September 16


Tips for Writing Metal Lyrics

By Jason Stallworth

September 16, 2021

You’ve got this killer guitar riff and you’ve even started expanding on that with some cool progression. But there’s one vital part of the song that’s missing…lyrics.

Do you feel like you suffer from writer’s block when you try to write metal lyrics? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

But there is a simple solution that can boost your creativity and have you writing original, authentic lyrics in no time. And I’m going to share the details of this weird lyric writing tip with you in this post.

Video: Weird Secret for Writing Lyrics

Don’t Question Your Ability to Write Good Metal Lyrics

Before we dive into this simple lyric writing strategy, I want to give you some encouragement. By default, being a musician means that you have an amazing sense of creativity within you.

It’s common for us metal musicians (and musicians, in general) to question ourselves when we’re stumped. I call this ‘songwriter’s block.’

Whether you’re writing lyrics for traditional heavy metal, death metal, or black metal, Just know that you have the talent and the creative skills. It’s part of who you are. You just sometimes need that little push to get over that hump and breakthrough. And that’s what we’re about to get into below!

Strategy for Writing Original Metal Lyrics

Let’s get right into this. Here’s the outline of the strategy that I want you to try next time you go to write lyrics.
We’ll go over each item in detail below.

  1. Write down the feelings and emotions you experienced from an event or that you did recently did this week
  2. Analyze those feelings and emotions you wrote down and make connections
  3. Structure your lyrics to build the song (verse, chorus, etc.)
  4. Develop the melodies to your lyrics as you put them to the riffs and progressions

1 – Write Down Something that Happened this Week

There’s plenty of things that happened to you this week. Heck, you can probably think of 10 things you did or saw happen today.

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. It also doesn’t have to be anything related to metal music.

Here’s an example that I gave you in the video earlier…

I went to the gym this week and had a really awesome and brutal leg workout. So I wrote down some feelings and emotions associated with that experience. Here they are:

  • Tired and sluggish (I was feeling a bit more tired that morning)
  • Primed my mind (on the way tot he gym, I listen to something motivational)
  • Prepared and got ready (drinking an energy drink on the way to the gym)
  • Pain, struggle, feeling like I can’t go on (the workout was brutal!)
  • Pushed through (I kept going anyway)
  • On top of the world (the feeling after the workout was done)

This may not make any sense right now, but I promise it’s going to all come together as you go through this. The point of this step is to get your creative juices flowing. So keep reading…

2 – Analyze the Feelings, Emotions, and Phrases

Next, you want to go back through the feelings and emotions that you wrote down. You can start making some connections here and this is where the actual lyric writing process kicks in.

Keep in mind that you may not use every word or phrase that you wrote down. And you will more than likely come up with more words and phrases as you go through this. Actually, that’s the point!

So let’s go through a couple of the feelings and emotions in the example above:

  • Tired, sluggish: ‘Tired of the way things are going, don’t know how much more I can take.’
  • Pushed through, top of the world: ‘Pushed through the hard times, I’m here to conquer the world.’

Okay, we’ve got something to work with. And I think you can see where this is going. You’ve got themes for what could be a verse and a chorus. We’ll dig much deeper into this in the next step.

3 – Start Building the Storyline and Lyrical Structure

If we take a look at that first example based on the emotions ‘tired, sluggish’ we can already see that we’re building a storyline.

The lyrics we came up with for those emotions can be the lyrics for the first verse:

Tired of the way things are going,
Don’t know how much more I can take

We’ve developed the beginning of a particular feeling for the character of the story. This beauty here is these feelings are ones that almost anyone can relate to. And that’s part of what makes songs great. The lyrics are memorable and more importantly, relatable.

You could easily expand on this by adding more emotions and phrases that build on this first concept, such as:

Tired of the way things are going,
Don’t know how much more I can take
Feeling that the world’s against me,
Serenity seems so far away

***I literally just made u those last two lines on the spot writing this article; this part was not in the video. I wanted to share this so that you can see how easy it is when you use this unique process of writing lyrics.

Now, let’s move on to what could be the chorus of the song. Oftentimes, there’s a contrast in the lyrics, or the storyline, between the verse and chorus. Or at least the chorus is where the story takes a turn.

Here’s what we came up with based on the emotions of ‘pushed through, on top of the world:’

Pushed through the hard times,
I’m here to conquer the world

So you clearly see the contrast and shift in the lyrics. The main character starts out feeling a bit helpless and everything is going against them. But here we change that makes the character into an influential hero.

Let’s see if we can build on what we have for the chorus:

Pushed through the hard times,
I’m here to conquer the world
Nothing or no one can stand against me,
I’m going to conquer the world

Now, the cadence, which we’ve yet to establish, will naturally be slightly different in lines one and three. This proves that you don’t always have to write your lyric lines syllable to syllable if that makes sense. In other words, not everything has to match perfectly and it doesn’t necessarily have to rhyme. Especially when it comes to writing heavy metal lyrics.

Also, you’ll notice that I used the strategy of repeating a line in lines two and four with a slight variation. This is a great strategy when nothing else seems to fit. And this is also a great way to reiterate a point that you want your song to make.

Think of it a the theme; you want this to stand out. This could also lead to the title of the song.

Possible song titles based on the repeated line in the chorus:

‘Conquer the World’
‘I’m Here to Conquer the World’
‘I’m Going to Conquer the World’

***You may also be interested in our post: 5 Principles of Songwriting

4 – Develop Melodies for Your Lyrics Based on the Riffs and Progressions

At this point, the most challenging part is over. You’ve got lyrics for your metal song. Or at least you have a solid foundation to work with.

Keep in mind that as you go through this next step, some of the lyrics may change. That’s okay. But that being said, don’t allow yourself to be married to the first draft of your lyrics, or any part of your song.

Now it’s time to start putting those lyrics with the riffs and progressions for your song. This is also where you’ll be coming up with melodies (unless you’re singing death metal where there’s only one melody…lol!).

In cases, you may be writing the lyrics first and not have a specific riff or progression yet. The process is still the same. You’ll need to write the music and will have to fit the lyrics to those riffs and progressions.

Also, and this is super important – there’s no right or wrong way to do place lyrics to your music progressions and create melodies. This is where the next level of your creative abilities will kick in. And at the end of the day, you have to be happy with your song.

So just know that there are no rules here. And if you have any preconceived rules in your head about songwriting and writing lyrics, now is the time to break them (like that cool Ozzy song ‘Breaking All The Rules!’).

NEXT STEP: Dive deeper into creating original songs with our songwriting course, Metal Songwriter’s Forge.

Metal Mastermind

Jason Stallworth

About the author

Melodic metal solo artist, songwriter, acoustic performer, and co-founder of Metal Mastermind.

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