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Dragonflight - Shredding on the guitar

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Alexander Schiborr, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Ok, that I can understand. In some way I struggle with that as well, because I find it hard to come up with content that still "fits" with black metal, but isn't using any of the silly tropes. But on the other hand I kind of don't have a strong desire for self expression. To be frank I really care more about the aesthetic form than the meaning behind it. But instrumental black metal just is missing something, it's not the same without the screaming. For the vast majority of black metal that I listen to, I have no clue whatsoever what they're singing about, and I don't care either. I just like the soundscape. It's relaxing to me, I can fall asleep to bands like Mgla.

    Have you decided on a name and logo for your album yet?

    I made this one as a joke and for practice out of a font that is designed to be a construction kit for such logos. If you still can read it, I've failed ;). I would do some things differently for the next one. The contrast between the verticals and curved shapes is too harsh and it doesn't have a strong enough shape for the outer silhouette imho. Also it's ill-suited for flex print on t-shirts.

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  2. #62 Alexander Schiborr, Jul 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    First I thought Parody..then Morbid..but now I don´t know..lmao.

    Yes, we have a name which my wife and I came up with, but not yet for the album. For the logo I will consult some professional artist, but I am not yet sure who I want to work with in that case..

    At least 5 Songs are recorded with vocals, 3 more to go..

    Also I am in parallel vocal recordings with my schoolmate where we recorded first takes for the Dragonflight piece.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. #63 Rohann van Rensburg, Jul 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    Re: Black metal.

    The thing that bothers me about "extreme" metal tropes (like what Doug was reacting to) is that it presents certain branches of metal as either a) pathologically insane or b) a shock-value joke (which I think most people in the extreme genres think it is). I remember Opeth making fun of this on stage on numerous occasions. It's frustrating because there are some very legitimately interesting musical ideas and artists in those fields that deserve to be taken seriously but are still plagued by this silliness. It gives "normal" people a sense of association between style and bizarre content, and I imagine completely closes people off from seeing what's actually "in there" musically (often times if you take away the distortion and harsh vocals it's remarkably similar to i.e. prog rock, or Queen, etc).
    A band like Cannibal Corpse, singing about what should be obvious given their name, is in a completely different category of artistry than a band like Gorguts, considering what they have written in the last two decades (kind of ironically given their name as well, but about Tibet's history, the library of Alexandria, literature, etc), especially given that the frontman writes like this in his spare time (yeah he's no Schubert but he's clearly thoughtful in his composition):

    They can still share the commonality of interesting riffs and musicianship, but writing grisly macabre lyrics brings about a completely different level of respect/output and artistic legitimacy than writing about history, especially given the overall musical influences and structural dynamics present. As you guys touched on, the hyper-specific genre specifications do nothing to alleviate the lack of worth in being taken seriously. It's also interesting that people in the hardcore "satanic" black metal vein take themselves extremely seriously, while the vast majority of metal musicians I admire tend to be incredibly down to earth and often tend to joke around on stage. It's unsurprising that a lot of the "pioneers" of the style have abandoned the scene outright in their artistic endeavors, or have otherwise ended up as arguably-functional alcoholic 50-somethings with the same angst as when they were 15. The irony is that I don't think a lot of the "satanic" bands are even really all that dark, in terms of the content they address. It's like a 15 year old's conception of dark, whose hands-off parents allowed him to watch too many slasher films as a preteen. It's neither interesting nor thought-provoking, nor addressing larger life-questions or crises.
    I understand what you guys mean about the musical atmosphere vs. the content, but I find bands that actually care about the content to be so much more interesting overall.

    This band I do find amusing, because they're an overt parody on the tropes of extreme-metal genre while having both funny lyrics and catchy riffs. It's like Spinal Tap if it was completely over the top and if Spinal Tap was absurdly successful. Since the band is absurdly rich in the TV show, this song is about hating paying taxes as a rich person:

    @Martin Hoffmann Hadn't heard that Ulver release before, the classical-guitar focus is lovely.

    Looking forward to your release @Alexander Schiborr :D!
  4. #64 Rohann van Rensburg, Jul 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
    Neither do most metal musicians. "Very-serious" black metal fans (no one in this thread, that's a compliment) or metal fans in general are absurd about categorization. Most of those tropes have become a total joke, as is the use of the word "trve" for elitist fans ("true" spelled in a "black metal" way, not really different than "L337" [leet] in the early days of online gaming). I'm forgetting how bizarre the history of this genre was. Anyway...

    The 70s man. Didn't you just say you're high all the time? I'm pretty sure you'd know better than me (I think it's a play on Camel cigarettes).

    The thing I've realized transcribing their stuff, though, is that it's not usually just a pedal-tones or a sort of basic-harmony fingerpicking style that makes it interesting. This song is no Bachian feat of composition, but the complexity (and yet simplicity) of their interludes, transitions and rhythms are what I find unapproachable in my own writing (i.e. at the 1:11 mark posted here and following). A lot of similar writing by other bands sounds to me like electric guitar players playing on acoustic, but he often has a rhythmic sophistication I don't hear anyone else possessing and his Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake influence is a lot more noticeable; it's clear he mainly played acoustic and classical guitar before starting metal. It's not necessarily clear upon first listen but I find it rather obvious now, and the little interludes and inflections as well as the ability to seamlessly blend genres are what really add the magic into the compositions i.e. :

    or another example (this is a somewhat angsty record they wrote when they were like 22 but the acoustic writing is beautiful, IMO):

    Not sure why you dislike prog so much, but I've never been a Queensryche (however it's spelled) fan. It may be easy for you to dismiss on the basis of your own classical guitar training (he's no classical player) but I really find something unique about his guitar writing and "mellow" interludes. Considering how adept he is at writing solid riffs and the like, he's got a fantastic melodic sensibility.

    I'm working on some guitar writing and will probably post here. Would be nice to have it picked apart.
    I really think "extended range" guitars are more interesting in the non-electric category. It's almost like a different instrument.
  5. My Ernie Ball Mammoth Slinky strings have arrived and boy those are tight! Seem to be much better suited for C-standard on my 6-string, but I don't think I'd want to tune any higher with those. Might take some time to get used to, but I think they sound considerably better than the old ones!

    Both wrong :). Although Parody (or rather DARKEST PARODY!) would be a great metal band name too, I might try that as a logo eventually :D.

    This guy made one of the most impressive over the top logos that I've seen so far:

    I had a hard time finding him or the band after having seen that logo on google image search because it's utterly unreadable. And the band picked such an unrecognizable meme name.

    Cool! Hope you'll share some of them with us soon!


    I think the main reason is probably that it's sooo much easier to write under the limitation of just writing about gore and horror, because limitations breed creativity, it's well trodden ground and within the genre conventions it "just works", like a standard pop-song structure is widely accepted elsewhere. I'm still waiting for a band to just say "fuck it" and taking linux manual pages or wikipedia articles as their entire songlyrics.

    Yeah, but does the core audience really care? And do you really think any "normie" will say - upon hearing that the lyrical content of a Death Metal Album is poetic, meaningful, and thought provoking - "Well this changes everything!"?

    It is just the inevitable fulfillment of Poe's Law:

    "Without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied views."

    Youtube suggested an Album to me, under which I found these comments. And not having ever heard of some of these genres, I can absolutely not tell who is memeing and who is trying to give an accurate genre discription:

    "Blackened Sludge Crust Punk ? xd. This is very good"

    "Is this pop punk?"
    > "no, it's alternative indie post folk"

    "Blackened crust. /// burned toast."

    "Absolutely breathtaking. love the art, love the style, love the band name, love the fresh approach to crusty blackmetal. So very different yet so very classic. This album is absolutely everything id want from a band. well done."

    "Hardcore meets Black Metal... And u know its true"

    "This makes me want to puke. nice!"

    "Good Emo !!"

    "new powerviolance grind melodic/black hardcorepunk."

    I mean, I guess most of them are joking, but if there are any serious ones among them I can't pick them out.

    And I have to admit I liked the album :oops:
  6. #66 Alexander Schiborr, Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
    @Martin Hoffmann

    Hey Martin, we released some previews a while ago over our official fb and sc page. look also here:

    These are all named as "previews", but they have titles of course, first is the opener (no title yet how funny), second is "An Incandescence of the Dark Lord", and the last one is "The sweet nectar of Revenge" (which had at that stage still some stock vocals to try out arrangements)

    These mixes are not the actuall ones, but all these tracks are gonna appearing on the album later this year. (Hardcopy and digital)

    you can follow for regular updates on fb also.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  7. Man, sign me up for a hard copy! Love the classic sound without the telephone-in-a-barn production. I think good black metal should have a hint of "Castlevania" in there and this does :D.

    Almost looks like one I made (I didn't really make this):

    I don't think all limitations breed creativity. Many limitations stifle innovation, and sticking to "what works" is no way to make interesting music. It's why bands that write that way sound completely cliché. As I heard Tom Yorke say in an interview, "Once you begin repeating yourself because you want to appeal to your audience, you're screwed."

    The core audience isn't the issue. The core audience is often mostly made up of teenagers and early 20-somethings who seriously argue about genre specifications, decry anything that isn't "brutal" enough, etc. Hence the reason Metalocalypse exists(ed) and why it's so funny if you're familiar with the "scene".

    And yes, it makes a difference. It makes a massive difference in their audience, their overall writing approach and how they are viewed and accepted. Of course the song structure and writing structure isn't the same, but Gorguts' "Coloured Sands" was nominated for a Canadian Polaris Music Prize, 3 of the 4 members are classically trained musicians, and the kind of audience you'll see at a show is widely varied. The band and its main writer has a good deal of respect outside of the metal circle. Furthemore, Opeth and Ihsahn (for instance -- Leprous too, I think) have respectively won local and national artistic and "artistic ambassador" awards from generally respected non-metal artistic boards. Again, their audience is massively varied and they're both well respected as musicians and artists outside of the metal genre, having influenced some prestigious musicians well outside of the metal scene. By "massively varied audience" I mean I saw them at the Roundhouse in London and there were literally everyone from clusters of legitimately elderly people to kids as young as the venue would allow. Most of them didn't look or dress like metalheads. How many normal-looking women show up to a Cannibal Corpse show?

    I think the hyper-seriousness of the black metal genre has simply become a joke in most circles. Genre lines have been far more blurred since the advent of the internet, which I think is a good thing. There's a lot more "willingness to explore" from people who are accustomed to it.
  8. @Alexander Schiborr Awesome! Great old-school vibe, reminds me of how I remember Dimmu Borgir!
    I think I heard at least 2 of those already on vi:c. I don't have facebook but I'll bookmark the soundcloud page.

    I don't think that quote was ever meant to imply the work gets better, it just means it gets easier imho.

    Ok, I accept that I may just be flat out wrong and I might be the only one who doesn't care much about lyrics. In fact it's more likely than me being right I guess.

    But I do think that Opeth vs Cannibal Corpse etc. are very poor comparisons to draw any conclusions from regarding the effect of lyrics content on audience composition. There are so many other factors different between those two bands, attributing the differences in the audience solely to the lyrics is not at all scientific imho.
  9. #69 Rohann van Rensburg, Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
    Oh definitely.

    True. But what about Gorguts? Or Wintersun? Different subgenres and influences, obviously, but more in the same genre confines.

    I think a lot of people don't care about lyrics, which is fine. But my point is that a more holistic approach to the art creates a more diverse audience, generally. Nothing wrong with a non-diverse audience, but what bothers me is the pathological or silly nature of "extreme". I'm also not claiming that lyrics solely in and of themselves constitutes a different audience, but that the overall approach to content in terms of lyrics, themes, appearance, artwork, etc, affects this and that the overall musical approach (which is to some degree separate) is taken less seriously by outsiders as a consequence.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  10. Hard for me to say anything about bands that I don't know at all. The Gorguts crowd looks like a normal metal crowd to me:

    But I haven't been to a concert in years and really this is all kind of useless anecdotal data. You could probably mine much more useful stuff from user stats on youtube and spotify.
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  11. #71 Alexander Schiborr, Jul 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    @Rohann van Rensburg yeah mate, thats definitely the case as we want here no modern omnipresent sound, but more looking for that more 90s vintage vibe and enviroment.

    @Martin Hoffmann The whole record will be a bit of potpourri I would say, there is definitely going on some old Dimmu flavor as well, because I still have a lot of liking for old 90s dimmu but also many more things which affected my taste for that genre, like late 90s Covenant (think of nexus), Emperor (anthems + Prometheus), and even a bit of flavors from 90s mighty Nocturnus and Luciferion wrapped up on that album. It is interesting because when you would hear the 8 songs you could hear a kind of developmental taste as they are not all in the same manner which I find totally ok as I like diversity on albums and story cohesion with lyrics. I also recorded some clean vocals, plus my wife who writes lyrics did some backings as well. It is really a kind of love project for me in trying to re-capture music from that more older days. But I am so thankful that my wife is supporting me as the creative head with their lyrical writing as she is very good with that and knows unlike me a lot of literature plus her english is flawless. And it is just great to have someone like her in the band telling me: Hey Alex that riff sucks try it the other way you did. That helps incredibly to push myself in order to write better songs.
  12. completely agreed here with your remarks. What I miss these days with many outputs are the catchy hooks. I mean that is surely very subjective but I see a lot of lazy material going on, not if it comes to mixing different stylistic things as you say but when it comes to pure song writing aspects (exceptions excluded). The whole genre has become much more accepted throughout society which is a good thing but it also creates phenomenons like e.g. Wacken (that big metal festival) which reminds me these days more on a party event rather than going there to seriously wanting to listen to great bands but instead of running around naked with a sangria hat and getting drunk. I don´t like that kind of things that much and I stay away from thatn at all costs. That has for me personally nothing to do with what I like at all. The majority of those people are not there because they like the music and they know any bands but because it is cool to hang round these days on that big party festivals.

    Enough of the rant :D

    That picture btw is HILAROUS. I love it :D
  13. I had wanted to edit this in as part of my last reply, but redbanned is down for me super often recently. Like a couple hours every other day.
    Anyways, I fully agree with what you said there. The only reason I doubt that lyrics are as strong of a factor as lets say cover artworks, look and image of the band etc., is that to anyone but the most hardcore of extreme metal fans, all growling might as well be this, no matter how thoughtful the lyrics are written:

    The lyrical content of most black- and deathmetal is locked behind a gate of obscurity that most people will need to make some kind of effort to unlock. Hanging out on darklyrics and reading along deathmetal lyrics while using Babylon translator to look up all the countless words I didn't know was a big part of how I learned English back in School. So I know very well how terrible some of those lyrics are and maybe that's part of why I lost interest in the lyrics altogether and stopped looking them up for bands that I like but can't understand just from listening.

    I tried to turn that image into a logo in Photoshop, but it didn't work very well:


    Jokes aside, while I try to embrace all the black metal memes, it gets really old really fast if you actually look for legit instructional content on how to e.g. make such logos and achieve such audio productions, and 9 out of 10 things you find are jokes like the bundle of twigs (I've seen this image and variations of it in many places) or the classic "just record on a dictaphone and put 300% reverb on it" etc.. I didn't see a single thread where anyone has ever asked for help on producing anything blackmetal related, where not at least one guy tries to be funny and references the same old memes. Gets really old after a while.

    Interesting! Of the bands you mention I only know Dimmu Borgir. Funny how even in the same relatively narrow genre people can be exposed to such different corners of it. I always liked the albums where everything sounds the same, because I find it easier to pick the kind of music I'm in the mood for that way. As so often I feel like I must have the most low-brow taste in music here.
    The cooperation you have with your wife sounds lovely! I'm really happy for you two that you can share such a wonderful experience and I'm sure the result will be something really special both to you two and to us. :)
  14. I suppose it depends on the band, but I actually think the inverse is true. I think lyrics are, to some degree (at least in presentation and form) inextricable from those things. I think people who aren't metal fans often care more about lyrics than those who are, especially if they're new to it and have a hard time understanding it. Most of the non-metal fans I know became a lot more open minded about it after listening to Opeth, particularly because their lyrics tend to be poetic and well-written, even if the concept is hard to follow. Records like Edge of Sanity's "Crimson" and "Crimson II" are heralded for their lyrical concept. Ditto Gorguts -- if Coloured Sands was a bunch of deathmetal nonsense I very much doubt it would have gotten nominated for anything at all. I think the people who are most likely not to care about lyrics at all are the most extreme metal fans, and they're the only people I've ever heard used to justify otherwise creepy or crazy lyrics (I'm in this camp by the way).

    Re: concerts. Of course it depends. But the listening audience variety is fairly clear (these bands wouldn't make it high on rock charts in Europe if their audience was confined). I know electronica-only folks who loved Wintersun's debut and it's purely a metal record, and same with non-metal listeners. I've been to numerous Wintersun and i.e. Ne Obliviscaris concerts and the crowd was notably more diverse. Gojira tends to have a similarly diverse audience with the odd pop star endorsing them, and same with Meshuggah (i.e. Aurora, Kimbra). Gojira's eco-oriented lyrics demonstrably play a part in who their audience is. Ditto Devin Townsend and his related projects.
    None of this is some sort of rigorous scientific hypothesis, it's simply to say that extreme metal has broken out of its niche audience due in large part to the adoption of metal tropes (not to be confused with cliches) as a style unto themselves and separate from stereotypically extreme content, which is in large part lyrical content. Seems like we agree at least on a few of these points. It's pretty cool to see weird combinations gaining so much popularity (like Babymetal). You should get out to a concert again though if you can. It's remarkably energizing and the people tend to often be down to earth. I remember talking to a worker from the Roundhouse who had been there for decades and she mentioned that metal concerts tend to have the most respectful, non-rowdy and friendly audience, whereas at Grateful Dead concerts you have drunk 40 year old women fighting each other.

    Interesting exercise! Where are you from? Hard to tell English is your second language (it's mine too but I'm not sure if it counts that I learned it at age 4).
    I don't blame you, I can understand that too, but I think some subgenres are worse than others. I can't stand metalcore/deathcore and those are stereotypically bad vocal-wise (like burping into a mic), whereas bands in their growling heydey like Gojira, Strapping Young Lad, Opeth, Wintersun, Morbid Angel etc are actually pretty easy to understand.
    I find Fleshgod Apocalypse amusing and fun (as well as bands like Dragonforce) and while their lyrics aren't awful they're not really something I pay much attention to. I do find it easier with some bands though due to actually being able to understand those lyrics.

    That's actually kind of cool if you toned it down a bit. Symmetry is always interesting even.

    Oh I know. It's a very tired meme, but at the same time there's kind of a lot of truth to it. Comes down to intent really. I think the problem is how it's so often just boringly derivative more so than just illegible.

    I think the problem with black metal is that you're not supposed to "ask for help", you're kind of just supposed to "do it" (and if you do it this way then I suppose you can decry negative attention as a bonus, haha). Go back to classics -- Emperor, etc.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  15. Ah I agree. Lazy music is everywhere though. Labels used to sort of be a "filter" of sorts, but no more. I'm still a sucker for bands like Kamelot and the like who can write great hooks. I'm with you on festivals: too many people not paying attention, it's usually too hot and crowded, bands don't get much stage time or soundchecking time, etc. Pretty good bang-for-buck but I can't stand the environment, haha. Small, classy venues are another story though (like classic theaters).

    Speaking of songwriting: I really like the overall style, presentation and instrumentation of a band like this (who I saw live and sounded identical to their record), but as I'm appreciating the nuances of riff/melodic structure and overall structure I just don't find their overall song structure as well-rounded as classic bands I like. But who knows, they're relatively young:

  16. I was gonna counter that with "But aren't they singing in Japanese so again no one will understand them unless they look up translations?", but I must be confusing them with another band. Do you have an idea what kind of extreme metal band existed 10+ years ago, sang in Japanese, and the singer was spitting fake blood as part of the show? Could that be Dir En Grey?

    Oh definitely!

    I've been to Wacken 3 times and I don't doubt it for a second!

    Thanks! I'm from Germany, but I do my best to pass as a native speaker on English forums. Wouldn't work if you heard me talk, because there I neither have the time to look things up, nor the amount of practice that I have with written English.

    Yeah, I fear there is a lot of truth to that. I watched a documentary about black metal solo projects and they didn't seem the type to hang out on forums and share their workflows... or talk much at all to other people...
  17. as someone who used to write solo symphonic black metal, and who also spends too much time on forums and talking to people in general - I've got some insight

    work flow is you never get anything done LOL. There, spoiled it. Really though, if you know a little backstory of what my issue with music was, it was literally taking my first foray into VI, trying really hard and making an album - and before I could track drums my pc died, no real back up of any kind. I was convinced that I could redo it all much better(having learned a lot from the first time) but then I got stuck in a GAS cycle, more interested in actual orchestration(was original arranged for 2 keyboards and drums NOT a symphony) and then entered a weird block that even today I'm not really over - where I feel like I wasted art that I wanted to complete, but my tastes have changed so much sense I wrote it, that I find it unrelatable for me to write today. Conveniently related to the conversation: I was tired of all the politics and whatnot of black metal - and decided not to have vocals at all, to just focus on the music. Which is quite convenient given the fact that I didn't use guitars for it either.

    That was like a weird proof of concept thing, where I had started writing the stuff but wanted to hear what it would kind of sound like with VI + actually recording drums. Ofcourse the drums were just recorded in mono by a single overhead + my kick triggers, but atleast it was recorded. Plenty of sections had either place holder parts, or place holder drums - but it still makes me sad to think of music that's gone to waste.
  18. Speaking of old-school-sound, have you heard these guys? Stumbled across them not too long ago:

  19. Ok, so to sum it up:
    - don't spend too much time on forums
    - don't overthink it - focus on getting stuff done
    - have backups online
    - don't fall for the GAS trap, use whatever you already have


    Kind of reminds me of Finntroll in some parts. Why does it make you sad and what do you mean with "gone to waste"?

    Never heard of them and doesn't quite grip me to be honest.
  20. So finally here are some takes from the vocal recordings. Sunday is the next session. Lots of work.. I hope that the final result will kick some major bungholiohs.
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