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Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music

Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 07:19:39 AM
I think something a lot of the current crop of music seems to forget is acoustic or "clean" preludes and interludes.  The reason for this is probably because the bands think that to look "true" the music has to be either unremittingly raw or "brootal." 

Most of the most successful bands have done this.  Slayer's "Spill the Blood," "Dead Skin Mask," "South of Heaven."  Master of Puppets is full of these.  Death, Morbid Angel, Dissection. 

Also melodic elements, but "melodic death metal" seems to have gone into a certain stylization.  "Melodic" doesn't mean certain scales or texture.

Why is this?  I think it may have something to do with ear fatigue.  Also, in songs like Dissection's "Unhallowed" the cleaner parts are clear statements of the theme.  When the distortion comes in again, the theme is restated in some way, with distorted chords filling in large chunks of the soundscape that were previously empty.  The contrast makes the distorted, muted chords seem far heavier and more powerful.

In the best cases, the classical preludes aren't simply tacked onto the front or thrown into the middle, but are integral to the sound-- in the absence of noise, the pure form of the music is revealed momentarily.

I tend to like bands that do this.  I tend to dislike bands that don't.
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 07:46:07 AM
Blame it on Pink Frothy AIDS, the masters of inconsequential, anti-dynamic and pseudo-progressive metal epics. It happened first to old death metal bands (Amorphis, Paradise Lost) who probably were stoned out of their minds and thought it a good idea to start exploring the influences from their non-metal favorites Pink Floyd. The problem was never tasteful incorporation of acoustic sounds but the ideological problem of a "wedding" of death metal and the hippie sounds of later The Beatles. A same kind of reaction was produced by the hordes of "pagan" black metal bands of the mid-90's who lost the evil vitality of the original phenomenon and distanced themselves from politics and all ideology in general except for some vague anti-Christian feelings. They gave a bad name to all the progressive elements that had been added to the genre, such as acoustic guitars, synths and female vocals. Notice how no-one complained when these had been used by Graveland or Necromantia.

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 09:43:32 AM
You know, I always hated that fucking band (Pink Frothy AIDS) even before they got extra special Richard Simmons Workout Madness Soundtrack.

You would think at some point some member of the band would have looked at the rest of them playing soulfully away and said "uh... guys..."

I think a lot of it is also down to In Flames and ATG.  Then there's the crossover between the In Flames sound and hardcore, whereupon you get shit like The Haunted and all that crap. 

When you lose the evil, you're no longer playing metal.  What you're playing may be good but it's not metal anymore.  This is why the bands that follow the aesthetic of complexity suck more than it seems like they should.  They're going for the surface texture of complex feel and in the name of more chunks and changes per minute they've discarded much of the feel of the music. 

I'm listening to Beyond the Wandering Moon.  Not too much chunking on there, not too many bizarre time signatures, but it's steeped in feel.  "And So the Night Became" is even slower, and even more so.

Why can't more bands be like this?  Doesn't it get chicks the way chunking in 13/11 choptime does?  You'd think it would be easier but maybe it isn't.  Maybe there's something about the feel of it that a lot of people don't like.
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 10:16:46 AM
In the best cases, the classical preludes aren't simply tacked onto the front or thrown into the middle, but are integral to the sound-- in the absence of noise, the pure form of the music is revealed momentarily.

The preludes to 'Stiff and Cold (And Then Comes Lividity...)' and 'Waste of Mortality' by Gorguts are extremely educational examples of this.

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 03:39:58 PM
Honestly, Bathory is the only band that did it iin a good way that I remember.  I really never liked that effect, mostly because it was just an effect.  It doesn't say anything to me.  It's just like Mayhem's sound effects or Deicide's manic laughter effects.  Kinda cool, but only the first time.

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 21, 2009, 06:49:26 PM
The difference between what I'm talking about and Pinhead saying "What's your pleasure, Mr. Carter" at the beginning of an Entombed track, or "Drink the wine!  You'll lie down and go to sleep, sleep forever!" is that these acoustic passages are statement of themes and the effects are just there for added texture-- they don't refer to the music but establish or maintain feel.

Obviously it doesn't need to be there if the underlying structure is there.
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
July 22, 2009, 05:28:00 AM
Ulver's Bergtatt?  I don't know if they're all intros, but they sure do use that acoustic right on that one.

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
August 16, 2013, 04:39:41 AM
So, thus far the list here would be:

Gorguts - and then comes lividity; waste of mortality
Slayer - spill the blood
Metallica - welcome home / sanitarium
Morbid Angel - desolate ways


Any other favorite acoustic tracks? Anything that's got to be heard.

Re: Acoustic Preludes in Metal Music
August 16, 2013, 05:04:34 AM
Darkthrone - In the Shadow of the Horns (the finale of course)

Immortal - Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism.

Much great use of acoustic effects across the album.