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Metal Without Words

Metal Without Words
November 18, 2008, 08:44:27 PM
Since growing a bit older I've been able to appreciate the instrumentation in metal more. I pay much closer attention to it than I used to, picking out each player/instrument and following them throughout a song. Sometimes vocals just sound like they are getting in the way but I realize they are usually a necessary element.  While I've definitely upped the classical intake, metal plays an essential role in my everyday life and I doubt I will ever stop listening to it. I am wondering if there are any good instrumental metal bands out there that have flown under my radar. I know they aren't easy to come by and when I have found some they are usually akin to technical in store guitar demonstrations than albums with masterfully written songs. I did pursue an interest in Windham Hell thanks in part to this forum and that's mostly instrumental, using vocals more as  a kind of muffled background noise to add to the strange atmosphere created by the music. I'd just like to hear more tunes like Maiden's "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" or Crypt of Kerberos' "The Sleeping God" or Darkthrone's "Goatlord"(the rehearsal tracks). Well composed instrumental songs. Some listeners might find these boring but I really enjoy them..it's a bit a different listening experience.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 18, 2008, 10:24:47 PM
Metal could evolve closer to classical with less vocals and less percussion, more strings, maybe the occasional brass and keyboard. Minimizing vocals would help curtail the mall metal mimicry of death metal. The proliferation of percussion keeps metal a rock-and-rollish flavor of sound and less of a clearly distinct art form.


Re: Metal Without Words
November 18, 2008, 11:09:12 PM
I also like when metal drops the vocals. If done right, it tends to lose a lot of the bullshit of poppish repetition, but I can't imagine metal without vocals. Bands tend to use vocals in important compositional ways. Burzum used vocals as sort of a single improvisational, contrapuntal line to the generally repetitive music. Demilich didn't need them as much, but it helped emphasize repetitions amongst variations.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 18, 2008, 11:46:13 PM
usually, when the words "instrumental" and "metal" are put together these days, it mostly means prog wanking band #564.

however, bands that normally have vocals are capable of doing great instrumentals (At The Gates, Enslaved, Cynic, etc).

Re: Metal Without Words
November 19, 2008, 05:42:59 AM
The drums, and the distortion: these are the two issues here.

For metal to go instrumental, it needs clear separation between two guitars, and to use bass for more than reinforcing the low end of power chords.

Further, it can't lead by drums, rock-style, but has to make them ambient or disappear altogether.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 19, 2008, 10:51:25 AM
Try Thorns - Grymyrk? It's available here on audiofile. http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,266.0.html
No drums, no vocals, the bass guitar - freed by the lack of percussion - is allowed to function as the dominant rhythmic instrument. Ironically, these songs were never intended to be heard in this form: but to my ear they sound better in their unfinished state than the two tracks which Thorns were able to record with a full band (The Trondertun tapes).

Re: Metal Without Words
November 19, 2008, 01:06:55 PM

Further, it can't lead by drums, rock-style, but has to make them ambient or disappear altogether.

Classical music does neither.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 20, 2008, 04:00:44 AM
I disagree entirely with backing off the drums. Proper Death, Thrash and Black Metal feature what I consider a drumming style altogether unique and musical in and of itself, well beyond and distinct from any standard 4/4 rock and roll nonsense.  Of course there are also ways to incorporate a more "classical" approach to drumming into Metal as well. Morbid Angel's "Hatework" comes right to mind.

Not being a fan of the whole "ambient" movement, I'll take my Metal with plenty of percsussion.

The degree of vocalizing depends on the quality of the singer really - it can add or detract accordingly.   

Re: Metal Without Words
November 20, 2008, 06:48:48 AM
I think we all are fed up with jazz drumming in metal, no offense Mr. Sandoval.

Ritual, tribal, minimal and classical is the way. Ref: last years' Ride For Revenge, Profanatica and Nĺstrond albums.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 20, 2008, 09:33:07 AM
If only metal handled percussion like this:

Re: Metal Without Words
November 20, 2008, 12:35:06 PM
Bartók makes my ears hurt. Even the percussion. But one thing's for sure: Classical shows the way in this regard, as always.

Re: Metal Without Words
November 20, 2008, 01:40:28 PM
Thorns is rather interesting, thanks for the link. It obviously sounds half completed(because it is)but I will be listening to it more. I've tried to imagine what this new approach to metal might sound like before. I have a tough time picturing metal without percussion but I don't doubt it could work. As it's been pointed out frequently, black metal has utilized drumming as a mere metronome before and it's worked wonders. I tend to enjoy heavy percussion in my extreme metal but with all of the drum triggers and showy playing going on I could comfortably just enjoy the classics and open my ears to new attempts at breaking out of the stagnant box. The future seems promising however. If the economic downturn is big and bad enough it will weed out a lot of people who make metal "because they love metal." After thinking about instrumental metal songs more, I believe I will just make a list for myself. Best instrumental metal pieces(not regulated to a specific sub-genre). If I get enough on the list I'll make a mix cd for myself to play in the car or something.