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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Genre Seeker: Deathcore - The Art of Harsh Vocals

Yes m'dears.

Those disturbing, ear-piercing, monstrous screams... together with the incoherent shaping of words, and bullet-like guitar riffing are signs that you have just listened to deathcore.

Quite literally obvious, deathcore is a sub-genre that fuses the styles of death metal and metalcore together. If you are someone who don't particularly like metal, let alone death metal or metalcore, please do not ever try deathcore, your ears might get traumatized. Now, while death metal as a genre presented morbid or dark lyrical themes, standard harsh vocals, and rather complex instrumentals, metalcore on the other hand was a resultant sub-genre which incorporated hardcore elements into the death metal style. Basically, metalcore was, well, more hardcore in every aspect of the death metal style. Harsh vocals were given more room to expand with metalcore vocalists experimenting with different forms of growling or screaming, and there was also the occasional moment of clean singing thrown in as well. Instrumentals went up a notch in terms of complexity, but sometimes just end up sounding plain thrashy though. As for lyrical themes, they can range from esoteric topics like philosophy to good ol' love.

So... deathcore was in its essence, a spin-off of a spin-off. This can be summed up quite simply by the equation below.

Death Metal + Metalcore = Death Metal + (Death Metal + Hardcore) = Deathcore

What you get out of deathcore however, is quite vastly different from its roots. Instrumentals no longer have any discernible rhythmic pattern (or at least not so obvious until after many listens), the harsh vocal range and experimentation is so much greater, and the lyrical themes mostly don't even make sense let alone their lyrics, meaning they can be just about any topic in life you can think of. If you are someone who has been exposed to some deathcore, and is currently going "What? How can all this crazy screaming and growling be music?! It's noise!"

Well, I would beg to differ. Under the unspoken laws of avant-garde music, deathcore can be (in my personal opinion) alternatively known as the art of harsh vocals. You see, it IS the crazy screaming and growling here that is the main focus of this avant-garde music genre. The guitars and drums are kinda secondary here, since the vocalists of deathcore bands are actually taking on the hardest role. If they don't do their growling-screaming thingamajig properly, they can end up with very frequent throat inflammations (or even throat cancer when they are old). I think they use their diaphragm the most when doing their standard growls, not their larynges. Anyway, it might be an interesting thing to note that the different types of harsh vocals presented in deathcore can be somewhat amusing and intriguing to listen to at the same time. In fact, I would dare say they are the only thing of interest to look out for in most deathcore bands.

There are quite a few different types of harsh vocals employed by current deathcore bands, namely...

The Shriek

The Low Growl

The High Scream (0:29 - 0:31)

The Pig Squeal (0:47 - 0:59 and any other similar parts in the song)

The Shriek-Growl (this is darned hard to do O.O)

Clean Vocals (they can be surprisingly quite good, differs from band to band though)

The Scream-Growl (rather common type apart from the Low Growl)

Alright, your eardrums must be ringing now. That about sums up the various types of harsh vocals in deathcore so far, and if you think this is extreme enough, there are sub-genres closely related to deathcore, that are even more extreme. Grindcore, noisecore, anyone?

Yes, deathcore may be the ugliest sub-genre of metal yet, but well, metal was all about being ugly in the first place (with the exception of symphonic, power, and some progressive metal). It is not really accepted as "music" by bands from other less extreme genres, most notably the frontman of Bayside, but hey, these guys are fronting an avant-garde genre that they have great passion for, and doesn't that put them on the same stage as the guys from the other genres? Even Black Sabbath's original heavy metal style was not widely accepted at first, but as time went by, look what became of the metal behemoth.

Deathcore is certainly not for the weak-hearted, hearing-impaired, pop-loving average Joe, but if you feel like the mainstream's not offering you enough, try delving into deathcore, you just might like it. There must be a reason why Bring Me The Horizon has shot to fame within a short span of 3 years you know.


Anonymous said...

wow this isnt even close to real death metal. all i heard was shitty breakdowns every 30 fuckin' seconds and terrible vocals that i was able to replicate perfectly with no practice, death core sucks and dont try to make it sound badass. theyre right deathcore is just what scene kids like to name their genre to sound cool but theyre really just a bunch of posers. bmth should go n die

Anonymous said...

i really hope whoever wrote this bullshit article reads this because he doesn't know what the fuck hes talking about. almost everything in the songs you listed are terrible . if you want to see amazing, extreme, heavy and powerful riffing, dont go to deathcore. if you want amazing singing go to children of bodom, cannibal corpse, or opeth. you want find any musical value in deathcore

Anonymous said...

guitarists are terrible. ive only heard 1 solo from deathcore, wasnt even that great but searching through dozens of talentlessness and rhythmically deaf so called musicians it was a relief to hear that solid arpengilo. not even that good. saw the solo live via youtube and wanted to barf. i think the guitarist was having a seizer. it shouldnt have been so suprizing though.