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Metal without drums

Metal without drums
December 30, 2011, 01:35:07 PM
It is certainly an interesting concept that metal with its increased understanding and use of ambient structure could in time propel itself solely by the use of melody/counterpoint/harmony. As I see it, the main advantage of doing away with continuous drumming would be that you remove the idea of melody developing within such strict rhythmic containers, thus giving it more freedom while also requiring that greater attention be put into the initial design. i.e. melody would have to carry its own rhythmic tension and devices to achieve that would have to be utilized. It would also be possible to vary tempo within a melodic phrase, and perhaps even the art of percussion could be sparingly utilized when necessary.

Re: Metal without drums
December 31, 2011, 05:52:17 PM
I think Metal without drums is kind of an oxymoron. If I wanted to do music with no percussion these days I'd just make electronic music.

Re: Metal without drums
December 31, 2011, 06:39:12 PM
It is certainly an interesting concept that metal with its increased understanding and use of ambient structure could in time propel itself solely by the use of melody/counterpoint/harmony. As I see it, the main advantage of doing away with continuous drumming would be that you remove the idea of melody developing within such strict rhythmic containers, thus giving it more freedom while also requiring that greater attention be put into the initial design. i.e. melody would have to carry its own rhythmic tension and devices to achieve that would have to be utilized. It would also be possible to vary tempo within a melodic phrase, and perhaps even the art of percussion could be sparingly utilized when necessary.


I think that drums are not responsible of the short term melodies. Drums shouldn't be regarded as the basis of rhythm, but as an integral part of the melody. This sounds simple, but actually, it implies another way of thinking metal music.

This Gorguts lesson is awesome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGrwNM5ROBc

Sing it, and the drums shall follow.

Re: Metal without drums
January 04, 2012, 04:26:15 PM
It is certainly an interesting concept that metal with its increased understanding and use of ambient structure could in time propel itself solely by the use of melody/counterpoint/harmony. As I see it, the main advantage of doing away with continuous drumming would be that you remove the idea of melody developing within such strict rhythmic containers, thus giving it more freedom while also requiring that greater attention be put into the initial design. i.e. melody would have to carry its own rhythmic tension and devices to achieve that would have to be utilized. It would also be possible to vary tempo within a melodic phrase, and perhaps even the art of percussion could be sparingly utilized when necessary.


Your only other option is the method Immortal chose -- open-phrase drumming so that melodic guitar phrasing was entirely detached from the rhythmic constraints of percussion.

Re: Metal without drums
January 05, 2012, 12:02:08 AM
To the originator of this topic, I would say, unless you yourself are planning on making a metal album where drums are not used, then just put this entire idea on the shelf for the moment.  What I have learned from all the metal coming out in the last few years is that there is nothing wrong with the instrumentation or even styles of playing in metal, but rather that no one had anything interesting to say with it.  No one had any spirit in their music or inspiration.  It was just a massive game of stupid cross-overs.  For a while, because of these defects, I believed maybe a new genre of metal needed to to be created or a new way of making metal.

But then with all the better albums that have come out lately, I now know that the people who are making great music right now are just doing the same old things great metal bands always did, in instrumentation, playing styles and even lyrical imagery.  The missing component was spirit and quality and not origininality.  Substance before form, as is the popular saying around here.  These thoughts that I am relating are not original and you are probably seeing a lot of this kind of talk lately.

Re: Metal without drums
January 05, 2012, 12:38:30 AM
The tabla is an interesting instrument of percussion. I think metal music can learn from its established patterns and the way it interacts with the primary stream of melody of strict Indian classical. Something completely new can be invented from any inspiration. However, you are correct in ascribing the primary cause to spirit. That is of primary importance, when you have something complex to say that really means something; you look for ways to express it appropriately. Any novel methods can only follow. I think there's a lot more even in pure Immolation/Suffocation/Incantation/Infester worship. It's still relevant. I don't think it can be overstated actually. There's a danger of it becoming a truism I guess, but that can be avoided by appropriate reference.

Re: Metal without drums
January 05, 2012, 12:56:21 AM
I'm always weary of "new" instruments, becuase I am always afraid that the instrument's texture will take the place of any kind of narrative music or meaning, like when Sepultura started using tribal drumming and became a novelty band or whenever you see some dumb death metal band incorporate a flute on every track and this is supposed to make it stand out some how.  It usually works for hipster fans.   You are right when you say all innovation with instrumentation should come if there is some meaning to what is being done in the first place. 

And don't get me wrong.  I am not saying that all one needs to do is be a Morbid Angel clone and play like them and rip them off.  There is a place for originality, but it's in the substance, not the form.

Metal is really great when it shows that classical music doesn't need to be played by an orchestra, nor does it need to played with sheet music, nor does it need to even be played in the ancient forms of sonatas and symphonies.  Linear and complex music that pushes toward a transcendance can be done with any kind of instrumentation, so long as the musicians are talented and have a sense of a clear direction of what they want to accomplish.  Keeping the same instruments is a better display of this idea than changing them up to prove the point. 

Re: Metal without drums
January 05, 2012, 05:25:28 AM
I agree with you, I didn't mean to imply the instrument itself should be used in Metal. It would probably be a gimmick. It's the level of involvement of the instrument and the role it plays in Indian music that I think might be worth a look.

Re: Metal without drums
January 06, 2012, 01:36:44 PM
To the originator of this topic, I would say, unless you yourself are planning on making a metal album where drums are not used, then just put this entire idea on the shelf for the moment.  What I have learned from all the metal coming out in the last few years is that there is nothing wrong with the instrumentation or even styles of playing in metal, but rather that no one had anything interesting to say with it.  No one had any spirit in their music or inspiration.  It was just a massive game of stupid cross-overs.  For a while, because of these defects, I believed maybe a new genre of metal needed to to be created or a new way of making metal.

But then with all the better albums that have come out lately, I now know that the people who are making great music right now are just doing the same old things great metal bands always did, in instrumentation, playing styles and even lyrical imagery.  The missing component was spirit and quality and not origininality.  Substance before form, as is the popular saying around here.  These thoughts that I am relating are not original and you are probably seeing a lot of this kind of talk lately.

I more or less agree. And I didn't want the suggestion to sound like an artificially imposed idea on something that has evolved naturally, rather it's an already existing direction that should be more thoroughly understood and explored by upcoming musicians. Pure Holocaust certainly occured to me as well as Transylvanian Hunger and a fair amount of examples exist in early Burzum works also.