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Are Slayer songs out of key?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Vacume, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Yes I was confused about how passing tones fit into the scheme of things, which is why I created an opportunity to ask :)

    I will get me a copy of that song and have a listen!

    This info actually helps some other things click...I think I get it a little better.

    You're describing the situation where I get told before we jam that the chord progression is 1-4-5, then when they call out keys on the fly, as long as I know what the 1st, 4th and 5th of each key is I can at least play a driving bassline in that key. Does that sound right?

    Anyway sorry for dragging the thread OT, I didn't mean to I thought it was related at first :D
  2. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Although I've only studied one slayer song and its been years, one thing that hasn't been mentioned is that a lot of metal is in harmonic minor, which is a whole new set of scales. Not only do you drop the 3rd, but you drop the 6th as well, if I remember correctly. Maybe if you apply these scales most of their notes will be in key.
  3. one


    Aug 21, 2006
    If i was in slayer and i didn't know theory and a pro musician, i think i would learn on the road!! as i think they would. And still if they don't know theory then there's nothing wrong with the Black Sabbath way of writing music, if it sounds good, use it!
  4. TheApostlePaul


    Dec 20, 2006
    Don't forget that in metal, riffs and chords often employ half step movements as a tension builder. This is a real hallmark of metal. Slayer, Metallica and pretty much everyone else do it.

    So you are right in the sense that often songs seem to be out of key. They are, however, in the key of metal!!!! :bassist:
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There seems to be an underlying feeling in this thread that there is one key for a song - whereas a lot of of the better songs actually shift key and many are not really in any key but are ambiguous about the key.

    I know that David Bowie actually got Adrian Belew to solo without giving him any idea of what the key/chords were - to get that random "off-the-wall" guitar solo ...:)
  6. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I guess this is a perfect example of what i was trying to say. there are no rules in music, art etc...it is from ther heart and soul and what you create is an expression of you or in a band setting...... yourselves.

    To produce music using everybody elses ideas is boring...yes we use the same notes ,scales, modes etc and Theory in it but the artists and bands that break the rules and throw it away to make it theirs are what truely inspire me.

    Theory is a tool just as the bass is to produce the music we play...nothing more...it can't play for you or give you the expression to write or play a piece it only helps in getting there...the real true music comes from inside each and everyone of us...no matter if its Kerry Kings blistering leads or a 3 piece jazz group in a smoky cafe...keep groovin ..ya'll.
  7. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    It's also possible that the guy is tone death and can't play worth a S@#*. Not that thats ever happened before in rock.:D
  8. Chriso21


    Jan 15, 2006
    Fort Worth Texas
    I don't want to say the wrong thing here, as I know a lot of you guys are well versed in music, but the fact is - you don't have to sit down with a book and classify everything you play scientifically to be a great bass player. If you have a good ear and good rhythm, you can work out what sounds good with experience. I imagine Slayer down tuned half a step because it sounded a little more uncomfortable and dark (note the lack of scientific definition). A lot of you guys like Flea, and he knows little of music theory, as does Billy Sheehan. If I met someone in a band that taught me about it, I would listen of course – but as of now, I always say if it sounds good…do it.
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Slayer: The whole band doesn't play out of key, the guitar solos often go out of key though. But to me, that's part of the appeal of Slayer, which sounds strange, but... well, Kerry King's guitar solos sound like a damned soul screaming from the pits of hell, stretched across a pit of fire while being stabbed by demons... more or less. He doesn't play guitar solos, he makes noises, if all those noises were in key, the chaos would be lost. Dissonance creates tension. I for one, love Kerry King's solos, especially right after Tom Araya has been yelling about Satan.

  10. empyreans


    Jan 17, 2007
    lol, that's pretty much all slayer is about...
  11. Not if he knows enough to throw it out the window. "Out of key" just means "not diatonic", and there's no reason to be diatonic if you don't want to be. He's enough of a musician to play chromatic notes and not worry that he's doing something wrong.
  12. That basically sums it up.
  13. Matt Till for the win, indeed. I like Kerry's style because it totally works with Slayer's style- that atonal sound inspired a slew of death and thrash metal guitarists. The "noise factor" of his solos is awesome and makes it his own.
  14. Ask him if he's ever heard of the chromatic scale.
  15. Tone death? Is that a new type of death metal? :oops:
  16. The Bass SUCKS. The tone I mean, I don't know about the player :meh:
  17. I dunno, I always liked the tone of a wall of Ampegs myself. Well maybe you would prefer the sound of a 50 watt practice amp? :spit:
  18. I'm talking about the way his tone. Too steriod-ish, not bassy at all :spit: :p
  19. This thread is about the key of slayer songs not the tone of the bass player, Tom Araya. I'm sure there are plenty of threads about him, most of which, if one were to browse through, one might notice that a lot of people (at least most of the people on TalkBass) regard him as a talentless hack. Anyways, this thread deserves to be derailed, I'm just not sure I'd like to discuss the finer points of Tom Arayas bass playing. :D
  20. Who wants to talk about Slayer if no one is commenting on the bass player? After all, this IS Talkbass :bassist:


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