Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was lazy throughout the reviewing process but I finally have it done! Good job to everyone to participated, and take note before reading that no matter what I say about your song, you took the challenge and my band didn’t, so you still get participation bonuses.
This DSBM piece was very similar to what I had in mind when I was looking at all of artwork, and the sample of the clock at the beginning was a very nice touch. This song is simple, but at times a bit too simple overall and I feel that it needs more to it. For what it had though it was still good. It made good use of a simple structure by building up a main theme that overall is quite enjoyable to hear, and it became more powerful later throughout the song. Vocals are very characteristic of DSBM, and the drums overall I feel could have done something a lot more interesting. With slower tempos like that you can have more room for little bits of finesse here and there, and you can play around with subtle intricacies. The piano part helped the song a lot, it was simple, yes, but in this case less is more. Overall a good song, I'd rate it total as a 7/10.
Normally I'd make a comment about the production, but considering that this isn't like a professionally done recording or for anything serious, I won't let that affect the review. The guitar riffs were ok, they seemed to be going for that type of middle eastern/arabic feel that bands like Nile and Melechesh utilize so flawlessly, but in this case they didn't seem to be thought out that well. Of course it's hard to compare to the aforementioned bands, but the whole product just seemed uninspired. Overall the song was lacking creativity. The structural ideas were very basic in the sense that the song only really seemed to have only have 2 distinct movements, and both of them seemed too simple and that much more could have been added to them. For example, it's very easy to think of a constant blast beat for a fast part and a simple 2/4 beat for a slower groove. One thing I will definitely give credit for though is that it definitely did have that type of feel displayed in the picture, but it just needed more time put into it. 3/10
This one really took me by surprise. It was maybe because I was expecting something along the lines of Shrinebuilder or Neurosis, but what you did here was actually quite enjoyable. The intro was really cool. It had a dark feel but it suited the rest of the song and was good at building up the rest. The singing fit the music very well, and the harmonies were a very cool touch. The drumming was overall basic but effective for the rock feel of the song, and there were some subtleties that made them exciting. Plus, the bridge makes good use of off beats and other complexities, giving the song a good progressive edge. The guitars were probably the highlight of the song, starting off basic but then as the song goes on they play the same riffs but in different fashions giving each part a slightly different feel. For example, playing the verse riff with tremolo picking was a really cool touch as it made the song build up in intensity, and then adding the intricate leads in the chorus makes that section a hell of a lot more interesting than it would be if it was just the rhythm riffs. That brings me to the structure, which overall I'm not a big fan anymore of the verse-chorus structure, but for the type of song it is I'll let it slide as it works just fine. It did a great job overall of building and climaxing, but one thing I find wrong is that it overall just...ends. It's be cool if there was a cool sort of ending movement rather than just ending at the last note of the chorus. Definitely keep this song though, with a few tweaks here and there it could become even better. 8/10
This is very similar to what I had in mind for this picture, minus the vocals. However that's not a bad thing, as the vocals actually remind me a lot of Blut Aus Nord. What I had in mind was a bit of a darker version of newer Opeth, but your song is a pleasant surprise because of its thick and raw edge. It makes use of a more complex song structure, builds and abstract playing without it sounding too forced. To comment on the instruments is hard, because like most progressive metal each instrument is very complex in what is being played, but you did a good job of making the whole thing flow seamlessly without it sounding like technical wankery. You achieved in giving the song a futuristic but chaotic atmosphere which is very similar to what's in the picture, and in doing so you created a song that will stick with people. Also the addition of that saxophone was very interesting. From the dial-tone at the beginning (which by the way was a very wicked touch) to the very tasteful progressive ending, the song pulls you in and makes you not want to let go. I think you should write more stuff like this, because if this song was this good then I can only imagine what other songs would be like. I think you could probably get some good notability (and I think you should use this picture as your album cover). In conclusion, you did what the contest asked you of, and you did it with style. I listened to this song a couple times out of pure enjoyment before actually reviewing it because it is absolutely flawless. 10/10
I’m not particularly a fan much of power/speed metal, but this I find is quite well done. It’s catchy without being too cheesy, and it doesn’t consist of the constant noodling of a band like DragonForce (forgive my ignorance, I’m not too familiar with power metal as a genre). The song is very aggressive while still being melodic and drawing you in. You also did a good job at keeping the song interesting throughout. Rather than it being 8 minutes of solid dragon battles you kept things interesting with a cool acoustic section around the 4:30 mark which let me take a few breaths before the ripping guitar solo that follows stole all of it away. By the way, those guitar solos kick ass. Tasteful, elaborate and flashy without becoming technical wankery. THAT is how it’s done. The vocals are what I expected with this style; it comes with the territory and they are well done, they just need a bit more practice to hit those glass shattering highs like after the acoustics at 4:30. Obviously those notes are hard to hit, and I’m not one to talk since I’m not the best singer myself, but work on keeping the power and strength in your voice as you go for those notes and I’m sure the problem will solve itself. One more thing I’d like to point out is that the bass should be turned up a bit; I think it’ll give the song a ballsier sound with extra punch. Overall the song wasn’t really what I was expecting for the picture. When I first saw it I thought immediately of Burzum’s Fallen record (just look at the art) and imagined something similar to that, but it’s relieving to know that there was something different for you in mind, and now that I listen to the song again I can picture it fitting the art very well, especially for the acoustic sections. Like Nyarlathotepmusic, a job well done. 9/10
Very unexpected considering the picture, it’s not what I had in mind at all. It’s an interesting form of death, doom and drone metal, but overall much of it sounds rather awkward. This is mainly in the melodies and particular note changes, I think some revising over the guitar riffs would help this song shine a little more. It seems to be one of those types of songs that have really abstract sounding chords giving the song a very obscure and dissonant feel, but it can be hard to write songs like that which pull you in, as if you do those types of chords wrong they can be bothersome to listen to. The majority of the riffs you have in this song aren’t that bad though, there are just some parts of it that make me feel uneasy and confused, and not in that awesome Blut Aus Nord way. Around the 4:05 mark the song picks up tempo and the instrumentation sounds very heavy-wait scratch that, absolutely crushing. It came at the right time, as if the preceding section were to go on longer it would have started to become overly repetitive, but you brought in the faster section at the right time. Which brings me to the structuring, which is actually pretty good. Some death/doom and drone metal can get incredibly repetitive, but you did a good job at mixing it up and making the song flow. Nothing really seemed out of place. The drums overall did a good job at mixing it up and keeping things interesting, but towards the end I think it needed a bit more flare; the odd fill would have helped. Lastly for the vocals, you (I’m assuming you’re on vocals) have a very good growl, it reminds me a bit of a cross between Yob and early My Dying Bride, although the higher screams I think need work. They were overall pretty distracting, especially towards the last 2 minutes as it kinda sounded like you were throwing up. Practice them though and I’m sure it’ll be better. As a whole the song is interesting, but it definitely needs some revising in order to become better. 6/10
Man I feel sorry for you for getting such a fucking ugly picture hahaha it’s my least favourite of the pictures. However whether I like the picture or not isn’t what this review is about. What you did is basically what I had in mind when I scrolled upon this picture. This sort of groovy death-grind can be incredibly boring, but you did an exceptional job at keeping it interesting through catchier riffs and more creative drumming. Those brief mid-speed breaks in the first minute and a half (between the aggressive movements) offered a nice change of pace to catch your breath before diving back into the furious tremolo riffs. In fact the overall structure is quite decent. It wasn’t a usual burst of blast-beats for 2 minutes with the intention of creating gory grindcore explosion; there is clear evidence that effort was put in to create a structured song with an actual flow. The drumming as I mentioned before was more creative than I expected for this type of song, in particular I like the part around the 2:18 mark, but I still feel that overall more could have been done to spice up the whole product. I’m not saying you have to be like Brann Dailor (his style is perfect for Mastodon but it doesn’t work for everything), but feel free to be a bit more creative and elaborate with the beats. In any case you did better than what I imagined for this picture. The vocals suited the song well, in fact the main bands I thought of when hearing it for the first time were Phobia and Maruta, and with the accompanying music it works perfectly, and a better recording would have made them sound even better. The guitars were decent and catchy, but I still feel at times that they were still generic for the style being played. There was a bit of variation with the groovy palm muting riffs which were refreshing to hear, but overall I found that the constant tremolo riffs got tiresome to listen to over time. Try revising some of the riffs, experimenting or even making variations of the same one to add extra character to what you write. Overall I think the song was good for what it was, and for the picture you were given I don’t really think you had much to work with, but for what you were able to accomplish I’d say it was a fairly decent effort. 7/10
Not what I was expecting from the picture at all (I was thinking something similar to the Dillinger Escape Plan), but this was a nice surprise. I like this song overall, I found it was quite catchy for the vast majority of the 4 minutes and it’s mainly because of the guitars. There are many creative and well constructed riffs and they got stuck in my head rather easily. This is especially around the 1:50 mark where that lead comes in over the droning chords. A very well written part in general, and from there you do a great job at building the part towards the end with that French poem and the other lead that came in. I can tell there was some good thought put into this, and it paid off because this was one of the catchiest moments on this whole compilation I’m reviewing. There are still things about this song that I have beef with though, and it’s that the song seems kind of thrown together in terms of structure. The first minute is a good with the intensity, but I think it should have gone on for longer and transitioned to the next slow movement (1:00 and onward) in a better fashion because it seems like all of a sudden the next part just sort-of happens. Sometimes that can work very well and this wasn’t totally weird at all but I know that it could have been done much better. Also towards the end after the poem where the lead comes in, that part should definitely have continued on much longer. It’s one of those parts that bands like Drudkh or Neurosis love to milk so much, because they are so addicting to listen to and with each repetition you love it so much more, and especially with the high-end lead; that could have turned into a WICKED solo. In terms of drumming, I could barely make out what was being played because it was so quiet in the recording. For what I was able to comprehend though, I think the drumming could have been much more diverse and elaborate, as from what I could make out it was way too basic for what the guitars were doing. When guys like Vlad and Jason Roeder (of Drudkh and Neurosis fame, respectively) are given parts like that, they do a phenomenal job of experimenting and letting their imagination flow to make those sections much more exciting and heart pumping, even if it’s a slower, doom or drone movement (listen to the second half of Drudkh’s “Eternity”, Neurosis’ “A Season In The Sky” or “From The Hill”, or ANY Neurosis song for that matter). As for vocals, they fit surprising well but were a bit too loud in the mix. They reminded me a bit of a death metal version of Roman “Thurios” Blagih from Drudkh, but I feel that some practice would make them sound much better as on this recording they sounded very airy and windy. With practice a roar like that could really make songs like this come alive. Overall aside from the problems I mentioned above I actually enjoyed this song very much. Incredibly catchy guitar riffs and good sense of build, I feel that with some revising and a much needed addition of length this song could really shine. 8/10
Nyarlathotepmusic, Zodijackyl, Ragew, are you guys in bands at all? I wouldn’t mind hearing more of your stuff.