Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Solos

Solos
December 24, 2012, 02:22:54 AM
Have these become obsolete? In the early days it was somewhat of a mandatory compositional element of metal song construction. I might be blind, but it seems to have passed out of favour with recent bands. One the other hand I can understand why. I always felt it can get messy and detract from the overall compositional flow, at its worst serving as little more than an obligatory relic with no functional purpose.

With the resurgence of traditional elements I think bands would do well to reconsider a re-application of old techniques. But it must be applied rather in a way that is less separable from the predominantly riff-based approach. A complete melding of techniques. I think Darkthrone’s A Blaze in the Northern Sky would be a great example of how chords, leads and solos can move interchangeably throughout a piece to great effect. Unfortunately the pure riff-based minimalism they achieved on Transylvanian Hunger became the starting point for most bands that followed.

Re: Solos
December 29, 2012, 01:52:48 PM
I always thought Varathron on Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins showed a good use of solos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZsxro7XLn0

In this case the use fitting with the overall theme and becoming the centerpiece of the song.

Re: Solos
December 29, 2012, 06:24:48 PM
I've never understood solos, ever.  Even when I was in to Led Zeppelin or similar bands that really put emphasis on featuring solos and whatnot, the solos are never what thrilled me or impressed me.  I salute metal for de-emphasizing it.  That being said, I do really like certain effects that can be created with the guitar such as pick slides.  But I see what you're saying about A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Varathron, they're not what I would call blistering solos, they really blend in.
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: Solos
December 29, 2012, 08:55:05 PM
I used to have a problem with Slayer solos, but Bathory and Possessed/Morbid Angel use similar "compositional techniques" for their solos, to the degree that, through gaining appreciation of those works, I can now stand Kerry King's wankfests!

Metal should follow from Burzum when it comes to "solos", in that they should not so much showcase ability as they should provide a lead voice that actually adds something to the music.

Another interesting example is Tom Warrior's solos on To Mega Therion: his paucity of technique renders many of his solos incredibly similar, if not identical in parts.  The effect is great, though, as those sections link the various songs, allowing the album as a whole to flow better.  With my own soloing (again, paucity of technique), I try to throw in tiny references to other songs (or earlier bits of the same song), for the same purpose of providing cohesion.

Re: Solos
December 29, 2012, 09:45:39 PM
I've never understood solos, ever.

I don't really get this, not the first time I've encountered this opinion on here. Good solos are often highlights of metal songs for me, an opportunity for complexity and virtuousity where something dominant in the song can climax or conclude; musical or lyrical (e.g. Key to the Gate, Maleficarum's "Across the Heavens"). Obviously a guitar solo for its own sake is a retarded idea, but this is a traditional element of metal that I feel really works, especially with the general length of a metal song. What do you feel about say, Rigor Mortis (album)? Mike Scaccia's solos pretty much make that album.

Another excellent solo example: Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss.

Re: Solos
December 30, 2012, 04:15:32 AM
Very few bands could pull them off well without making otherwise good songs turds. Slayer and Judas Priest are two that got it right most of the time. But mostly, like the overall percussion in some cases, many solos are unnecessary filler crowding the essential content with shrill obesity.

Re: Solos
December 31, 2012, 11:41:22 PM
fallot:  I am sometimes prone to hasty overstatement!  I can't explain it, but I do maintain that I salute metal for de-emphasizing it, in general.  Come to think of it, how could I not love Trey Azagthoth's preposterous, over the top soloing!?  Do I contradict myself?  Very well then, I contradict myself.  Not too familiar with Rigor Mortis but I will rectify that.
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: Solos
January 02, 2013, 09:44:09 PM
Not too familiar with Rigor Mortis

Whoa whoa now hold on a minute there son! That's crazy talk! You don't just say shit like that on a metal forum, it's an instant loss of status.

"but I will rectify that"

SOON

Re: Solos
January 03, 2013, 03:50:22 AM
fallot:  I am sometimes prone to hasty overstatement!  I can't explain it, but I do maintain that I salute metal for de-emphasizing it, in general.  Come to think of it, how could I not love Trey Azagthoth's preposterous, over the top soloing!?  Do I contradict myself?  Very well then, I contradict myself.

It makes sense to me. Dissenting opinions are often what keeps a discussion going.

I think genres and styles evolve like divergent streams from a common origin. But that isn't to say the high point of one particular direction is altogether secure. The latest Demoncy album for example is perfect as it is and to incorporate guitar solos would be totally foreign. It takes off more in the direction of all post '93 black metal; namely, post-Transylvanian Hunger black metal.

That extreme minimalism is easy for newer bands to create, but extremely difficult to master as it requires simplification of advanced techniques and compositional skills, not just playing a certain style because it's easy. With a few exceptions I think this is where most of the newer bands failed.

Of course there are some traditional metal solos that sound like a million random notes going nowhere. But that isn't where the potential is. Understanding the essential melodic/harmonic idea is the basis of true improvisation.

Re: Solos
January 04, 2013, 08:47:54 PM
fallot:  I am sometimes prone to hasty overstatement!  I can't explain it, but I do maintain that I salute metal for de-emphasizing it, in general.  Come to think of it, how could I not love Trey Azagthoth's preposterous, over the top soloing!?  Do I contradict myself?  Very well then, I contradict myself.

It makes sense to me. Dissenting opinions are often what keeps a discussion going.

I think genres and styles evolve like divergent streams from a common origin. But that isn't to say the high point of one particular direction is altogether secure. The latest Demoncy album for example is perfect as it is and to incorporate guitar solos would be totally foreign. It takes off more in the direction of all post '93 black metal; namely, post-Transylvanian Hunger black metal.

That extreme minimalism is easy for newer bands to create, but extremely difficult to master as it requires simplification of advanced techniques and compositional skills, not just playing a certain style because it's easy. With a few exceptions I think this is where most of the newer bands failed.

Of course there are some traditional metal solos that sound like a million random notes going nowhere. But that isn't where the potential is. Understanding the essential melodic/harmonic idea is the basis of true improvisation.

Lots of good points there.  I am perpetually impressed and intrigued by how metal can be anywhere on the spectrum from deliberate to out-of-control, from patient to furious, from minimalist to flamboyant.  There are many other spectra that one could conceive of by which to measure various metal aspects as well.
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: Solos
January 04, 2013, 11:05:16 PM
So what are some examples of otherwise good songs with poor or overwrought solos? Within the canon of the best of metal I mean. I struggle to think of examples. A band like Sabbat can make some great songs but often ends up making comical, ridiculous (if endearing) stuff; and a big contributor to this is wankfest solos. But this isnt the best of the best.

Re: Solos
January 04, 2013, 11:31:22 PM
A band like Sabbat...
Are you talking about the English Sabbat or the Japanese Sabbat?

Re: Solos
January 05, 2013, 08:38:57 AM
The japanese Sabbat, slanty-eyed Mercyful Fate.

Re: Solos
January 06, 2013, 06:15:43 PM
So what are some examples of otherwise good songs with poor or overwrought solos? Within the canon of the best of metal I mean. I struggle to think of examples. A band like Sabbat can make some great songs but often ends up making comical, ridiculous (if endearing) stuff; and a big contributor to this is wankfest solos. But this isnt the best of the best.
I've always thought the solos on Onward to Golgotha had little to add to the compositions other than some extra chaos. Still an A+ album, but I keep my attention trained on the riffs throughout.

On the flip side, Therion's first album makes superb use of lead guitar, as does Atheist's second.

Re: Solos
January 06, 2013, 11:06:08 PM
I cannot concur, Onwards to Golgotha is a fine example of good solo use. Sure, not all of them may be comprehensible initially (or ever), but they have a specific atmospheric purpose which works well despite; your description is apt. Entrantment of Evil and Rotting Spiritual Embodiment both come to mind as having effective solos. But I see what you mean at least, a difference of taste at a micro level I suppose.