There are many different things that give every genre of music unique character. Every song has many different aspects that blend together to create the song. In this article we’ll talk about the aspects of heavy metal music and important elements to the genre. Something that exists within every song is timbre. Timbre is something that is often overlooked, but can not be ignored. Timbre can almost be described as the very soul of the music. There are six important aspects of heavy metal that make its timbre very distinct from every other type of music.
“The most important aural sign of heavy metal is the sound of an extremely distorted electric guitar”. The distortion creates a powerful ambiance by exceeding the amplifiers capacity. The straining sound produced is and high in energy that it demands to be listened to. It is safe to say that distortion exist in every heavy metal song on some level.
Volume also has a close connection with heavy metals’ timbre. Heavy metal seems to demand to be heard at a high volume. The intense volume creates a link with the power of the music and the inner power of the individual. This connection creates the feeling of loudness we all get when we listen to heavy metal. When seeing a live performance the loudness of heavy metal is impossible to dismiss.
By over-riding their voices heavy metal vocalist create the same type of intensity the guitarist produce by overriding their amplifiers. By sustaining difficult notes vocalist also create further intensification. This in combination with the guitarist helps to create a complex intense energy for the audience. These techniques can sometimes even be intensified along with a chorus. A chorus helps create a sense of space and helps the listener to feel included. All these techniques are designed to create an exciting image.
“One study compares heavy metals’ rhythm to that of a military march, because it is simple yet it captures and concentrates peoples energies”. This accusation may be false, but marches and metal sometimes rely on simplicity for their effectiveness. Heavy metals rhythm rouses physical energy through its simplicity, and encourages participation from the audiences. Many heavy metal songs have been made popular because of their constant simplistic pulses such as “Running with the Devil” for example.
Melody isn’t as key to heavy metal as it is to other kinds of music. Melody can also be described as the patterns within a song. There are two typical characteristics in heavy metals melody that stand out. At the end of phrases notes are either sustained or shrieked. Some singers use a great deal of syncopation during their lines. Although there is some Melody within heavy metal for the most part it tends not to follow any particular rules.
Guitar solos are one of the main aspects that separate heavy metal from other musical categories. “Virtually every heavy metal song features at least one guitar solo”. Besides being important for the production of power chords the guitar has a huge potential as a solo instrument. It is almost always used in both ways during a standard heavy metal song.
Through using guitar distortion, guitar solos, melody, rhythm, voice distortion, and playing at a high volume heavy metal has a very high timbre. All these things work together to create an atmosphere we can’t dismiss as being anything other then Heavy metal.