#1
I've been interested lately in some technical death metal, like Necrophagist, The Faceless, Braindrill, etc. I want to start making some songs like that, or at least playing music like they do. The thing is, i have no idea what kind of scales or chord progressions they use. i just need a few tips to get me started.
Thanks
#2
Death metal is a combination of chromaticism, diminished stuff, the natural minor scale, the phyrigian dominant scale, the harmonic minor scale, and the phrygian scale.

The genre is so diverse that you can't say it uses one scale like you can say the blues scale is THE scale to know for classic rock (though others are used, that is the biggie). In Flames adheres to standard Western harmony most of the time, while Slayer (they're thrash, but they would absolutely be considered death metal if Tom growled) uses a ton of chromatic stuff. Even Slayer uses some kind of scale around which the entire song is based. Angel of Death uses a lot of chromatic tones, but it is still clearly in Em (Ebm if you account for the downtuning).
#3
Death metal is incredibly diverse. Necrophagist plays with lots of neoclassical style licks and patterns and uses the harmonic minor scale a lot. Cannibal Corpse is riff and rhythm based and uses lots of chromaticism as well as some diminished stuff, though sometimes they use more melodic feels.
#4
Quote by CowboyUp
Death metal is incredibly diverse. Necrophagist plays with lots of neoclassical style licks and patterns and uses the harmonic minor scale a lot. Cannibal Corpse is riff and rhythm based and uses lots of chromaticism as well as some diminished stuff, though sometimes they use more melodic feels.



Diminished is flatted third and fifth, right?
And harmonic is just a raised 7th, right?
well I'm not talking about just soloing, but making riffs and rhythms. So chromatics would be good for something like that?

edit: oh and what is the difference between the phrygian and the phrygian dominant?
#5
Quote by dillonrips7
And harmonic is just a raised 7th, right?
Compared to the minor scale, yes, but intervals are always compared with the major scale, so the harmonic minor scale is the natural minor scale with a natural 7 (#7=8=1).
#6
Hugely diverse. Some bands use dissonant chords and harmony extensively, some use 5ths pretty much exclusively.

You need to know your theory and study death metal to get the results you want. Do whichever of the two you need to.
#7
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Compared to the minor scale, yes, but intervals are always compared with the major scale, so the harmonic minor scale is the natural minor scale with a natural 7 (#7=8=1).


ahh i see. thanks. i need to study theory more.
#8
Good choice using the Faceless as an influence. You might also check out some of Between the Buried and Me's stuff.

The Faceless LOVES phrygian and the Harmonic minor scale. But I've noticed for the most part, they tend to act in key but out of mode. Most of their licks are not in any way chromatic. And their rhythm is for the most part just heavy bar chords in drop C. Necrophagist, now, is a whole different world.
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#9
Quote by AnOblivion
Good choice using the Faceless as an influence. You might also check out some of Between the Buried and Me's stuff.

The Faceless LOVES phrygian and the Harmonic minor scale. But I've noticed for the most part, they tend to act in key but out of mode. Most of their licks are not in any way chromatic. And their rhythm is for the most part just heavy bar chords in drop C. Necrophagist, now, is a whole different world.


That's true, i actually think they aren't chromatic because they don't follow any kind of scale or key ON PURPOSE, as if they were writing a formula, their sound is just the result of the music knowledge they got + the feel intended for this technical music.. this minor modes and scales simply fit the music itself, imo :P...
#11
Quote by Freepower
Hugely diverse. Some bands use dissonant chords and harmony extensively, some use 5ths pretty much exclusively.

You need to know your theory and study death metal to get the results you want. Do whichever of the two you need to.

How do you study death metal? Does that mean listening to a lot of death metal and then analyze what they do?
#12
Pretty much, but making sure you have the tools (ears, theoretical knowledge) to analyse. These will develop while listening and analysing anyway so just get listening anyway.

The other thing is that a band like Gorguts and a band like Meshuggah approach music from radically different angles, never mind Necrophagist or Opeth, etc. "Death Metal" is hugely varied and uses a huge variety of compositional and physical playing techniques.
#13
I would suggest learning a lot of death metal songs so you can get a feel for the way they're constructed, learn by example so to speak.
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#14
generally, choruses are cheesey predictable
I|VI|III|VII
or
I|III|VI|V
type of thing.
frets on a one string guitar would be
1, 8, 3, 10
and 1, 3, ,8 ,7 respectively

EDIT
that makes no sense sorry.
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