A Stream of ingenuity in Death Metal.
From its very roots to nowadays, the death metal genre included and still includes a certain amount of genuine bands that keep pushing this wonderful metal style's limit to a very high artistic peak, far away from the actual stereotypes of a cookie monster barking about bowel mutilation while putting their stringed instruments down to their knees. This makes death metal one of the most diverse metal styles one can bang his/her head (and brain) to.
It can be understood like this - this Sound Hotchpotch does not come from boredom or getting sick of hearing the same phrases played in a different tempo by lots of bands, it is caused by the will to stand up and rise with a wide imagination and outstanding musical taste as first key-words. The most open minded from these artists picked influences from other musical styles such as jazz, but also blues and rock and roll. As a matter of fact, they created a whole new atmosphere for a genre that began to stagnate originally-speaking. Lyrics also get their part of it, i.e. nature, concept discographies, abstract and indiscriminate space and planet worship, etc…, Completely different from death metal standards. For some it was just a reason to stand out from the crowd as a black sheep, to others it became a whole new way of creating music and thinking broadly about their compositions without being imprisoned by the label of death metal. Bands were not afraid to breaking a genres' laws and principles and to enforce themselves as a new sound.
This Crave-of-New feeling also touched grind, since it is more easy to introduce odd things to a sound that is already filled up with some close rudiments.
Senseless rhythm breaks, unexpectedly strange instruments for an extreme metal background, very abnormal melodies, high technicality (to a certain point, not as a main argument though) and other irregular drum patterns may be a decent description of what all this is about. However, the cunning part of this is that it does sound incredibly well-organised…It is exactly how Luc Lemay from Gorguts stated "It choruses by itself" without constantly thinking of what scale to use with what rhythm part, what bass line would suit what drum style etc… The whole thing creates a specific atmosphere of its own.
The first, and probably one of the most obvious case is United States' Jazz influenced technical death metal band Atheist. They have kept getting more and more close to a jazz band than a death metal one with time, ending it with an awe-inspiring jazzy tribute to mother earth called "Elements". Their first and second Full Length are probably their best according to most of their avid aficionados. Outstanding double guitar play with strong unmethodical predispositions, technicality and a very odd yet technical bass line are just imposing themselves throughout their three albums. "Elements" being their most jazzy and most distant album from classical DM.
Another interesting (and quite underrated) example band is Sweden's Pan.Thy.Monium. Distorted bass with bluesy scales and well placed saxophone licks or breaks is like a brief summary of what this band sounds like. Some other webzines qualify them as "how Frank Zappa would sound if he played a death metal band with Dan Swanö recording it". Actually, this isn't false at all. It is melodic, weird, brutal, anything. From their first demo, "…Dawn", to their last masterpiece "Khaooohs And Kon-Fus-Ion" they have been creating a strange kind of death metal, definitely unique in everything - Bass, weird keyboard use, saxophone, sampling a crowd of people… well, an extraordinary musical experience indeed. A must.
An extra example would be Gorguts. Mainly on their two last albums, vivid riffs with a brand new type of composing for stringed instruments. Therefore rendering bass very percussive,strange guitar open chords, etc... Gorgut's sound is mainly percussive, working more on a single rythmic layer with all the instruments giving their part of it. Songs like Obscura, Inverted and "Das Martyrium Des..." are affirming everything previously said.
One more illustration is Demilich. All the way through their compositions, this Finnish band's sound can be described like this : Multi-layered riffs with changing and alternating octave-play each time it's possible, mixed with strange scales all through their songs. Absolutly no trouble-free listening but the melodies are there anyway. The overrall feeling of this band can go from "extremely wierd" to "absolutely strange" , plus all those tremendously down tuned instruments are doing nothing else but sharpening it. Something very hard to grasp and appreciate at first. This is yet just another example of how original some Death Metal bands can get.
On the other hand those are just some small examples among other weighty names of this old stream of avant-gardism. Unfortunately, this originality flow has been constantly reducing with time. Some are still trying to revive and create new things, however it is quite rare.
Bands of this nature aren't that popular (except few ones) or abundant, but here are some other mixtures of interest:
-Pestilence - "Spheres"
-Carnival In Coal
-The Almighty Punch drunk
A big thanks to all fellow metalstormers who helped enlarging this listing of bands.
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