Black metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that goes to extremes. Fast tempos, screeching vocals, massively distorted guitars with raw (lo-fi) recording, tremolo picking, unorthodox song structures, and a focus on the atmosphere are all common characteristics. Artists often use pseudonyms and appear in corpse paint.
The following guide consists of a few tutorials given by black metal experts. Hopefully, they will guide you in the right direction.
How to write black metal: where to start
Do some research
Listen to many black metal songs. It seems obvious but, still, you should never stick only to favorite songs from the past. It will be difficult to create songs in a certain style if you are unfamiliar with it. You’ve probably already heard a lot of music in the style you’re passionate about, but expanding your knowledge and looking for additional musicians that perform in that style will be really beneficial. The more you understand the norms and characteristics of a given style, the simpler it will be to begin composing solid metal songs.
Learn about music theory. While no academic music education is necessary to produce a successful metal song, having a basic understanding of music theory can only become a benefit. You may look out for resources for studying the fundamentals of music theory on the internet.
Begin with a riff or melody
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to composing a song, though most individuals begin with a vocal melody and a guitar riff.
Starting with a melody generally entails experimenting with chords on the guitar and singing over them until you discover one you like. This might be the beginning of your song’s verse or chorus.
Playing on the guitar until coming up with a strong metal riff, one that’s both catchy and driving, is typically how you start with a riff.
Think of and then build the song’s structure
Like rock and pop, a metal song generally consists of verses, choruses, and bridges, with an extra intro and outro. You’ll need to collaborate with the rhythm guitarist to come up with a framework based on your original riff or melody. Decide on a chord progression for verses and choruses, as well as whether or not the song needs a bridge.
Add drums and bass
It’s time to add bass guitar and drums when your song has a basic framework. There isn’t much to it beyond playing through the song with your rhythm guitarist, drummer, and bassist until your bassist and drummer have a feeling of the song and what type of rhythms and bass lines will work in each section.
Metal bass is known for carefully following the chord structure and prioritizing rhythm over melody. You aren’t restricted to that, however. Experiment with bass patterns that follow the singers, lead the song or are altogether distinct yet complementing.
Optionally, add a lead guitar. Now is the time to add lead guitar riffs to your song if you have a lead guitarist. It’s better to pick guitar melodies that complement rather than compete with the vocal melody.
Create the lyrics for your black metal song
When it comes to lyrics, metal music covers a broad range of issues. You may write about almost any topic. When composing metal lyrics, a good rule of thumb is to keep the subject basic and the images and metaphors fascinating.
Practice the song as much as you can
It’s time to start rehearsing after you’ve got all of the components of your song in place, such as the structure, melodies, riffs, percussion, and bass. Practice the song until everyone in the band is on the same page. Listen to the sections where you can enhance the song while you play it. Discuss your ideas for the song with the band and make changes as needed.
To get a better understanding of the song, record the band performing it. You’ll be able to spend more time on your own examining the many components of the song.
How to write standard black metal music?
Actually, music is an art form, and you may do anything you want with it, but be warned that the Black metal scene is notoriously “elitist.” Simply gather your friends and rock out, but if you want a quick instructional, here’s what you can do:
- You need to learn the popular scales – Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Main Minor;
- Learn the Palm Mute, Tremolo Pick and Flutter Pick;
- Try making dark and powerful riffs with these techniques;
- Skip pure power cords. Instead, try adding a few dissonant or sustained cords;
For bass guitar
- Also, learn the above-mentioned scales;
- Add dynamic range with bass riffs;
- Follow the main guitar chords;
- Try using sustains over the tremolo sections;
- You need to master scat and blast beats;
- Remember that the standard Time Sigs for black metal songs are 6/8 and 4/4;
- Straight beats and occasional triplet feet can sound well;
- Variety is the key to the successful drum section;
For vocals and lyrics
- Growl, scream and shriek;
- Write about dark and gloomy themes;
Follow this song structure for a successful black metal hit. At first, you need to write Intro, then the Verse Intro, then the first Verse should go. The Pre-chorus finishes the first Verse. The powerful Chorus is followed then by the calmer second Verse. Then goes the same Chorus again, followed by the Bridge segment and the Chorus or Outro.
How should you write lyrics for your black metal song?
Write in English
To begin with, even when the band is from a nation with a different mother language, the bulk of metal song lyrics are written in English. Because English lyrics are more widely understood across the world, the bands who want to be popular do compose in English.
Try the common themes
The most prevalent themes tackled in metal songs are escapism, being misinterpreted by society, metaphorical analogies, profound personal feelings, and, of course, all things dark and occult, as any metalhead knows, or if you’re not into metal but are studying metal songs as part of your music education program. Metal musicians are often rebels that prefer to do things their way rather than following society’s norms.
Furthermore, in metal, adopting a legendary persona to examine a certain subject is fairly frequent. Metal bands often include mythical animals in their artwork, and some are especially interested in epic poetry and developing a conceptual tale (e.g. Iron Maiden). Metal’s imagery and lyrics are heavily influenced by fantasy, mythology, and horror literature. Metal songs also explore more traditional song issues like love, hatred, war, inequality, and freedom.
Lyrical themes, on the other hand, are greatly dependent on the metal subgenre. Gothic metal, for example, is more likely to convey a gloomy tone, while death metal often addresses issues of brutality and war. If you wish to study music as a major, you will undoubtedly learn a lot about the genre and come across a lot of interesting topics.
Writing a concept album by selecting certain subjects and ideas around which the songs will be built is one of the most ambitious projects you can undertake. When creating lyrics, think about these challenges and develop compelling imagery to help your words come to life. Remember that creating lyrics does not have to follow a rhythmical pattern or follow particular principles that are popular in poetry since poetry is an entirely different beast than lyric-writing. Remember to keep a notepad with you everywhere you go, since you never know when inspiration can strike when riding the bus or standing in line for lunch. If you write it down right away, you’ll never forget it.
You should definitely look to other bands in this genre for inspiration. Examine their music and pay more attention to the topics they address, but don’t try to imitate what other groups are doing. Find a method to stand out from the crowd. Composing lyrics is a purely creative process, and you won’t do it right every time, just like any other artistic endeavor. Concentrate on what inspires you individually in order to sound unique and find your creative voice.
Build the structure
You’ll have to come up with song structures, such as the build, peak, and resolution, from a technical standpoint. There is no general rule about whether to create the music or the lyrics first, so do what fits better for you.
Your lyrics, as well as your technique for songwriting, are your method of telling the audience a narrative. Don’t worry about the technical aspects at first; you’ll figure it out eventually. The first and most critical step is to figure out what you want to communicate in your song. Don’t be in a hurry. It’s perfectly acceptable if it takes longer than you anticipated.
Add something of your own
While certain topics are regarded to be part of the genre, nothing is off-limits when it comes to music. Metal is simply another way to say what you’re thinking. You can always write on social concerns and the state of the world if it is more important to you.
Many themes, most notably banking and money, have been popular in the previous decade. If you’re worried about economic inequality and its implications, write about this. Perhaps you’ve read of various types of trading in which people have been duped into believing they can easily earn money on the financial markets, only to be disappointed and penniless – nothing is prohibited in black metal songs.
It is no secret that purchasing songs is a prevalent practice in the music business. Artists and bands not only play songs made for them by others, but some also make a profession producing music and writing lyrics for other people. Some of these authors are well-known, while others work as anonymous ghostwriters to supplement their income. Although there is some information regarding the cost of hiring a ghostwriter online, there is no way to confirm if anything was ghostwritten based on the finished version. In short, ghostwriting may be quite clandestine since one of the conditions of engagement is frequently not to divulge the agreement.
The most common reason for an artist to seek ghostwriter help is a lack of ideas or exhaustion, both of which are perfectly natural even for a creative individual. Furthermore, the abundance of ghostwriter jobs on the market demonstrates that individuals sometimes want assistance in completing what they’ve begun. If you’re searching for a ghostwriter, start by asking your coworkers and acquaintances for recommendations. Because the material you will get online may not represent the true state of things, they may have accurate information on hiring a ghostwriter.
Ultimate tips for people who write black metal songs:
- You need to practice;
- Add some background;
- Never dispose of your drafts;
- If you get stuck, just leave it be and move on;
- Think of the theme of lyrics before creating music;
- Try analyzing other black metal songs;
- The clear structure method works;
- Verses and choruses need a different approach;
- Never stop experimenting;
- Try the contrasting when it comes to lyrics;
- Do not express complex emotions;
- Do not explain too much;
- Use different tenses;
- Each song has the attitude;
- Use clear and simple words;
- Try using pronouns;
- Check how the words sound;
- Skip fillers;
- Choose the rhyming schemes;
Writing black metal songs is a creative process. Hopefully, these tips will help you to go through the process smoother, with fewer hours spent in vain. Make sure to listen to different black metal songs to have inspiration, practice and do not forget to have fun in the process.