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Death Metal
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Over the generations of metal a great evolution has occurred from the primitive origins of the sound in alienated mainstream music to its emergence into a neoclassical revival in underground death and black metal. Navigate the genres menu by selecting a type of music on the left based on its corresponding description, or use the methods at the bottom of the page to select a new way of viewing our review listings.

Death Metal

Demigod - Dead Soul Demigod - Dead Soul MP3
In a time when a neurotic obsession with moral conflict against communism gripped the West, this music preached total nihilism, or lack of preconceptions of belief, and a knowledge that death is more real than human political mechanations. Arguably for the most part rhythm music, this genre uses muffled picking and tremelo strumming of power chords or single-string playing to hammer out a machine code of intricate riff textures and the geometries of convergent sound. Its structuralism matches its grim but self-empowering worldview. Distinguished by bass-end tuning and guttural chanting vocals, death metal exists underground by deliberately disrupting consonant aesthetic and programming the human mind at the lowest levels with natural, intuitive rhythms.

Black Metal

Darkthrone - En Ås I Dype Skogen Darkthrone - En Ås I Dype Skogen
In the time after the Cold War, an involution of "progressive" values caused the West to lose sight of natural values in a desire to outperform each other in a competition of egalitarian morals. Black metal rose above this normative impulse by aspiring to the highest realms of human conception and behavior, embracing intellectual elitism and the honorable warrior mentality of the medieval era. Where death metal broke music into raw rhythm and structure, black metal built upon that foundation in technique by exploring the use of melody as the central principle of songwriting. Long phrases harmonize internally and resolve in resounding tremelo, often creating from broken apart sound an organic torrent of tones that wrapped around each other and create a single, clear, evolving melodic line which forms the structure of each composition.


Napalm Death - The World Keeps Turning Napalm Death - The World Keeps Turning MP3
Made from the remnants of thrash and other crossover attempts, grindcore fused the death metal vocal style with high energy hardcore riffing using chromatic and counterpoint compositional techniques to create streams of tonal motion, or divisions of sound into abrupt striking strum, which "grind" against one another with a primal direction in phrasing based on the rhythm of a central pair of themes.


Cryptic Slaughter - Nuclear Future Cryptic Slaughter - Nuclear Future MP3
When hardcore and metal collided thrash emerged as a fusion of punk song stylings and musical ethos with metal riff styles and topics. Apocalyptic and confrontational songs of often under a minute in duration battered the listener with one- and two-riff creations which slammed home a central idea in verse and chorus. Politics entered metal forever through this avenue, as did the desire to make simpler and more alarmingly basic music. Vocals were shouted in a high-speed diatribe resembling that of an auctioneer closing a bid. While musicianship was mostly of the lowest caliber, the speed and abrupt percussive guitar techniques of the genre required innovation of custom technique which is the foundation of death metal playing.

Speed Metal

Nuclear Assault - Nuclear War
In the early days of the cold war, speed metal arose to reflect the apocalyptic consciousness gripping heavy metal after fusion with antisocial and anarchistic hardcore punk. Bands influenced by the progressive styles of the 1970s and the abrupt, droning, explosive style of hardcore began making a fast type of metal which used palm muting as a strumming technique to produce bursts of alternating rhythmic emphasis. Topics like war, pollution, nuclear weapons and corporate domination were sung of in either a male bass vocal or shouted in a riot style chorusing similar to that of Oi bands. While this music was highly complex and often inventive in structure, it remained roughly within the confines of rock-based mainstream music and passed its technique on to the underground death metal, thrash and grindcore to follow.

Heavy Metal

Candlemass - A Sorcerer's Pledge Candlemass - A Sorcerer's Pledge MP3
Low-fi neo-progressive rock from the late 1960s started this genre, in the form of Black Sabbath, who used power chord riffing and dark modalities to express the paranoid nihilism which was a sublimated counterpoint to the dominant impulse toward simplistic absolutism ("peace" and "love") of the time. Originally a blues/rock band, Black Sabbath became a proto-metal band with morbid and yet poetic songs, evoking for many a return to European Romanticism of several centuries before. Cataclysmic and industrial in its use of gritty organic textures, heavy metal went through several stages including excesses of commercial stadium rock before returning to its roots in alienated and rough but majestic music.

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