What do YOU look for in a metal song?

Despised_0515

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If it makes me bang my head and get really pumped then I could care less if the riffs are really basic or really intricate. Groove plays a bigger part than for me than the melody but it's all gotta come together in a way that evokes emotion. That's the easiest way I could put my opinion out there about it.
 

rjnix_0329

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Groove, tone, structure, and at least one bit that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up (usually something epic and dramatic sounding).
 

The Reverend

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I like a lot of different things in metal. I guess off the top of my head it would be decent production, awesome and aggressive riffs, heaviness, and ingenuity. I've largely given up on originality in metal, since only a few bands come out every new evolution with something really 'new' to play.

I've also found out that a few songs I really, really enjoy are all in the same key and utilize the same progressions, though they're from wildly different genres. Things that use a lot of harmonic minor scales get me going. I like perceived dynamics in metal, like when drummers cut to half-time over some riff and it instantly sounds meaner, or the opposite where a slam or breakdown is played fairly slowly and the drummer is blasting or the vocalist just going off.
 

acrcmb

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Yeah I'm after rythym and groove I'm sick of songs that sound like all the elements are fighting each other to be the loudest, I mean like when drummers double bass kick and rapidly smash the drums the WHOLE song, guitarists who just play really busily and erratically and then vocalists who just constantly growl the whole time, it's technically impressive but sonically it's not. I prefer it when a song builds and falls to create atmosphere. Another big thing for me is vocals I don't mind if a songs vocals are great aslong as they don't overpower the rest of the elements, I hate it when a tosser vocalist just death growls all the time it makes the song unlistenable, so many times I've been put off by a shit vocalists growls overpowering the song, I love heavy vocals when done right like Matt Hyde from Beastwars, speaking of Beastwars they are a great example of what I look for they have all the things I look for the churning rythym and groove, the great rise and fall atmosphere and great vocals.
BEASTWARS - TOWER OF SKULLS - YouTube
 

oompa

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usually originality and cohesiveness

in short - this, but I'll expand on it.

I think my process goes something like this (assuming it is a new band, or a new album from a band I've had my doubts about since last album, or any music in general :lol: )

First: who are they and what are they doing, and do they -mean- it? Do they really mean what they're doing or are they doing what someone else is telling them to do, are they a product, are they just trying to follow a trend in music to make a quick buck? I more or less look to the authenticity, are the for real? Every aspect of the song will reveal it, anything from their sound picture to the vocalist to their music theory. I usually find out in about 10 seconds :lol:

Second: Assuming they're actually "genuine musicians" in that sense, they're producing some sort of art, not a 9-5 work, then I'll start to to listen to whether they are attempting to produce something interesting or new, fair enough it comes from their hearts or w/e but is it yet another 3 chord song about love or do they have something interesting going on? This also shines through every possible aspect of their music, play style, theory, lyrics, concept art, layout, anything. Fairly easy to tell.

Third: so they're actual artists, with an interesting idea, now I want proper delivery :lol: do they handle their instruments well? Are they even exceptional? Groundbreaking maybe in some sense? Are the lyrics interesting? Is the drummer a tricky bastard? Are they good or even innovative with their use of music theory? Is that Victor Wooten on bass? Is there more to it than meets the eye? I look to see if they're skilled at their respective posts, but also over-all, song-writing, what are they doing with it? how well do they play my emotions with their arrangements, loudness, order of riffs, melodies, crescendos etc etc.

Fourth: so assuming they're not a clone from Max Martin's factory, they have something new to contribute to mankind's collective pool of music, they're good at writing and playing, then I try to find out more about them as artists, what do they stand for, who are they, what is their long-term agenda, I get personal about it, and especially I try to find out what depth they operate on. Are they doctors in life philosophy? Are they aiming to overthrow impractical hierarchies in society? Do they attempt to push mankind into space? Have they found a unique way to tell an interesting story? What is their bigger picture.


For a song to get past stage 1 we'd have to filter out 99% of all supposed music made, close to the entire genre of pop wouldn't make it :lol: if they also make it past stage 2 and/or 3 I have found a solid band/song, very few reach that stage. Should they also fill the fourth criteria we reach a point where few bands have gone before, and those are my favourite, favourite bands.

Those bands with great musicians, delivering thought-provoking lyrics backed by interesting music theory, great proficiency at their instruments and they are (or at least appear to be) interesting people with views of the world or people or life etc. that I share and learn from, and they're doing it in a unique way. I know of only a few bands like that, and the chances of a song covering all those bases by a lucky shot while the rest of their music isn't really like that are slim, but I have found bands like that in punk, metal, jazz, electronic chillout, 70's rock and so on, you usually have to dig deep. It is worth it though!
 

Fktpguitfiddle

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All has to mesh well. If you have an insane guitarist or two, the other members should be on par. ex. necrophagist, death, psyopus, BTBAM and the faceless. All members close to equally talented at their role. I hate hearing a great drummer with shitty guitarists or visa versa. I sometimes can ignore bad singing and/or bass. but i like my music generally well rounded. Just my opinion though
 

amonb

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I know it when I hear it... like when I first heard Heartwork, or Cowboys From Hell, or Focus... sometimes it's melodies, sometimes it's production, sometimes its a fantastic vocalist. Sometimes it's a mixture of lots of things you have heard before put together in different ways (TesseracT).
 

Korbain

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maybe a bit generic, but i want something that takes me somewhere. So i guess...atmosphere/vibe/whatever , may be my answer? lol

You's know what i mean!
 

lucasreis

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Emotions, feelings, good riffs, not just being heavy for the sake of being heavy.

I enjoy a wide varity of metal styles and bands, but I don't really have key ingredients that make me like stuff.

What I'm trying to say is... some songs have the same "ingredients" but some sound generic and some don't. It's all about what the band, the player, the vocalist, the drummer, the bassist have to "say" in their songs.

I'm not really tied to a specific kind of song structure.
 

Enter Paradox

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Polyrhythms that made me think.
Melodies that made me feel.
Heaviness (depth/girth) that made me bow down.

:metal:
 

asfeir

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Recently, How close to the wintersun stuff they are!!
But on a more serious note, I realized it depends A LOT on my mood. Sometimes I want to hear heavy and massive riffs, and some other times I enjoy the more melodic/emotional aspects.
 

BigBaldIan

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I know it when I hear it... like when I first heard Heartwork, or Cowboys From Hell, or Focus... sometimes it's melodies, sometimes it's production, sometimes its a fantastic vocalist. Sometimes it's a mixture of lots of things you have heard before put together in different ways (TesseracT).

A bit like trying to describe a spiral staircase without using your hands. I've always found that if a song bypasses rational analysis and hits you in the gut for whatever reason, you're on to a winner.
 

straightshreddd

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Personally, I love dynamics. I love contrast in the textures and rhythms, if that makes any sense. Too many people and bands follow "rules" and trends, so when an artist sets themselves apart, I immediately notice.

Slower guitar riffs on top of fast drum patterns and fast, technical riffs on top of slower, rhythmic drum patterns. Melody is huge, too.

Being unexpected. I lose a bit of interest when I can predict exactly where a song is going upon first listen.

Technicality, prowess, proficiency coupled with groove(NOT DJENT GROOVE), melody, dissonance, and unique structure.

Then again, it depends on what sub-genre I'm in the mood for. Sometimes, I just wanna hear simple and heavy with massive breakdowns and sometimes I want lots of tech with nasty riffage and ill solos. Sometimes, I wanna hear something different.

Oh, and mixing tonalities. I effing love that ish. Only diminished, only harmonic minor, or only minor gets played out pretty fast if the guitarist isn't utterly, fantastically amazing at writing and structure.


IMO

EDIT: Oh, and matching production value. If it's dirty, heavy shit, I want some grit and ugliness to the mix. If it's tech and clean, I want axe fx II's and triggered SD samples. That's just me.
 

bhakan

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The two biggest for me are atmosphere and some unpredictability. I like to hear a song create a mood that really immerses you. It should also have some surprises in it. There are certain songs where when you hear the first bar you know exactly how the whole song is going to go, and that bores me.
 


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