This is a NGADM Round 1 Review.
- Holy moly, that guitar work is wild!
- Super energetic introduction.
- Great transitions.
- 1:00, 1:58 and 2:41 -- LOVED these parts!
Silky smooth guitar playing as always, JDawg. I love the energy that this track has! As mentioned above, I loved the transitions and I LOVED those riffs at 1:00 and 1:58. Furthermore, the break (which was much needed by 2:41) was excellent.
What to consider:
- Drums stand out in the mix
- Not enough rests; more breaks, please!
As pointed out by others, the drums stick out quite a bit! As with your Round 1 track, there could have been a more effective use of reliefs in order to break the song up and give the ears of the listener a rest. 2:41 sounds perfect where it sits, and another break in the earlier part of the track would have been great! Again, the track is a little repetitive. I won't drag on about that though!
Great track, I must say that I really enjoyed listening to it. Well done!
This is an NGADM 2015 review.
So this is a pretty sick track, well produced, quite interesting, not very repetitive, and consistent. There were a few nitpicks I have about the mixing and perhaps a little about the mastering, but beyond that this song is quite difficult to fault. It's engaging and sounds great.
So others have mentioned your snare sticking out a little, which is definitely true to an extent (though it's not too bad imo), but I think it's in part due to the fact that the rest of your percussion is quite low in comparison; especially the kick - though the cymbals are pretty quiet as well, but less of a deal.
(My comments on the kick may stem from a lack of experience with the genre to be perfectly honest, so feel free to dismiss the following if you think that's the case :P). The kick is quite punchy and has a nice transient in the high end, but almost no presence anywhere else. If I lowpass the song just a bit I can't actually hear the kick anymore. I understand that kicks of this nature are quite often fast and as such giving them a lot of low end would completely destroy your mix, but I think they at least need something down there in this instance... at least toward the lower end of the spectrum. You could always shorten the tails for rapid kicks, anyway.
Apart from some issues with the percussion, I think the mixing on this track is pretty great in general. The track itself is probably a little quiet (-15RMS) but I like that it's relatively dynamic and I think I'd find its level to be more of a strength that anything else, as it's definitely a long way from being offensively quiet.
I also enjoy your transitions a lot by the way, especially the one around 3:45. Good stuff :)
Thank you for the review!
Guitars sound great - full and clear. The clean break sounds great and made a nice change to the ever-chugging style of the song. I like how the high lead snuck in before the heavy section picks up again. You bass guitar adds nice warmth without muddying up the whole track.
Areas for improvement:
Your drums stick out, a lot. I think most of this is due to them boing too loud although some could be attributed to the depth of the snare which is over powering the guitars. It's just too much for the rest. I think the intro or chords sections needed more melody or something over the top to complete the song.
Final score: 8.5
Awesome as always, you Dawg. <3
:D Thanks for the review!
This is an NGADM Round 2 Review
To nobody's surprise, you've churned out another beast of a metal track. The one thing I want to get out of the way first is how well-executed I think this song is. Your guitar playing is spot on, the transitions are smooth as butter, and there's an excellent sense of rhythm in the riffs. You also take certain riffs and melodies and repeat them more than once, which is always a good idea as it gives the track a more cohesive, satisfying listening experience, rather than just a "shopping list of riffs", as I like to call it.
Your production, for the most part, is stellar. I especially liked how you mixed the guitars. I think there was a slight dip in mixing quality in the drums department, though. They're still suitably powerful without being too overpowering, but as someone below me said they feel rather detached from the rest of the track, mix-wise. I actually think the snare's the most guilty of this. That snare drum sounds a bit too much in the forefront compared to the rest of the instruments, and it leads to some snare-heavy sections being particularly tiring to the ear, such as the intro and 1:25.
In terms of arrangement, I think this has a solid structure and each part leads naturally to the next. However, I can't deny that the track started to get a bit disinteresting and monotonous at points. The break at 2:44 was a welcomed change, but I feel like the rest of the track wasn't melodically strong enough or texturally varied enough to fully keep the listener's attention.
That said, this is a super solid metal track. Thanks for taking part in another NGADM!
Thanks for the review, it was a lot of fun!
=== This is an NGADM Round 2 Review ===
Somewhat appropriately, the 2 biggest metal guys got paired off immediately. The judges must really hate metal or something. :) (I was not involved in the pairing process in any way. Don't judge me.)
Both you and your competitor pulled out pretty awesome tracks. This is a really solid track, and you should definitely be satisfied with the work that you did. You went in with the attitude that you were gonna get wrecked, but I think you did good. The main riffs are all very solid. It has many different sections and the changeups are generally delightful.
I want to draw your attention to the mix, however. Consider the section around 1:10, particularly the lead guitar. It's too quiet! I actually have to listen very closely in order to hear all the notes, which is definitely no good. (The lower notes are particularly bad.) It's the *lead*, it should be very prominent in the mix (behind only the drums, really). This happens quite often in the song - the lead is buried. Listen to 3:10 - you can barely even hear the lower 2-3 notes on the guitar line.
I also want to talk about the arrangement for a little bit. Except for a single very quick section around 2:50, this song is hardcore heavy metal without any breaks at all. This will fatigue any listener (particularly people who don't listen to all too much heavy metal). Breaks are absolutely necessary to ameliorate this fatigue. This kinda gets into what I wanted to say next, which is that I think that this song could use more variation of instrumentation. Commercial heavy metal tracks almost always feature singing, so that the focus can move from guitar to vocals (which keeps the listener invested), but they'll also try playing the guitar with different soloing styles, add acoustic guitar into the mix, etc, etc.
I don't mean to bash on the song too much, of course, because I liked it! I thought it had a bunch of interesting ideas both melodically and with respect to the arrangement. The ascending riffs around 1:10 are pretty cool, for instance, and were a pretty good selection for the main theme. My favorite part, though, is (and this should come as no surprise given what I said about the importance of breaks) the breakdown at 2:50 which introduces a sort of 5 + 5 + 5 + 1/4 meter which is played on top of the 4/4 meter. This is super cool. I just gotta love this sort of polyrhythmic stuff. I particularly like how the 2nd 5 starts on the off-beat, which gives it a different feeling from the previous 5 (even though it's the same notes!).
The transition back into heavy metal with the same polyrhythm idea is especially satisfying (this is why breaks are so great!) and the further transition back into the main theme is great too. Great way to end a great track.
Thank you for the detailed review, I really liked the breakdown around 2:50 too, it was really fun writing this song
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.