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Self Discipline

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Author Comments

Here's my song for Round 3 of the NGADM. It's the first time I've ever made it this far, and I'm happy I got this far! I hope to make it to the 4th!


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Man, I've got such a soft spot in my heart for your brand of Rock! You've put together a ton of epic riffs here, but the mix comes off as being strangely thin, especially during the sparser sections. That said, I can hear each and every single instrument just as clear as a bell, with the exception of the percussion. The kicks sound especially washed out and could really benefit from some additional punch.

Ultimately, the melodies and overall mix were at odds in my mind during the judging round, which made scoring this more difficult than usual. While it all sounds good, nothing seems to stand out on its own and really take ownership until almost halfway through the track.

I think the bass could definitely use more presence, and while most of the riffs themselves feel just kind of slapped together with a fair lack of transitioning, your change up at the 4-minute mark really made me sit up and take notice. And while 2:15 comes rather suddenly, that release of tension is one of my favorite parts, including the heavy metal section immediately following.

There is so much potential here, but many of the different elements just don't seem to get the attention they truly deserve. Your melodies are so solid, and your playing is - as always - superb! But the mix is surprisingly lackluster by comparison. It leaves me feeling so torn, but nevertheless remains a sweet Metal journey.

8.87 out of 10

Stuff that's great:
- Clean mix, albiet very thin.
- Break at 2:15 is really nice, and provides a great contrast to the rest of the piece. I only wish it lasted longer!
- There are some really nice riffs throughout this, particularly after the chord shift at 4:00. Another great idea is the variation on the initial theme at 5:00.

Stuff that can be improved:
- The drum mix is particularly thin - the kick seems very high, the snare lacks almost any body, and the toms are quiet. The cymbals are pretty close, but lack depth - I think the whole drum track can be compressed harder and pushed out a bit more.
- Overall, the piece seems to go on just a bit too long and not have any part of it that really sticks out as the 'hook'. It's a lot of riffing over chords for nearly 5 and a half minutes, without too much to focus on.
- I think the guitar tone is a bit awkward as well - with the wall of chords going on throughout the piece, it really isn't thick enough to have a strong feel.

Primarily, this is a long piece with good ideas that just kinda... sits on them - it doesn't arrange them in a way that helps them pop out, and the thin mix hurts this a lot as well.


The riff at the beginning is really catchy, and I like the harmonies you layer on top at :22. I still think you throw the listener right into the action without much of an intro, though. Also, as I’ve said before, the structure seems a little patched together. The variety in this is driven by changes in the riffs, some of which are quite sudden (e.x., 2:17), instead of phrasing and shape. You do exhibit some effort at structural and dynamic contrast, but when almost all of the changes in your piece take place every 4 or 8 bars, a quite predictable pattern emerges. If you focus on giving your pieces a near-constant sense of direction, I think that could really help advance your composition. Your production is still great, and clearly the guitarwork here is fantastic. Overall, solid work! Keep at it, Metallica1136. ;)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the above elements interact?)
Composite score

You should be proud that you've made it this far. You're in the top 32 of 250 or so people who auditioned.

Anyway, this is good work. The composition and the overall mixing is pretty good. A couple things I'm noticing. The percussion I feel like don't have enough punch particularly in the snare and kick. It sounds like you recorded it live which is awesome if you did. If not I'd actually be really impressed with how realistic it sounds. But to mix it better the low frequencies need to come through with those instruments.

That's all I'll say for now. This is pretty sweet. Again, be proud.
And good luck

Credits & Info


4.66 / 5.00

Aug 21, 2017
10:45 PM EDT
Heavy Metal
File Info
6.1 MB
5 min 20 sec

Licensing Terms

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