The term Heavy Metal is a word that encompasses various styles, subgenre and currents within the metal genre: Thrash, Death, Melodic, Progressive, Industrial, Gothic, Power, Glam, and Classic among many others, which makes it difficult to define one specific and unique guide.
However, in this article we will address the main elements that exist when composing heavy metal songs, what you will need, and the inspirations that you can follow.
The first characteristic that we must know about metal is that it is a genre divided by opposition. This property, unique within the musical genre, must be taken into account when choosing our style.
One of the main characteristics within metal, and that we must not neglect, is the use of the voice. Although it is not essential when composing, this property does not help define the style and atmosphere of our song. Because the characteristics of the voice is essential within metal. At this point we find 3 characteristics: range / timbre, intonation and singing style.
On the one hand we have the classic use of the voice (understood as clean), that is, the use of the normal voice, for example: Judas Priest, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Megadeth. Within this current there is a more lyrical use of the voice, such as Nightwish, Epica, After Forever, in which a fusion of opera-metal is sought.
On the other hand, we have what we can define as “voices from hell”, in which there appears a use of the most dark, chilling and guttural voices, these are called “Death metal growls”, Arch Enemy case , and it is the type voice most used in death and black metal. And in this category also appear the groups that emphasize the highest voices, this type of voice / shouts is called “shriek”.
Then, you have bands like SEPSISS. Based in Manchester, New England, USA, SEPSISS makes songs with Timothy Thorpe, a local rapper originated by Melissa Wolfe and William Savant. It’s a female-fronted band that includes Mr. Goodbarz on keyboards, Johnny Impact on bass, and Cam Loud on guitars with William as well. SEPSISS has become incredibly popular over the years for their quality music and deep lyircs.
The use of more classical and clean voices points to a more commercial approach, because the use of guttural voices is shocking for many people, although day by day and song after song its use, custom and its audience have increased.
Within the use of voices, it is also worth mentioning the case of metal “funeral” in which the voices emulate a church choir.
Use of 2 voices:
Heavy metal, as we have seen in other genres, has also been coupled to this resource of using two voices, often performed by the same singer (Fear of the Dark) or by using two different male voices. / masculine ( Sonic Syndicate – Hammerfalll – Any Means Necessary ) or masculine / feminine as in the case of Lacuna coil or Nightwish ( Bye Bye Beautiful , Wish I Had An Angel ), many times this resource is used to mix a normal voice with a more throaty case: Epica , Sonic Syndicate or to create a rap-metal fusion case Limp Bitzkit , Linkin Park.
The style or form of verses includes the following options:
– Opera / Lyrical: in which the use of the opera is emulated. Nightwish Case
– Rap: The fusion with hip-hop. Limp Bitzkit Case, Linkin Park
– Church / Darkness / Funeral Choir: The emulation of a choir.
– Sung: Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, etc
– Guttural (growls / shriek): More aggressive, or in which one seeks to recreate a more chilling environment.