Analysis of Death Metal Vocalists

Guttural vocals are the only true vocal innovation in metal as other singing styles are derived from other genres. The growed vocal technique is a combination of multiple frequencies and is harmonically too rich to be treated in the same way as more tonal styles.  Since they are different to all that came before them they must be analyzed differently.  And as metal continues to be penetrated by the mainstream it is important to understand what should be expected from a vocalist and what each one brings to the table since as humans we are inclined to judge vocals first.

In the spirit of understanding the wide variety that the technique has to offer, take a look at some of the more interesting and/or well known vocalists that death metal has given us throughout the years:
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Trendkillers #1- Death to List Culture!

Trendkillers #1- Death to List Culture!

 

In Trendkillers, we will engage the unseen and/or uncontested trends that have permeated metal culture.  Death to false idols! 

 

We begin the Trendkillers series with the most tired and meaningless year end tradition in metal culture- the top 10 list.  Or is it a top 20, top 40, top 100 list?  Do 100 death metal albums even get released in a year, or are some blogs trying to virtue-signal how many albums they are aware of? In any case, many metal bands and musicians consider this the crown jewel of their existence as it’s often the only chance they get to pad their narcissism and reaffirm their perceived importance in the grand scheme of things.

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Asphyx Reveal Incoming Death Album Artwork And Tracklisting

asphyx_-_incoming_death

Militant old school European death metal band Asphyx plans to release its new album, Incoming Death, on September 30, 2016 with the following tracklist:

Tracklist

  1. Candiru
  2. Division Brandenburg
  3. Wardroid
  4. The Feeder
  5. It Came From The Skies
  6. The Grand Denial
  7. Incoming Death
  8. Forerunners Of The Apocalypse
  9. Subterra Incognita
  10. Wildland Fire
  11. Death: The Only Immortal

Frontman Martin van Drunen released the following statement:

11 furious songs in the traditional death/doom style which we are known for so well…The album title already existed two or three years ago, being a phrase that doesn’t really exist but refers to what entrenched soldiers cry out when under severe artillery fire….

And here is a list of upcoming ASPHYX shows in 2016:

07.23.2016 Ostrý Grún (Slovakia) – Gothoom Open Air
09.03.2016 Essen (Germany) – Turock Open Air
09.10.2016 Hüttikon (Switzerland) – Meh Suff Fest
09.17.2016 Püchersreuth (Germany) – Storm Crusher Festival
10.07.2016 Arnhem (The Netherlands) – Willemeen / Album release show!
11.19.2016 Ostrava (Czech Republic) – Dolní oblast Vítkovice
11.26.2016 Bucharest (Romania) – November To Dismember Festival
03.03-04.2017 Umea (Sweden) – House Of Metal Festival

Lineup
Paul Baayens – Guitars
Alwin Zuur – Bass
Martin van Drunen – Vocals
Stefan “Husky” Hüskens – Drums

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Desecresy posts cover, tracklist for Stoic Death

desecresy_-_stoic_death

Old school but innovatively nocturnal doom-death band Desecresy has released the cover adn tracklist for its forthcoming album Stoic Death to be released on Xtreem Records on November 1, 2015. The tracks are as follows:

  1. Remedies of Wolf’s Bane
  2. The Work of Anakites
  3. Passage to Terminus
  4. Abolition of Mind
  5. Sanguine Visions
  6. Funeral Odyssey
  7. Cantillate in Ages Agone
  8. Unantropomorph

The band also released a preview track, “Abolition of Mind,” which can be experienced in the video below. More information about Stoic Death can be viewed on the label page.

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A tentative list to get into death metal

TheSoundofDeathMetal

Getting into underground metal styles has never been a straightforward thing for anyone. The exception might be the Cannibal Corpse crowd that approach this music as fix for a certain mood, but see little beyond the most sensual appeal of the music. For those actually trying to appreciate the music anywhere beyond the surface either in a technical manner, it’s significance or the experience it provides beyond simple monochromatic sensual indulgence, the path consists of several steps in not one path but a multitude of paths that conform to the singular state and journey of each listener.

The present list does not attempt to give a template that will fit all as that is impossible. It is simplistic in its attempt to generalize and exemplify. The most important starting assumption is that the listener is at least fond of traditional heavy metal or hard rock in the worse case. I tried to avoid using of overtly offensive gateway bands like Craddle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir or Arch Enemy but these should not be completely discarded as possibilities to enable a smooth and pleasant transition into death and black metal.

For this example of a road map towards understanding and appreciation of death metal I have distinguished five different steps with suitable albums as follows:

I. Easy-going quasi death metal

  1. Carcass – Heartwork
  2. Entombed – Left Hand Path

II. Welcoming and easy-to-understand simple death metal that is only complex on a local level and so can inspire a sense of technical wonder in the listener while maintaining mood.

  1. Death – Spiritual Healing
  2. Adramelech – Psychostasia
  3. Demigod – Slumber of Sullen Eyes

III. Excellent, but mostly on a technical level, with raw power and refinement in style, solid and well-produced albums that do not transcend their technical aspects

  1. Morbid Angel – Covenant
  2. Cryptopsy – None so Vile 
  3. Vader – Litany 

IV. Authentic, representative of the core of the death metal spirit while being original

  1. Demilich – Nespithe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjutXYAwc_0
  2. Deicide – Legion
  3. Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten

V. Completely past appearances and technical infatuation, almost on the spiritual level of true and good black metal

  1. At the Gates – The Red in the Sky is Ours
  2. Immolation – Unholy Cult
  3. Gorguts – Obscura

 

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Death metal playlist for Ebola ravaging the world

ebola_virus

As the Ebola virus continues to ravage Africa and spreads into America and Europe, it may be time to get over our squeamishness and explore the wealth of death metal that can be played as we all get headaches, have flu-like symptoms, and finally pass out in pools of blood expelled from our various orifices.

With the help of our readers, we’ve assembled an all-star death metal, grindcore and black metal playlist for Ebola fanatics:

  1. Baphomet – “Infection of Death” (The Dead Shall Inherit)
  2. Carcass – “Vomited Anal Tract” (Reek of Putrefaction)
  3. Pestilence – “Chronic Infection” (Consuming Impulse)
  4. Autopsy – “Ridden With Disease” (Severed Survival)
  5. Blood – “Ebola” (Gas Flames Bones)
  6. Banished – “Diseased Chaos” (Deliver Me Unto Pain)
  7. Suffocation – “Mass Obliteration” (Effigy of the Forgotten)
  8. Morbid Angel – “Angel of Disease” (Abominations of Desolation)
  9. Beherit – “Suck My Blood” (Engram)
  10. Immolation – “Fall in Disease” (Dawn of Possession)
  11. Repulsion – “Pestilent Decay” (Horrified)
  12. Dead Infection – “Start Human Slaughter” (Surgical Disembowelment)
  13. Blasphemy – “Weltering In Blood” (Fallen Angel of Doom)
  14. Mortuary – “Sickish Disease” (Blackened Images)
  15. Obituary – “Infected” (Cause of Death)
  16. Von – “Satanic Blood” (Satanic Blood)

And to kick it off, a rip of Blood’s on-topic 1998 hit, “Ebola”:

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Is death metal essentialist music?

essentialismDuring the second world war, while most of humanity was involved in mass warfare, the writer and thinker Jean Paul Sartre was instead laboring away in the libraries of occupied France. He was solidifying what has become known as the philosophy of ‘existentialism’. One of the main tenants of existentialism is that ‘existence precedes essence’, or in other words, that there is no fixed and immutable basis from which human life proceeds and from which it derives its meaning.

According to an existentialist, an individual human being is borne, becomes conscious, and then creates his or her own meaning from a point of reference of personal choosing, in a subjective act of pure freedom. Indeed according to Sartre, existentialism is a form of humanism, and we can see why. Secular Humanism, or modern humanism, is the normative or ethical ideal that individuals have the right and responsibility to give meaning and purpose to their own lives, free from tradition, scripture or ‘higher’ authority. So ‘existentialism’ and ‘humanism’ are both cut from the same cloth, the former being a complex (and some would argue, intentionally obscure and obfuscate) philosophical justification for the latter.

Existentialism is a reversal of the traditional metaphysical notion of ‘essentialism’, or the idea that there exists a fixed point from which values and meaning can be derived, by an objective act of intellect or rationality. The most commonly encountered form of essentialism is, in fact, religion. In the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, God is the basis for existence. He forms the immutable point from which values and meaning are derived. The actions of individuals, their lives, even the actions of entire cultures and cultural movements, derive their value (Good or Evil) from their particular relationship to God. A figure representing the extreme end of the essentialist spectrum, in so far as absolutely positioning life in relation to something prior and fixed, might be Osama Bin Laden. For Bin Laden there is one Word, one Truth, one measure of values. Human ‘choice’ is only as valuable insofar as it leads to a life proscribed by the Word of God. You are beheaded with a bread knife, held down on a concrete floor in panic and terror, if, in choosing to give your life ‘its own meaning’, you align yourself against God. Needless to say, Bin Laden and Sartre would not have got along.

In light of the issues discussed above, death metal is a curious art form. Its position on the existentialist <–> essentialist spectrum is unclear. In its aesthetic outlook, it mocks religious sentiment and tears down religious imagery with truculent glee. Its lyrics praise Satan, evil, darkness and anything, it would seem, that runs against the grain of monotheism. Hence it could be swiftly concluded that death metal is anti-essentialist art, par excellence, tearing down that that last barrier to human freedom: religion.

With a shift in perspective, however, death metal could be viewed in a thoroughly different light. It could be viewed a form of essentialist art. If this is true, then what prior structures could death metal be said to worship? Firstly, death metal posits an immutable essence from which individual human existence stems and from which it cannot escape: biology. Death metal abounds in morbid liturgical hymns about dissection, disease, the tearing of flesh, and the wrenching of bone. Secondly, death metal posits an ‘absolute’ point of reference from which all human actions are judged: death. That ‘all life ends’, is embodied in roaring sentiment in the whole show of death metal. Everyone dies, and reality cares not one whit for the individual. So you, buying your coffee table and matching coasters, beware; your time is finite. Death metal might well be an artistic conduit for spiritual readjustment in the face of something inescapable that, whether we like or not, at some point we are going to have to judge our lives in reference to.

Thirdly, in compositional method and production death metal seems to be inspired, if only implicitly, by prior natural forms. Compositionally, a death metal piece evolves via the linking of riffs according to geometrical shape as opposed to the normal way of linking parts in rock music which is harmonic. This is what give death metal its atonal and, at first, unattractive sound to the uninitiated. Production wise, nihilistic individual units of distorted tone depend on their relation to other such units, or the overarching structure of the song, to achieve beauty in death metal, a bit like matter and the physical universe where a piece of matter, taken by itself, is unremarkable and unsexy.

The list of ways in which death metal could be viewed as an acknowledgement of prior and apparently inescapable aspects of reality is a long one. Battle, night, winter, solitude; all are frequent topics of lyrical subject matter and fodder for imagery. Of course, there are all sorts of aspects of reality that are fixed and inescapable yet which death metal ignores: love, growth, joy, etc. But this is because death metal is concerned with those prior structures to human life that we choose to ignore because they are uncomfortable. Hence its ominous and brooding aesthetics. But while death metal is dark music, anyone who cares to pay enough attention can apprehend that the most worthy contributors to the genre are a world away from writing protest music.

Death metal is not ‘rebelling’ against the uncomfortable parts of life that we are doomed to face up to at some point. It is an attempt to give these aspects of life an artistic redemption. In this, and only this sense, can death metal be said to be ‘humanistic’. It is an attempt at representing those aspects of reality that we often ignore, in order to give them some relevance in human affairs so that we might adjust our lives accordingly, in full awareness of the place of human live in the cosmos.

If all this is correct, then death metal may very well be ‘naturalist religious’ music: A ‘yes’ to, and artistic redemption of, life as process, renewal, conflict and reductive energy.

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Antestor Re-Release of Return of the Black Death Out Today!

Fuck yes!  Legendary Norwegian black metal band Antestor have re-released their timeless classic Return of the Black Death via the Nordic Mission label.  If you’re too much of a sodomite pussy to know, this album was the best release (and probably only good one) on the famed Cacophonous Records, who gave us the earliest works of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir- those fucking scumbags!  This album was also the precursor to the depressive/suicidal black metal genre that immediately became gay when Xasthur first put on his little makeup kit and started doing blek majick.  Yeah, I bet you thought Sortsind and Burzum started that shit-NOPE!  It was all a second rate ripoff of Antestor’s sorrow metal!

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Death Of War Metal Imminent!

For years, Nuclear War Now!’s forum has been the haven for life dropout D&D neckbeards searching for some form of friendship and community. But according to website tracking metrics, the site has seen a massive decline in it’s traffic over the past 6 months.  While viewership of metal sites can rise and fall unpredictably on metal sites, the above statistic should frighten anyone who cares about keeping their site relevant.  Sites with active forums should be doing much better than your the average blog-style metal site, so the numbers above show an unforgivable descent into irrelevancy.

But given that the site is predominantly frequented by war metal fans that have no regard for actual music, the crash in interest also proves something far bigger:  war metal, as a sub genre, is in its last days.

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CASE STUDY: DEATH METAL POSITIVE, BUT ONLY FOR SELECT PERSONALITY TYPES

A trio of Australian PhD researchers recently shared the results of an ambitious case study on death metal listeners.  The project, titled “Who Enjoys Listening to Violent Music and Why?” (Thompson et al., 2018), aimed to determine if there were personality differences in fans who enjoyed death metal and if lyrical content that involved inducing harm or death to individuals had any effect on the listener’s experience.  Examined were possible differences in emotional stimuli between death metal fans and non fans, genders, and participants who either were or weren’t given a lyric sheet.  The publication indicates findings similar to earlier studies that measured emotional reaction of music and personality bias as stated:

These findings are consistent with evidence that personality mediates preferences for music (Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003; Vuoskoski & Eerola, 2011a, 2011b) and that, conversely, music preferences communicate information about one’s personality (Rentfrow & Gosling, 2006). Rentfrow and Gosling (2003) examined the structure of music preferences, as well as the association between personality and music preferences. They used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to reveal that music preferences revolved around four major types of music: Reflective and complex (classical, jazz, blues); intense and rebellious (alternative, rock, heavy metal), upbeat and conventional (country, pop, religious), and energetic and rhythmic (hip-hop, rap, soul, funk, electronic, dance). Preferences were also dependent on personality variables. For example, people who preferred intense and rebellious music – including heavy metal – tended to be open to new experiences, considered themselves to be intelligent and athletic, and showed no signs of neuroticism or disagreeableness.

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