Musical Dissection of Pestilence “Out of the Body”

Once upon a time Pestilence were a very capable death/speed metal band that would attain great heights with the their magnum opus Consuming Impulse. Leaving behind the speed metal of Malleus Maleficarum for greater freedom in melody and structure, “Out of the body” is by far the most popular track on this album due to its catchy main riff, guitar acrobatics and absolute intensity.

Those are only the surface traits of what makes this song and the album a bonafide death metal classic.

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Analysis of Death Metal Vocalists

Gutteral 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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Heavy Metal In Academia

The last two decades has witnessed an exponential growth of studies devoted to popular music, coupled with a re-evaluation of past theories and models for interpretation and analysis. This paradigm shift has sparked interest in music “at the fringes” which in turn has led to the unlikely emergence of “metal studies”: a multi-disciplinary field of research centered around all things related to metal music.

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Sin and Despair in Deathcrush

At the truest heart of metal lies a voice embodied, somewhat childishly, somewhat ineptly, but no less clearly and latent with potential, by Mayhem’s Deathcrush. The re-inversion of all values that metal enacts starts with the embracing of what modernity would see as its sickness unto death. The despair and sin of sickness unto death become vital active elements in the morbid minds of those who would vanquish dogmatic preconceptions in the Sky God Religions and their secular humanist counterparts.  Being, in essence a way of connecting back to itself, the ideological blockages set up by this dead-end society had to be faced head on.  Herein lies the relevance and meaning of the present album.  Despair is converted into pure energy, the rules disavowed, the road of sin is tread fanatically as a method of purification —a negative unity of evil towards the beyond, away from human-ness in its modern form, away from mundanity.  For the burgeoning underground, as seen from Mayhem’s perspective, primacy would placed on being and its dark discovery of self, against the presumption of knowing, and the oppressive, futile impositions from above.  All knowing, all value of music, would come from this ‘being’, from a dark exploration of the soul possessed by a cosmic force of destruction.

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The Importance of the Hessian Ideal

The modern way of life has conditioned people to think and consider their lives a juxtaposition of ‘job’, ‘family’ and ‘hobbies’ along with ‘fun’. This is a model influenced by industrial mentality, which needs vast amount of automatons performing meaningless tasks for the sake of production itself, simply in order to protect the bottom line at the expense of individual quality and relevance. As a result, very few people, indeed an incredibly outnumbered minority, will see and live their job as a craft wherein they find aesthetic and spiritual meaning, and would rather be out the door as soon as possible as long as their salaries are not affected.

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Underground Record Labels in 2159 Ch. II

It was very late at night now. The moon was full, and the path had gave way to a blood paved street. Some very pale women and children with red eyes came out and played on the swings in the forest in the dark, giggling.  There was a shanty town, many huts, with a Gerry-rigged cathedral with Satanic stained glass mirrors in the center.  A small class was being held inside of one of the huts. he had heard of this place, a weird Swiss corporate enclave that had been on the route to Stoner Mountain since the early 1600s and which , strangely, still remained as part of Switzerland (formally), though it was in the middle of what used to be known as California, in the former USA.  Rumor had it that not far from this place, the tech titans had made a pact with the Satanic Illuminati (Octagon) to provoke nuclear war in order to further control the supply chains. From time to time, large amounts of cryptos had been reported (as having been dumped on the road) to GovCore.  People were likely harvesting DeathCoins out here, using biomechanical hydro power. Death coins stored up all the vitality of the people killed onto a tradeable digital coin.  Luckily, these people were more into the tech side of the system. They let the low lives and the scavs in other regions do most of the killing these days. Their killings were merely ritualistic at this point.
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Riff analysis: Gorguts- “Condemned to Obscurity”

Having recently dissected what comprises the riff structuring of the current incarnation of Gorguts in the Pleiades’ Dust review, I decided to revisit what I deem to be their most truly progressive material in The Erosion of Sanity to pinpoint what the band used to do successfully in comparison.  The most bewildering track on it, “Condemned to Obscurity,” perplexed me when I had first heard it about twenty years ago and still has an esoteric nature to its structure and aesthetic today.  But unlike current Gorguts which borrows from indie and noise rock techniques to create dissonance, Gorguts on this particular song managed to do so utilizing purely metal tropes in a way that was entirely unique for its time.  In the following I will attempt to break down what comprises the very first riff of the song and detail what it meant for the band at the time and how it served as a window into what they eventually evolved into, for better or worse.

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The Imperial Reign of Emperor

The most technically and musically gifted band of the Norwegian black metal scene, the legendary Emperor are also the most well known outside of the documentary-level engagement that plagues most who know of Burzum and Mayhem.  Formed in the small rural town of Telemark Norway as a side project to a soon-forgotten death metal band, the group overcame the imprisonment of 75% of it’s lineup to deliver the most grandiose album of early 90s black metal.  Though Emperor’s career was far from perfect, it made a profound impact on the young genre and ultimately proved it’s limitless developmental possibility.
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Bring Back The Apocalyptic Raids

Hellhammer is the ultimate symbol of what black metal should be about: a free exploration of dark phrasal music at the hands of a twisted mind.  Typically it was not only the chromatic movements between sections which defined the music of Hellhammer but the linking between them, whose effect was great because individual sections were in fact proper tonal areas.  It was their sensible juxtaposition, which gave the music its unique flavor.  Furthermore, the maniac howling of Tom G. Warrior added the final touches of a music that was to set the example for an enactment that resembled an entrancing ritual more than it did a simple, mundane hedonism and biker metal, which had been the rule until that point.

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