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What is death metal?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by infoterror, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Death metal is structuralist heavy metal that borrows heavily from classical and industrial music. Its heritage is equal parts neoclassical heavy metal from the 1970s and hardcore punk from the early 1980s; if you throw Discharge, Judas Priest and King Crimson into a blender and set it on "high," you might get something like death metal. It took from roughly 1983-1988 for death metal to fully evolve, and at that point, it experienced six golden years of fruitful growth before lapsing as black metal eclipsed it in popularity.

    The original underground musical genre, death metal was completely unknown to most people until 1997 when it became fodder for mainstream commentary after several school shootings. During the 1980s and early 1990s, it was impossible to find death metal in normal record stores and chains; most people ordered it from small mailorder companies, or "distros," that stocked underground metal exclusively. The underground in fact replicated every aspect of the normal music industry, including journalists and radio stations, to avoid being tainted by "commercial" or "mainstream" music.

    We say death metal is "structuralist" because, in contrast to rock music, its goal is not a recursive rhythm riff that encourages constant intensity through verse-chorus structure; death metal, like black metal after it and prog rock and classical before it, uses "narrative" song structure, or a string of phrases connected in such a way that they effect musical and artistic change throughout the song. While rock music aims to find a sweet riff and ride it, and much of older heavy metal does the same, death metal is like opera: its goal is to use riffs to introduce more riffs, and through those, to create a treelike structure of motifs which resolve themselves to a final dominant theme. In this, death metal (like the progressive rock and synthpop bands that influenced it) is closer to classical music than rock music.

    The history of rock music has been written by commercial promoters who have tried to establish its "authenticity" and uniqueness, and therefore, almost all mainstream publications are hostile to death metal. Death metal reminds us that rock music, blues and jazz did not arise autonomously in America, but were based on centuries of European popular music (the I-IV-V chord structure of the blues is derived from European folk music, and its "blues scale" is a modification of Asian and Celtic scales). Rock music is a scam, and its marketing makes it seem to be something greater than what it is, which is the same old music dressed up as a product. Death metal more than any genre before it broke from the rock tradition, and therefore is a threat to the rock establishment and its profits.

    Like most musical genres in the modern time, death metal is constantly under assault not only from external interests, but from within, as self-interested people try to make rock music and dress it up as death metal. These attempts to simplify the genre would benefit those who attempt them, as they would both be able to make a saleable product (being similar to established musical tastes, it sells easily and broadly) and be able to claim the "authenticity" of belonging to an outsider form of art such as death metal. These false death metal bands have polluted the genre with the same mainstream dogma and musicality that death metal sought to escape. Like all human social breakdown, this breakdown occurs through the selfishness of individuals who are unwilling to admit that the health of the genre is more important than their personal profit.

    Death metal flourished from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and then was for most purposes replaced by black metal. Where death metal was structuralist with heavy emphasis on chromatic phrasing and hence rhythmic, black metal used narrative construction based on melody (an innovation of later and progressive death metal bands as well, such as At the Gates, Atheist, Gorguts and Demilich). As such, it is often hard to tell where death metal ended and black metal began, although in their mature form they are distinct genres. In this, and in the aesthetic components of death metal borrowed by mainstream bands as varied as Slipknot and Nirvana, death metal lives on.

    http://www.deathmetal.org/death_metal/
     
  2. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    It's nice to see something about death metal for a change. People forget that a good DM album can be just as rewarding as a BM one.

    I still think that it's absurd that you and your crowd refuse to acknowledge the significance of Death. When it comes down to Possessed and Death, perhaps Possessed won by a few months and got their album out first, but it doesn't matter because Death obviously acted separately from Possessed in making music, and Death had a much, much larger impact on metal. When they hit their peak with Human, this is as good as death metal gets.
     
  3. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    Surprised at the lack of discussion here. It may not be philosophy/current events related, but still, metal is the reason why we're all in this particular forum.
     
  4. mortal treason

    mortal treason you were chosen to suffer

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    i enjoy listening to death and possessed, but to me death was the shit for Dm, to me they were really good death metal, like i love malevolent creation, but that's just me
     
  5. EphelDuath

    EphelDuath Hiljaisuudesta

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    Death's ideology is ok,but i can't believe that they used to play deathmetal instrumentally.The vocal was more likely to thrash metal than deathmetal's tone.And the worst thing chuck did was putting deathmetal in progressive class,he was so smart about playing guitar,and whenever he hitted the stage his eyes were telling that "i am the king of metal,but still i dont feel the spirit of metal"
     
  6. mortal treason

    mortal treason you were chosen to suffer

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    yeah chuck was reallly good, his voice did have that thrash feel to it, i always liked david vincent's voice, he had a good death metal voice
     
  7. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    The underground nearly always becomes marketable enough to become mainstream, its a cycle...black metal has reached that stage now also, I wonder what will succeed it?
     
  8. mortal treason

    mortal treason you were chosen to suffer

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    i'm not sure, but it will be interesting to see what does
     
  9. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    Dude, what are you talking about? I meant Death in 1987, not '97.
     
  10. mortal treason

    mortal treason you were chosen to suffer

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    maybe he didnt understand what you were saying
     
  11. EphelDuath

    EphelDuath Hiljaisuudesta

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    Oh sorry,i didnt read it completely.Thought you were talking about the band "Death"

    I agree,there is a scum everywhere.BM doesn't became mainstream i think,because it has been parted with Satan years ago.Devil and satanic images cannot be easily accepted by those commercial companies.
     
  12. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    Perhaps not commerical in the full sense, but much BM is more accessible now than it ever was.
     
  13. EphelDuath

    EphelDuath Hiljaisuudesta

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    Yeah,those are unavoidable.Cradle,Dimmu and such started the stream.But true music ain't ragard them.
    Creators rule,imitators pose.unfortunately this is the nature of systems.
     
  14. speed

    speed Member

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    Infoterror, you say rock music is based on celtic/asian scales. I have always been under the impression it is based on West African scales. I am no musicologist, but, Ive read this in a variety of places.

    On death metal. I think it has really artistically stagnated. This may sound crazy, but I'd like to see Death Metal lose the cookie monster vocals.
     
  15. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    I have found the same result in my studies. Infoterror is just pulling that out of his racist ass to avoid crediting African heritage blues artists.
     
  16. no country for old wainds

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  17. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    that was a good read... for a laugh. :lol:
     
  18. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    Reasonable discussion, I thought.
     
  19. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    Where are they getting this "history" of rock from? It's common knowledge to any musician or music fan how the genre developed, and yet these people claim some completely different history convenient to their NS beliefs, with no evidence backing up their patchy theory. I call BS. This is like Al Gore claiming to invent the internet.
     
  20. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    Hang on, back up...Al Gore didn't invent the internet??? What the hell? :p

    I happen to agree, Kenneth. I found the discussion reasonable, but the ultimate conclusions were based upon ignorance and idiocy.
     

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