Good melodies, but drums need serious work.
This is becoming quite common, now - you're the third person on NG I've seen who comes up with good melodies, structures their songs well, and then neglects their drums and synth choie. I'll skip the praise, which would lie almost entirely in your melodies and harmonies anyway, and go straight to the criticism. How does that sound?
My guess is that you used FL Studio to put this song together. You made liberal use of the VSTi Sytrus, (you used some of its presets, too) as well as using the drum samples that came with FL Studio. Am I correct? Then let me start by evaluating the resources used... then I'll move onto clarity.
Firstly and most importantly - from now on, stay far, FAR away from the drum presets that come with FL Studio. They sound weak, flat, and VERY overused. Find some better samples, even if it means buying them - as long as you're avoiding those FL samples like the plague. They're not going to get you anywhere. Don't be fooled by your ridiculous number of reviewers who praise your work to no end within the few lines that they do give. There are samples out there that can offer so much more than any of the samples you're currently using can.
You make decent use of Sytrus, but use it so MUCH! Use other VSTi's, too. 3x0sc is actually quite decent if you add a lot of FX, for example. Look up Vanguard or Z3ta+ and see if you'd use either of those. And then, don't make the mistake with any of those that you did with Sytrus - at least TRY to make your own synths. Nobody can expect you to instantly master a synth as complex as Sytrus. But tweak around with the knobs and see what you find. Then try basing your synths off of presets - so you'd take a preset and tweak it until it sounds fairly different, and then you'd use it. Small steps. :)
Claritywise, this song could use some work as well. Though you know how to space your synths out so there aren't too many in the same frequency range, you end up with too many in each frequency range, and the song becomes quite crowded. Throw in your drums, along with a snare roll in certain parts of the song, and it's chaos. Careful. Try to limit the number of synths you use while keeping that full feeling. And if you feel you can't remove any more synths, then tweak with the individual volume knobs. Make what's quiet, weak, and barely audible louder. Tone down anything that overpowers the rest of the song. Rinse and repeat until your song sounds clearer. ;)
So, in summary:
1) Find better drums, ASAP. Don't use the samples that came with FL Studio.
2) Find synths other than Sytrus, and start to get used to making your own synths.
3) Work on clarity!
That's about all I have to say for this song - if I ever sounded harsh, know I'm just trying to give you the criticism you need. You did a nice job with it but you still have a LONG way to go. Don't be fooled by your many reviewers - you definitely have talent, but right now it's quite raw. Keep at it, follow my advice, and I'm sure you'll be on your way to making some great music.
Definitely NOT "Just another track." :D
You really need to get yourself known, AtomicInc. This song seriously deserves a LOT more than a score of 3.63 and 7 downloads. ;) Good thing you've been getting a nice amount of reviews, though... I'm going to give you mine. Here's a nice, big one. >:) You deserve it.
First, I have to say, I really like the melodywork in this song! It's done quite well, and the harmonies match it perfectly. Nice synth choice, too. (And then not just for your leads - for pretty much everything else as well. :D) It takes a while to develop - I would have preferred to have heard what starts at 0:44 (awesome transition into that part, by the way :D) starting at 0:31 after the transition. ;) It could be a bit more diversity too, actually, most of the time 8-measure-melodies work a lot better than 4-measure ones. It kinda gets boring, actually, since you have that 4-measure melody playing the entire song. Don't get me wrong, though - that aside, I think it's great in every other respect. :)
Your drums are well-chosen, too, you have good samples and you know how to use them. ;D The snare in the intro, I think, shouldn't have been so heavy. A lighter, crunchier-sounding one would have worked a bit better in my opinion. Everywhere else, though, I have no problem with your sample choice, it all fits very well. :)
Great work with this, get out there and get yourself known! Your work deserves a lot more than this, I assure you. :) Voted 5, keep up the good work. I'll be keeping an eye out for more of your music... >:)
You really are crunching! :O
So many entries in such a short time! Better now than later, I suppose, I guess I'd rather not have a deadline breathing down my neck too. :P
Still, I feel a bit more effort could have been put into this entry. It's good, but it doesn't shine like your song The Desire to Destroy. How much time did you spend on this?
In my opinion it's a bit lacking in emotion as well. Something about the melodies, harmonies, instruments chosen... it doesn't feel well done, in my opinion. I do think it's sad-sounding, I think it would fit a Game Over screen just fine, but there could easily be other songs that would fit one better.
As far as the actual song, compositionwise, is concerned, I don't have too much to say. My main problems here are with the clarity. There's... something, it sounds like a timpani, in the background. I think you made it too quiet, I have to listen VERY carefully to hear it. Not too much else to comment on... suppose I'll move onto the story now.
An aged character sits under a tree, at the top of a hill, and they sit facing the city the hill overlooks. The morning sun shines down at their back, and at the tree, casting a shadow towards the city, which bustles with life. People are walking, running, laughing, chit-chatting meaningless nonsense the character couldn't care less about. Peace reigns over the city, yet our character doesn't want to have anything to do with it.
Our character is in exile.
They stand up, turn around, and walk away.
A bit vague, but the rest is for you to figure out. :P Not a bad song, but again, lacking in effort in my opinion. Keep trying, hopefully your other contest entries will be better. :)
The things with loops Karco is that the more diverse you make them, the more powerful you create them, the more tiring they are to the human ear. The less you can listen to them. The Desire To Destroy, if you listen closely, has no main theme or melody. it is a long sequence of punishing chords and percussion.
Now if I had put a melody on top of that song, it would get super old, super fast. Battle/Angry pieces also tend to demand having a climax *build up* of sorts. The end of that song DOES have a semi-climax, but ultimately it leads back to the beginning, which some have claimed was a bad idea.
What i'm trying to say with all this is, a sad game over piece, DEMANDS melody. It DEMANDS having a voice, and for this reason I had to make it semi-bland, had to make it as powerful as I could whilst making it as fragile as possible.
True I didn't put as many hours into this as I did Desire To Destroy, though I didn't slack on it either. I suppose this one was just a failure, thats perfectly fine! That just means i'll have to try harder. Make another Game Over theme!
I also enjoyed your story, short, but there is room to figure things out myself like you wrote, which I did... in great detail. I wish I could show you the image in my head of him sitting under the tree atop a hill, overlooking the village...
In any case, thank you for the review!
Huge effort here! :D
You said in your news post this was a MAC entry, so why am I not surprised? :D I'll jump right in and start reviewing right away.
Not really too much to comment on, I like what you did with the choir in the first half or so of the song. Makes it nice and ominous. >:) I really like the way this song is structured! :) The percussion is very well-done, too, it adds a lot to the song.
The one thing I don't like, however, is the buildup at the end of the loop, which sounds like you're trying to make this song sound like one of those movie trailer soundtracks at their climax. :P A little more effort could have gone there - you tried but it was missing a little something that made it fall flat there, unfortunately. It kinda stood out of the song that way. The rest of the song was brimming with effort - this had it too, but not nearly as much. Of course, if the movie trailer feel might not have been what you were going for there, but even then it still could have done with a bit more effort.
That aside, though, I have to say this is a serious contender to be reckoned with in the MAC! I wish you the best of luck in the contest, Maestro. :)
Storytime now, though it'll probably be a short one since this is only a minute long. :P What's more is that, exciting as battlethemes are to listen to, stories end up being a bit cliche for my tastes. :\ Aah well, I'm trying to be original.
The sun glares harshly on two swordsmen in the center of a battlefield. All soldiers around them have fallen, and they, the leaders of their armies, wait for their opponent to make the first strike as they circle each other.
They realize that there is no good or evil - they are simply fighting for their own side. They realize the other's cause is as worthy as theirs, and that the battle is virtually a tie already and their fight here is meaningless if they wish to serve their own country. Yet they continue to circle each other.
Tension builds, and as they circle each other they realize only one between the two of them will live. The last thing they will see is the victorious gleam of their foe's sword. And still they circle.
That's all. And, whaddaya know, if you go back to the first paragraph, it loops too! :D How many people have done THAT before? ;)
Great song, Maestro, I enjoyed it! Keep up the great work, and good luck in the MAC. :)
Ah i'm glad you mentioned the percussion Karco, a lot of time was spent on them this time. For a brutal punishing theme the percussion is what makes or breaks the piece. Without them the song sounds incredibly flat and lifeless. Enough to the point it makes me laugh, and shed tears of shame.
Of shame Karco!
The climax at the end was not really intended to sound like a trailer, and i'll be honest here, I got the idea to try something like that after listening to Hans Zimmer's Pirates of the Caribbean 3rd OST "Drink Up Me Hearties". Somewhere in that song, alongside many other songs, he has a very powerful build up. Though my build up differs, and honestly doesn't convey as much energy, I felt the method would be a convinient way to loop. Whether that was the case or not is obviously debatable.
and Hah! I've never seen anybody write a story that loops XD. An infinite cycle of walking in circles, I can picture it now! The seasons, the weather, all cycling with them!
In any case, thanks for the review Karco, always a pleasent read! I am glad you liked it ^^.
Thought I'd review this.
So far this sounds like one of your better works by far, and it also happens to be in one of my favorite genres, so why not, right? :P
Great lead there, and while I suppose I can't give you credit for the melody itself, I can say that it fits with the melody very well. I also like the gated synth that comes in at around 1:02 though it causes some distortion.
The bass is on the offbeat, which works well, but you can be a bit more creative than that. Arp it? Play with the rhythms? Do whatever. :P
Oh, wait, I just noticed that Dj Unknown gave you the synth, too. XD Guess you can't take credit for it, either, though I still think it sounds awesome. :D
The drums, the drums... the kick was fine though it sounded a bit filtered, I think it would have done better without the filter. :\ I like that clap sample, but it's weak! Same goes for the hihat.
Overall, great song! :) This isn't as long of a review as I normally give but I really liked this song and thought it at least deserved one. :) Hope my criticism helped, keep up the great work. More like this is a good idea. :)
It's here! :D Awesome, I'm downloading it, right away. :)
Know what I'm going to do to review this? I'll watch the video and comment on your syncing as well. >:) Right after I comment on the song itself.
Great intro with the metal-on-metal effects, not too much to comment on... the way you build tension around 0:25 is just amazing! Then a crescendo into a march-ish section, and, awesome! You've got the choir singing more than aahs and oohs! :) Ohm, cha, something like that. XD
I have next pretty much no criticism for this song, the production is amazing. :D You definitely did push yourself to your limits... :) Though I do agree with you now, that it doesn't make too much sense without the video. :\ It feels inconsistent, changing its mind, like someone walking randomly and making sudden and almost instantaneous turns in random directions. You could also say it's like a blind person trying to sit in the corner of a circular room. XD The video really adds a lot to it. Anyway... I'm going to watch the movie now and give any comments I have for it.
(Shoot, know what I realized? After I watch the movie, and comment on it, I'll still have a story or at least an image left to give! Unlike with most artists my reviews for your songs are getting longer and longer... ow. XD)
I'll PM you the rest of the review. My computer's being REALLY annoying right now. Sorry. :\
I don't even know how to respond to your review Karco. To those who may be reading this response, Karco pm'ed me 2 other messages, each larger then even this! It's absolutely amazing how you find such time, and I must admit, it's even a little awe inspiring. For so long you've managed to keep this energy up, and for this I commend you.
Yeah, the choirs flowed into different things this time :D. It was a neat addition to teh song!
I'm not going to even respond to everything Karco, I don't even know how to begin, but I DO want you to know I really appreciated it, thank you.
I'm glad you liked the piece!
Been a bit busy but I was going to get to this...
I was going to get to it sooner or later. ;) I've had it looping for a while, so I won't have too much to say, but I'll say what I can.
The intro is a bit distorted, but it gives me the nice feel a chillout song should. I like that synth that passes through right before the hihats come in! :D Nice choice there. I don't like that snare drum very much, it doesn't seem to fit. Something a bit lighter, crunchier, maybe? :P
There's that synth again! :)
Is it just me or are the bass and hihats on the beat, and the kick on the offbeat? XD
Keep an eye - and an ear, more importantly - on that sound quality, I hear distortion quite often. Your songs tend to be high quality in many respects except for quality, where you seem to fall back a bit. Keep trying, you'll get the hang of it soon enough. ;)
I don't have very much else to comment on, but it's a nice song, I enjoyed it. Keep up the good work, here's my 5! :)
Always sad when a site shuts down...
What sort of site was it? I'm guessing the wolves have something to do with it...
A lonely feel is what I'm getting, though it becomes quite defiant and powerful once the timpani comes in... then there's the section that begins at around 1:46, at which point the song becomes a lot darker, angry, even. This song changes quite a bit... hmm. I don't quite like the note the song ends on - I see a trend... you seem to end abruptly on many of your songs. Now that I think about it, I can't believe it took me this long... XD But work on those endings! ;)
Another thing - maybe it's my headphones, maybe it's Newgrounds - I wouldn't be surprised if it was, actually - but I hear clipping in the beginning and end (it could possibly be in other places but I can't find it) of the song, and it seems to be on the part of the wolf sounds. I see down there that you just googled for them - ha, you're pretty lucky to find such good ones for free and with google but you can't forget sound quality when choosing them. ;) Aah, I'm hearing it with the choir - while it's hard to hear at first, the distortion gives itself away around 1:09-ish, or something like that. And I'm pretty sure you didn't google those samples... don't tell me you're getting lazy with the sound quality, now! XD
I'm not so sure about that flutelike instrument... It starts around the two-minute mark and it seems it was just "dropped on there" for the medieval sort of feeling. That spot could have gone to another instrument for adding to the dark feeling, which would have definitely worked out better, I think...
Hah! I just saw the timer go to 1:60. XD Ha, it goes to 0:60, too. Sometimes the redesign glitches are just... too funny. XD
I suppose nothing's left to add to the song except a nice story... >:) I'm on time constraints so it won't be too long but I'll try.
The sun sets on the far side of the mountain... a group of hikers climb it slowly, tired out from the hard work of a long, long day. They're not too far up - they're essentially in a slanted forest. Trees are plentiful where they are, as is wildlife, and there's no snow. They hear the wolves howling off in the distance but think nothing of it.
It's dark now. A campfire is made and sleeping bags are put out, tents are lifted. But in the middle of this hard work, a forceful gale begins to blow - the fire disappears and tents are blown away. Even the stars and moon seem to have been snuffed out.
One of the campers stands up and looks around. His friends are still there. He hears a wolf howl, and turns - to see one of his friends replaced by darkness. Wolves howl again and he turns to see two more have disappeared. He fumbles for a flashlight, a lighter, a match, just ANY source of light - but finds none. Fear grips him and he starts turning in circles, seeing now nothing but darkness.
A wolf strikes the camper, jumping onto him. He fights back but is quickly knocked out... and, unfortunately, killed.
The wolf howls.
Another great song, I enjoyed it! Hope you enjoy the review, and the story, as always... :) I recently uploaded a song that my friend and I collabed on while I taught him the basics of FL Studio, how about you stop by my page, give it a listen sometime? Much appreciated... and keep up the great work! :)
Sorry for my late response! The endings of my songs ARE abrupt, often. I do this mostly because I hate fade outs, and really I find if I don't make it abrupt they tend to drag on and on. But you're right, this is a flaw, and I should find a way through it.
The site was called rpg wolfpack, hence the reason for the wolves.
The song was also designed to be as RPG'ish as possible, which is why the flute part is up for debate by many, I thought it would be more RPG like to put them in there. I might have been wrong.
The song picks up, as it was my way of showing our strength. We have disbanded, but we have not weakened. We have taken many skills over the years, and taken up many crafts, and armed with these we walked away, true Wolves in heart, and a promise to always prosper.
The song was meant to be much much longer, but due to external project deadlines, had to be cut down.
In regards to the story, I loved it >:}. Those poor campers didn't see it coming, and I could visualize it quite well! I will go check out that friends piece right away!
Thank you for the review, i'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm sorry for the late response!
Gotta love that style of yours...
Even if you stopped submitting for a while it doesn't reach me why your audio page isn't as often-viewed as it was. :\ Aah, well.
You know, this almost sounds cluttered - but somehow it's not! :D I hardly have anything to criticise, really. The composition's great, (is that a banjo somewhere in there?) the drums quite fitting, the vocals... o_O Need I say anything? XD Quite a humorous song. One day I'll figure out how you and so many others use vocals like that so well...
And even though it's under two minutes, that isn't a bad thing - this sort of song is quite satisfying even at this length. It doesn't need it. ;)
Hah, it's the quiet interlude with the laughter, etc... ho, ho, ho... :D I can seriously see this in a music video of some kind or another.
Not much else to add but it's a great song, I enjoyed it! Keep up the great work, I'm looking forward to hearing more from you! :)
i guess pepole just asumed i was dead or something, fact is i was just waiting for something like this to happen to newgrounds :) you heard a banjo indeed. its true, this is quita e humorous song. i made it mostly for fun and i had a great time making it, so well its not to perfectly done but ah well, im glad you dont think it got any flaws XD and thanks ofr the kind words! ^-^ ill keep the songs commin ;) im thinking one every other week or so. ;)
Thought I'd stop by...
Hey, SBB, enjoying the redesign? I feel like reviewing, so I'll review this. :) Never heard Iron Maiden's "Fear of the Dark" so I won't notice anything, but if it's sheer coincidence then I suppose I can still give you credit for the catchy melody. :)
It's different from what I'm used to hearing from you, there's a definitive melody and a cool bassy synth that sounds like a bass guitar. Is it one? The synth that plays the melody is a bit plain for my tastes, though, it could have done with some more FX'ing - chorus, maybe? Eeh, my head is begging for some crazy trancy stuff. XD As an ambient synth it works but shouldn't be so harsh - maybe some cutoff filter?
A new lead comes in later on, slightly different but still quite similar. Similar thoughts for that one, but I don't feel like repeating myself.
Those bells work, but don't fully fit in the song the way they're used... You could at least play them once per measure, at most, instead of using them as a musical instrument...
Not much else to add, a great chillout sort of song! Keep up the good work. :)
enjoying the redesign, yes
No that's no bass guitar- that's your basic detuned sine bass. You want chorus on the square lead? So uh, you want an uh supersaw? wait I mean, supersquare? Do they even have supersquares? I don't know, do you?
Using tubular bells as an percussion instrument... now that would be a hella expensive drum kit... maybe :P
Thanks for the review again!
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