Death Metal

author: NitroCam date: 02/11/2011 category: music styles

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There are many styles and genres under death metal but the three biggest are grindcore, deathcore and melodic death metal. Grindcore is the least melodic style and involves very fast tremolo picked riffs coupled with slow palm muted parts and double stops. Grindcore is pioneered by bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Ingested. Deathcore was born out of the growing popularity of metalcore and is a fusion between death and metalcore. Deathcore involves the growling death metal vocals and fast riffs with slow breakdowns and spoken sections. Deathcore is pioneered by bands such as Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish. Melodic death metal has the basic death metal style and is similar to black metal just with more growling vocals and more violent themes without the religous/devil worship style. It uses many double stops and power chords with gallop picking and also has very melodic parts and solos. Melodic death metal is pioneered by bands such as Children of Bodum and Dethklok. SETUP. Most death metallers use a downtuned guitar to drop C or drop B this is so you can do a power chord with a double stop (barring 2 strings), sometimes people go down to drop A or use B standard (I use B standard beacuse although double stops dont sound as good its esier to work in speed riffs and you dont have to move your arm around the neck as much.) The amp should be setup with a distortion pedal (i recommend the Boss ML-2 Metalcore which i have reviewed btw) to get the drive in your sound but if you dont have one turn your gain up as high as it can go and you will get a fair sound. My amp is set to the clean channel with the pedal set at: Level-8 High-7 Low-6 Distortion-6 The amp is set at: Bass-6 Mid-1 Treble-8 I use the bridge humbucker with all the dials on the guitar turned to full. PALM MUTING. Palm mutes are used extensivly in death metal, for many differant effects. The main uses for palm muting are breakdowns and slow chuggs (in grindcore), gallop picking and blasting. To do a palm mute you push your picking hand lightly down on the strings with your palm, the effect of this is to dampen the note and cut it short. Breakdowns: A breakdown is a percussive section where the guitars will make rhythmic chuggs, the breakdown is found mostly in deathcore as it uses breakdowns as a verse riff a lot. The Well by Rose Funeral has a breakdown, it goes like this:
Drop B
PM.  . . ... ... .                  .  . . ... ... .
E|0--0-0-000-000-0|                |0--0-0-000-000-0|
A|0--0-0-000-000-0| Raise the Dead |0--0-0-000-000-0| Feast on the Living
D|----------------|  (Drum Fill)   |----------------|     (Drum Fill)
G|----------------|                |----------------|
B|----------------|                |----------------|
e|----------------|                |----------------|
The dots mark which notes to mute as you can see this breakdown is split with lyrics and drum fills. It is also worth noting that the groups of 3 in the riff eg. |-000-| are alternate picked. Blasting: Blasting refers to fast tremolo picked palm mutes just played straight (there are no string or fret changes), these are normaly done by the rhythem guitar under the lead guitar's riff although ocasonaly in songs like Raining Blood by Slayer the guitar does this solo. In this song it happens just before the solo as a bridge between the rest of the song and it. It goes like this:
Standard tuning
The '===' tell you that those notes are tremolo (fast alternate)picked It helps to hold the pick at about a 45 degree angle to the string so it hits it sideways and doesnt pick it as much but more brushes it. Gallop picking: Gallop picking is short bursts of fast tremolo picks, normaly in groups of 2, 3 or 4. To do good gallop picks hold the pick sideways as before and try to move your hand into the burst as you pick. In death metal gallops are usaly palm muted open on the E string. An example of gallop picking in Raining Blood is the second intro section:
Standard tuning
  === === === === === === === === === === === === === ===
PM... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... . . .
POWER CHORDS Death metal (if in a standard style tuning) somtimes uses power chords, normally on two strings. Power chords are used to make the sound a bit more thick and sonicly correct, so it is important to learn to use power chords quickly. Power chords are found in the first intro part to Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse. It goes like this:
E flat
E|0-0-0-8 \-0-0-0-8 \-0-0-0-8 \-012------|
It is important to remember to mute the strings after you play each open E chord, it is best to do this with your second finger while holding the chord with your first. These '\' are downward slides DOOM RIFFS A doom riff (most present in melodic death metal but found in all types) is a slow melodic riff usaly tremolo picked, they sound very dark and unhappy. A great example doom riff is the one in Walk With Me In Hell by Lamb of God, it goes like this:
Drop D
The picking in this is a lot slower than in Raining Blood so dont pick it too fast It is best to keep your thumb down low on the neck and bend your fretting hand wrist to space your fingers better for the wide fret changes. 'SQUEALIES' A 'squealie' on a guitar is a sudden high picthed squeling noise made from doing pinch harmonics when using high overdrive or distortion. Pinch harmonics can take a long time to master but once you have a method that works for you you'll be laughing. When i do pinch harmonics I use a slightly diffrerant metod than most people as rather than brushing my thumb on the string as I hit it ibrusdh the string behind where I pick with my ring finger. The main part of learning pinch harmonics is to learn where to brush the string as it is differant on most guitars, you just have to feel it. A good example of a squealie is at the intro to Wage Slaves by All Shall Perish, it goes like this:
Drop B
PM  . .   . . .     . . . . . . . . v
The '*' means pinch harmonic The 'v' means vibrato A vibrato isnt necercary when doing pinch harmonics but it helps give an extra flair on the sound and most guitarists put a small one in by defult. Hope you enjoyed my lesson -Cam
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