Wowzers…

Jake just delivered some drums, and let me tell you, the difference that they make is amazing.

The beauty of it is that he produced exactly what I wanted. The intensity during the metal part was seriously lacking before, but the drums were executed perfectly. I also recorded another guitar track to liven it up. Listen to the comparison below, it’s a world of difference.

(Make note of Jake’s bass kick pattern in the second part of the climax… you might recognize it later on in the song.)

A few people have commented on this song, saying how disjointed it is. The transitions between “bluegrass” and “black metal” were a bit too sudden. I had to agree with them, but I think the drums definitely smooth it over a bit now.  I’m counting on you guys to let me know if this is an improvement or not!

Ok, here it is, the second full draft with Jake’s drums.

This is still very much a rough draft; we need some banjo and mandolin, and perhaps some actual singers.  But hey, I think this is coming along quite nicely.  Give me some honest feedback though, before I get too proud.

For reference, here are the lyrics again (Purple is the town courier, green is the town leader, black is the townspeople.)

I just seen something I would like to forget
And that means a lot from me you’ve gotta admit
Now I was walking near the West Bluff to deliver the post
And, oh help us father son and holy ghost

ABRAM STONE!!!

What has he done with his poor family now?
His wife and kids lay dead and bloodied the ground
He was a-digging two new holes in the earth
And I can tell you neither one was for her

His axe her body cleft!
In his well, you’ll find what’s left
!

Grave indeed, these tidings that you bare
Swift we must be in making sure this debt is paid!

If what you’re telling us is the honest truth
Then it’s quite clear to me what we’ve got to do now
Assemble all ye men who claim to strive for what’s right
We’re gonna have ourselves a lynching tonight!

FETCH YOUR ROPE!!!

**TIE HIM UP**
MAKE HIM PAY FOR HIS SINS

**HOIST HIM HIGH**
MAKE HIM SEE WHAT HE’S DONE

**LET HIM HANG**
WE THIRST FOR JUSTICE NOW

**ABRAM STONE**
WE’RE COMING TO BURN YOU OUT

Adding to Track 3

I’ve come to realize that I’ve made quite a few musician friends throughout my life.  Guitar seems to be the most common instrument and, appropriately, is the weapon of choice of my former college roommate, Andy.

Andy and I used to jam all the time back in college, until our RA would shut us down almost nightly.  In fact, Andy would even take the stage for a song or two when my band played live shows back in the day.

Andy (left) and I rockin out at a live show

Anyhow, I told him about the project, and he said he’d be interested in laying down a track or two.  Track 3 definitely needed something, so I suggested that he try it out. Lucky for us, he just delivered, and so here it is!

This fives us a great idea of how this part could sound.  Of course we’ll have to iterate, but we might have to wait until we get banjo and full vocals in there first.  That way we have a better idea of what the final composition will sound like before making tweaks.

Track 10: Arriving in Multiple Shipments

The final track of an album is often the song I look forward to most when I buy a new CD.

As such, Track 10 has some pretty big expectations to meet.  It has to be epic, moving, and it has to close things off in a satisfying manner.

I’ve also set my own goals of making sure this song has some very clear black metal influence.  I intend to add some slower, more dissonant, and darker chords in there to really set the tone.

If you remember from an earlier post, this is all we had before.

I’d say it’s definitely lacking the black metal department and needs some work. I’ve been spending some time trying to improve upon this, and recently recorded myself jamming out to some ideas.  Have a listen below and let me know if I’m getting closer!

Clearly I need to iron out the details and polish my playing, but we’re getting somewhere.

I’ve also written what I think might be a good ending.  I drew it out extra long because I wanted to give the other musicians a chance to jam to it with various instruments.  I took the first turn myself and tried some vocals, and plucked a ukulele towards the end.

I ran this idea past Jake, and we discussed the possibility of having each instrument play a few bars at a time.  Sort of like the curtain call at the end of a show… Patrick’s idea was to have it start with only a banjo, and build it one instrument at a time over several minutes.

Anyhow, here is the draft.

I think we have some potential for great vocals and instrumentation here.  Now, we have a beginning, middle, and end. I just need to connect the dots!  Piece of cake right?  I guess we’ll see…

Trouble with Track 7

I’ve been a bit quiet this week, but the music wheels are always spinning in the background.  I’ve been wanting to update Track 7 for a while now, but I was having a hard time smoothing over a few transitions.

Specifically, the latter part of the song changes tempo a couple of times, and I had a hard time nailing down what it should sound like.  You can hear below that the transition at 0:07 is a bit awkward, and the transition at 0:31 is just not good at all.

I fooled around with some options, and also consulted Jake.  As the rhythm section in our last band, Jake and I have a great connection when it comes to tempos and technicalities.  We passed a few ideas back and forth and settled on the following version.

You’ll notice the transition at 0:07 is almost identical, except that I let the guitars ring through the drum roll.  Jake said he could definitely work with that on the drums, so we kept it.

The transition at 0:31 is very different, and sounds 100% better in my opinion.  The bell hit really makes it for me!

Anyhow, once I settled on this, I was ready to record the full draft. Have a listen below.  The beginning is pretty boring right now, but I have some great ideas for the vocals. You’ll just have to use your imagination!

Oh, and as always, please forgive the shitty placeholder MIDI drums.

The part starting at 0:40 is going to be great once we get some banjo and fiddle in there.  I can’t wait.

The part at 2:08 will lead into some epic vocals, or perhaps a guitar solo…? I haven’t decided yet. You’ll also notice that from this point on in the song, I’m playing an actual bass guitar (instead of MIDI.)  It’s heavily distorted, but I’m liking fullness it gives to the track.

I’m not really sure what I was doing at 3:24… it’s almost reminiscent of sci-fi metal (yes, that’s a thing) but I really just needed something in there to fill that buildup.

As always, feedback is encouraged!

Some Material for Track 8

If I’ve been neglecting one thing thus far, it’s the instrumentals on this album.  (Truth is, I’m neglecting a whole lot more than that, but that’s not the point.)

Usually, an instrumental track will go one of two ways:

  • simple, repetitive, short
  • epic, more-complex (yet still repetitive), long

Here’s an example of the first kind from my favorite nintendo-core outfit, Horse the Band.

And here is an example of a more complex instrumental from the bluegrass(ish) band Nickel Creek.

I could share many more epic instrumentals by metal bands, but I feel they really lose their meaning when you listen to them out of context.  (Yes, I’m an entire-album-at-a-time purist. Don’t hate.)

I think since we’ll have 3 instrumentals on the album, I’d like to have at least one of each flavor.  Covering as many bases as possible seems to be a recurring theme here…

Anyhow, I was messing around with some guitar effects and happened to like this progression quite a bit.  I decided to record it, and now I’m thinking that it might make a good instrumental for track 8.  Have a listen below.

2 minutes might be a bit long, especially for something this repetitive and simple…but I was enjoying myself. It could benefit from some other instrumentation as well, but as I’ve said before, it’s just good to have a starting point!

I suppose this means that track 5 is going to be an instrumental of the more “epic” variety.  Jake plays a mean piano, so maybe he would be able to write something for us there. I’ll run the idea past him