Tag Archives: metal

Distinct Hitting Motion: Pennant Chase

Middle of September? Already?! Where did the time go?! Suddenly the regular season is almost over and it’s time to wrap up those playoff spots!

This song is another classic case of “new gear, new riff” – in this case, a new pedal. I went into this song thinking of making a straightforward, driving tune with a fuzz pedal. So, I got my hands on a fuzz pedal, hooked it up to my Orange amp, plugged in my seven-string, and away we went. I had originally played the main riff on a six-string, but I wanted that low B and using the seven was way easier than detuning…

For the ending, I was torn. I originally wrote a sudden ending, which was fine… but part of me wanted to fade out. After some thought, I decided to do both! I kept the sudden ending, waited around, then went back to the main riff for the fadeout. Why choose, right?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something completely different from anything else in this project!

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Distinct Hitting Motion: The Challenge

You know what number always comes to mind when I think of baseball? SEVEN. Not nine, not three, but SEVEN. Because, you know… OK, not really. But I wanted to write in seven, so I did anyway.

The first riff came about literally trying that specific guitar in a music store. I picked that guitar up, plugged it in, and started playing that riff almost immediately. I’ve been wanting to use more complex chords in my writing and this was the perfect opportunity. Funnily enough, the song wound up being structured kind of like a march or a rag (double-binary form – ABABCDCD) and I didn’t even realize it until long after I had tracked it.

Lyrically, I was struggling for this one – in fact, this tune almost didn’t make the cut for this project because of that. But right as I was about to shelve it, an idea was hatched. Manager’s mad about a call and challenges it! And, of course, doesn’t like that the call stands and gets himself ejected. I tried a new style of harsh vocals since the low growls didn’t seem to make sense for this one.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for fun with a fuzz pedal!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Or Do You Want to See Me Sock a Few Dingers?

If you know your Simpsons trivia, you knew this tune was coming at some point.

This one took a lot of work. I had over an hour and a half of footage to sort through for this video. There were at least a few bad takes on every instrument… especially that piano part in the middle. Those drastic key shifts made that part tough. Not sure why I keep doing that to myself…

Knowing how the line was delivered, the tune had to start exactly like this – mid-tempo, major key, generally sounding happy and fun. Then, remembering the Terrifying Truth, ending with the sinister riff that opened and closed that song… transposed down again. Because let’s be honest – I’m using the 8-string and that open 8th string with full distortion is just way too fun to leave out.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a little more prog rock fun!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Break Time

We’re halfway through already? Dang… let’s take a breather and enjoy the all-star festivities.

Oh, right. A song about taking a break probably shouldn’t be that fast, should it? Oops…

I had been thinking a lot about fast and loud music lately, from Slayer to Sick of It All, and that’s how this tune came about. Loud, fast, sloppy, and brash as all hell. For all the times I’ve used harsh vocals in the past, this is strangely enough the first song in this project where I don’t actually sing. I don’t fully know where September and October will take me, but there’s a good chance this might be the only song in this project with only yelling/harsh vocals. So why this time? Simply because the tune’s punk/hardcore/metal vibe called for it.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song in a completely different style!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Do You Want to Know the Terrifying Truth?

It was about time for a track like this, wasn’t it? I thought so, too. As soon as I knew I wanted to use a Simpsons reference (the song for the second half of it is actually mostly written and coming later this year), this one started to form a little in my head. Because it came first, the title really helped shape the song itself. Vocals? Lyrics? Who needs ’em?!

Even though I could’ve gotten away without it, I used the 8-string anyway. This is largely as a setup for the second half… and also because I reached for it long before the “7-string in drop-A” lightbulb went off.

Thanks to the title, I knew I wanted changing time signatures and plenty of dissonance. This tune, with the exception of one section, goes back and forth between 3/4 and 5/4 time. As for dissonance, the easiest way to achieve that was to have the guitars one fret off on the high notes in the 5/4 riff. I then had the bass decide who’s “on” and who’s “off” through its own line.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Human Rain Delay

“Human Rain Delay” is the baseball nickname that I loved the moment I heard it. Such a prestigious moniker is bestowed on a pitcher or batter who seems to take FOREVER between pitches. Guys like these are why MLB has a “stay in the batter’s box, you jerk” rule and why the top minor leagues have pitch clocks. Just throw the ball already!

I don’t really know why, but I’ve sorta been on a groove/sludge kick for a good chunk of this year. I think the new Mastodon album has a lot to do with it – that disc spent a LOT of time in my car after its release. Maybe it was also in anticipation of finally seeing Tool live (which was a good time, by the way)? I don’t know for sure. Either way, I wanted to slow down the tempo a bit, get heavy, and finally make use of an extended range guitar for this song. As a little bit of music reflecting lyrics, I decided the ending bit should have an occasional measure of 7/8. This gives the music some impatience to compliment the lyrics getting impatient and annoyed.

The haiku at the beginning really set the tone for the lyrics. I was hanging out, bothering my brother as usual, when we got talking about baseball and he just kinda blurted out that haiku. He agreed to let me use it in exchange for a beer to be named later.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take it easy and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Early Deficits

Hooray! It’s baseball season! And your favorite team is off to a bad start. Yippee… This tune is dedicated to the Blue Jays, Giants, and Royals fans – whose favorite teams enter the month of May as the three worst teams in the league.

Musically, This one was inspired by two bands: Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age. I had been listening to them quite a bit when I sat down to write this song, which got me jonesin’ to play in good ol’ Drop-C tuning. It’s a tuning I rarely use but it worked out super well here.

In other news, I’m releasing monthly EPs. With this song, the first EP is now complete! It’s available to stream and download HERE.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take care and I’ll see you in two weeks with the next song!

The Assignment

This semester, I had a great idea for my Rock Ensemble class. Instead of assigning bands or eras to cover, how about a specific thing to use in an original song? So I did. Every band in the class this semester has to use the following chord progression:

Am   G   F   Dm   E

Yes, five chords. Was that intentional? You bet. Want a four-measure phrase? Then you have to make a decision somewhere. Want one chord per measure? Then you’re stuck with a five-measure phrase. Pick your poison!

In a show of solidarity, I decided to partake in this assignment as well. And uh… hmm… how to put this… I went overboard.

The chord progression happens in two places – the beginning and the end. In between, I channeled my inner Opeth and wrote lyrics about a college student finally sitting down to write a 10-page paper that was assigned at least a month ago. Got the assignment “today”, huh? Riiiiight…

Please enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you soon.

4th and Goal Theme Song

Believe it or not, I tend to enjoy musical commissions. Earlier this year, I was asked by a friend of mine to make opening and closing theme music for a podcast he co-hosts, called “4th and Goal“. He told me what it’s about – FOOTBALL, of course – and gave me a good blueprint for the voiceovers. Other than that, I was left to my own devices. So hmm… what should I do? Naturally, I settled on what I tend to do best – heavy. I give you the 4th and Goal opening theme, with no voiceover.

4th and Goal Open

I set up a typical-ish podcast intro, adding some sound effects and a commentator… and then we crash into a 90s groove metal vibe. For those of you keeping score, that’s five of me yelling “FOOTBALL” before the metal kicks in.

For the closing theme, I just went straight for the 90s groove metal vibe and took the “theme and variations” route. The two riffs sound similar, but they’re not the same. I also put them in reverse order to keep things interesting. Here’s the closing theme, also with no voiceover.

4th and Goal Close

I know it’s not very “90s groove metal” of me to throw in a guitar lead, but my gut told me something needed to be there so I did it anyway. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.