People who aren't familiar with this genre pass judgement way too quickly. Seen as satanists, psychos, and the anti-christ. When actually it is an art, way to express ones' self, and a difficult form of creativity to keep alive. To enlighten everyone who unfortunately hasn't heard Death Metal will expect:
Fast Tempos although some bands have expressed a slower, more darker vibe such as Opeth.
Drop tuned guitars, this is becoming widely popular along with 7 and 8 sting guitars. Tunings range from Drop D to F, you'll expect to see that get lower as technology progresses. Maybe you'll live to see the day where you guitar is a weapon for that dreadful brown note.
High pitched screams (more common in Black Metal), or Low growling aka "cookie monster" vocals, though i've never heard that before.
Lyrics focus on death hence the title of this genre. Plug your ears kiddies this genre is for the big guns upstairs. bands usual deal with intese subject matter such as murder, rape, mutilation, necrophilia, brutal assault, ect...
Percussions involve double bass excessively used, blast beats, and a wide variety of complex structures.
Death Metal began from the widely popular thrash metal scene that struck in the early 80's such as acts from Slayer. Many people credit Slayer as being the first death metal band due to the content of thier lyrics and the structure of their songs. The true credit lies with Chuck Schuldiner's band Death and the Florida driven Morbid Angel, each group delivered a certain sound no one had ever heard before and set the road for future bands. Im sure there are more to be listed as pioneers, but those two names stick out more so than others.
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Over the years sub-genres have come to popularity among the community such as:
Melodic Death Metal - glamorized from the arrival of bands in Sweden, Finnland, and others in that area. Use of keyboards definately play a huge role. The guitars also influenced the genre by having a structure playing off each other with harmonies and melodies you wouldn't hear in traditional Death Metal. Check out Children of Bodom they whale!
Progressive Death Metal - time signatures, tempo, and rhythm seem to be quite unusual and in complete "chaos" most quote, even though the band seems to be in control in most cases. This is all I can really explain, if you wanna know more listen to Meshuggah and they'll answer your questions.
Deathcore - mix of metalcore and Death Metal similar to Grindcore as well. The genres really have no difference in my opinion. Listen to Job For A Cowboy, and Cattle Decapitation to settle any existing differences.
Death Metal is definately an aquired taste, but fills the void if your desiring something new and want to experience another darker side of metal. I've been a die hard fan for 3 years now and truely satisfies my musical state of mind. Don't be afraid to feed your curiosity, society is scared and tells you lies about how atrocious this music is. I've heard from the beginning it's Satan's music and it'll drive you to kill people. We have the right to express ourselves and thats what this genre does, it's just music you guys.