Songwriting Advice

How To Write A Metal Song

how to write a metal song lyric assistant

Have you ever been captivated by the roaring vocals, electrifying riffs, and thunderous drums that make up a metal song? Metal music has the power to stir our deepest emotions while leaving us headbanging and craving more. For aspiring musicians looking to harness this intensity, crafting the perfect metal song can feel daunting – but fear not! This guide will walk you through the key elements of writing a metal song that will leave your listeners stunned and your fingers sore from playing. And with the help of Lyric Assistant, you'll be well on your way to creating a masterpiece in no time.

1. Choose Your Subgenre

Metal music is widely diverse, with several subgenres to choose from as the basis of your song. From thrash to death, power metal, progressive, and more – take the time to explore different styles before deciding which subgenre best matches the sound you are pursuing. This will guide your instrumentals, lyrics, and overall song structure.

2. Establish The Structure

A standard metal structure often includes an intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, solo, and outro. However, feel free to experiment and switch up the order for a less conventional approach. Just ensure that your song flows smoothly between sections.

3. Lay Down The Instrumentals

The backbone of your metal song lies within its powerful instrumentals. Focus on creating guitar riffs that set the tone for your song and steer its energy and chord progressions. Employ palm-muted, fast-paced, and syncopated guitar techniques found commonly in metal music. Don't forget about the bass and drums – they play a crucial role in maintaining the intensity of your song. Double bass drumming, blast beats, and rapid syncopated patterns have become hallmarks of the genre.

4. Draft Your Lyrics

After you've set the musical foundation, it's time to work on your lyrics. Often, metal lyrics delve into darker and more intense themes compared to other genres – think existential angst, apocalyptic scenarios, and taboo subjects. Use powerful, descriptive language and vivid imagery in your lyrics to evoke the emotions you're trying to convey. Remember that your vocalist will need to deliver these lines with force – so keep the syllables and rhythm in mind.

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5. Vocal Styles

Metal vocals span a wide range, from guttural harsh growls to epic operatic styles. Determine what vocal style best compliments your song and subgenre. Some singers even masterfully combine different vocal styles within one song! Don't be afraid to experiment and let your creativity run wild.

6. Guitar Solo

Many metal songs feature an explosive guitar solo that stands as the pinnacle of technical skill. This is your chance to show off your prowess as a guitarist, so make your solo memorable and captivating with intricate melodies and impressive techniques. The sky's the limit!

7. Production

Give your song the proper lead-up to its finale by adding reverb, delays, and other audio effects to enhance its atmosphere. Pay attention to the volume levels of each instrument, so no component of your song goes unnoticed.

How To Write A Metal Song Example

Let's say you're working on writing a thrash metal song, inspired by bands like Metallica and Megadeth. Your opening riff could be a fast-paced, palm-muted pattern, followed by aggressive and politically charged lyrics performed in a powerful vocal style. A blistering guitar solo follows the second chorus, leading to a final climax with thundering double bass drums. When properly produced, your song will grab the attention of audiences worldwide.

They say metal is the soundtrack of rebellion, and now you know how to write the perfect anthem to get heads banging and fists raised. Follow these steps to create a metal song that showcases your passion, creativity, and skill, and leave your mark on the world of heavy music. And remember – Lyric Assistant is here to help bring your songwriting to the next level. Unleash the power within you and let your inner metalhead shine by crafting your masterpiece with Lyric Assistant today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What defines a metal song?

A metal song is typically defined by its heavy guitar riffs, aggressive drumming, powerful vocals, and often dark or intense lyrical themes. They also typically feature guitar solos and a strong rhythmic section. Metal songs can vary widely in subgenres, ranging from classic heavy metal to death metal, power metal, black metal, and more, each with its unique characteristics.

What equipment do I need to write a metal song?

To write a metal song, you'll need an electric guitar, a bass guitar, a drum set (or drum programming software), amplifiers, and possibly some effects pedals to achieve the desired heavy and distorted sound. For recording, an audio interface, a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and microphones for the instruments and vocals are recommended.

What are some common themes in metal lyrics?

Common themes in metal lyrics include but are not limited to, personal struggle, war, history, mythology, horror, politics, and fantasy. Some subgenres also deal with more philosophical themes or personal introspection.

What makes a great metal riff?

A great metal riff is memorable, powerful, and serves as the backbone of the song. It typically utilizes lower-pitched guitar strings for a heavier sound, often employs palm-muting, includes power chords, and can feature syncopation to add rhythmic interest.

How do I structure a metal song?

A metal song often follows a structure similar to rock with parts like an intro, verses, choruses, a bridge, and a solo. However, metal songs are also known for breaking conventional structures, so feel free to experiment with different arrangements to create something unique.

Can you offer tips on writing metal lyrics?

When writing metal lyrics, try to tap into strong emotions or vivid imagery. Be concise and use a rich vocabulary to convey your message effectively. Read literature and poetry for inspiration and don't shy away from themes that evoke passion or controversy.

How can I create a dark atmosphere in my metal music?

To create a dark atmosphere, consider using minor keys, dissonant chords, and slower tempos. You can also experiment with eerie or orchestral background elements and add reverb to your instruments to create a sense of space and unease.

Is music theory important for writing metal songs?

While not essential, a solid understanding of music theory can greatly enhance your songwriting capabilities. It will help you craft more complex and interesting compositions, and allow you to understand and experiment with different scales, modes, and chord progressions.

What are some signature elements of specific metal subgenres?

Each metal subgenre has its own signature elements. For example, thrash metal often features palm-muted guitar riffs and double kick drumming; death metal includes blast beat drumming and growled vocals; power metal features high-pitched singing and fast-paced, melodic guitar work. Understanding these elements can help you write in a specific style.

How do I avoid cliches in metal songwriting?

To avoid clichés, strive to add your own personal touch and unique experiences to your music. Take inspiration from a variety of sources and subgenres, and challenge yourself to push beyond traditional metal themes and riffs.

Can I write a metal song if I don't play the guitar?

Yes, you can write the structural and lyrical aspects of a metal song without playing the guitar, but collaborating with a guitarist or learning the basics may help you to fully realize the song's potential.

What role does the bass play in a metal song?

The bass plays a crucial role in a metal song by reinforcing the guitar riffs, adding depth to the rhythm section, and sometimes leading with its own unique lines, contributing to the song's heaviness and overall feel.

How can I improve my metal songwriting skills?

Improve your metal songwriting skills by constantly practicing your instrument, studying songs from your favorite metal bands, and experimenting with songwriting. Feedback from other musicians and listeners can also be invaluable.

Are there specific keys or scales that work best for metal?

While metal can be written in any key, minor keys are often used to convey a darker feel. Phrygian and Locrian modes are also popular for their dissonant and eerie sounds. Harmonic minor and diminished scales can add a sense of tension and drama.

What tempo range is typical for metal songs?

Metal song tempos can vary widely, from slow and doomy (around 60-70 BPM) to fast and aggressive (over 200 BPM). The tempo should match the intensity level you want to convey in your song.

How important is the role of drums in metal music?

Drums are extremely important in metal music as they provide the foundation for the song's rhythm and energy. Complex drum patterns and quick tempos are hallmarks of many metal subgenres, making the drums a driving force in metal's intensity.

Can metal music be combined with other genres?

Yes, metal is often combined with other genres, leading to subgenres like folk metal, industrial metal, and metalcore. These fusions create unique sounds and can expand the possibilities for songwriting within the metal genre.

Do I need a full band to write a metal song?

While having a full band can enhance the writing process by adding different perspectives, it is not necessary. Many musicians write metal songs on their own and use software or session musicians to fill in the other instruments during recording.

How can I record my metal song on a budget?

To record your metal song on a budget, invest in a decent audio interface and a DAW. Use digital amplifiers and effects plugins instead of expensive gear. You can also look for recording bundles that include microphones and headphones.

What's the best way to learn about different metal songwriting techniques?

The best way to learn about different metal songwriting techniques is to listen to and analyze a wide range of metal music. Online tutorials, music theory books, and workshops can also provide insights into specific techniques used in metal songwriting.

How can I make my metal song stand out?

To make your metal song stand out, focus on creating a strong, original riff and combine it with unique lyrical concepts. Experiment with unusual time signatures, diverse instrument sounds, and innovative song structures to add a unique flavor to your music.

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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