I play thrash metal but lately I've been writing more progressive/powerful songs that sound like a mix of Judas Priest's Painkiller and Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time. But everything I've written has a boring old conventional structure. Could you list some examples of unconventional song structures for that type of music?
Is having a conventional structure actually a detriment to the song? Don't be different for the sake of being different.
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Is having a conventional structure actually a detriment to the song? Don't be different for the sake of being different.

I'm not really trying to be different it's just that I've written almost three albums using mostly simple song structures and I've gotten kinda bored with them. That also kinda ties in with the drastic change in sound. Also I've always admired long, complex, progressive songs and I just wanna see what the craziest thing I can do is.
Last edited by xcamero360 at Nov 8, 2015,
I think the song structure kind of comes naturally when you write the song. When I start writing a song, I don't really think about the structure that much. I just come up with ideas and when I have enough ideas to complete the song, the structure comes naturally. I hear that this idea needs to follow this idea. There's nothing wrong with a simple structure. A simple structure may sound boring but it may also sound great. One thing is having a middle section that differs from the rest of the song (for example by changing the dynamics or whatever - actually, adding dynamics pretty much always makes a song more interesting). The song structure may be simple otherwise, but adding that kind of section adds color to the song. It's not so much about the structure, it's more about the contrast IMO.

A good example is Van Halen's In a Simple Rhyme. I don't think the song structure is unconventional. Intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge (based on intro) - guitar solo (over verse riff) - chorus - outro (based on intro) (you could actually say that the verse riff is also based on the intro, so they would basically be the same idea). There is not even that much different kind of musical material in the song. It's basically based on just two or three different musical ideas. The structure is a basic pop song structure. But what makes it interesting is contrast - especially the quiet bridge section. It's about dynamics. I would also mention the breaks in the chorus.


Not sure if this is what you are after, though. Maybe you are after something more complex. It was just an example that a simple structure doesn't make a song boring. It's more about what you do within that structure.

A too complex structure may also mean that the song lacks coherency. I would avoid "riff after riff" kind of feel. That's also the reason why I found Megadeth's Peace Sells album to be boring to listen to. The song structures on that album are a mess - too much stuff in one song. At least that's the feeling I got when I listened to the album.

But yeah, if you want to learn about more complex song structures, listen to progressive rock/metal and analyze the songs. How to make the transitions work is the main point. If you can write good transitions that don't sound forced/out of place, you can do pretty much anything with your songs.

You don't even necessarily need to listen to progressive rock. Just listen to the songs that you enjoy (that have the kind of feel you are after) and analyze them.
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