Dynamics and Intensity in Metal

author: KevinGoetz date: 10/08/2013 category: songwriting

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Dynamics and Intensity in Metal
Hey guys, Kevin Goetz here again with another free lesson. I've heard quite a few people complain about metal's lack of "dynamics" in the traditional sense of the word, because modern mastering tends to entail smashing a mix's volume peaks into oblivion so we can sneak out just a tiny bit more overall volume, because apparently everyone wants the loudest damn album ever made. But metal can still be written in a way that FEELS dynamic, even if we can't rely on changing volume levels to convey this sense. Instead, it has to be done through increasing or decreasing the level of intensity in our arrangements. In quick summary, more intensity means higher pitches, faster tempos, more notes, and denser arrangement, while less intensity means lower pitches, slower tempos, fewer notes, and sparser arrangements. In terms of individual instrumentation tricks, look at tremolo picking, blast beats, double kick runs, and heavy usage of cymbals to increase intensity. For a much more in-depth analysis of this concept, take a look at this video I've prepared that dives much further into the idea, and provides audio examples so you can hear the rising and falling intensity for yourself.
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