The Breakdown

The Breakdown is a key element in Hardcore and Metalcore. A Breakdown is a section of the song which is very rythmic and heavy, designed to drive home a powerful beat. Prominent characteristics of Breakdowns include halfed or slowed time signature, repeated chorus-like lyrics, open string riffing of the lowest strings, and precise bursts of kick drum beats. Often coupled with high-note shredding for contrast.



Distortion is processing of the guitar signal to produce that sound. This won't likely come as a shock, but the device used for this is called a signal processor or stomp box. Ironically, and despite the name, distortion is purely an act of precise refinement; that is to say it is an exact science and not just poor sound quality. Originally discovered in the mid 20th century by manipulation of the mixing knobs on an amp to produce the effect, distortion has evolved far. Grunge or pop rock may have light twangy distortion whereas heavier rock and metal will have deep powerful distortion. Distortion is necessary in order to perform some techniques such as harmonics and squealing. There are many other kinds of signal processing for different styles but the most staple is probably distortion. Not to be confused with active effects such as pitch bending or wah-wah which are consciously activated with and expression pedal.


Guitar Squealing

Guitar Squealing is a difficult but worthwhile technique. The Squeal can be achieved by picking the string and then quickly muting it slightly with the thumb. This will produce a harmonic which should then be vibrated by string bending. This process and similar ones can be more comprehensively explored with a whammy bar.

Types of metal

Addendum note: The author has since deemed the validity of this article questionable.

Brought to light should be the difference between the Metals. Needless to say there are countless combinations of genre names but I have generalized to a degree here. Each sub genre is commonly perceived to be the definition of metal by the ignorant, but to assume this would be like assuming that all classical music written after the year 1800 sounds the same.

Metalcore: Metalcore is tied closely with Power Metal and is fast paced usually having more high pitched screaming than other music. Metalcore bands commonly have fantasy or video game-like names such as "dragon warrior" or "storm hammer". The tonality of Metalcore is bright, gallant and light more so than the others. Features extremely fast and long guitar or keyboard solos. The Mozart of the Metal universe.

Heavy Metal: Heavy Metal is slower and has lower, heavier tone than Metalcore.

Shock Rock: Shock Rock is the creepy, and unfortunately judged upon type of metal. Shock Rock employs graphic stage scenery and is more about shocking the listener than inspiring with music. Shock Rock typically has pop influences and mumbly, growly singing.

Death Metal: Death Metal is extremely heavy and features growling and satanic themes. A more blunt and brutal version of Shock Rock.

Finally Alternative Metal: This is similar to Metalcore but is less sophisticated and has more screaming and pop culture themes.


Drop Tuning

A basic technique of rock is the power chord. The setup can be achieved by tuning the bottom (e) string down one step leaving you with D and a perfect fifth topped with an octave. This is drop D. To achieve a lower and thus heavier sound, you may tune the bottom three strings down an additional step. To take it a step further you can tune the bottom three strings down additional steps.

Ridiculous incompetence!

The band I recruited has, as a still small voice inside me has been saying this whole time, completely ditched out on every single practice to date. Needless to say I've had more than enough of them.


Power vs. Brilliance

Once must take care to maintain the delicate yet strong power of brilliance in music which is so power oriented such as rock. If a massive and agressive song is to be complete it usually should have a more brilliant chorus or bridge to give the listener a sense of relief and sophistry. Without this one will usually end up with what older folks or rock and metal opponents call "just screaming, strumming and banging drums." Likewise you will hear breif moments of power in old brilliance driven classical music such as Mozart.


Instruments Borrowed

Recently a friend of mine allowed me to borrow several instruments including an Epiphone Les Paul, a strange looking bass and a hollow-body electric mandolin. I need to get new strings for most of these, and I will probably do so today before updating this post.

I re-stringed the guitar and it sound quite similiar to mine. The bass works nicely and I've done some recording with it.


Encountered a Problem

While finishing up my rough drafts for the Renegade Express album, I came to realize that singing slow and peaceful songs is terribly difficult to sound good on. I gained much confidence by practicing and listening to the recordings but it still is a challenge. I will continue to combat this.


A Memo On Rythm

A few things have come to my understanding on the subject of rythm. The first is that speeds should generally be fairly slow. A thrash kind of beat is acceptable here and there, now and again, but the majority of one's beats should be slow and fat. Another thing is that it should fluctuate over long verses and evolve throughout the movement. The listener must be made to yearn and reach out for every next beat in eager anticipation.