Metal Monday: Tips For Making A Solo Metal Record

Picture this: You’re a wildly-talented, successful musician in a wildly-successful, talented group, but you have more musical ideas than your band can record and release. What do you do? Well, you could just leave all that creativity dormant but who wants to do that? Any musician worth their salt will just decide to start a side project, and anyone who is really great will release a solo record (a popular trend these days). If you’re wondering how exactly you might go about releasing a solo record, here are some tips.

First, you need to make sure you have material that showcases you and your talents. After all, it is your side/solo project, right? You need to find a backing band to play the rest of the parts if you don’t want to be concerned with writing memorable parts for the other instruments. There’s a reason they’re the “other instruments” after all. If you’re feeling ambitious, however, can you tackle those parts yourself instead of hiring extra musicians.

Being as crazy as Devin Townsend is not a prerequisite for a solo project

Once you have the material, you need a name. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process. All you need to do is take your name, then add the word “project” to the end, and you’re done! Voilí ! Worked for Devin Townsend (ex-Strapping Young Lad) and Francesco Artusato (of All Shall Perish), why not you too? If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can leave off the “project” part and go the Yngwie Malmsteen way.


What’s left to do after you have material, backing musicians, and a name? Well, you might need a label to release the album. This part is optional, especially if you have no issues recording it yourself. Touring? Well, that’s another issue. Same with promotion. If you’re famous enough, that will all take care of itself, or with a little do-it-yourself effort, can come together without many hitches.

Being a weird Englishman like Ozzy isn't a prerequisite, either

The last point you need to consider is whether or not your band is going to hate you by releasing your solo/side record and becoming more popular without them (we all know they’re holding you back). There are pros and cons to each situation, you just need to know how to leverage them. For instance, if your band still likes you, then perhaps you could work in material from both projects to a live show with either. If your band ends up hating you, then use that hatred to fuel a really brightly-burning PR fire and skyrocket to the top of all the music news blogs. Any PR is good PR, right?


Deciding to indulge on your own solo project is a pretty big undertaking, and it’s not for everyone. But, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right. Aspiring metal solo artists can take their cues from a litany of examples, such as the aforementioned Devin Townsend, Francesco Artusato, Yngwie Malmsteen, as well as people like Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), Evan Brewer (The Faceless, ex-Animosity), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah), ICS Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and perhaps the most obvious example of all, Ozzy (like I need to say, but, ex-Black Sabbath). If you think you can hang with these phenomenal acts, then by all means make a go at it. If you can’t, maybe you’re not ready for the big leagues.

Reelin' In The Years

Rigby Fawkes

High school bands are a funny thing. You either look back on them years later and cringe, or you become Silverchair or Paramore. Rigby Fawkes, from Little Rock, Arkansas, has the youthful exuberance and proliferate influences of a band in its early years. And though sometimes it’s hard to follow their musical train of thought, their eclecticism and adventurousness keeps things interesting. Flight To Fatigue starts off sounding almost like an emotive The Album Leaf track, but soon enough, the band jumps off into an ambitious, multi-rhythmic jam that sounds like System of a Down meets Ben Folds. There are many moments here, and none of them are dull. For a more cohesive sound, try Gloomy Rainbow where front man Daniel Moody loosens a croon on par with Muse’s Matthew Bellamy. It’s theatrical, percussive, sepulchral ¦ and excellent. Rigby Fawkes have lots of ideas and plenty of talent. Time and focus will only make them more incredible.


Where the streets have no name: Wordspit

Where the streets have no name: Wordspit

Like a lot of rappers out there, Brooklyn-born Wordspit didn’t grow up behind a white picket fence. With a drug-addled mother and a hustler/musician father, his childhood was anything but idyllic. Writing became comfort, then the basis for a career. But if your first introduction to Wordspit was Joystick Madness, you’d have no inkling that there were any skeletons in his closet. Eight-bit bleeps provide the back beat of the song, which is basically an homage to the arcade delivered at warp speed. It’s often hard to catch exactly what Wordspit is saying; his delivery is that fast. But when you do, you’ll be impressed by his knack for clever metaphors. As he wages battle with the joystick, his video opponents see stars like Hollywood Boulevard and lose energy like Enron. Come on, that’s pretty funny.

It isn’t until Chop Suey, a remix of the System of a Down hit, that Wordspit’s demons emerge. These are more than just words, he raps tremulously. This is my pain, my fight. For all the fast talk about video games and school day nostalgia, Wordspit doesn’t try to hide his depth. And for that he gets the high score.