals could be brighter, IMO.

Your mix could be better but the songs themselves are awesome! Anywhere where I could get them?

Keep up the amazing work man!
Hey man, thanks for listening.

Vocals are a sore spot for me at the moment. I cant really do the black metal sound so I kinda do a gruff kinda vocal and then saturate the crap out of it with a guitar distortion plugin (I know - cardinal sin!). Sadly the end result is not great but better than hearing my vocals raw.

Kick drum I did boost around 1khz but i guess I need to go higher for the good click. I thought I had done a half reasonable job of getting the snare to sound relatively high and tight but I guess it still doesnt really sound right. The whole kit I use is really not metal based - it's essentially the most appropriate multi-layered kit I have found for my drum prog. I'm a linux guy so my choices are more limited. There is a completely different prog that has two awesome ready made kits but I keep putting off the switch because it will ruin my current workflow. May well have to make the sacrifice though, or grow some talent and make my own kit .

The tracks should all be downloadable from soundcloud. If not it means soundcloud is being lame again so let me know.

I wonder - when you listened to the tracks, did you feel like they were part of the same production or did they sound like individual tracks? One of the reasons I did th 3 tracks together was to try and get the hang of making a production with a common sound.

I left you a comment on 7 Months to Nothing - really cool song man.

Great job, my friend!

I liked the composition a lot. I don't listen to "raw" metal too much, and the heavier stuff I like usually has something interesting going on that has nothing to do with metal; you certainly had those "interesting" elements. I loved the orchestral parts. Strings and choirs are always a bonus in my books.
I also liked the fact that you didn't use too much gain on your guitar sound. Lots of guys seem to overdo it, which results to muffled sound. To me, those 3 tracks flowed together pretty well. As said above, the vocals are a bit too distorted, but it didn't really disturb me.

Quality work!
1khz is not really where the click is at all. It's where I usually boost my kick though . It has more of a smooth subtle click, which, from what I listened to, is not what you want for black metal.

Try rendering the drum tracks before working in the mix, it's the right thing to do with VSTi IMO. This way you won't have workflow problems (unless you have 40+ tracks going on ) and you'll face your tracks in a more natural way than you would not doing so.

The tracks flow nicely in my opinion.

I thought there was no download link because Soundcloud doesn't enable it in the EP's page, you have to go to one of the tracks page, this seems very stupid to me.
Last edited by mp8andrade at Aug 25, 2014,
First off, I really enjoyed this. The compositions themselves were very engaging, the guitar playing seem tight, and the vocals were particularly enjoyable. They just had that snarl to them. As far as any constructive criticism, all I can really say is the sounds used are a bit suspect. I don't know what was recorded and what was VSTi, but the symphonic sounds would definitely benefit from a more professional library, i.e. EWQLSO. The choir sounds are also so notably fake that the timbre almost detracts from the melody. However, all this is very easily remedied with a simple plugin switch, as as I stated before, the composition is on point. I don't know what you're using for drums, or if it's live, and on the bad everything sounds perfect IMO, but on the good the drum sounded a bit out of place, but that's just me. I could've just needed some time to get use to it. But like I said, the mix on the bad sounded perfect to me. On the Ugly, I got no real comments, around 13 that breakdownish riff is killer, the whole thing is heavy as fvk. I dug it honestly, it was a nice break going straight into the metal stuff in contrast to the earlier two sounds. When the dbl kick comes in and everything goes sludgey slow is awesome as well. No real complaints. Great work!
@Sami Philadelph - Thanks for listening and taking the time to provide comments. It' awesome to hear that some people like what I made.

Anything that isnt guitar or bass is computer generated (so drums and all orchestra, piano, choir etc).

You are of course right that the orchestral and choir sounds are a little ropey. They are just free soundfonts that I have found on the internet. I dare say that a little more knowledge and skill on my part could get a bit better sound out of them (EQ, Reverb, delay used correctly) but there is a point beyond which a turd is just being polished. I'm a linux only guy and that limits the choices for soft synths etc as most developers are mac and windows only. It's a limitation of my chosen OS at this stage but the situation is improving.

It's interesting that you say "The Bad" is the best sound. I originally recorded all the guitar parts for the 3 tracks over two days but I made such an ass of that one that I ended up re-recording them weeks later. By that time I had dialled back the gain on my guitar a little. It also meant it got mixed after the other two so I guess I must have improved a bit over the course of mixing the other two tracks. It's laughable really because I was trying soo hard to get a uniform sound that sounded like an album rather than a set of songs recorded and mixed at different times by different people. Still a lot to learn.

@Akkeli _ Thanks for the feedback. Although some would call it not being true to the black metal style I also dont go in for the ultra hi-gain guitar sound. To me (when I listen to that style of black metal) that wall of gain just gets in the way and ends up with me straining to try and hear the awesome riff that lurks beneath. I am aiming for more of a Dimmu Borgir or Prometheus era Emperor sound. Aiming way above my skill level I know, but maybe I can get somewhere in that direction.

Thanks a lot everyone. I really appreciate the comments.

Last edited by RabidBadger at Sep 3, 2014,
It's a great trilogy of songs. The symphonic bits are really sharp and dynamic. I think the vocals are good. I like that they're a little more clear than old-school Mayhem or Emperor. The drums are better sounding than most black metal, but still lo-fi enough to make it sound dirty.

My only criticism here is that The Good and The Bad sound a little too similar in structure, especially when the symphonic part breaks into the guitar part.

Here's my stuff Measures of Discipline . It's my latest song, but please check out my other song I have on Soundcloud as well. If you can, please comment on the thread to bump it, but feel free to follow me or leave a comment on Soundcloud too.

Keep it up!
Soup. Thanks for listening to my song!

First of all, I really like the vocal style. It sounds evil without being inaudible!
The guitars are all nice but the rest of the production quality makes it hard to make a judgement on the compositions. I find the orcestrated sections a bit too long and boring but with proper stuff it might get more intresting so I digress.

Vocals and guitars are great. Get the other stuff up to those standard and you're good to go!
Thanks for the crit, man.

I really enjoy the sounds you have going on here. To be honest, this gives off a bit of a Cradle of Filth from the 90's kind of feel like their Principle of Evil Made Flesh stuff musically. It is really enjoyable and really well composed. The vocals are pretty good. I like my vocals a little more gruff though this isn't too bad. I would have to agree that the snare sounds a bit weird but with your limitations its hard to not understand, hah. I really enjoy the sound of the guitars. Everything is nice and audible and they have a nice tone.

All in all you've got a great sound here! Keep going with it and I'm sure you'll find that sweet spot!
Quote by mangablade
If star wars had a Heavy Metal band (no not "Vader" lol), then you would be it. You sound like a anrgy mother****ing Yoda.

I sound like an angry Yoda...is that a good thing...or a bad thing? lol
pretty fing kvlt if you ask me. i think. i don't really know what that means but it seems appropriate. kinda felt a little snes/castlevania (castle in the past in chrono trigger was the specific reference) vibe from the synths too.

fantastic lyrics - great technique and delivery. pretty legit sounding

some cool riffs too. the arpeggios in the good were probably my favourite.

i liked how well the first two tracks contrasted and how the third kinda tied all the ideas together.

all in all well done. looking forward to hearing what you come up with next.
by the way, i stole this riff.
Listening now... Ah, those MIDI sounds. Love it I really like when the choir comes in... Starts to remind me of the Zelda games, a little bit.

1:48, that's a good key change. However, I'm not sure if I like the staccato... trumpet? underneath everything. It might be something else, but it's lower, and it's playing with the pizzicato strings. I think it'd sound better as strings.

Yeah, that snare sound is a little too high or something, but overall, this is sounding really good. Love the riffs, and the mix besides that snare sounds pretty decent.

The Bad sounds... Good. But I agree with the other person that said it was too structurally similar to The Good, with the long orchestral intro going into the metal. Although at this point, I'm sure you don't want to change all of that Riff at 10:28 is so damn good. Omg, same with 13:00, that's badass.

Anyways, besides what I've already said... Good work, man
Hiya RabidBadger,

First of all, I'm a black metal fan and I listen to a lot of different subgenres, and I have to say that this EP is getting me back into symphonic black, my first impression is that it's pretty fvking amazing.

I. Fvking. Love. Your. Vocals. The voice itself is pretty cool, and the effects make it great. Props to you for actually going through the trouble to get some decent vocals on a black metal record, even though I love the genre I have to admit that the vocals are really half-assed very often. But you pulled it off with great results.

The symphonic parts are nice and dark, although some sounds you've used aren't that good, but for a one man effort I really can't complain. And having less gain is in my opinion the perfect way to go, I'm a guitarist myself and I usually use more vintage-y tones for black metal rather than modern metal tones. Black metal isn't about being heavy in my opinion, it's about the atmosphere.

I'm a bit of a production noob myself so I really don't dare to help with that, but for a black metal EP your production is pretty great.

I really like it. And now I really feel like listening to symphonic black metal. Great job And I should probably already get to recording some of my own ideas, if I ever get to uploading my own black metal songs I'll drop you a link if you'd like.
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to listen and provide feedback. I have to say, I wasnt expecting anywhere near as many positive comments so I am very happy to see people actually enjoy what I created. It's also given me a lot of ideas on what to focus on to improve which is always a good thing.

eatfresh1736 and RedDeath9 - You both picked up on the similarity of the "The Good" and "The Bad". In truth they actually started out as two guitar parts for the same track. If you played the verse and chorous of one over the other (at the right speed) they fit nicely. I couldnt get a good second part for the change towards then end so I forked them into different tracks. I guess I didnt do enough to change the structure and then compounded matters by giving them a way too similar intro. Maybe it wouldnt have been soo bad if they hadnt been tracks one and two but "The Ugly" is Ugly, so I couldnt flip the order. Anyway, point taken.

A few people have mentioned the soundfonts are a bit suspect. I was aiming for a high quality symphonic experience (Puritanic Euphoric era Dimmu Borgir) and landed somewhere between a 90's video game and CoF Principle of Evil Made Flesh sound. I'll take that for an early attempt. Aim high and see how short you fall!

I'll be looking into some snare options as everyone seems pretty well clear that the snare is outta place here. I wonder whether an additional sample triggered off the main track would give a solution (I saw some andy sneap samples floating around a which might do a job).

Thank you all again for listening and for your kind words. It helps keep the fire of creation burning!

I listened to The Good and I can say that is wasn't that bad. The main-riff is awesome and I think the sound fits perfectly to the music and genre. I do not like the intro very much, because it is way to long. It has a cool feeling to it, but the mix is not the best. Try to make it sound more like an orchestra, make it huge. Another problem is the bad sound of the drums. What I really liked was the vocals - this is how I want my black metal vocals!
The good news, the main problem is your equipment and not you!
As a lot of other people have mentioned, those vocals are killer man, sounds great. Reminds me of Nazxul, which is awesome.

I feel like the guitar parts could have a bit more complexity to them, but the symphonic arrangements over them evens it out. And maybe i've just been listening to too much technical death metal as of late. I think the less distorted than usual tone for black metal works well here with the symphony and vocals too.

I'd really appreciate it if you could give my poorly recorded song a listen and tell me what you think!(about to get a Scarlett 2i4 and re-record though, very excited)

This is some tasty stuff. I really like this a lot. I'm not a heavy listener of black metal but this is great. Awesome riffs, vocals I really like. The style of vocals is perfect for the instruments in the song. I only had time to listen to the first song, but I followed you so I can listen to the rest later. Nice job! I dig it a lot
Hey thanks for the feedback on my stuff! I listened to your EP and this is what I thought

I really liked the intro in 'The Good', it built up the song really well for the riff that comes in. The vocals are quite nice, I am able to understand what is being said while they still have the black metal and even a bit of industrial sound to them, I thought they mixed in very well with the song. I also liked the guitar riff although I thought that it would benefit from some variations on the riff to add more life and flavor to it. This song gave me a Children of Bodom vibe with more black metal sounding vocals.

The Bad- Once again I liked the overall sound of it, but thought the guitar parts were a little repetitive.

The Ugly- I think this one is my favorite, it's more thrash sounding which is the stuff that I'm more into. All the riffs have movement to them and are easy to groove to. The drums also got me going in this one. Only thing I think would make it better is when it does the fade out at the end maybe fade back in some of the symphonic instrumental stuff that you had for the intros of the other songs, the fade out ending felt a little lacking. But good song!

Overall I enjoyed the ep, its not what I normally listen to, but I liked it non the less, it was a cool listen. I liked the track names too. Good job!
Hey man, thanks for the very helpful comments.

First off, love the Good/Bad/Ugly approach in general

I really like the crisp, treble-y timbre of your drums, and the guitar's distortion serves the atmosphere very well. As mentioned by others, big WOW when your vocals kick in. Your voice is theatrical and dark without sounding cheesy- no easy feat! The transition at 4:30 is seamless, and I really like that it comes back to the original riff at the end. I was up for more, but on to the Bad.

I really enjoy the marching type drums leading up to the first riff. At 5:11 I was nodding my head. It's a cool riff and when you reinforce it with the double bass it is very effective.

The energy and increased tempo in The Ugly really drew me in and helped differentiate it. The performance on the tremolo-picked outro is very tight as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed all of these compositions. Black Metal isn't my specialty, but I appreciate the aesthetic and your recording maintains a lot of that scathing, rustic sound.
love the orchestration at the beginning - sounds dark and ominous and EPIC

the choirs are really effective and well done

yeah the drums arent great but theyre not bad - I like the guitar tone and the riff is super flipping good - im not a fan of the black metal vocals (with one or two exceptions) but these vocals are great! (maybe put a touch of reverb or delay on the vox)

the production is nice and clear and everything can be heard well
"Good": The intro strings have an old movie vibe, in fact the whole intro does (I like it). Vocals are too heavy for my taste, though they fit the genre. I like the metal instrumental, though at times it feels repetitive despite having vocals. Drums are good. I like the human chorus at 5:10 & the end lead guitar. Please review my music at this link:

This is everything black metal needs to be! I especially like your attention to detail with the midi programming. Really makes you stand out from other BM, giving it just that extra touch of eeeeevil! My favorite song is definitely The Ugly. Quality riffs, with an awesome chorus.

As far as production goes, the only thing here that doesn't quite hit the black metal recording standard is the drum/synth samples. Since you're working on Linux (respect!), I understand you don't have many quality options. What I would recommend, however, is to go the BM way and go as lo-fi as possible to cover up the pristine digital-ness. By this I mean try to search in your software repo for some kind of tape saturation, tube saturation, or console emulation plug-ins and layer them babies on every instrument! The differences with these vsts are usually subtle on a single track, but layered over an entire mix -even on the mix bus- they can be the best thing you could possibly do to color up some fake midi sounds.

Hope it helps!
Quote by RabidBadger
Hello all.

So here is my attempt at making some symphonic black metal;


Everything is composed, performed, recorded, and mixed by me. I still struggle with practically all aspects of the process so any comments would be gratefully received.

I prefer not have too much gain on my guitars, which I know sort of bucks the trend for black metal. I prefer to have a cleaner, more clear tone (more like a sort of death metal tone really) so I know that it doesnt really fit the mold very well.

Anyway, happy to C4C with anyone who wants to have a listen.

Hope somebody enjoys it.


Guitar sounds a little empty.
Did you recorded your guitar by amp or with impulses?
Try to use double track
Quote by Tube_silence
Guitar sounds a little empty.
Did you recorded your guitar by amp or with impulses?
Try to use double track

I actually use neither. I run my guitar into a Boss GT6 pedal and direct into the soundcard. I guess that is closer to impulses than an amp. I live in a place where there isnt space to keep a stack and playing it at volume would really annoy the neighbours!

As for double tracking - they actually are double tracked. I think I am maybe ripping them too hard with EQ to make space for the other instruments, hence they end up sounding weak. Hopefully I will get better with practice.

I like your style, man. Good compositions and mixing, might give your EP another listen.

Your vocals are especially great! I would've added some reverb though.

The beginning of "The Good" is very Dungeons and Dragons. Great variation of the Symptom of the Universe riff in the end of "The Bad".

Not much to nag but perhaps the snare sounds a bit weird.
Cool stuff - very solid composition! Like the vocals - very black, very evil, as they should!
Stay black!