Sunday, July 31, 2016
What is Good Death Metal?
A recent review of the band Altarage ....see the link below ...
brought the question up of what is good death metal . Personally I don't believe in things like good or bad when it comes to moral choices and think of things in terms of being either effective or in-effective. How music is something that can be defined and measured, there are keys to be played in and time signatures to keep. Sonically what you are doing works in unison or it is noise. What keeps music from being noise ? Melodies and hooks, syncopation and dynamics. Without these you might as well be farting into a distortion pedal.If you think farting into a distortion pedal is music, then it's time for me to answer the question ...what is good death metal, since you do not know.
What would make we qualified to answer this question you ask? The answer is in 1988 I bought the album "Leprosy" by the band Death. 28 years ago.Ask yourself what albums you bought in 1988? Were you alive in 1988? Were you listening to the Sesame Street theme song? Maybe the first metal album you bought was in 1998, perhaps it was "God Hates us all" ? or "Garage Inc". The first metal album I bought when it came out was "Powerslave", sure my grand parents bought it for me and I was drawn in by Eddie, but it clarified for me that Kiss, Motley Crue and some of the other bands I was listening to as a child were not metal. They were good rock bands with a hard rock edge. So back to death metal, after buying "Leprosy" I proceeded to buy albums by Morbid Angel, Deicide, Unleashed, Cancer, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse,Carcass,Sepultura, Acheron, Nocturnus, Entombed,Incantation and At the Gates. So hearing these albums when they were released, set the bar pretty high for what is good death-metal. What makes these band's better than others, aside from the fact they already did what many band's today can simply imitate?
Well here are the factors mentioned above in action. Melody... this is where most bands fail because they put brutality to the forefront and miss the point you are supposed to be making music and writing songs, here is an album that proves you can have your bloody cake and eat it ...the key is balance and since the vocals are pounding at you along with the drums then the guitars have to carry the burden.
Hooks ...this doesn't mean that you have to compromise heaviness and sell out it means you have to put thought into your song writing and write songs that bring the listener back to them time and time again, it's great you are into the new Anal Blasphemy, but are you going to be listening to it over twenty years later will it stand the test of time like this album...
Syncopation...this doesn't mean you have to lock in on every punch like a stompy hard-core band, but locking in a playing as a relentless machine to create something that is memorable, here is where your drummer has to be a fucking monster and on point for every beat, if not then go play a sloppy style of music like punk.
Dynamics ...Another place many bands miss the mark in the sake of being heavy. If you play fast all the time it loses the effect, in order to make me feel like you are playing fast I need to here other tempos...this album should explain the rest.
But it's not fair to say if an album came out after 96 it's not good, well good death metal still comes out , the new Howls of Ebb is an example and several of other came out last year that cane be found on a list I made here...
life is too short to listen to bad metal