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What's the appeal of Death Metal?

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What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Old 01-13-15, 09:35 AM
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What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Really curious about this.

In a recent thread about best 2015 releases, someone mentioned Slipknot. Just to use them as an example & admitting that I have only dipped a little toe into the genre, what is the appeal? And is their sound & their lyrics representative of the genre? I've caught them performing on late-night talk shows (not Good Morning America ), and the masks, etc. just seemed gimmicky in a Kiss-style way.

When it sounds as thought the lead singer (Cory?) is gargling unintelligibly or has acute laryngitis, I don't get the attraction. And skimming the lyrics of every song on their current album just seems like bad repetitive poetry attempts (lots of "kill", "hate", "die", etc. along with the usual suspect epithets) and nihilism and hopelessness. A little political/social commentary thrown randomly, but that's about it.

Could a fan please explain what you get out of listening? Is it some sort of cathartic experience, or do you regard it as great art?

Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks!
Old 01-13-15, 09:53 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Guess you have to have a certain mindset. It's like having the sports gene or being into S&M. Things you can't imagine participating in are someone else's passion. I'm with you. I can listen to hard rock and have for years but once it moves into the cookie monster 220 bpm stuff, forget it. Even if I was 20 I couldn't get into that shit.
Old 01-13-15, 10:15 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

What isn't appealing about a genre that gives us the song "Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's C**t"?
Old 01-13-15, 10:16 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

BTW, I wouldn't consider Slipknot a "death metal" band.
Old 01-13-15, 10:23 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

^ ^ ^

I was wondering about that myself...if that was the wrong category. What do you call Slipknot's brand of music (labels, not adjectives!)?

Is "death metal" more of those Nordic bands that talk about Wotan, Valhalla, etc.? Way out of my element here.

btw...Must 'fess up to listening to "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" when we were kids while watching him prance around the stage singing "Fi-yurr...I want you to burn!" before cackling maniacally in an ever-ascending screech at the end. Guess it was sort of mild rebellion (or fascination at the somewhat taboo nature of his performance).

Do some of the nihilistic bands have similar appeals to young'uns who just want to play whatever will antagonize their parents most?
Old 01-13-15, 10:46 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by cdollaz View Post
BTW, I wouldn't consider Slipknot a "death metal" band.
This is true.
Old 01-13-15, 10:46 AM
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Uh... Slipknot is nu-metal. Not even remotely death metal.
Old 01-13-15, 10:48 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

There are more genres of metal than there are CSI shows. I can never get them straight. Whenever I get an itch to try out a new metal band I just put on Iron Maiden instead and save myself the time.
Old 01-13-15, 10:53 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
^ ^ ^

I was wondering about that myself...if that was the wrong category. What do you call Slipknot's brand of music (labels, not adjectives!)?

Is "death metal" more of those Nordic bands that talk about Wotan, Valhalla, etc.? Way out of my element here.
No, that's considered Viking Metal. There's tons of different subgenre's of death metal, but a more "traditional" death metal band would be something like Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel.

You can usually detect what kind of metal you are listening to by listening to the riffs, most genre's of metal have a specific style to them (vocals - screamed, growled, or howled play into it as well, but that can really vary).
Listen to this youtube clip, this guy gives a good example of the different kinds of genre specific riffing. (oh, and I think Viking metal is a subgenre of Melodic Death Metal, that generally focuses on vikingesque lyrics).
Old 01-13-15, 10:58 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Is "death metal" more of those Nordic bands that talk about Wotan, Valhalla, etc.? Way out of my element here.
No, that would be viking metal, a lot of the Nordic stuff is black metal too (of which viking metal is an offshoot). Black metal is different than death metal, and yes, metal has a zillion sub-genres!
Old 01-13-15, 11:08 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Great link showing the various riffs. Maybe an expert could take the time to post a representative band/artist for each. I'd guess that Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malsteem, Metallica might be mentioned.

Didn't see "nu-metal" covered, though (since someone placed Skipknot in that category).

But I am learning a lot about some metal varieties that hadn't thought about.

I do have to say that, just judging musical content, I get really bored really fast with the 'shredding'...just seems so repetitious (the running up & down the scales/frets). I do get a kick out of seeing the youtube videos of the elementary/middle school kids who come out to shred at a school talent show.
Old 01-13-15, 11:14 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I don't know enough to explain the differences between all the different metals. I did get into some harder stuff back in the day. Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Trivium... I wasn't a huge fan of the cookie monster vocals at first, but they seem to switch it up and throw in some really solid melodic vocals too, so it balanced out for me. And I guess the appeal was just the energy it brought. I've kinda mellowed out since then though, ha...
Old 01-13-15, 11:15 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

As to why they use those types of vocals, and what the appeal is ... I think if you really listen to some of those death metal riffs, and try to imagine "clean" vocals on top of them, it would sound silly. It would completely change the vibe of what the artist was trying to accomplish, and turn it into something like Baby Metal (which, if you haven't heard, you should https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIKqgE4BwAY )

It's definitely something that takes some getting used to. I initially hated the whole cookie monster vocals. This is the song where it first clicked for me. The song is probably 75% "clean" vocals, with a spot in the middle with death metal growls. I still get chills when the growlies start:


Oh, and I'm guessing the reason you didn't see Nu-Metal in that other video, is because Nu-metal is kind of the redheaded stepchild of metal. It's generally looked at as what 13 year olds listen to before they switch over to REAL metal.
Old 01-13-15, 11:58 AM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I have a hard time answering your question, since it could apply to anything. I like the technicality, speed, and general feeling I get when listening. I prefer melodic death metal over anything like grindcore, as an album of blastbeats and super-technical playing can become a bit much.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1eEDiI0T30I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 01-13-15, 01:44 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Hey, thanks for the thoughtful responses (and clips) so far!
Old 01-13-15, 01:51 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I'm a 31 year old metalhead, started listening when I was 16. Funny you mention Slipknot because, as someone else mentioned, they were my gateway into metal. Corey Taylor's lyrics are about what you described.

The best explanation I've seen of all the various metal genres is from the documentary "Metal: A Headbangers Journey. The wiki page for the movie actually has a metal family tree with all the genres as well as some notable associated bands. The thing I like about metal is that, unlike almost every other genre of music, it is not restrictive in its themes. Satan, god, sex, war, drugs, love, despair, slavery, hypocrisy, hope, social and political injustices and much more are covered across a wide range of styles. My favorite metal album of 2014 is a one man band from Kentucky that combined blue grass and black metal. His last album entitled "Kentucky" is a concept album about the struggles coal miners in Kentucky have gone through.

The other aspect that I enjoy is the live shows. No other genre compares. I've been to country, hip-hop, r&b, and rock concerts and there is nothing like the interaction at a live show. While I listen to other genres of music and some rank very highly, metal changes so much that I'm always finding something new to enjoy.
Old 01-13-15, 01:59 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

1. Slipknot is not death metal. You probably have never heard death metal. I would have a hard time explaining Slipknot's appeal.
2. Metal has an insanely nerdy and arcane "family tree" of genres and sub-genres. Death metal means a very specific thing, a thing that is different from say black metal or blackened death metal. If you really care to learn about this, watch "Metal: a Headbanger's Journey" or go on wiki. I'm willing to bet you don't really care.
3. Just like any other genre, there are artists that are effective at conveying a thought, mood or emotion in a compelling and moving manner and there are artists who fail at this. In other words, there's "good" metal and "bad" metal. This is a huge scene world wide.
4. Just like any other genre, there's a long history and arcane set of signifiers in metal that may seem strange, silly or ridiculous to "uninitiated". However, this history and set of signifiers are both deeply meaningful to people who like this stuff. I'd say that's actually particularly true in metal. Like jazz, this can be a tough genre to make sense of at first listen.

/edit: beavis' post above says a lot of what I say. I actually didn't read his post before posting mine. Great minds think alike.
Old 01-13-15, 02:05 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I'm a big fan of the general term "thrash" metal, more specifically melodic thrash. Give me a band with two lead guitarists, and constant double bass drums, and I'm in heaven. Death metal as a genre doesn't appeal to me.

It is interesting that thrash metal is becoming more mainstream. Wouldn't have imagined these commercials existing in the 80s or 90s.



Old 01-13-15, 02:11 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
If you really care to learn about this, watch "Metal: a Headbanger's Journey" or go on wiki. I'm willing to bet you don't really care.
Well, thanks for your & beavis's recommendation. I won't pretend that I'm insanely rabid to learn about this, but I do have some curiosity about it or I wouldn't have posted. It wasn't just to bash Slipknot...and I thought that was expressed in my thanks for the clips & comments posted.

Anyway, I'd say you're right in that I won't be a convert to some types of metal although I have owned a whole slew of albums (remember them) that fall under certain metal categories. Just trying to broaden my horizons a little. While I'm not rushing off to view the video just to 'call your bet'...I had already decided to check it out from beavis's post...I'll probably view it (unless it just doesn't appeal at all) during the next few days.

But I do appreciate the facts about the points about the signifiers, etc. and look forward to reading about the history. Btw...you'd probably think I never listened to thrash or punk bands like Black Flag, either! Wanna buy a vintage tee?
Old 01-13-15, 02:18 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Anyone heard of Theatre of Tragedy? I think the Siren song is beautiful. Is that death metal? Maybe more like down or gothic metal?
Old 01-13-15, 03:08 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by mndtrp View Post
I have a hard time answering your question, since it could apply to anything. I like the technicality, speed, and general feeling I get when listening. I prefer melodic death metal over anything like grindcore, as an album of blastbeats and super-technical playing can become a bit much.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1eEDiI0T30I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Jesus how many strings do those dudes need on their guitars?
Old 01-13-15, 03:22 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I don't know, when I was in college In Flames, At the Gates, Darkest Hour and As I Lay Dying were pretty popular. I know those guys are more akin to Gothenburg / Swedish metal than Death metal (Mostly, In Flames and At the Gates are actually from Gothenburg), but these subgenres confuse the fuck out of me. I always enjoyed them because they were melodic as fuck.

So hardcore. Did they ever find the lead singer of AILD guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife? They were the good Christian metal band. Edit: Pleaded guilty. 6 Years. 5 to go. He better start writing that follow-up Austrian Death Machine album.
Old 01-13-15, 03:26 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
Anyone heard of Theatre of Tragedy? I think the Siren song is beautiful. Is that death metal? Maybe more like down or gothic metal?
Yeah, I would classify most (but not all) of their stuff as gothic metal. I really like their original female vocalist Liv Kristine, who went on to symphonic metal band Leaves' Eyes
Old 01-13-15, 04:02 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

I would say the only band that has been able to successfully toe the line between some semblance of mainstream success while still appealing to a core metal audience is Mastodon. Some might say their newest release steps over into the hard rock category a little much but I would disagree and say you can still hear their progressive metal sound.

If your looking for what a good representation of a death metal band is Death is a good place to start (since they are given credit for pioneering the genre)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6G2...f63OSIyiIFOAe0
Old 01-13-15, 04:19 PM
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Re: What's the appeal of Death Metal?

Where does Mercyful Fate fall? They're about as far as I go into that corner of the metal world.

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