100% Metal Forum (Death Metal and Black Metal)

Metal => Metal => Topic started by: aquarius on December 23, 2012, 06:22:54 PM

Title: Solos
Post by: aquarius on December 23, 2012, 06:22:54 PM
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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on December 29, 2012, 05:52:48 AM
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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on December 29, 2012, 10:24:48 AM
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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Cargést on December 29, 2012, 12:55:05 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on December 29, 2012, 01:45:39 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: scourge on December 29, 2012, 08:15:32 PM
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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on December 31, 2012, 03:41:22 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on January 02, 2013, 01:44:09 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
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: aquarius on January 02, 2013, 07:50:22 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.

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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on January 04, 2013, 12:47:54 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on January 04, 2013, 03:05:16 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Dinaric Leather on January 04, 2013, 03:31:22 PM
A band like Sabbat...
Are you talking about the English Sabbat or the Japanese Sabbat?
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on January 05, 2013, 12:38:57 AM
The japanese Sabbat, slanty-eyed Mercyful Fate.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Tralfamadorian on January 06, 2013, 10:15:43 AM
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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on January 06, 2013, 03:06:08 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.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: aquarius on January 12, 2013, 05:41:35 AM
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.

It can be hard to find fault in any aspect of top-tier material for the very fact that it is top-tier and that with whatever faults exist, it still succeeds overwhelmingly.

So I guess I'm only aiming for a general observation from a primarily compositional standpoint. My main objection would be to the verse-chorus song structure which typically employs soloing to tie off loose ends before repeating the opening riffs to close a piece. It's not necessarily bad just outmoded in its stuplicity.

The other appoach is to put some thought into the key melodic content while improvising over it accordingly. The example of Varathron is well apt and I would add to it Euronymous' classic Freezing Moon solo. Unfortunately it still kind of fits into the neat little 'time for a solo' mentality.

The example left to us on Hvis lyset tar oss sees leads/solos thoroughly augment every element of riffing in song construction. Needless to say that album represents the farthest evolutionary point of the genre in almost any other element one could think of. Darkthrone's A Blaze ... era had similar potential.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: aquarius on January 12, 2013, 05:57:49 AM
Lastly, even completely messy and seemingly random soloing as found in Blasphemy or early Beherit can serve its purpose perfectly. That is to say, moreso as 'noise' and 'effect' than melody. But it's necessary to give that otherwise unattainable effect of a raging stormwind in conception.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: fallot on January 12, 2013, 04:13:49 PM
Even those can sometimes have flickers of forms dropped in between. I think that enhances the intended effect.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Christ Died of AIDS on January 13, 2013, 12:07:59 PM
Lastly, even completely messy and seemingly random soloing as found in Blasphemy or early Beherit can serve its purpose perfectly. That is to say, moreso as 'noise' and 'effect' than melody. But it's necessary to give that otherwise unattainable effect of a raging stormwind in conception.

There is undoubtedly an intended effect. In the case of bands like Slayer or Suffocation, the perceived messiness of their solos is 100% coordinated and they replicate it flawlessly live.

Solos are obsolete, or at least the 1980's rock/metal/speed metal kind. In a way, they were replaced by breakdowns in the 90's. Personally, I don't like sloppy solos, or when unskilled metal/punk guitarists try to pull them off. Wouldn't it be better to just have a really strong lead/melody and quit trying to show off?
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Perennial_Man on January 17, 2013, 01:27:58 PM
Nicolo(someone tell me how to make accents on keyboard) Paganini's caprices are fucking excellent. Hessians round the world wish they could improvise with their music as best as Paganini does in concert, and with a single instrument does he extrapolate past his finished work!
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on January 19, 2013, 02:00:43 PM
Lastly, even completely messy and seemingly random soloing as found in Blasphemy or early Beherit can serve its purpose perfectly. That is to say, moreso as 'noise' and 'effect' than melody. But it's necessary to give that otherwise unattainable effect of a raging stormwind in conception.

There is undoubtedly an intended effect. In the case of bands like Slayer or Suffocation, the perceived messiness of their solos is 100% coordinated and they replicate it flawlessly live.

Solos are obsolete, or at least the 1980's rock/metal/speed metal kind. In a way, they were replaced by breakdowns in the 90's. Personally, I don't like sloppy solos, or when unskilled metal/punk guitarists try to pull them off. Wouldn't it be better to just have a really strong lead/melody and quit trying to show off?

This explains my stance better than I explained my stance.  It's never the solo that is particularly memorable to me, but the various melodies, the foundation and fundamentals.  Celtic Frost has some good soloing, but you hardly even notice it because their riffs are so strong.
Title: Re: Solos
Post by: trystero on November 16, 2013, 02:48:10 PM
Just wanted to bump this to say I really like greg mackintosh on the first Paradise Lost album, really good heavy metal style but unique solos. I definitely disagree that they are obsolete, they could use being integrated as phrase more though. But even old school leads are great. I mean, I dont think I would enjoy Sickening Art as much without its wild, soaring, menacing, exuberant solo.