Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WTF is Deathcore?

I’ve been hearing people who know about music and people who don’t dropping this relatively new term in reference to a lot of metal bands. It has certainly become a trendy way to describe Metalcore bands that are heavier and more extreme in their approach. I think it is pretty cool that these types of bands have achieved a firm degree of popularity in the metal scene, especially at a time when post-hardcore and so-called screamo bands are taking over. Today, I decided to comment on three bands that perfectly exemplify this style, Suicide Silence, Carnifex, and Whitechapel. Beware that these bands are not for the weak stomached and you may experience symptoms such as bleeding ears, bulging eyes or uncontrollable defecation. I will create another blog post of three bands that are on the experimental side of Deathcore in the future.

Deathcore is, as its name implies, a mixture between death metal and hardcore punk but it is far more extreme than this simple definition. These bands breakdown their breakdowns while utilizing very heavy (and dark in tone) death metal and even black metal guitar riffs. The emphasis on the breakdown, which is specifically created for brutal mosh pits and highly energetic atmospheres during live shows, is very classic in the subgenre. Most bands avoid clean vocals all together and stray from melodic elements (as this would place them closer to the Metalcore subgenre). These bands are the essence of what “extreme” music has come to mean in contemporary times. The drumbeats are very very fast and riddled with typical death metal blast beats that can make anyone want to shake their fist at the sky. Suicide Silence, Carnifex, and Whitechapel have a lot in common, namely they are heavier than uranium and will blow your face off with their intensity.

Suicide Silence has built up quite a following in the last few years by constantly touring with more popular Metalcore bands and securing spots on festivals such as Mayhem. They have explosive performances and truly rock out and their mosh pits are borderline dangerous, its like being in a battle scene from Braveheart. When I first began listening to them a couple years ago, I didn’t really like the vocals and found them a bit monotonous. Seeing them live quickly changed my mind and their breakthrough album The Cleansing is ridiculously intense. Their latest album, No Time to Bleed is even better and features a richer depth of style, more interesting song structures as well as cleaner production. For a lot of people it is difficult to get used to their mainly shrieking vocals, but they utilize deeper growls also and their vocalist is ridiculously passionate. My favorite tracks right now are Wake Up, Suffer and Lifted and I like the increased presence of keyboard and sound effects; it is certainly more interesting than their last album.

Carnifex has also been causing many people to soil their pants for the last few years that they have been in the extreme metal scene. I actually dig their vocalist, Scott Lewis, more than Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker because he does more deep growls in the vein of death metal (I find this more soothing). Some people have argued that this band is more of a death metal band but the prevalence of breakdowns as well as their popularity in the hardcore scene places them in the ranks of quintessential Deathcore bands. They are much less popular than Suicide Silence (who debuted at #32 on the billboard chart) but I think their death metal riffs are catchier. I have yet to see them live but I think we can all assume that the mosh pit would churn with the thickness of molasses. Check them out if you are into Deathcore, they are a very solid band despite some early on line-up changes. Their latest album, which was released last year, The Diseased and The Poisoned will probably cause your ears to bleed profusely.

Of these three bands, Whitechapel is my current favorite and I have been listening to them a lot more the past few weeks. They actually come from Tennessee, instead of Southern California like the other two, and they have a very intriguing sound, yet they are heavier than Michael Moore. Their name is actually not religious at all and references the district in London where Jack the Ripper carried out his gruesome murders (if that isn’t metal, I don’t know what is). I think their vocalist has the greatest range of the three bands and he does a great job balancing deep growls with higher screams. Unfortunately, I missed their performance at the Mayhem Festival because they were one of the first bands and I arrived about an hour late. I noticed that tons of people were wearing their shirts so they are creating quite a stir in the scene. They have brutal breakdowns, delicious death metal riffs and tremendous drumbeats that are not for the faint of heart. Their album is titled This Is Exile and deals with typical death metal themes lyrically and is very dark in tone. All of these bands seem to have anti-religious messages embedded in their lyrics but I don’t listen to them for the lyrics, since you can barely understand them even after a dozen listens. My favorite tracks are Father of Lies, Possession and This is Exile.

All three of the bands are certified Nasty! Whitechapel’s album gets a 9/10 since it is the most interesting in my humble opinion, while Suicide Silence receives an 8.5/10 since it is better than their last album and Carnifex gets an 8/10 because I said so. My non-metal moment today is about electronic group Pendulum who utilize mainly drum and bass style to create some catchy and very fast dance tunes. They hail from Australia, check out their albums In Silico and Hold Your Colour.

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