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Chemicals [NGADM]

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Author Comments

This is my entry for round 1 of NGDAM! I'm glad this competition had me writing music. I may add a few more vocal parts later, but deadlines. teehee~

Edit: Wow, thanks for the frontpage exposure NG!

Edit 2: Updated mix! No more bass drum problems <:

From the doubt in our cortex
Rationale is attained;

Repose keeps us afraid
But fear is the chemical gluing our vigilance together

Reason lets us thrive
Use the spectrum in your eyes

From a callow soul comes courage
Naive courage

No God to guide me through this, my nerves quiver steadily, but that means I am free
Now, no longer hollow, but still, I'm just a formula

Oh, our hearts are led astray, but that's okay, for we are just chemicals
Our souls may stay as shallow ponds, but nothing's wrong; we are the universe


This is like Jazzy rock. and i fucking love this song. and i have to say to you. Awesome job. you have a new person that loves your music! :D and that voice. is fantastic!

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Kor-Rune responds:

Thanks man! I'm certainly glad you enjoy my music! Tomorrow holds a new song :>

This is super special awesome, going on my boudoir music playlist. Awesome in too many ways to list.

Well... first off, a round of applause for what is without a doubt the most elegantly crafted, ambitious and stunningly diverse show of skill in this round.

The amount of genres and styles touched here is really staggering. I'm hearing jazz guitar runs, progressive metal riffs with time signatures that change like it's nobody's business, early progressive rock influences, modern prog rock influences, maybe even a few video game influences, and so on. The instruments, too, sound absolutely fantastic: the the guitars have character and are played amazingly, the drums are clear and detailed yet have plenty of punch. The vocals and vocal harmonies are completely transparent and clear. The mix is open and airy when needed, and rich and thick otherwise, but never overcrowded.

I'm going to go through the track and note a few moments that were particularly nice, because you should be credited for each one of them: (0:00) The haunting modern progrock intro reminds me of Porcupine Tree. (0:12) A jazzy polyphonic guitar solo that gradually morphs into a more traditional metal one. (0:30) Great interplay between the smooth synthesizers and harmonized guitars. (1:03) Polyrhythms that are a hell to try and analyze but a joy to listen to. (1:31) Dat blues influence (1:35) I love the jumpy slightly detuned guitars in this part. And you always have these tiny transitional guitar parts in all the little pauses. (2:32) Something almost sublime about this guitar solo. And great drumming patterns in this and the part that follows. (3:07) Very spacy chords are being implied by these arpeggios, which is fitting in a way. And the chord-playing clean guitar provides great support for it. (3:30) You just threw that amazing transition out there like it was nothing. Dude what (3:35) Almost no point in pointing out this part at this point because you know what I'll say. I love the dramatic Dream Theater-esque string section. (4:23) Same comments about this here as I said about 2:32, but more. (5:05) From here until the end, the vocal harmonies, distorted guitar rhythms and the entire mix just gets more and more over the top, with a climax around the last vowel of universe (it's also very appropriate that that particular vowel should remind me of 80s-90s space TV somehow). After that the tune promptly ends with some guitar pattern and string sequence fit for fading out.

My only main gripe would be that the long, drawn out singing occasionally makes the vocals sound a lot angstier than the lyrics would imply. Like in your audition entry, the subject of the lyrics and your approach to it is really refreshing, so I found the style you chose here a bit disappointing after the more, er, leisurely delivery, in Don't We All?. Apart from that, I could be listing a few things here and there that I thought could be improved upon, or that I would have enjoyed to hear in this song, but it would be missing the point, since the quality, ambition and skill in this song break the scale I was originally intending to use. This song gets clean 10's in all the categories I made up, as no other score would do the song justice. The passion shines through every note and every second of the song. Great work and congratulations.

10 points for sounds and instrumentation.
10 points for composition and melody/harmony.
10 points for theme/originality/other things that might impress.

Overall impression: 10.0

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Kor-Rune responds:

Thank you Buoy for your super detail review! LOL DUDE, PT'S ALBUM THE INCIDENT INSPIRED THAT INTRO, you're right on the money there. I saw them live and they were seriously divine. <3

I'm so happy my guitar solos are enjoyed. I don't particularly like the (4:23) guitar solo, and I wanted to play something a little better, but it's too late to change anything other than the mix I think. You can hear a compensation arpeggio at the end and there's not any of those well thought out licks or anything.

I'm glad my transitions hold up, I felt afraid they might be abrupt!

Yes, the lyrics and vocal melodies were the hardest thing to write here. I still feel like the lyrics aren't connected well and the vocal melodies are a bit empty. After the "Fear is a chemical" line has a guitar solo immediately compensating for empty space where I wanted some more vocals. but deadlines were a comin' so had to post. it ended up just becoming the finished product(minus the horrible mix in lots of places).

OH MY GOSH BUOY ILY thank you for the tens it makes me happy. C: Thanks again Buoy!

Jaw... Meet Floor.

Of Round 1, this was by far my favorite submission. You sir, are a beast. There was practically nothing about this that I didn't like. The amazing guitar playing was... well... amazing... Awww hell, everything in this was pretty damn amazing.
I can really hear some prog influence, and being a big fan of prog, this pleased me greatly, the constant switching up kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire song, there was not a single section of the song where I felt myself bored.
And while I'm not sure, I wanna say I hear some influence from Incubus in your vocals, to me, your vocal style greatly reminded me of Incubus... which is most certainly not a bad thing. Use of somewhat unconventional vocal phrasing keeps things interesting, and sets it apart from the majority of most recycled music today.
Really, I don't know how to describe how much I enjoyed this submission. Kudos to you, sir.

The only thing that bugged me about this song, was the mixing, the kick especially, throughout a good chunk of the song, it sounded like the kick was invading the mixing relentlessly... causing unnatural compression, very noticeably on the vocal line.
Aside from that... I really can't find anything to complain about.

Very amazing stuff, I was greatly impressed with this, and it earned you a 9/10 from me.

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Kor-Rune responds:

Thank you BFP!

I'm seriously like super giddy that everyone generally agrees my submission is their favorite. omg C: I feel so honored.

Yes, I do enjoy lots of prog, and that's the main influence here, with some fusion inspiration thrown in.

Lately I've been working on fixing that obnoxious kick compression. But I'll get a better mix out for chemicals when I finish my round 2 track. (And probably lose, all this praise is making me nervous LOL)

I appreciate the review BFP! I'm super glad you're impressed. THANK YOU c:

Here is your personal review for your round 1 submission! Remember that the score might be a little lower than I would normally give, I'm being a tad harsher than I'd normally be for the NGADM.

The Good:
-Okay, first of all, nice phasers or flangers or whatever the heck on the drum for the intro, definitely fits with "Chemicals". Speaking of which, that drumkit is nice, clean, and fits well.
-Your guitars are really well-done, you obviously have talent.
-That is some really nice voice work, particularly since you only had 2 weeks.
-Overall, the feel of the song is amazing and constantly changes. Managing to keep me interested for the full 6 and a half minutes is quite a feat.
-Ooh, nice usage of a different division of beats at 1:00, it really, REALLY threw me for a loop when I first tried to count it before I figured out "oh, you actually stayed in 4/4".
-Vocal chopping at 2:28. Or whatever the heck you call it, I can't remember. It sounds great.

The Not-So-Good:
-Pretty much the biggest thing I noticed was the kick causing mixing at around 3:30 onward. Might want to bring down the lower frequencies a bit or cut out any reverb you have on the kick. This REALLY kills things at 5:18-5:30 when you have the kick rolls.
-A few transitions are a bit awkward, like the one at 1:28-1:36. Really threw me for a loop there.
-...you have this amazing song and then use a fadeout for an outro. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS. D:

Overall: Oh my god I am seriously impressed. This is definitely the best submission in this round, a lot of people seemed to not have tried very hard, but your effort clearly shows in this. Incredible job. For your effort I'll give you a 9.5/10, the best score this round. Honestly, somebody's going to have to pull a miracle out to beat that.

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Kor-Rune responds:

Thanks for the detailed review! I want to enter in every contest to get awesome feedback like this. Goodness!

Yup, it's a flanger for a little bit. part is ugly so flangerdrums. I use Addictive Drums, with a tweaked kit. it rox
Nice catch on the beat division! I just stack two simple meters when I can't think of a cool drum beat.

Thanks for helpin me fix my kick compression problem. I didn't know to take out some lower frequencies, but now that I think about it, it would work. Thankyouthankyou

Also, that's my least favorite transition too LOL. sometimes I think I'm dream theater and can do that but I can't. I tried to compensate with a really quiet pick slide that doesn't have a lot of presence but is still in the mix for some reason.

I'm absolutely flattered you can cl this the best submission in this round. Thank you for your great review, useful criticism, and kind words.

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Credits & Info


4.38 / 5.00

Aug 15, 2012
8:05 AM EDT
General Rock
File Info
12.1 MB
6 min 38 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.