#1
I have a couple questions about writing Extreme Metal (namely Doom Metal and Black Metal). I know that both styles rely on distortion, minor keys, and tension but there's got to be more to it. Doom Metal is slow and sad yet catchy. Black Metal is fast and uses tremolo picking on chord a bunch.
I'm basically asking for tips on writing Doom Metal and Black Metal. What's in the guitar parts and how do you write an effective drum beat and bassline?

Stuff like this for Doom Metal

This for raw Black Metal


Edit: The two songs posted are just examples of the two styles and I'm open to sub-genres.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jan 17, 2017,
#2
I wanted to bump this thread because I'm still curious and know that someone here can help (if they want). Please give me advice on this.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#3
1) Can you write a conventional pop drum track in simple duple, triple, and quadruple time?
2) Can you write a conventional rock bassline?

If you can't do any of that, I would focus on them before advancing.
#4
Here's what I know about writing basic drum parts. Hi-hats and/or cymbals go on every quarter note or 8th note. In 4/4, kick goes on the 1st and 3rd beat and snare on 2nd and 4th beat. In 6/8, kick goes on the first beat and snare goes on the 2nd beat/4th note (if you're using half notes). Basically snare goes on the backbeat. In 3/4 and/or waltz music, emphasis is usually on the second and third beats (especially the bass).

Conventional rock basslines are simply roots and chord tones to the rhythm of the drums. Basslines can be melodic but generally focus on the roots and chord tones. Guitars tend to be melodic as are the vocals.

That's most of what I know about conventional beat-writing. I know it would possibly be more than I can chew but that doesn't make me any less curious. In fact, learning this could take my playing and writing to the next level.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Mar 1, 2017,
#5
RonaldPoe

Little corrections:
In 6/8, kick goes on the first beat and snare goes on the 2nd beat/4th note (if you're using half notes).
6/8 is made of 2 groupings of eighth notes; you'd use dotted quarters to separate each grouping within the measure.

In 3/4 and/or waltz music, emphasis is usually on the second and third beats (especially the bass).
This is dependent on context, since waltzes like this have emphasis on 1 (exception to hemiola in measures 3-4):


Conventional rock basslines are simply roots and chord tones to the rhythm of the drums. Basslines can be melodic but generally focus on the roots and chord tones.
Chord tones are the destination tones; the way to the destination can include various non-chord tones as long as they are used tastefully. This is a really brief example video:


This practice is not limited to bass; the use of non-chord tones is essential in traditional melodic writing as well.

This is a really good foundation to keep in mind.
---------

Candlemass song:
- is pretty much the basic rhythms with a bit more decoration and fills, potentially shifting from hi-hat to a different cymbal as is common practice in metal. What in the drums is decorating the song?
- is heavily riff-driven. Can you write the riffs down? Can you make your own riffs?

The Burzum is in half-time, but also rather straight-forward rhythmically.
Harmonically, it's less clear with all the distortion and EQ-ing, but if you have a grasp on harmonic analysis and riff-writing, it shouldn't be a problem; it's just layered slowly
Can you break the song into general sections, though?

I'm just asking questions so we can start a better, more focused conversation
#6
Oh crap, I said half note instead of dotted quarter note (which takes one and a half quarter notes as opposed to 2 quarter notes needed for a half note) for 6/8. That's very interesting about 3/4 Waltz though. Also I like to write original 8 note licks (sometimes 6 or 7 notes instead) and riffs as a hobby (I then base a piece off of them). I know about passing tones and meant that basslines rely on roots and chord tones with some passing tones thrown in. Passing tones are like a D note or a D#/Ef (if you're feeling adventurous and want some dissonance) between C and E of a C Major chord, right. I have a unique writing style (at least in my electronic music) that I'd describe as eccentric, mildly mellow yet dark, and heavily RPG based.

Here's 2 more pieces to learn from
Emperor is an influential Norwegian Black Metal band and innovator of Symphonic Black Metal.


Black Sabbath's title song is considered an influential and early piece of Doom Metal. Just listen to that masterful use of the tritone.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#7
You really just need to listen more. Your descriptions of doom metal and black metal show a distinct lack of understanding of the styles other than a couple of clichéd surface elements to that music that are by no means universal or necessary for those styles.

There is a good amount of doom that is no slower than a typical band and a lot of doom bands that have faster passages. There are many doom bands that are not sad at all (negative emotions are indeed prevalent, but to class anger, agression, nostalgia, regret, etc as sadness is flawed) and many are really not catchy.

Similarly there are many black metal bands that crawl along or more ambient bands that outright lack an obvious beat and there are many bands that use little or no tremolo picking. Even bands that do tremolo pick tend to more commonly play single note riffs than chords and only use tremolo picking in only some parts of the songs. Also many black metal bands avoid minor keys, instead composing songs primarily using simple riffs and then modulating those riffs, and so in the regard there really isn't a particular key at all and no true point of resolution, similar to playing a scale/chord consisting of regular, repeating intervals (chromatic scale, half-whole scale, whole tone scale, diminished 7th chord, augmented chord, etc).

It's generally rare to have independent bass lines in either, with the bass either following the guitar or playing root notes. In many cases there isn't even a bassline as it is common enough to have a bass instrument absent (although in that case the rhythm guitar technically is playing the bassline). Drums are almost entirely standard rock and metal drum patterns.

There's no secret tricks to writing drum beats or basslines or anything really. You have to listen more to the music and figure out what they're doing. You can't expect somebody to hand you a formula on how to write compelling music.
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#8
At the start of the thread, I was listing cliches of the styles (I did a lot of research on this) and know that there must be more to them than that (hence the title of this thread). I'm aware that Doom Metal bands can have emotions other than sadness (usually negative emotions and ominousness) and have fast passages occasionally. I know that I can't write in a style if I just use basic cliches and am curious about doing it right. The only "tricks" to writing good melodies and compelling music is get inspired and to trust both your gut and especially your ears (the only rule in music is "if it sounds good, it is good"). Obviously Black Metal is quite fond of accidentals and dissonance in its progressions.

I'm just trying to write pieces in these styles and looking for pointers ...

Also your right about some Black Metal bands being slow if it weren't for the tremolo picking (as evident in Suicidal or Ambient Black Metal).
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Mar 2, 2017,
#9
see the first 2 songs you posted were really generic versions like you said, then the later ones are kind of "stretches" for the genre. emperor is certainly black metal, but they break all the rules, while black sabbath were really before doom got so doomy

but yeah it's all about listening more. these genres have been around for decades and people have experimented ad nauseum. for what it's worth tho, while artistically it's worth knowing, you're never gonna make any money playing doom or black metal. you might get 10 people to show up to your local gigs



then there's more modern, stoner rock that comes from doom that's basically just doom sped up





then of course black metal even has electronic music now (diagnose lebensgefahr) because it's more attitude than anything





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#10
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for what it's worth tho, while artistically it's worth knowing, you're never gonna make any money playing doom or black metal.


But this line:
it's more attitude than anything

is definitely most applicable, RonaldPoe, and that, along with increased exposure to the genres, should help.
#11
it's definitely more attitude than anything else, considering the variety of black metal we have today

if you're going for the traditional black metal sound though, i guess i'd say: rhythmically simple and steady, strings allowed to ring freely often, relatively little reliance on palm muted chugging, lots of minor, phrygian dominant, or diminished tonality
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#12
Good advice everyone, keep it coming. I noticed Doom Metal drum parts usually have the same snare and hat/cymbal patterns as classic Rock beats. Black Metal drum parts are a bit trickier (drum beats depend on the song and there's not much for reoccurring patterns) and only sometimes contain blast beats. I know neither style is mainstream but I enjoy them and find them interesting.

For the attitude, do you mean an aggressive and bitter one. I generally strum pretty hard ...

People say Black Metal has no major scales, then what about modulating to Phrygian Dominant (that's technically a major version of Phrygian).
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Mar 6, 2017,
#13
keep in mind, most black metal drums are *gasp* programmed

99% of black metal is just one dude in his basement

also, if you don't understand what attitude means, you need to stop trying to think of music theory. life isn't a series of ideas you pick apart at a surface level. listen to diagnose: lebensgefahr, iirc there might be guitar on like 30% of that album. 

and stop thinking about scales. scales are stupid. stop it. you're degrading yourself 
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


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You win. I'm done here.
#14
I see scales as more of a starting point than anything. I'm more curious about basic Black Metal drum patterns at this point (I figured out that Doom Metal shares most of its drum patterns with Hard Rock). Bass lines in both compliment the melodies right.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).