Death Metal Bands

RonOrchComp

Active Member
There are no any day death or heavy metal bands, or even hard rock bands that don't use power chords. Some less than others, like Dragonforce.

Look - even AC/DC used power chords. :)
 

Rex282

Active Member
I’m not a metal expert however I am a geetar player.From what I hear especialy with drop tuning Which is a P5 on the 2 low strings instead of a P4 Is the main culprit.My personal preference for that sound is the 1-5 of a chord voiced 5-1 Like smoke on the water is correctly played Then the bass doubles the root or plays another chord tone.However I do understand why they voice it 5-1 with drop tuning because it s an easy bar of either 2 strings 1-5 or 3 strings 1-5-1 or 4 strings 1-5-1-5 by adding a second finger a P5 from the octave root....whew metal harmony is deep ...heheheheh....
 

T.j.

Member
Are there any present day death or heavy metal bands that don't use power chords or does that define the genre?
Maybe explain what you're trying to learn a bit better,
because as with most things, the rabbit hole goes deep... What are you trying to do/learn?

You mentioned 2 styles that are very different and lumped them together as 'a genre'.
I guarantee you there can be a world between them;
different styles, different writing, different fans, different art, etc. etc.

Mostly it's a combination of power chords & single riffs as mentioned, or a combination (2 guitar players usually!). It reads better in a mix, and is easier than full harmony.
Typically solo's are supported using simple chord progressions (think 80's Metallica),
these are usually powerchords.

Death metal tends to be tuned (much) lower, be less melodious, has deeper/lower vocals and different/faster drumbeats, pick your poison..

There's really nothing complicated about any of it,
Lots of good (great even) musicians within the genre's though... YouTube definitely accelerated the learning process, but has not resulted in better or more interesting music (quite the opposite).
 
OP
josejherring

josejherring

Senior Member
Maybe explain what you're trying to learn a bit better,
because as with most things, the rabbit hole goes deep... What are you trying to do/learn?

You mentioned 2 styles that are very different and lumped them together as 'a genre'.
I guarantee you there can be a world between them;
different styles, different writing, different fans, different art, etc. etc.

Mostly it's a combination of power chords & single riffs as mentioned, or a combination (2 guitar players usually!). It reads better in a mix, and is easier than full harmony.
Typically solo's are supported using simple chord progressions (think 80's Metallica),
these are usually powerchords.

Death metal tends to be tuned (much) lower, be less melodious, has deeper/lower vocals and different/faster drumbeats, pick your poison..

There's really nothing complicated about any of it,
Lots of good (great even) musicians within the genre's though... YouTube definitely accelerated the learning process, but has not resulted in better or more interesting music (quite the opposite).
Yeah, that's my problem. I'm doing this cue for a demo for a TV show and I need some fairly dark guitar stuff along with synth bass ect... I'm trying to add harmony to it but when I do anything but a 5th it gets overly distorted and sounds dissonant because of the distortion on the guitars. Even a fourth sounds like crap. I had a nice little progression going and it was sounding nice and musical then I add the distortion and all harmony goes out the window.

I'm about to get Titan from Alex Pfeffer but I don't want the guitar to just do power chords.

As I write this though, I don't think that power chords as the basses and 5th of the harmony is so bad if I can put a arpeggiated guitar part to fill out the harmony. Then put some melodic instruments on top of that. I like it. So the problem is with my orchestration. If I want guitars down low they almost have to be doing power chords as you mentioned. Works out better than full harmonies.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Chords generally don't really work with heavy distortion. It gets ugly real quick and that's why most bands who rely on a heavy guitar sound resort to power chords, fourths (Smoke On The Water :sneaky:), double stops and single note rhythm figures while leaving harmony notes to other instruments or making up interesting arpeggiated ideas to imply the harmonic structure. If needed, root + minor/major 3rd or flat 5th work, especially as passing intervals. One cool trick to make power chords beefier is to add the fourth below the root. Sus4 also works and can sound really big - the fourth should be in the high register of the chord though.
 

T.j.

Member
Yeah, that's my problem. I'm doing this cue for a demo for a TV show and I need some fairly dark guitar stuff along with synth bass ect... I'm trying to add harmony to it but when I do anything but a 5th it gets overly distorted and sounds dissonant because of the distortion on the guitars. Even a fourth sounds like crap. I had a nice little progression going and it was sounding nice and musical then I add the distortion and all harmony goes out the window.

I'm about to get Titan from Alex Pfeffer but I don't want the guitar to just do power chords.

As I write this though, I don't think that power chords as the basses and 5th of the harmony is so bad if I can put a arpeggiated guitar part to fill out the harmony. Then put some melodic instruments on top of that. I like it. So the problem is with my orchestration. If I want guitars down low they almost have to be doing power chords as you mentioned. Works out better than full harmonies.
Got it.
I think you're making it a little too complicated.
Very few guys even write from a chord progression outward, think motives (= riff) instead, then find out what key you're in when there's actually a need to know. Mostly it's just fitting similar puzzle pieces together.
Structure doesn't have to be different from your standard pop tune, but can be as complex/long as you like.

On piano: try writing with 1 finger !!!

Guitars can either double up, play octaves, or play against each other, those are all very common.
Harmonising riffs can indeed sound suspicious quickly, and therefore is done sparingly. Pick them wisely.

Remember metal came from punk, and 99% of the o.g. guys were not schooled musicians.
Some of the most revered albums were written by teenagers, on shit equipment.

P.s.
Yes it's also an orchestration/physics. thing... just open them up!
You'd most likely voice brass/strings open in the same register as well, now just leave out (most) 7ths and 3rds.
Your ear just isn't as sensitive way up/down the register as it is in the middle, keep it simple!
Focus on a good riff, then for example go from single note riff > power chord B section for.. creates contrast and thus 'interest'.

Hope that helps
 

Rex282

Active Member
To clean up the sound don't dial the amp sound very dirty it sits better in the mix and isnt so mushy.To make it really tight and open play 5-1 voicing on gtr and let the bass carry the root down low with some grind on the amp.

Playing this sound is much trickier then it sounds.It's not just power chords the accents,phrasing and articulation is very important when playing with gain.I've never heard a metal gtr library come even close to sounding convincing to me it just sounds....grindy.

To make riffs sound super tight it is very particular type of muting with palm and fingering hand(I call it choking) the type of pick stroke(downs sound the tightest) and blocking string ring.

Playing electri guitar is essentially playig two instruments at once(gtr and amp) in tandem and everyone does it differently and to decipher the intimacies is difficult since most players have no idea what they are doing and are usually one trick ponies.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
it REALLY depends on the band

really riff heavy technical bands arent throwing powerchords in that fast, and harmonies tend to be parallel minor 3rds.

slower bands or sections still often times consist of 4ths and 5ths.

if you're just looking for heavy music, djent often times uses essentially single note mute and bend patterns
 

retric

New Member
Yeah Djent is your best bet, something like Northlane or After the Burial tend to mix synths with heavy guitars, although the synths are not really fully featured all the time

This one has no synths but you can get an idea of some nice harmonies on heavy guitar with no powerchords

This one has heavy guitars in front (although power chords) but has synths in the background

And this one is full mix guitars and synths
 

KEM

Senior Member
Death metal in particular is very simplistic, there is no real harmony, it’s just about raw aggression, don’t expect it to be very complicated, but if you want tips on how to get a great metal tone that plays well with synths and orchestral elements:

1. Use high end pickups that have good string separation and note clarity, like Bare Knuckle or Lundgren
2. Dial back the gain and use an overdrive pedal with the drive all the way down to boost the amp, this will drastically clean up the low end flub you get from a high gain amp and give you a tighter yet more aggressive sound
3. You don’t have to tune super low to sound heavy, drop c isn’t that low and you can make it sound huge and brutal
4. Listen to Periphery
5. ^ Do what #4 says
 
Many bands use harmonized guitars in thirds, fourths, fifths, etc with heavy distortion. Shouldn't be an issue. Playing those intervals at the same time on a single guitar is where the overtones will start to make it sound undesirable. Two or more guitars harmonizing while playing single notes is very common (all the way back to Iron Maiden and before, could look at Deep Purple with distorted organ harmonizing with guitar too for something a little different).
 

MrLinssi

A glorified bedroom musician.
Death metal in particular is very simplistic, there is no real harmony, it’s just about raw aggression, don’t expect it to be very complicated, but if you want tips on how to get a great metal tone that plays well with synths and orchestral elements:

1. Use high end pickups that have good string separation and note clarity, like Bare Knuckle or Lundgren
2. Dial back the gain and use an overdrive pedal with the drive all the way down to boost the amp, this will drastically clean up the low end flub you get from a high gain amp and give you a tighter yet more aggressive sound
3. You don’t have to tune super low to sound heavy, drop c isn’t that low and you can make it sound huge and brutal
4. Listen to Periphery
5. ^ Do what #4 says
You get a like for listing Periphery. (And listing some good points in general!)

"Experience heavy metal at it's finest! Periphery, love that shit!"
 
  • Like
Reactions: KEM

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
if you're looking for some kind of link between death metal and orchestral music Luc Lemay is one:









still plenty of power or barred chords in metal but don't think of them as chords since they are really just single-note riffs with more overtones. i was never into death metal as a kid but post-2000 death metal and grind latched onto prog and nwobh retro and hit a sweet spot:











 
OP
josejherring

josejherring

Senior Member
Slowly working my way through all the post. Lots of good information. Many changes since I was last listening to this stuff.

I gotta admit. It's like about 180 degrees from what I was thinking. Lowering the gain never enter my mind.
Also, I'm thinking a long the lines of baddass big ballad stuff with big dirty dark guitars down low. So I can throw some stuff on top.

I'm probably going to get Titan guitar so that I have that sound already rather than build it up with samples and my guitar rig 5 :) But, in the initial phases of this cue, I'm getting close with some presets in guitar rig. Maybe like 75%.

I will eventually get to all the post. Thank you.

Funny enough the Gorgut stuff is probably a little closer to what I was thinking for this project. Not so advantgarde sounding but I need to find a way to mix those guitars with strings and french horns at least. Problem with the french horn is that it lies in the same register as the gits.
2. Dial back the gain and use an overdrive pedal with the drive all the way down to boost the amp, this will drastically clean up the low end flub you get from a high gain amp and give you a tighter yet more aggressive sound
Okay, I think I'm following. Going to give it a shot. Thx.