Heironymus Bosch – Garden of Earthly Delights, A Metal Tribute

February 21st, 2014

Last week, the internet, or at least the internet if a lot of your friends are musicians and historians, blew up with the transcription of music written on a man’s butt in the depiction of hell in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. The hymn reminded me a lot of the stuff I heard in early music history, very simple, kind of plodding, and close to modern harmony with just a few odd cadences. It was definitely a decent minor key melody though, so I decided that given the melody’s history, I’d adapt it as an orchestral metal tune.

The melody was only available as an audio file, so I first had to transcribe the transcription. The only difficult part about this was that I wouldn’t exactly call the phrasing natural, or at least not as I’d like it, so I did slightly change some of the rhythmic values. I then determined what chord structure to put underneath the melody and started writing parts. The bass part, a bit more active than in traditional metal, came first. Rhythm guitars came next and focused on galloping rhythms, palm muting, and opened chords in the 2nd half of the progression. I was able to do all this between midnight and 2 last Friday, after I returned home after a party.

Saturday morning I recorded those and programmed the drums in FL Studio, then set to work on writing out the strings and brass. After rendering the orchestral elements with EWQL Symphonic Gold, I mixed what I had so far together. Then it was time for the leads.

I first wrote two additional lead guitars providing some counter-melodies and arpeggios towards the end of the song. You can hear those split hard left and right. The final piece was recording the hymn as the lead guitar part with a good dose of pinch harmonics and vibrato.

A few rounds of mixing, some quick intro and outro slides for the video, and it went up on YouTube. What a way to spend a weekend.

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