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Musical ornamentation in death-metal

Musical ornamentation in death-metal
September 07, 2013, 04:50:37 PM

While looking at this article on the perhaps non-essential bells and whistles that help make music somewhat more musical, I began to wonder how much of this can be found in death-metal. Indeed, the genre may even have developed its very own idiosyncratic musical ornaments without realizing it or at least feeling the need to put a name to it. Perhaps even the overt lack of or disregard for ornamentation is in itself a form of it (thinking particularly of the stylistic shift between the first and second Darkthrone albums).

Re: Musical ornamentation in death-metal
September 07, 2013, 05:02:32 PM
Good thread idea.

The Norwegians mostly disregarded ornamentation, as you described. I think it was on a conscious level for practically all black metal musicians.
Death metal, on the other hand, had several bands who did not use it, and a lot who did (Atheist, Morbid Angel, etc.). I think it is important to note that some well-regarded bands such as Bolt Thrower, Sepultura, and Deicide did not use ornamentation, except maybe in solos. Then you have some bands like Paradise Lost who may have played slower, but still used it. I think Necrophobic used it too. Swedish death metal tended to be more "pleasant", so it would make sense to steer clear from a lot of the straight-forwardness found in heavily-influenced-by-Slayer death metal.

So for death metal it depended upon what was being accomplished. Black metal musicians did not want to express themselves that way. In fact, I think they may have seen ornamentation in Swedish death metal--swe dm being something they wished to get away from--and so chose to forgo its use.

Re: Musical ornamentation in death-metal
September 07, 2013, 10:04:08 PM
Varg incorporated bends and slides into some of his compositions, such as Lost Wisdom. However, these are not just for 'flavor' but are actually crucial in the shaping of the phrase.

Re: Musical ornamentation in death-metal
September 11, 2013, 08:54:02 PM
Being phrasal, death metal and black metal are less likely to use ornamentation per se. Also, use of staggered harmonization and tempo-doubling tends to serve the same effect.