Genre Analysis (Metal)

Genre Analysis (Metal)
Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

Genre Tropes

Heavy metal follows its own set of tropes and is categorised as a sonically harsh genre.  The use of heavy distorted guitars, violent vocals and large dense drum kits are very common within this genre, and are constructed to sound brute and harsh.

The specific use of instruments such as guitars, drums and vocals means that they are limited in terms of musical experimentation but the extensive use of processing to these individual instruments provides the timbre and sonic characteristic to the genre. With the use of limited instruments and expectations that come with the genre, the incorporation of more complex musical theory is usually displayed to grab the interest of the listener. This is especially prominent in the more melodic instrumentation which often employ scales and fast solos to further enhance the fast driving beat to their songs. Metal drumming however covers the aspect of speed and power, often accompanying the more precise and melodically rich aspects of the vocals and guitars.



There are two distorted guitars in this part one playing the melody and the counter melody. The use of panning separates the guitars apart and creates a sense of space as the main drums are panned towards the centre.


There is also the use of palm muting within the guitars playing as the release of the guitar strings are halted to achieve a “chuggier” and slower releasing sound similar to that of a pizzicato. Also the sound of the palm hitting the strings gives off lower frequencies primarily towards 500hz-1500hz similar to that of using a lowpass filter. Also the use of eight notes or quavers is very prominent in the guitar techniques as

An important aspect of metal guitar techniques is the use of shred guitar. Shred guitar is the technique of playing the lead aspect of an electric guitar using various musical techniques such as fast solos, sweep picked arpeggios, finger tapping and tremolo bar usage. Most of the genre uses diminished and harmonic minor scales for the use of its solos.


Certain techniques such as the use of double pedal kicking driving the rhythm to 1/8 or 1/16 timings. Another trope is the use of the cymbal choke, which consists of striking a cymbal and then immediately silencing it by halting its release. As for the drums, the use of crash and ride smashes are very prominent since there is almost no higher frequencies provided by the guitars, the use of these percussions help to fill the void of missing higher frequencies.


The vocals in this song feature delay and reverb to differentiate between the dry instrumentations in the background. The use of harsh vocals and screaming are prominent in this genre since it compliments the distorted guitars and large drum kit. There is also a delayed vocal line which sings in the background at a lower octave to achieve double tracking. The backing vocals are also widely panned while the main vocals are primarily panned in the centre. However, the use of reverb is more prominent in the backing vocals as to further separate between the lead and the backing.

You should have known
The price of evil
And it hurts to know
That you belong here, yeah
Ooh, it’s your fuckin’ nightmare

Lyrically, the use of dark and fictional themes are prominent in this genre. The use of vulgar and colliqual language is also very prominent since the genre is mainly aimed towards a younger audience.


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Compositionally metal follows the usual rock n roll arrangement of verse – chorus – verse. However, for this genre the use of instrumental breaks or solos are far more prominent than any other guitar oriented genres.

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