Introduction to the Art of the Sequence – “Satan Spawn the Caco-Daemon”

Legion has always been described as being pure rhythmic intensity exemplified within Death metal. While that assertion is true, it remains a deviation to what Deicide truly accomplished in their prime. The use of non-diatonic sequences that were’t bound by conventional notions of melody but rather a combination of chromaticism and atonality where each note was chosen individually for a specific function not held down by any scale or mode.

Instead of chord progressions that insinuate that there is an underlying harmony consisting of chords, here it is not possible to establish any form of harmony and this forms a sequence where each note has its own role tailored by the band.

Let us look at this three part riff.

The first melody is comprised of a four note chromatic descent that is played twice before shifting down a semitone and repeated twice to continuously build tension. While simple the sheer ferocity leads perfectly to the ensuing madness.

For comprehension purposes it is better to imagine this melody in pairs of chromatic notes. the first pair introduces the idea as it then jumps up to a fifth an octave above. The same two notes are repeated an octave below before the second part of the sequence is repeated a semitone higher. The sequence shifts up a fourth but ends prematurely to fit within the bar. The final melody follows the same logic without the octave jumps before ending on a consonant minor scale motif finalizing this idea and giving it clarity.

This sequence can be summed up into the following algorithm:

1.Introduce with a two note chromatic descent
2.All notes are followed by the following note a semitone higher.
3.Jump up to a fifth an octave higher.
4.Descend an octave.
5.Repeat but a semitone higher
6.Replace “1” with a single note
7.move up a fourth.
8.repeat whole process while omitting all octave jumps.

Compare with the sequence described by the band After The Burial for their song “Pi

Pi was written and recorded only a few days before the completion of the Master copy, at around 10 am, with a couple of serious hangovers. Justin and I had talked about having a classical guitar intro into some sort of heavier riffage, but we weren’t quite sure what that was exactly going to be.

We remembered back to a few weeks prior, when we were throwing around an idea of using the mathematical constant Pi, and incorporating it into some sort of complex breakdown pattern where the kick drum corresponded to each number as the figure progressed. Kinda creating the ultimate mind boggler of a riff. The complexity of the intro is often overheard, because it’s hard to discern what is actually going on within the track, UNTIL NOW!!

Here’s a breakdown of the….um, breakdown, in the intro to our album, “Pi: The Mercury God Of Infinity”

The actual tempo is 120 beats per minute (bpm). You can hear this by listening for the closed hi-hat that is panned left: it is playing constant eighth-notes.

The snare is on beat three in 4/4 time at 120 bpm.

A crash cymbal accents beat one of the first measure in 4/4. It is repeated every four measures.

Now this is where it gets tricky: the china cymbal.

It’s hard to feel the breakdown in Pi at 120 bpm, and this is mostly due to the china cymbal, which is playing a 4 over 3 (4/3) dotted-eighth note ostinato that begins on the “E” of one.


Check it out: A quarter note is equal to one beat in 4/4 time, but so are two eighth notes, or 4 sixteenth notes. It’s all about subdividing note values.

When you count a measure of 4/4 in quarter notes, it’s: 1, 2, 3, 4.

When counting in eighth notes, it’s: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +. (a plus sign refers to the spoken count “and” ex. “One and two and three and four and”)

When counting in sixteenths, it’s: 1 E + A 2 E + A 3 E + A 4 E + A. (Spoken: “One e and a two e and a three e and a four e and a)

So when I say the china starts on the “E” of one, I’m referring to the spoken counting value assigned to the second 16th note in a quarter note duration.

A dotted eighth note is a duration of three 16th notes, an ostinato is a persistently repeated pattern. Basically, the china plays on the bold-capitalized letters:

one E and a TWO e and A three e AND a four E and a ONE e and A etc.

Starting to get it? Cool.

At last, the reason Pi is what it is: the Double-bass pattern.

The formula of Pi for the kick drum was pretty far fetched at first, but seemed to work well once the track was finished. The numbers and rests in the formula translate to 16th notes on the kick drum, and 16th note rests. There is no kick drum beats where there are snare drums. Sooo, here it is:

With the decimal point BEFORE the number, and starting with the first number, move that many decimal points to the right and insert that many 16th note rests. Use one 16th note rest to divide the numbers you passed (when applicable). Continue on throughout the rest of the figure. No repeats.

So basically for the first step, you’d place the point (pt) before the first number, three: (pt)3.14159265

Next you jump the decimal three points to the right: 3.14(pt)159265

That’s where you insert three 16th rests, and insert one 16th note rest between the other numbers you passed: 3(16th rest)1(16th rest)4(dotted-eighth)159265

Now, your decimal lies in between the 4 and the 1. So, following the formula, you move one point to the right of the 1 and insert one 16th note rest. There are no numbers to separate with single 16th rests, so you move onto the next number, which is 5, and follow the same instructions.

That’s all there is to it! The formula extends out to 71 decimal points.

While the first sequence is simple and redundant from an algorithmic point of view. The second in comparison is complex and creates a rhythmic pattern based on the human understanding of various phenomenon. In reality “Pi” is a predictable breakdown that masquerades as a song, offering no content beyond instrumental acrobatics. Were it not for the description it would be impossible to notice that this is anything different from the millions of other Jazz influence Metalcore bands in existence.

The first sequence works by sticking to an internal sense of logic that can truly be felt without having to think, which is what constitutes the best of metal. Raw emotion canalized through basic rules that can be felt by any human without any mathematical fluff or other. The small twists and turns may seem clunky and superfluous on paper but are completely coherent for the listener as the human condition is not made from pure logic but a guiding narrative with many exceptions.

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19 thoughts on “Introduction to the Art of the Sequence – “Satan Spawn the Caco-Daemon””

  1. autist grinder says:

    nice try but everyone already knows deicide is the original wiggercore band.

    but jesus harriet christmas that description of the pi shit is even worse. just man up like dillinger escape plan and use dnd dice to determine your polyrhythm bullshit.

    1. how is Deicide a wiggercore band.

      1. Thewaters says:

        Deicide is well known as the original rap metal band….come on..

        1. Jazz Gat says:


      2. autist grinder says:

        they are a bunch of crackers adapting the black man’s “pure rhythmic intensity” and regressively discarding the aryan ideal of harmonious polyphony.


      3. Jesus was gayer than AIDS says:

        Because Suffocation doesnt count.

        1. autist grinder says:

          thank you.

          1. Jesus was gayer than AIDS says:

            Hugs and kisses <3

        2. Because Suffocation still totally rules, if you cut off the discography after Pierced From Within.

          1. MacCauley Crawford says:

            Brett do you not like Despise the Sun? I understand completely that it is a streamlined version of Suffocation, but those songs are incredibly powerful.

          2. Jesus was gayer than AIDS says:

            No, actually its because Suffocation is too melanated to be considered “wigger”.

    2. No, that’s Pantera.

  2. Skin in the Porn says:

    Postmodernism make anyone can criticize anything from a “higher” place without any intellectual. Poor & sad.

    Satan always will send these fools to God, make they live in porn into nothingness & Inexistence.

    1. Every rightards ever says:

      Porn is bad, m’kay

    2. Postmodernism is simply an attempt to make universalism work through pluralism. “It’s everything at once” might fool a movie audience, but ultimately it goes nowhere.

      The best of postmodernism sees the different facets as part of something larger which is relative, i.e. perceived entirely differently from different areas, except in abstraction.

      It is hard to say that Burroughs, Pynchon, and Gibson do not believe in objective reality, but obvious that like all nihilists, they reject the triad of universalism (truths, values, communications) as a projection of the human mind.

      1. Skin in the Porn says:

        I think postmodernism is actually the truth of human cognition, all our ideas and cognition are subjective and one-sided, all need to be within a certain framework, in any case, it’s not a complete reality. But there can be an infinite number of frameworks, there are infinite ways to interpret, that is why “It’s everything at once” might fool a movie audience. Anything can be interpreted as meaning something or meaningless. But as you say, it can be applied to smart or stupid ways.

        I think the point is, sometime the truth doesn’t necessarily guide us to existence, this is a very difficult task in this era. Faith and reason can easily be ridiculed, the end of the universe will be heat death, biology and brain neuroscience have more and more explanatory power to human individual behavior or collective behavior, human existence are no longer able to look outward for meaningness, need to look inward, but it’s easy to immerse in ego and id.

        Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson cited a typical example, maybe we can refer to it: the evolutionism enables not all possibilities could be preserved. “Your interpretations of the world should shield you to the degree possible from excess suffering and death.”

        I think this idea can be applied to personal life, culture or politics, Trump is doing this for America, self-interest is existence first consideration. But is it just like immersed in ego, and ignore the bigger picture?

        It’s still a dilemma from postmodernism. Pluralism, immersed in ego, skin in the porn or make America great again etc, it’s all about us choosing our own interests/meaningness. The fighting/battle spirit advocated by metal, of course better than porn/ego things(which is mainstream society), but I don’t think it’s the final attribution for human existence by destroying different communities of interest, only be left over “me/ego”. It’s an over ideal fantasy, like a man wants to have all the right to mate. It’s just a genetic trait instead of the whole human, like cosplay a God.

        Reality is nihility, but for human beings is the result of evolutionism. Maybe the meaningness of existence is unilaterally find our own order in chaos & nihility, just like the formation of galaxies before heat death. Fighting/battle, or we can say the evolution is the rule, it’s a game of “gravity”, see who’s powerful, but it’s about building a galaxy of bigger, stonger and more beautiful before non-existent, I think.

  3. LordKrumb says:

    “…an internal sense of logic that can truly be felt without having to think, which is what constitutes the best of metal. Raw emotion canalized through basic rules that can be felt by any human without any mathematical fluff or other.”

    I miss these kind of insights here. This is a really good article, and mostly well-written too. I hope this is a sign of a return to form!

    (I regret to say that I think the overall quality of this year’s DMU articles – in terms of content, writing and editing – has probably been the poorest since I started reading the site in 2014)

    1. how has the quality decreased, genuinely curious as I write quite a few of them and you have been a long time reader.

      1. LordKrumb says:

        As I mentioned, I don’t think the content, writing and editing have been as good as they were in previous years.

        I’m fairly sure there have been fewer in-depth articles – and fewer still that I found interesting (I guess there’s also the possibility that the article topics in 2019 didn’t match my interests as much as in previous years).

        I’m also pretty sure that the overall quality of your writing (and that of other DMU contributors) was generally better in the past, in terms of typos, avoidable word repetition, grammar, structure, etc. This isn’t a huge issue (content is far more important), but when an article has many of these minor problems it distracts from the content.

        To put these criticisms into perspective:

        1. When I say the articles weren’t as good as those of previous years, I still found far more to read here than anywhere else!

        2. DMU is still the only metal site I read with any regularity.

        3. For decades, I believed I appreciated everything there was to appreciate about my favourite bands and albums. Over the years I’ve been reading DMU, the articles and reviews here have significantly reshaped, refined and deepened my appreciation of metal and other genres. So, thank you all for your invaluable work, past and present!

        Onwards and upwards for 2020!

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