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Psychology of Death Metal

Sensi Star

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What is it about this type of music that is so popular. Extremely loud, relentless drum beats with heavily distorted guitar and dark screaming vocals speaking of death, destruction, and terror.

Do most people who listen to this have some sort of underlying darkness within them such as childhood trauma, emotional instability, self hatred, etc, for which this music provides release? What would compel someone to listen to this stuff, other than wanting to put up a front of 'hardcore' masculinity?
 

Bird

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You don't understand, it's so much more
than that. It takes incredible talent to
play like that. Not all death metal is all
relentless noise, in fact most of it isn't,
if you'd stop being prejudiced and really
listen (; But I understand, conditioned
responses are oh so difficult to overcome.
Why do you assume it's negative? It's
not. You clearly have not done your
research. Tsk. Tsk.
 

GYX_Kid

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why do people play football?

YouTube - The Parasites - Brain Drill

^ brutal, technical aaand catchy full-throttle pounding assault :elephant:

though in actuality if you don't smoke crack and worship satan, you're doing it wrong.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Death Metal fucking rules

i don't like this new fangled modern "tech death".

sounds like metalcore to me
 

Sensi Star

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You don't understand, it's so much more
than that. It takes incredible talent to
play like that. Not all death metal is all
relentless noise, in fact most of it isn't,
if you'd stop being prejudiced and really
listen (; But I understand, conditioned
responses are oh so difficult to overcome.
Why do you assume it's negative? It's
not. You clearly have not done your
research. Tsk. Tsk.
Actually I had a couple friends who listened to it exclusively, and I've had to put up with listening to a lot of it and never once did I actually enjoy it, with the rare exception of select Opeth songs, which have a lot of melodic interventions. Most of it just doesn't sound like music to me, just a bunch of noise.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Death Metal fucking rules

^opeth? more like blowpeth
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Death Metal fucking rules

why are we bringing black metal into this? that's not even a good band
 

Agent Intellect

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1. Music preference doesn't say much about peoples personality. I enjoy rap music, which is usually associated with extroversion and excess, but I'm probably the quietest person you'll never know (but I also probably listen to the rap music you'll never know about).

2. In a show of my ignorance, I don't know much about the different genre's of (death) metal - (with death in parentheses, showing that I don't know how many related genres are associated with it).
 

Artsu Tharaz

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music preference says a lot about a person

X genre not implying a single personality P doesn't disprove this
 

warryer

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I like this music because it feels more real to me than most anything popular. It's like eating candy (pop) when what I really want is a steak (metal).

I get the impression that people only "like" certain bands or music because other people do... or that they "should." The music I listen to is because I enjoy the sounds, I don't care about pedigree, popularity, or any other non-sense. The measure I go by is if I enjoy the song/band or not.

You could be right about the psychological state of the listeners though. Some people I get the impression of insecurity from - but you could say that about anything really. Why do people drive big trucks when they clearly don't live on a farm? Why do people where designer labels?

Not death metal but, something I enjoy:


And some death metal I enjoy:



YouTube - At The Gates - The Red In The Sky Is Ours/The Season To Come
 

GYX_Kid

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@Artsu: i'll have to check out that band portal more. : o
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Death Metal fucking rules

@Artsu: i'll have to check out that band portal more. : o
good idea

this thread may as well be "Why do people like Lovecraft?"
 

Words

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What is it about this type of music that is so popular. Extremely loud, relentless drum beats with heavily distorted guitar and dark screaming vocals speaking of death, destruction, and terror.

Do most people who listen to this have some sort of underlying darkness within them such as childhood trauma, emotional instability, self hatred, etc, for which this music provides release? What would compel someone to listen to this stuff, other than wanting to put up a front of 'hardcore' masculinity?

You are heading the right way. It is the environment and the environment provides many explanations about preference for Death Metal, including ones that you have mentioned.

I listen to all "sound" but I always look out for ingenuity, transition and connection---Novel transitions of tone, instrument etc. that results into intuitive display of sound relationships. In other words, sound is good If it flows well. (Well = having genuine relationships.) And this trait is available in all genres. I suspect it's not environment.
 

GYX_Kid

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You are heading the right way. It is the environment and the environment provides many explanations about preference for Death Metal, including ones that you have mentioned.
i suppose i do enjoy "violent release metal" over "death metal" as a particular genre. i would anyway, though.

kills less potential brain cells than boxing, at least directly.

also not at all limited to audio carnage as a form of good music. for me music has to have substance, which can encompass all sorts of types.

I like this music because it feels more real to me than most anything popular. It's like eating candy (pop) when what I really want is a steak (metal).
the steak parallel definitely makes sense.
 

The Gopher

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I listen to heaps of different genres ( and I really mean different) I can appreciate the skill of the players but the err.... singing? Besides Death metal isn't really my thing.
 

echoplex

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What is it about this type of music that is so popular. Extremely loud, relentless drum beats with heavily distorted guitar and dark screaming vocals speaking of death, destruction, and terror.

Do most people who listen to this have some sort of underlying darkness within them such as childhood trauma, emotional instability, self hatred, etc, for which this music provides release? What would compel someone to listen to this stuff, other than wanting to put up a front of 'hardcore' masculinity?
Well, death, destruction, and terror are very prevalent aspects of reality, so in that sense one might say death metal is about facing reality head on, which is appealing for its honesty and relevance. Though, you could say all genres 'face reality' in their own way -- the better question might be: "why focus on the unpleasant parts of reality?" My answer would be that the process itself is pleasant despite the subject matter. People wouldn't listen if they didn't enjoy it.

I enjoy alot of metal, but I also don't understand why someone would only listen to metal, though they have their reasons I'm sure. I really don't even care about genre and don't get why some people get religious about it. Alot of metal makes me feel good, for various reasons, but so does alot of rock, rap, pop, etc. I also don't get why people nerd out about subgenres so much. I mean, yeah, it's interesting to see how many styles can be done but ultimately the only thing I'll care about is how a song makes me feel, the rest is just academic.

But yeah, I don't much doubt that certain aspects of personality correlate with certain genres of music. I think alot of people get into metal because they can relate to its 'darkness', because they see it in themselves, perhaps for reasons you listed. What I mean is... that initially helps them get into it, makes it appealing, but may not be the only reason(s) they like it as time goes on and they get deeper into it. Heck, alot of people who only listen to pop could probably enjoy metal if they could just get into it first. In my experience getting started with things is the difficult part, because it's easy to be too turned off by surface impressions to ever go deep enough to truly appreciate something. I'd say this is the case with most judgments humans make.

hmmm, perhaps genre matters after all, because there are certain things a person just can't 'get into' and it's useful to identify them. Who am I kidding, those teeny boppers aren't ever going to like metal, just like I'm never going to like crunkcore.
 

EyeSeeCold

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What is this noise? :mad:
 

drömmaren

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I listen to metal because it feels natural, I guess, but this feeling is more pronounced for black metal specifically. It's as if the music expresses something that has been a part of me all along. Sometimes I hear combinations of sounds that seem to "belong" to me, which makes the music very personal. I am often convinced that I understand the true meaning of the song more than the person who wrote it. I don't know if others can relate to this though...I don't know how common it is for people to get all sentimental about black metal :confused:
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Black Metal also fucking rules

Well, musicians go on intuition generally, so you as the listener may well understand how it works on a different level to them.

And yes Black Metal is certainly a genre to be sentimental about, especially given that much of it springs from a yearning for the past, or at least a vision of the past.

YouTube - Burzum - My Journey To The Stars
 

EyeSeeCold

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EyeSeeCold

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Anthile

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Listen to Edgy Of Sanity's Crimson and Crimson II and come here again. Otherwise, this whole discussion is meaningless.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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lol listening to Crimson atm, I keep thinking "Opeth? Is that you, Opeth?"

+ and equally, if not more, boring.

the earlier works of these guys sound better, and actually death metal. I probably won't listen again though.
 

Solitaire U.

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What is it about this type of music that is so popular. Extremely loud, relentless drum beats with heavily distorted guitar and dark screaming vocals speaking of death, destruction, and terror.
I can't imagine how the popularity of death, destruction and terror could possibly surprise you. Look around...it is celebrated everywhere.

Personally I prefer chemical speed and musical drone, and don't have a lot of tolerance for cookie-monster vocalists, but it all boils down to tempo and hook variances of the same basic shit...

YouTube - Earthride - Fighting the Devils Inside You
 

aaaw

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It would be a boring world if we all had the same tastes. You could pose your questions of any musical genre.

However, I will say one thing and that is that for many people (especially young people) music is not just an aural experience, but forms part of an identity movement. Different genres have their own dress codes, lexicon, symbolism etc which people adopt to try to associate themselves with a certain sub-culture. It is a very primitive, tribal thing, born, I believe, of our innate desire to 'belong'.

To understand the identity aspects of death metal you would need to look at the sub-culture and analyse what values, attitudes etc it is trying to project, how 'members' interact with each other and how this all interacts with dominant (hegemonic) cultural formations .
 

SpaceYeti

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What is it about this type of music that is so popular. Extremely loud, relentless drum beats with heavily distorted guitar and dark screaming vocals speaking of death, destruction, and terror.

Do most people who listen to this have some sort of underlying darkness within them such as childhood trauma, emotional instability, self hatred, etc, for which this music provides release? What would compel someone to listen to this stuff, other than wanting to put up a front of 'hardcore' masculinity?
Yes. The thing you said right before that.

Actually, I'm down with rock, especially hard rock, but death metal just seems like too much. It doesn't sound good. There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds. It confuses me why people who are otherwise very skilled musicians play their instruments so quickly that you can't appreciate the scale and rhythm. It's just a wall of noise. I just don't get it.
 

EyeSeeCold

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Yes. The thing you said right before that.

Actually, I'm down with rock, especially hard rock, but death metal just seems like too much. It doesn't sound good. There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds. It confuses me why people who are otherwise very skilled musicians play their instruments so quickly that you can't appreciate the scale and rhythm. It's just a wall of noise. I just don't get it.
The noise becomes part of the "sound", even if the instruments can't be distinguished. But not all death metal is that incoherent.
 

pjoa09

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Yes. The thing you said right before that.

Actually, I'm down with rock, especially hard rock, but death metal just seems like too much. It doesn't sound good. There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds. It confuses me why people who are otherwise very skilled musicians play their instruments so quickly that you can't appreciate the scale and rhythm. It's just a wall of noise. I just don't get it.
jazz guitar, bitches.

Yeah, especially when that guy smokes too many cigarettes and shouts.
How the fuck do you drive and talk with your friends when that shit comes on?

Or you are thinking??

I have had my share of metal moments and they end quick.
 

MoonPhantom

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Yes. The thing you said right before that.

Actually, I'm down with rock, especially hard rock, but death metal just seems like too much. It doesn't sound good. There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds. It confuses me why people who are otherwise very skilled musicians play their instruments so quickly that you can't appreciate the scale and rhythm. It's just a wall of noise. I just don't get it.

It is like with a good manga/anime or a book really. You have to search for a while to actually find a good piece of music. There is a lot of shitty death/black metal, where a bunch of unexparianced "musicians" tries to play as loud and as fast as they can. But many bands take a technical and proffesional approach to it, usually combining the musical theory knoweledge of pentatonic circles and scales while of course differing them as they want and creating a unique sound.
 

kantor1003

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There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds.
Keeping in mind that it's hard to discuss a genre, something that more often than not is just stereotyping a bunch of bands and attach them to a label, the first statement is wrong (the other, of course, is a judgement you are free to make). The rhythmic elements contained in many bands in this genre can be repetitive, or overused in the same song to the extent where there isn't too much rhythmic contrast, but usually not to the extent where one can be led to believe that there is "effectively no rhythm". On the contrary many bands, if not most, has it's focal point in the rhythmic aspect. Metal on the whole has a rhythmic approach to music (even though I wish they where more creative with it. Luckily some newer bands seems to introduce a more sophisticated approach to rhythmic experimentation, not clinging on to simplistic, overused motives that often extends throughout a whole song) as harmonically speaking there isn't too much happening. Many bands, if not most, mostly stick to moving parallel 5ths here and there, so naturally, rhythm is essential to make it an interesting listening experience.

I can understand why the OP don't particularly find the genre enjoying because of the apparent lack of harmonic movement and memorizable, or pleasing melodies, but if one looks more closely you'll find several bands where this isn't lacking. He mentioned Opeth, something I think is a good example of a band that melody wise and harmony wise is more interesting than most other bands attached to the "death metal" label out there.

I think in the near future we'll see a greater exploration of different harmonic elements in metal. We already see some bands that in addition to develop the rhythmic element further, borrows harmonic elements from jazz and classical music to provide a more interesting listening experience.
In recent times we have also seen the emergence of many metal bands that borrows heavily from pop, introducing catchy refs. and a clean vocal voice presenting catchy melodies. In some bands the only difference between their musical expression and the ones commonly found in pop music is really just the addition of distorted guitars.
 

Sensi Star

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It would be a boring world if we all had the same tastes. You could pose your questions of any musical genre.

However, I will say one thing and that is that for many people (especially young people) music is not just an aural experience, but forms part of an identity movement. Different genres have their own dress codes, lexicon, symbolism etc which people adopt to try to associate themselves with a certain sub-culture. It is a very primitive, tribal thing, born, I believe, of our innate desire to 'belong'.

To understand the identity aspects of death metal you would need to look at the sub-culture and analyse what values, attitudes etc it is trying to project, how 'members' interact with each other and how this all interacts with dominant (hegemonic) cultural formations .
I completely understand the cultural and identity aspect of music-choice. But regarding those who's choice of death metal is independent of cultural associations, I'm inquiring how people can appreciate death metal as a musical experience and a musical experience alone.

For example, I dislike country music, pop, classical, opera (not the culture, the sound), however I can still recognize in them the aspects which form music. For a lot of death however, not only do I not like the sound, I can't even recognize it as music. There is something it's lacking that all other musical genres contain, a certain structural difference that is outside of the range of all other popular music genres. And a lot of professional musicians I've asked on the subject share a similar viewpoint, so clearly it is a deviation of some sort.

So I'm asking, what is it that makes some people appreciate the really chaotic, musically-deviant type of death metal as a musical experience. Does it resonate with some type of chaos within them?
 

GYX_Kid

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every habit forms through conditioning and stepping-stones.


For example, I dislike country music, pop, classical, opera (not the culture, the sound), however I can still recognize in them the aspects which form music. For a lot of death however, not only do I not like the sound, I can't even recognize it as music. There is something it's lacking that all other musical genres contain, a certain structural difference that is outside of the range of all other popular music genres. And a lot of professional musicians I've asked on the subject share a similar viewpoint, so clearly it is a deviation of some sort.
for example, some easier-listening "melodic death metal":


Actually, I'm down with rock, especially hard rock, but death metal just seems like too much. It doesn't sound good. There's effectively no rhythm, no pleasant sounds. It confuses me why people who are otherwise very skilled musicians play their instruments so quickly that you can't appreciate the scale and rhythm. It's just a wall of noise. I just don't get it.
six feet under is a band considered "death n' roll," but i think fear factory does a better job:

hell, i'll be utterly blasphemous and post slipknot
i'll call this a modern grind/hard rock song:

basically the heavy groove/core-labeled bands tend to segue people into death metal eventually
 

EyeSeeCold

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For a lot of death however, not only do I not like the sound, I can't even recognize it as music. There is something it's lacking that all other musical genres contain, a certain structural difference that is outside of the range of all other popular music genres. And a lot of professional musicians I've asked on the subject share a similar viewpoint, so clearly it is a deviation of some sort.

So I'm asking, what is it that makes some people appreciate the really chaotic, musically-deviant type of death metal as a musical experience. Does it resonate with some type of chaos within them?
You're blatantly generalizing.

How can you say death metal has no structural difference? Fast tempos, harsh vocals, distorted guitars, blast beats, complex technical compositions, dark themes. How is that not a difference from other music?

There is no "deviation" just a bias that all music that sounds like death metal is crap and generic and people who listen to it must be psycho-emotionally disturbed.

The problem is your ignorance and unwillingness to explore.

YouTube - Sarcofago - The laws of the scourge[The laws of the scourge]
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Re: Death Metal fucking rules

I completely understand the cultural and identity aspect of music-choice. But regarding those who's choice of death metal is independent of cultural associations, I'm inquiring how people can appreciate death metal as a musical experience and a musical experience alone.

For example, I dislike country music, pop, classical, opera (not the culture, the sound), however I can still recognize in them the aspects which form music. For a lot of death however, not only do I not like the sound, I can't even recognize it as music. There is something it's lacking that all other musical genres contain, a certain structural difference that is outside of the range of all other popular music genres. And a lot of professional musicians I've asked on the subject share a similar viewpoint, so clearly it is a deviation of some sort.

So I'm asking, what is it that makes some people appreciate the really chaotic, musically-deviant type of death metal as a musical experience. Does it resonate with some type of chaos within them?
Death metal sucks, don't bother listening to it. Its fans are insane and tone deaf, they just like to bang on things. We hate everyone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySo5EoQL9_c&feature=related
 

SpaceYeti

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"A handful of bands in this genre who you have to search hard for make stuff that's not suck, therefore the genre doesn't suck."

If there's one good piece of chicken in a box of a dozen pieces, the chicken as a unit is bad.
 

EyeSeeCold

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^ That pretty much goes for every genre..still, the sound exists in the music, not the genre. Labels don't do any justice for the musicians when there are too many negative associations.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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You really don't have to search very hard. The classics of the genre are amongst its best and any death metal listener has a good idea of these. These bands essentially constitute the core of what death metal is, so I stand by the genre not sucking (not sure why you judge whole genres anyway, and why you wouldn't judge them by their best material).

Yes there are great death metal bands that are more obscure and hard to find, but as a casual listener you don't have to bother with these apart from, say, asking someone who knows the genre well to tell you them.

If none of
catches your fancy, then I guess you can assume the genre isn't for you. Nothing is for everyone.

--

Also gonna leave this here: DeathMetal.Org
 

Solitaire U.

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@ Artsu...

Which bands in this genre, in your opinion, represent the leading edge in terms of lyric writing?
 

SpaceYeti

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^ That pretty much goes for every genre..still, the sound exists in the music, not the genre. Labels don't do any justice for the musicians when there are too many negative associations.
A genre is defined by the similarities in the sound. The things similar about death metal that make it death metal, I dislike. What is it with you people and disliking labels? I hate people who dislike labels. I call my cup a "cup" because that's what it is. Sure, labels may be used poorly or wrongly by ignorant jerks, but that doesn't mean they're innately bad or in any way inaccurate.

I should have stated earlier that I was saying what I said tongue in cheek. While it is actually my tastes, I don't presume anyone should share my tastes. Death Metal sucks because it's a wall of noise with no melody. And I just listened to a bunch of songs on that list of supposedly good songs. Our tastes are different. I'm not going to judge an entire genre by the few songs which people claim are good (yet I've been entirely unable to find), because I'd rather judge the genre as a genre. I then use that understanding of the genre to determine if I'd rather waste time listening to it or doing something else. That's how humans work.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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@ Artsu...

Which bands in this genre, in your opinion, represent the leading edge in terms of lyric writing?
I rarely pay attention to lyrics, so I couldn't tell you. Plus, the lyrics are meant to enforce the music, so may not seem too great on their own, I dunno.

Morbid Angel
Therion
At the Gates

If you don't like the aesthetics of the genre, you probably won't care much for the lyrics either.
 
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