#1
Currently I'm working on a project in which it looks like we may have a mighty fine epic in the making. Obviously writing a good epic requires a lot of patience and skill, not everyone can pull it off. To me, these epics are somewhat akin to the symphony in Western art music, often containing multiple movements, extended passages, and have some "grand" quality to them (e.g., through story-telling/concept, use of orchestration/unusual instrumentation, etc).

Some examples I have been listening to are below.

A relatively obscure epic, I think this album had pretty good production when compared to its peers (e.g., Emperor, Darkthrone, Mayhem, etc). I believe this was a stylistic choice as, although Lord Belial don't necessarily do anything out of the ordinary on this album, it is damn fine melodic black metal. The music is probably a notch more refined than most of the other Norwegian black metal bands at this point in time.



A more recent epic, by an Australian symphonic power metal band, but with a lot of grit. I love the orchestrations and I don't think I've heard such a doomy and dark outro riff from a power metal band before.



Another more recent one, but more emphasis on riffs and connecting musical ideas in a cohesive manner. I think Atlantean Kodex don't have a bad track on this album.



Of course, there are many more of which I am quite fond of, and I would like to see if we can generate some fruitful discussion into these particular types of metal tracks.

TL;DR: I want to discuss:

1. What is a metal epic;
2. What constitutes a good and/or a bad one; and
3. What are some examples of good and/or bad epics.
#2
Bane of Winterstorm! I wrote them down a while ago and then forgot to go back to them. They need to work coming up with more interesting riffs throughout but they have potential.

I'll have more to say on this topic later, and I may be biased, but Helloween's Halloween is an essential metal epic. 



As far as making a good epic, I think structure is key. Also worth noting: Manilla Road's The Deluge and Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Who are you? The prince of darkness? Don't you have any friends?


#3
Yes, I totally agree about Bane of Winterstorm. Although I felt I needed some variety, and I have not heard power metal that dark before. I also agree about Manilla Road and Iron Maiden, they are both great tracks. Helloween have some fantastic stuff in this regard too. I'm interested in reading what you have to say on the topic. Good structure is key, there needs to be very unique movements but you can't just connect different riffs together.
#4
Quote by HaydenHohns
Currently I'm working on a project in which it looks like we may have a mighty fine epic in the making. Obviously writing a good epic requires a lot of patience and skill, not everyone can pull it off. To me, these epics are somewhat akin to the symphony in Western art music, often containing multiple movements, extended passages, and have some "grand" quality to them (e.g., through story-telling/concept, use of orchestration/unusual instrumentation, etc).

TL;DR: I want to discuss:

1. What is a metal epic;
2. What constitutes a good and/or a bad one; and
3. What are some examples of good and/or bad epics.

Interesting topic, Hayden.  I, too, am working on such a project at the moment.  I have a song in progress that is pushing the 11-minute mark and features several highly-dramatic shifts.  It is, indeed, hard to pull off...which is why, I suppose I've been working on this song for 6 months and counting.

Since this is my favorite type of song (regardless of subgenre), here are my thoughts:

1.  What is a metal epic?  This one is difficult to answer, and yet easy in a way.  My criteria is this:  Does it give me goosebumps?  If so, there's a good chance it's an "epic" metal tune.  Your comment about multiple movements and extended passages is certainly an element, I think.  But that can be taken too far; and it becomes self-indulgent and/or pretentious [see "Black Rose Immortal" by Opeth].  I think that length is a certain factor, but not always mandatory to pulling off an epic.  My examples below definitely feature a few short ones.  In short, I also think that a proper metal epic follows a similar curve to a good fictional story -- there's a hook, a rising action/tension, a climax, and a denouement.

2.  I think I covered this in #1.

3.  A few examples of my favorites:
Enslaved -- Brisinghamen (again, I think proving that an epic doesn't have to be long)

People like to trash Dimmu, but their older material was magical, IMO. This represents their high mark, I think (and for me, it is ICS Vortex's operatic vocals near the end that almost bring tears; but the riffs; movements, leads, etc. just tick all my boxes):

Not metal at all, but holy cow. If you're going to write a song that is 20+ minutes long, do it like this:

And my last "good" entry: All I've got to say is -- wow. This song has been blowing me away for over a decade.


And for the "bad" -- or songs that tried to be epic but either overdid it or failed:

Opeth -- "Black Rose Immortal" -- One of my favorite bands for sure, but they overdid it on this one (and on a lot of other songs from Morningrise).
Moonsorrow -- a lot of their material. No disrespect intended -- I love some of their songs. But sometimes they just drag an idea out for far too long, and/or their movements don't go together well enough.

Anyway, that's about it for "bad" songs or ones that failed. I actually struggled to think of bad examples because if they're "bad" I probably don't own them or listen to them.
Last edited by KailM at Mar 13, 2017,
#5
KailM 

Some interesting points, can't say I agree with all of them though.  

I think any good music should give me goosebumps (I remember I had goosebumps the first time I heard Rachmaninoff). Strongly agree with the comments about Opeth, I think Baying of the Hounds is one of the few I can definitely enjoy by them along with a few bits from Still Life. Also, I'm not sure if you've heard of them, but Trial is a great band, who definitely get the "metal epic" concept. Anything from the album Vessel would fit your definition I think. It's an interesting juxtaposition in the music, in that it can be quite strange, tonally speaking, but it has a very strange 80's metal vibe to it. A lot of people draw comparison to King Diamond --- and I understand why, but they totally have their own sound. Another interesting quality to their music, is that the riffs/solos are not mind-blowing in terms of technicality, but in terms of songwriting, I don't think there are any technical/progressive metal bands that can hold a candle to their songwriting capabilities. The lyrics definitely have a very esoteric and grand style.

Some interesting examples you bring up, Dimmu do have their merits in their earlier days, but Old Man's Child has always been superior IMO.

An epic in grindcore is probably tops, three minutes.  
#6
How about some Horna?



And I was about to say Moonsorrow KailM , and their 2007 album, V - Hävitetty. Obviously.
Last edited by Ozzy87_2 at Mar 16, 2017,