I'm back! I've recorded what I believe is my best song yet. It's a 7 minute instrumental with all sorts of influences from black metal to Tool to Iron Maiden. Give it a full listen and tell me what you think. Check out my Soundcloud for more stuff (link in my signature). Subscribe to hear my stuff as it comes out. Please comment here and/or on Soundcloud, and I'll definitely check your stuff out.

Hangman For Hire
Last edited by eatfresh1736 at Dec 12, 2014,
Wow, that's actually quite the song man! I really enjoyed it, though I must ask you - what did you use to record your guitars? I think the clean guitars lack some depth, the mix overall is balanced though.
This sounded pretty good! The only things I could think of doing to it is maybe tightening up the low end of the bass guitar a little bit? I feel it is on the flubby side a little bit when you're really going down on it. And you could probably bring down the symbols a little bit, and bring out the kick a little more! But this is a good composition!
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
Audio quality is a bit muddy at times, but otherwise the song sounds good for the genre. Some good vocals wouldn't hurt. Please review my music at the nearest thread of mine (it won't let me copy & paste a link here for some reason).
Last edited by aaron aardvark at Dec 6, 2014,
M_16A, the bass guitar is (embarrassingly) my regular guitar with a Slammi pedal into a bass modeling amp plugin. Considering that, I think it's not bad, but I agree I can work on the tone. There must be a certain combination of stuff I can try to make it thicker, but not muddy.

Aardvark, because I write these as instrumentals, I aim for a "wall-of-sound" mix, similar to what Devin Townsend does. But I will lower the crashes a bit, they are a little too cutting in the mix. Thanks for pointing that out. I reviewed your stuff on your thread.
^Wow, given that's what you're using for a bass, it sounds pretty damn good. I really like the dynamics of this song! The drum programming is interesting and varied, and while I don't typically like the "dead" bass drum sound I think it works here. Cool solo. The change up at 3:25 is nifty, too!

Side note: Awesome Mask of Sanity cover on Youtube! One of my favorites. I would love to be able to play the solo to that song someday.
@eatfresh1736: Thanks for your comments on my piece, I really appreciate it. Anyway, Black Metal is great and you certainly know how to write it. Just regarding the person mentioning the cleans, if you haven't double tracked the cleans you could try that (and pan a suitable amount L/R) but then you could change the impulses or maybe use a chorus on one and a flanger on the other. Here are my thoughts anyway.

Intro is good, I'm a big fan of Black Metal in 6/8 (Dissection, Artefact, NeO, etc). This is no different. I like the presence of your "bass". I really dislike the transition at around 1:20. I know transitions are hard but you'll have to try better than that. I like that you recapitulate the intro at around 1:30. Thematic development is a top priority for me when composing. I love the modulation at 2:20, the leads/melodies are very fitting. The solo is quite nice but it would be nice to have some decorative harmonies every now and then.

I LOVE the section that starts at about 3:48. I think the tremolo part could have been played a little cleaner though. Alternatively you could get a synth to play it if you can get your hands on a nice one (VST or hardware).

The riff at 4:32 is really heavy and you further exercise your compositional skills by continually modulating, intensifying percussion and using counterpoint (and many other techniques). This really shows how much of a great composer you are. Kudos to you my friend. 5:42 is what I'm talking about with the harmonies. I also think it would beneficial if you faded out with a solo on top since I think a little more variation wouldn't hurt (and you clearly know how to do it).

Overall it's a great piece, don't take my criticism too harshly.

Currently following you on Soundcloud now. Waiting for another blackened masterpiece. Do you write your music in Guitar Pro or something similar before you record it?

Also, I think you would love the band Artefact, try the album Ruins as well as the track Failure.
HaydenHohns, thanks for that awesome feedback. I like to see detailed opinions, instead of just "more cowbell!"

I'll explain the transition around 1:20. The black metal riff throughout the beginning of the song starts to get a little repetitive and familiar. Suddenly, it stops, and all you're left with is a single fading guitar noise. Then, like a shaky lightbulb fixture in a horror movie, it stutters and then cuts out, leaving you alone in the dark. Although it's not really the same thing, I was inspired by the outro to Daath's song The Unbinding Truth. Check it out, it's creepy as hell, the way it jumps like a broken record. Anyway, that's my take on it.

Drum fills are very important to me. There are so many great songs that have a good riff turn into an awesome riff by using just the right type of fill. I can play the drums, but not as well as I'd like. I use EZdrummer 2 with the Metal Machine kit.

This mix isn't final, and I'll consider a solo over the outro. I was originally planning on using an EBow near the end. I might do that. I'll also try to beef up the cleans. I think the crash cymbals can be a little lower as well. You'll see when I update the song.

When composing, I usually fool around with the help of my Ditto Looper until I find a good theme to write a song around. If I have any complex riffs, I'll sometimes write it out in a small music notebook, in standard notation. Not trying to be pretentious, it's just a good way to practice reading music. Also, when you can read music, harmonies and chords make become a lot easier to visualize. Then I start making the drum track as I start to put the whole thing together. I then put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Thanks for your feedback man.
@eatfresh1736: I definitely agree with you on that one. I think I recall a quote something along the lines of "I prefer the criticism of the few, rather than the praise of the many".

Cool, I use Superior Drummer 2 but I don't have any add-on kits.

An Ebow could be interesting. I was originally thinking of some melodic shred but I think that could work if you played your cards right.

I actually write my classical pieces with a pen and paper sometimes (including manuscript). I've had plenty of training in theory so no need to dumb it down if that's how you feel. Knowing theory definitely has helped me, I know that. Some people feel differently though.

That's pretty cool, normally I would write everything in Guitar Pro (GP) first and then record it. At the moment I alternate between recording it in Reaper and writing it in GP. I find that there are things I write in GP that I can't play so then as I'm recording it I rework a new solution, try to play it, etc. Sometimes I just suck it up and learn the part though.

By oven, I'm guessing a stuffy room which hasn't seen the light of day where you record it?
On my other 3 tracks, I've mic'd up my amp, but I could never capture the tone I wanted. I have a really great live sound, but I can't seem to get the mics perfect. I've tried forever. So for now, I'm using amp simulators. If I ever record in a professional studio, I'll make sure to have someone who knows what they're doing.

As for theory, I've never taken any lessons, but when I started learning guitar, I made sure to study as much theory as possible. Some people are too lazy, and they'll say something like "music is a feeling, not a science." However, studying theory at least gives you a vocabulary to express those "feelings." Otherwise, you're just stabbing in the dark, hoping you hit something that sounds nice.
The buildup of this is phenomenal. The strings there at the end really add something as well. Followed you on Soundcloud for future releases.

One thing. Have you ever considered adding vocals to it? It certainly has enough room for some, and I think a good vocalist could put this song in particular over the roof.

In any case, killer stuff man. I love the transition, the changes almost correspond to different sub-genres for me. It's like a bazaar of metalz conveniently and intelligently packaged.

Great work man.

I have nothing really to comment on the mix except that it sounds full and organic. You are a bit beyond me here.
I'm glad you liked it!

About the vocals: So originally, my plan was to make specifically instrumental songs. I wanted to bring metal to all the people who say stuff like "I love the music, but I can't stand the growling and screaming and stuff." I felt like they were throwing away amazing music because of one detail. Obviously, I shouldn't write music to pander to the masses, but I've been to a few concerts of instrumental bands (Animals As Leaders was one of them), and I noticed that the crowd had metalheads, as well as people who probably can't name more than 2 Black Sabbath songs.

I have thought about adding vocals though. I'll have to do some test runs (as well as find a vocalist.) But I think I'm going to stick to instrumentals for now.

I don't know if you've heard of these guys from Montreal, but they're insanely talented, and their bassist plays a fretless six string. This is a death metal instrumental from their debut album. It was an inspiration to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY74peKDTis
Last edited by eatfresh1736 at Dec 13, 2014,

Thanks for reviewing my track!

Yours is a very good composition - a nice mix of black, death and prog metal! But it desperately needs vocals! Screamy, gritty disgusting vocals, black and death metal style depending on section!

The riff that starts at 0:20 is so nice - really dark and menacing and the sound of the guitars are perfect for the style. However, the "bass" should be replaced with a proper bass track; if it was up to me I would have opted for a distorted sound but with good low end (cutting out the lowest frequencies with a high pass filter from around 60 Hz).

I found the clipping from the noise gate, at 1:29, quite disturbing. Take the gate out for the first section - with this kind of compact playing I doubt you would be bothered by noise anyway... Either leave it ringing to create feedback or use automation to fade.

The drums, to me, sound a bit too dry. They need more room to breathe I think. And lower the cymbal levels as others have said.

The snare fill at 2:15 has to go, I would try to replace it with a slower fill like with toms or something - EZDrummer2 has plenty to choose from.

From 2:47 and onwards the song becomes more death metal, and here I wonder what it would have sounded like with fatter rhythm guitars, with more bottom. Double tracked all the way. Once again a proper bass track could do a world of difference. Also applies from 4:31. You have some really nice guitar parts going on here.

Too many repeats from 5:54 to 6:20 (eight!). But vocals might change this impression.

The outro is brilliant!

As I started out saying, I really like this track and you are obviously a very gifted songwriter and guitar player. The above comments are - obviously - a matter of personal taste!

Stay metal, stay black!
Thanks for the lengthy feedback! I'm still learning about mixing and mastering, so I'm constantly trying new things, and I'll have to consider some of the stuff you said.

As for that fading out "gated" sound - that wasn't a gate. I manually cut up that fading buzz. I also raised or lowered the pitch of some of those "stutters". The effect was very intentional. As I've explained above, I thought it gave it a disturbing horror movie effect. If it disturbed you, then I've done my job. But that's just my take on it.

I'm glad you enjoyed!
There's plenty of critique on this one, but I would say that I like the constant progression and diversity of the piece. Something like this is more challenging to compose (and to the ears) than the usual verse-chorus-verse stuff. Good going.
Honestly it isn't what I would normally listen to but that definitely doesn't mean I don't dig it. I like the changing feel throughout the song and there are some pretty killer riffs. I think the tension builds well, especially around the 5 minute mark. Some solid harmonies and playing overall.
The only thing I'm personally not a fan of is the black metal kick drum blasts but again not saying it's something that should be changed I'm just not into it.

Solid tune man! Keep it up!
Gratuitous blast beating can be annoying. I try to use blast beats as part of a larger progression, instead of as the main rhythm of the song itself. My approach to music is that (almost) every genre, no matter how far away it is from the stuff you like, can be learned from. For example, jazz can be used in metal solos. Funk can be used in blues. Classical music can be used in death metal. I try to use that when I write songs.

Thanks for listening!
Your riffs are really good, and so is your mixing work. But I think you need to take time with your leads more, and work on some of your alternate picking to make them cleaner. The songwriting is excellent though. Very oldschool death metal.
Symphonic rock at it's very best. Themes are introduced and developed with great panache. Mighty meaty production, with thick sounds creating a suitably rich texture. The piece moves through a gamut of shades, variations and dynamics with a clever creativity. The rhythms chop and change without breaking the interest or linking line, and the odd time signatures never sound odd or strange, but relevant and congruous. The performances are consistently excellent, the guitar and bass played a very high standard, and the drum programming is very adventurous, it would require a world class drummer to play them.
A courageous composition that boldly goes where its inexorable heart leads.

For something refreshingly different, see Dressed To Kill
Nice, I'm not generally a fan of the heavier genres of Metal, but you've got some good ideas in here, I could see you doing well in a ProgDeath sort of band, I'm hearing some Between The Buried and Me in there, and it feels like you're not afraid to wear your influences on your sleeve, which is good, I like the little nods to the bands you listen to here. All in all, well done!
I usually don't listen to this kind of stuff,but I dig this. Writing a long piece and still keeping it interesting can be hard. Nevertheless I think you succeeded. I like how the song has variation,many riffs and melodies. The outro with the strings was very good,supporting the dark atmosphere of the song. The mix is a bit muddy and the "bass" was a bit boomy but all in all,a very nice track!
Hey man, thanks for the crit!

The intro is good, but I immediately noticed the guitars sound a little washy. Maybe a tad too much high end? The intro is really fun and heavy. Love it. The part after 1:20 is really nice.

2:50 - The solo is nice. It doesn't quite sit as nicely in the mix as I like solos to, but it's all good.

3:40ish - Awesome fast playing man. Probably my favorite part along with the intro. Super heavy and I could definitely hear some thunderous screams/growls over it.

4:30 - I gotta say, that transition was a little lazy. It almost doesn't sound like it belongs in the song, but the next riff makes up for it with its Loomis-y vibe. I would have liked more low string riffing during that section. I thought the riff sounded better in that register. You could keep the current one, but I think it wants the low riff underneath.

5:40 - Nicely done with the harmonies man! What's with that weird pause at 5:55? It sounds like an accident.

6:19 - I dislike the tone change at this part. It makes it sound a little too "trve", like you were going for an old-school tape recorded sound. Which would be fine, but the rest of the song doesn't have that going on.

The outro licks are really nice. Almost sounds like a black metal baroque orchestra?

The kick drums could use a little velocity variance every now and then (especially on the faster runs). It just makes it a little more life-like and less triggered sounding. Same with the snares on the blast beats.

All in all, not a bad piece man! It's not my usual choice of listening so my compositional critiques are just that of taste. The mix wasn't bad either. The bass sounded like a synth, though.

Good job!