While most people associate death metal with a group of boys screaming and creating any kind of noise, there are many reasons why this genre maintains a strong following and earns the fierce loyalty of many listeners around the world.
Step 1. Listen beyond the guitar and unusual vocals
While it may take a little time to get used to the harsh sound of guitar and throaty vocals (especially if your ears are used to softer sounds), it is more than just stupid noise. There are melodies, patterns and complexities that can be appreciated if you spend enough time on them.
Step 2. Go to a death metal concert
Observe how the group members manipulate the instruments. It can be a great experience, especially since the concerts are small and you can walk close to the stage to watch the musicians. If you have ever tried to play an instrument, you will probably be surprised at how skilled they are. It takes practice and dedication, which challenges the stereotype that metalheads are lazy and careless. You will also be amazed at how energetic they are in their performances.
Step 3. Remember that in death metal, unlike many other genres, each band writes their own songs
That includes the riffs, drums, solos, and lyrics. Writing your own lyrics demonstrates another dimension of musical talent, as well as personalizing the music you play much more.
Step 4. Don't take the context of the songs too personally
Death metal lyrics are songs that should not be taken literally. The lyrics deal with extreme human experiences, which other genres do not touch, such as the motivation of serial killers, the activities of the undead, death itself, and isolation. Also, many bands will cover other topics that are not associated with death, such as Norse mythology. Many bands also explore political and religious themes, and write about historical events.
- Keep in mind that death metal lyrics, especially gore varieties, often (but not always) talk about extreme acts, such as mutilation, dissection, rape, and necrophilia. For many people, these topics are extremely disturbing, unsettling, and unpleasant, even for many metalheads. Use your best judgment (including the band's online comments) as well as the lyrical content before purchasing the album if you are really concerned about the matter.
- Be careful not to completely dismiss a song based solely on lyrical content. Many online music stores have 30-second clips that can show you the rhythm of a song, and if the musical content piques your interest, you may be able to take the lyrics a little more lightly.
- Find the letter. It is a common misconception that all band lyrics are vulgar and use vulgar language. You would be surprised at the complexity and wide vocabulary that you can find in the lyrics of some death metal bands.
Step 5. Learn about the sub-genres
Not all death metal is the same. This genre contains many sub-genres that are frequently mixed. As a result, it can be very difficult to put a band under a single sub-genre. Here's a general guide to get you started:
- Blackened - embrace the theme and musical elements of black metal. Some examples of bands are Akercocke, Behemoth, Belphegor, Dissection, God Dethroned, Firdous Angelcorpse, Sacramentum, Zyklon, Crimson Thorn, and many others.
- Brutal: Aborted (on their first albums), Cannibal Corpse, Cryptopsy, Blood Red Throne, Deeds of Flesh, Degrade, Deranged, Disavowed, Disgorge, Guttural Secrete, Hate Eternal, Immolation, Internal Suffering, Krisiun, Origin, Skinless, Spawn of Possession, Suffocation, The Genocide Architect, Wormed, and many others.
- Death or doom: slow beats, melancholic atmosphere, guttural sounds, drumbeats on drums. Some bands are Anathema (on their first albums), Asphyx, Autopsy, Disembowelment, My Dying Bride, Swallow the Sun and Winter.
- Goregrind or Deathgrind: intense, unusual and short guitar solos, voices like screeches. Some bands are Carcass (on their first albums), Terminally Your Aborted Ghost, Anal Bleeding, Guttural Engorgement and XXX Maniak.
- Melodic: Iron Maiden-like guitar harmonies and melodies with high throaty sounds. Some bands are Children Of Bodom (on their first albums), Aborted (their latest material), Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, At Odds with God, At the Gates, Carcass (their latest material), Dark Tranquility, Desultory, Dethklok, Disarmonia Mundi, Hilastherion, Hypocrisy, Immortal Souls, Kalmah, Norther, Souls, In Flames (on their first albums), Sacrilege, Wintersun, Scar Symmetry, Insomnium, Noumena, Rapture and Daylight Dies.
- Symphonic: Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Nightfall and Septic Flesh
- Progressive: dynamic structures, unusual time signatures, atypical rhythms, and unusual harmonies and melodies. Some bands are Amoral (their first albums), Beneath The Massacre, Brain Drill, Cryptopsy, Cynic, Death, Decapitated, Gorguts, Immolation, Necrophagist, Nile, Ominous, Origin, Pestilence, Psycroptic, Sleep terror, Spawn of Possession, The Faceless, Visceral Bleeding, Meshuggah, and PsyOpus.
Step 6. Respect the artists
Most death metal musicians cannot live on the music they play alone, and yet these bands continue to play despite its obscurity. Death metal is not popular, and musicians have to work too hard throughout their careers to sell a million copies. Most death metal musicians are very smart people with great musical training.
- Keep in mind that all genres and sub-genres are under a lot of debate, so don't stick with a single definition.
- Many excellent death metal bands have never signed with a major record company to support and promote their music. They are hidden treasures. Look around you and discover what most people ignore.
- Don't take everything the lyrics of death metal bands say to heart, especially bands like Cannibal Corpse. Cannibal Corpse and many others have said that their lyrics are total fiction and should not be followed. Many extreme death metal songs are entirely works of fiction and are not justified by the authors or the band.
- On a practical note, death metal is not a good approach to understanding death.