Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Songwriting: How to Save a Helpless Song / Guide to Pwning Writer's Block

Being a songwriter, you’re going to encounter (sometimes more often than none) quite a few of those songs that are just not really THERE, you know? Songs that while you’re working on them you get that feeling inside telling you this is going down a different direction; bad different that is.

As difficult as it may be to really make a decision on keeping/pulling the plug on a song , a lot of things are worth considering. Check it out:
  1. Is this song hopeless? 
  2. If not ENTIRELY hopeless, where is the song taking a dive into obscurity? 
  3. Is this song much too far from what is originally intended and you’d like to reapproach the original idea from scratch? 
  4. If yes and you’d like to start from scratch, what are some of those riffs/bits that you’d like to preserve and use in future songs (if not the re-approached version even) 
As a budding songwriter I can tell you it’s quite difficult to let a song go, lots of hard work go into those. BUT hard work isn’t always pleasurably audible.

Let’s examine the above points in the bullets section…


I don’t mean this as a “Do you feel helpless about this song?”, this question is directed to the song itself (musician therapy posts may come later, I know I need those! Haha).

I’ll tell you this, I don’t think any song is hopeless. If you’ve got a couple taste riffs down with a basic structure in mind, any song can be saved. But you gotta be ready to throw some hard work down the bin, once again it’s important to note that songs aren’t measured by the hard work put into writing them but merely by how appealing they sound, I assure you that some of those big hits we’ve listened to for years might have been a spree-of-the-moment type songs, the raw factor in those is usually what makes them so electric to listen to.


Listen to your song over and over from the beginning while doing nothing else, just listen to it and feel it out. Tune in to that feeling where you start to truly realize when and where the song just strays off the true essence that the rest of the song is conveying. This is not an easy step, but it’s not hard either; figure out when the song stops being fun to listen to, that’s usually where you need to take a closer look.


This could be one of many, or a combination of a few things. Check out the below possibilities and examine those against your song:
  • Too much repetition 
  • Dangerously progressive; in a sense that it feels like you just started a completely new song with no relevance to the main one 
  • Uninspired riff 
  • An “Awesome” riff that you are trying really hard to throw into the song, but it’s leading to a bottle neck situation where it’s not fitting into any upcoming transitions 
  • Maybe you need to rediscover this song’s true essence, it’s very possible that you are now inspired to write something completely different (What I usually like to do is, if something has inspired me to write in a certain direction, I don’t allow myself to explore any other source of inspiration until I’ve finished working on what I’m inspired to do. Mixing different sources of inspiration can be damaging as it’ll stray you off and divide your work’s essence into different feels that don’t complement each other) 
Those are just some of the things that are worth considering and that I’ve personally came across, the reasons could be much too many!

I hate those awesome riffs that get stuck in your head, and personally try to avoid them as best as I can. Here’s how I think about it:

A riff, no matter how great or bad, is meaningless unless placed in the right place and the right time within a song. What is an IMMENSELY amazing riff in standalone, could be the weakest link in your song; as on the contrary, the most uninteresting riff in standalone could be your game changer in a song, think about it.

Once you’ve found your song’s current weakest link, get rid of it and just start writing from that leaves you off. This approach usually leaves me happy by the end of the songwriting process.

Above all, make sure you’re having fun, not rushing, and keeping it genuine. You should be able to enjoy the song with no regrets by the time it’s done.

Talk soon


Sunday, February 26, 2012

[PRESS RELEASE] Benevolent Lead Guitarist Hadi Sarieddine now on AMT Electronic's Official Artist roster

Hadi Sarieddine, Lead guitarist of extreme experimental metal band Benevolent, has been added to AMT Electronics' lineup of official artists, marking him as the first Lebanese musician to be featured on the Russian comany's roster of artists.

Hadi Sarieddine had this to say about AMT's products, "I've recently picked up the E-1 from AMT Electronics' line of Legend Amps and was shocked by the quality from the get-go"

"The E-1's tone fits perfectly with the tone that I go for with Benevolent and I absolutely cannot wait to take this beast out live, and the best part is it can fit in my guitar gig bag's pocket" 

The Legend Amps series line from AMT Electronics features the emulation of legendary amplifiers in a full analog designed based on JFET technology, all in a stomp box design. The stomp boxes feature 2 output options, one that is a dry signal output and is designed to go directly into the effects return of your amplifier head; while the other output option features an emulated speaker cabinet intended to go directly into the PA or sound card.

Hadi Sarieddine added, "if you were to listen to a clip of how tuneful those little stomp boxes are without being told where all the preamp sounds are coming from, there's no way you'd guess it's coming out of something as small as a cell phone; I've never been so psyched about a tone like this before" 

Benevolent released their debut EP in November 2010, received rave reviews around the region; the band is currently in the recording process of their debut full length record which is due for release with Spellbind Records. You can listen to Benevolent's music on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Benevolent.band

Check out Hadi Sarieddine's profile on AMT Electronics on http://www.amtelectronics.com/artisty/hadi_sarieddine/, and make sure you check the rest of AMT Electronic's products on their website.

- ENDS -

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Andols Herrick (Ex-Chimaira) to record with Benevolent

UAE-based extreme metal band BENEVOLENT to feature ANDOLS HERRICK on upcoming debut Full Length Album

UAE-based metallers Benevolent are in the recording process for their upcoming debut full length album, the band is adding drum-icon Andols Herrick (ex-Chimaira) as a featured musician on the album to record one track on the record. Hadi Sarieddine, the band co-founder and lead guitarist states "It is pretty crazy thinking that Andols Herrick is going to be drumming on one of our songs; if I go back in time and tell past-me that this was happening I'd probably get a pretty sarcastic reaction." He added "The last couple of years since we started the band have been absolutely insanely great for us; getting such great reviews for the debut record, getting signed to Spellbind Records, and now this? I can't think that things could be any better for the band, I'm really proud of how things are coming together"

Andols Herrick commented on his work with Benevolent and how this all came together and stated "I was approached by Hadi Sarieddine awhile back about the possibility of tracking drums for Benevolent. I was quite impressed with the quality of the music and vocals."

"I love having the opportunity to work with a great band, who happens to represent the Middle East metal scene very well. I do know it is very vibrant having had the pleasure of performing with Chimaira at the Desert Rock Festival in Dubai back in 2009."

The band hit the Middle East scene with strong waves with the release of their debut EP titled DIVIDED in the year 2010, placing the band as the top names in the metal scene on regional levels garnering fans across the world as well in Europe, USA, Japan and Asia, and Oceania. Benevolent was signed to Spellbind Records in September of 2011 (alongside label mates and Middle East metal icons Nervecell).

The band has provided previous information to the press about the direction of the next album as being a technical, dark, and progressive album that picks up where Divided left off whilst expanding the band's sound identity. Hadi commented on the material further saying "It's definitely a lot more technical than Divided; the songs have a lot going on and while it preserves that sound that we've created in our debut EP this is a step forward on many levels and it tells a story about lots of dark themes with the lyrical and instrumental direction on the album."
As for the specific song that Andols Herrick is recording, Andols commented stating "This song presented numerous rhythmic challenges as I was learning it. If you were a drummer with limited music theory experience, I'd just say "Good luck trying to learn it!" The song is loaded with "over the bar line" guitar riffs, and I found myself, on occasion, discovering some of my transcriptions would be a sixteenth note off here or there!"

The band is set out to release the debut full length through Spellbind Records in the spring of 2012, and will be performing across the Middle East and beyond to promote the new release.

On a final note, the band's frontman and co-founder, Fadi Sarieddine, stated "We all can't wait to share this album with the world; I believe we have a very strong set of new songs and it's going to be great to share the new stuff with the world. Once the album is done, it will be the begin of the next phase of this observation's life cycle, and that is to get it all out there to as many listeners as possible worldwide; we're excited and we absolutely cannot wait!"

To keep up with the band's news and updates be sure to check out their official pages on the links below: (ALSO, BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE BAND'S DEBUT EP WHICH IS AVAILABLE ON FREE DOWNLOAD HERE http://benevolent.bandcamp.com)





Saturday, February 4, 2012


Hey guys,

So as you all know I just picked up an AMT Electronics E-1, which is a JFET based preamp in a stomp box design based on the ENGL Fireball gain channel. My one-word review of this is, IT'S NUTS!

Check the video below for my quick demo. It's my Schecter C-7 going straight into the AMT E-1 and that going direct into my soundcard, through Logic and running Kuassa Amplification Kreme's cabs (I also put a very subtle chorus on both sides at 5% mix).

I'll be doing more demos of this in the coming weeks.

In short, plugging into this inspires me to play and makes me write MOAR RIFFS.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Hey guys!

So I just received the pictured baby in the mail today, ordered it from Thomann.de and it’s the AMT Electronics E-1 pedal which is a JFET-based preamp pedal cloning the gain channel of the ENGL Fireball.

It’s the size of my hand, so it’s pretty small (unless I have a big hand, that is), and it’s got five knobs on it so operating it is no rocket science; and even better, getting a sick tone out of this machine is no hard task!

The pedal was designed as a preamp to go into the power amp section of an amplifier, it sounds like it was hand-wired by Satan in his gear workshop in deepest lair of hell. 


The AMT E-1 also allows you the option of going direct into the mixer out of the cabinet emulated out! But I think this pedal shines when taken seriously and plugged right into a tube power amp OR into an impulse response on your computer.

I’ll post up some clips soon! I haven’t had a chance to demo this baby yet, but I know it’s its own beast from all the research I’ve done prior to purchasing it.

Oh, and, it’s only $129.99; ENGL tone for that much? Get outta here!