Death metal / black metal

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Death metal / black metal

Post by Bro Shark » Fri May 29, 2009 4:00 pm

As a long time listener of both genres, I might take exception to the way the article was written in the current tape op. I kind of stopped listening to Death Metal precisely because it is all nowadays recorded as described: everything up front, "in your face," fixed kicks, triggers galore, etc. Personally I think DM peaked in the way early 90s, back when bands had to be able to play their parts! Check out Entombed "Left Hand Path." Arguably the greatest DM album ever. That shit is raw, raw, raw. The sound of young, angry kids with way too much talent just shredding the shit out of their instruments. Another good example would be Autopsy's "Mental Funeral." That is a very bizarre recording that sounds like a real band playing together in real time in some bizarre, otherworldly space. Cool! I think playing death metal can be very impressive, when the recording shows that the band can actually play the parts based on feel and expertise, rather than rigid tempos and studio sheen. A modern DM band to check out using old-school, no-BS techniques would be Death Breath, featuring Nicke Andersson (ex-Entombed, Hellacopters). Again, raw.

Finally, I was expecting to find the definitive "how-to" section on black metal: Set up a cassette four track with some cheap dynamics, grab a crappy beat up drumset, do not tune it, turn the guitar amp's treble and gain to "10," have the singer gargle broken glass and send the bass player home for the day. Was this edited out?

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri May 29, 2009 4:28 pm

Oh, good. I was hoping somebody would name some recordings to check out ever since I read that article. I read it with interest but I am not surprised to learn that there are differences of opinion about how this stuff should sound.

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Post by teleharmonium » Fri May 29, 2009 6:59 pm

So what if a band has a style that has elements of both of these genres of metal ? Would they be making Black Death Metal ? I'm thinking there might be a couple of album covers in that idea.

How about a band of african american musicians who played death metal ? How would they market themselves ?

There was, of course, a hard rock/proto punk band of black guys in the 70s who happened to be called Death, reissued by Drag City.

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Post by chris harris » Fri May 29, 2009 7:49 pm

I found the article to be about 10% useful information and 90%.... well.... I don't know.... sad? funny? both?

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Post by RefD » Fri May 29, 2009 7:51 pm

i know a few people who would take strong exception with the "no keyboards" thing.
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri May 29, 2009 8:00 pm

If you ever see the words "always" or "never" in a how-to article, or an article about taste, you can bet there's going to be a big shitstorm about the article.

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Post by RefD » Fri May 29, 2009 9:05 pm

;ivlunsdystf wrote:If you ever see the words "always" or "never" in a how-to article, or an article about taste, you can bet there's going to be a big shitstorm about the article.
i think this was a space-filler masquerading as an opinion piece pretending to be a how-to.

i'd have rather seen the full version of an edited-down interview instead.
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

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Other recordings to check out

Post by JamesR » Sat May 30, 2009 8:21 am

I sort of thought that it was absurd that there was black metal purism in a Tape Op article. I associate that kind of attitude with an implicit resentment of the popularization of black metal. I guess it looks seems really metal to some people to be crotchety about this, I just think it's kind of stupid. Add that 2-cents to Scrooge McSuck's vault (sculptures by HR Giger) filled with currency of questionable value.

Earlier Black Metal Stuff
Hellhammer - Demon Entrails (some kind of predecessor to DM/BM)
Mayhem - Pure Fucking Armageddon
Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger
Satyricon / Enslaved split - The Forest is My Throne/Yggdrasil

2nd wave BM w/ keyboards
Emperor - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
Ulver - Nattens Madrigal

Immortal, Burzum, and Gorgoroth are other 2nd wave BM bands. Some use keyboards less than others and just have better sounding recordings or just more breakdowns, even.

Death Metal:
Carcass - Heartwork (Melodic DM) or Reek of Putrefaction
Obituary - Slowly We Rot or Cause of Death
Death - Scream Bloody Gore (later albums have increasingly progressive leanings)
Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
Suffocation - Pierced from Within (Mid-tempo blastbeats, brutal)
Cannibal Corpse - Tomb of the Mutilated
At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul (Melodic DM)
Bolt Thrower - Warmaster
Deicide - Legion (I kind of hate this band)

Prog/Technical DM:
Gorguts - Obscura or From Wisdom to Hate (very unique and amazing)
Athiest - Unquestionable Presence, Elements, Piece of Time

I am leaving out a fair amount.
Last edited by JamesR on Sun May 31, 2009 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by TapeOpLarry » Sat May 30, 2009 8:50 am

I thought it was just kinda written in a funny style, with some good tips if you are recording young, possibly not quite so talented, bands in this genre. Ron wasn't really trying to tell you what was couldn't be done - obviously any engineer knows that's crazy. He was just having fun with it.
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Post by Ronan Chris Murphy » Sat May 30, 2009 3:48 pm

The article was a fun read, and having worked with Ulver, I liked the little "Nattens Madrigal" nod in the last paragraph.

I use to really love Extreme metal but I have checked out a lot because it has gotten way too Brittany spears for me. So much of it is so fake and chopped and quantized that its not heavy to me any more. I miss the days when band like early Celtic Frost and Carcass were making great albums that sounded like a great heavy band, not a bunch of quantized typewriter samples.

OK, I'll stop ranting now.
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Post by JamesR » Sat May 30, 2009 7:15 pm

I guess I should mention I got excited when I saw that there was an article on BM/DM on the cover, and definitely enjoyed the article. The accessibility of the article kind of made that jab at keyboards-metal seem kind of snobbish to me.

I have also probably lost my sense of humor about rigid opinions about metal having a fair amount of opinionated metal-head friends, some with tedious, fiercely entrenched 'sub-generic' loyalties, so I have to admit my gripe is accordingly obscure (and crotchety). Quibble not with metal nerds, lest ye become a...

I haven't recorded any metal bands yet, but it seems that if one follows the author's guidelines, mixing keyboards shouldn't be too difficult, especially if the patches/timbres are the usual suspects (strings, horns, vocal pad, orchestral stabs). It seems like the guitars would potentially be the most competitive element of the mix.

I am actually pretty stoked that this article was included in this month's issue.

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Sat May 30, 2009 9:39 pm

Question: What is actually the difference between black and death metal? Can an educated fan tell the difference upon hearing just 1 or 2 bars? Just curious. I am not trying to start something here, I just want to know what is the deal.

I am a very casual and lazy metal fan but I gotta say I'd rather hear the old 'shitty is pretty' stuff like Bathory than the pro tools'ed stuff.

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Post by johnnydove » Sat May 30, 2009 10:20 pm

Ronan Chris Murphy wrote:So much of it is so fake and chopped and quantized that its not heavy to me any more.
+10000000

i really hope that people will start to get sick of it soon and go back to how it used to be. i think a major part of the problem is bands are getting too technically proficient with their instruments. it seems like it's 80's hair metal all over again, with everyone being able to play super well, but still ending up sounding very similar. i'm trying to do my part by having the few projects that i've done so far edited as little as possible, and just telling the guys that they need to play a little tighter and yeah we can keep going over that part until you nail it. i know when i record my band's e.p. over the summer i'm going to tell my drummer that i'm not editing his parts so he better play them right. luckily i think he's on the same page i am.

my goal as an engineer is to make the best sounding records that i can without using samples, unless that's what the drummer uses. if he triggers, i'll record the output from the module. i know it's not the popular opinion, but i suppose if i went with the popular opinion i wouldn't be playing metal in the first place.

sorry for the rant, this is just one of those things that really sets me off.
-johnny

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Post by Bro Shark » Sat May 30, 2009 11:44 pm

;ivlunsdystf wrote:Question: What is actually the difference between black and death metal? Can an educated fan tell the difference upon hearing just 1 or 2 bars? Just curious. I am not trying to start something here, I just want to know what is the deal.
Yeah, they are almost nothing alike. Black metal is very "primitive" sounding and simplistic, with really basic, trebly riffs played over repetitive, unschooled drumming capped by a guy shrieking in the high vocal register. And gobs of reverb. Check out some early Darkthrone or Bathory. There is very little bass. Over the years it became a bit slicker with acts like Emperor and Marduk. They even incorporated some elements of Death Metal into their sound over the years while keeping the trebly blast-beat riffs and shrieking vocals.

Death Metal is very bass heavy and is often very "technical" featuring hard-to-play, low-register riffs, fast double-bass drumming and a lot of time changes and memorization in the songs. The standard Death Metal vocal is very low, i.e. "cookie monster". Check out Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel or Deicide for examples of seminal American Death Metal. Check out early Entombed or Grave for the Swedish version.

By the way, the best Carcass album by a long shot is "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious." Mandatory. Carcass were an early Grindcore band that kind of crossed over into a more detuned, thrashy sound with guitar solos and harmonies over the years.

I would love TapeOp to go interview Tomas Skogsberg at Sunlight Studio in Sweden about the early Entombed days. The "Sunlight Sound" was a real thing back in the 90s. Probably never happen, but...

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Post by Brett Siler » Sun May 31, 2009 3:25 pm

yeah listen to tarblackvomit on this he knows his shit. For black metal my favorite is the 2nd wave. My two favorites are Emperor (especially Anthems to Welkin at Dusk) and Immortal (Pure Holocaust). For newer Black Metal bands I really like Ludicra and Levaithan.

Personally I like both new and old school metal, in song writting and production both for very different reasons. I really like the rawness of some old school stuff (jesus that Ulver album you mention is fucking brutal, but not in away that most people today would call brutal, it actually physically wears you down after listening to it, thats fucking metal) and i like some of the newer slick production. Andy Sneap would be the poster boy for that, but I still respect what he has done.

Metal is just like any other genre where you have a handful of good bands pushing the bound and a million shitty copy cats. You just got sift through the bullshit and find the good stuff, new and old.

P.S. my younger brother bought Deicide's Legion when it first came out (92 or 93?). He was in 2nd grade and I was in 3rd. It scared the shit out of us.

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