Again, I’ve decided to share an assignment I wrote for Warriner’s Grammar and Composition, Book 3, though it’s about music. But death- and black-metal tuneage are about horror, so I think I can get away with putting it up here. I’m probably the only one who cares about the Super-Heavy List I’ve come up with since I’ve found out what’s really heavy–not that I look down on what’s just heavy; they’re killing it; there’s bands that kill it harder, though. The list means something to me, however. So, here goes:
Regular death metal isn’t good enough anymore; we’ve heard this album 2,000 times, and it no longer shocks. It was cool enough in the early ’90s, maybe. Guttural growls, blastbeats, speed-metal beats, and slower beats with double-bass drums–rinse and repeat–are yawn-inducing. Albums barely heavy enough bore the pummelized ears of seasoned death-metal fans. A death band that doesn’t try to outdo Reek of Putrefaction, Carcass’s first album and the heaviest album ever, aren’t doing their jobs. Whether or not they eclipse that possessed-sounding record is irrelevant (for they probably won’t). It’s the effort that matters.
Though both kinds are very fast, sinister, and are played by mean-looking musicians, one’s fresh; the other puts listeners to sleep. The bands need an extra gear or gears: cacophony vocals–both the guttural growl and the high-pitched growl-scream done at the same time–deathcore vox so low it sounds like the “singer” is whistling, or at least a timely balance between guttural vocals and high-pitched growl-screams. The band must also attack the instruments as if they were insane. Too, death-metal bands need to quit trying to be cute–with covers of “…Baby One More Time,” “Material Girl,” or Led Zeppelin covers (Zep’ are ashamed of being called “metal”)–and quit wearing three-piece suits. That’s why black-metal bands hate death metal. In the end, fans know which bands are hungry and which are phoning it in.
That said, behold the Super-Heavy List:
Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)
Repulsive Dissection (though half deathcore and half death metal)
Necrophagia (though they’re black metal)
Marduk (also black metal)
Thornspawn (black metal, too)
Slayer (though they’re thrash)
Lust of Decay
Pig Destroyer (though they’re grindcore)
Circle of Dead Children (also grindcore)
Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)
Deicide (only Deicide, Legion, and Once Upon the Cross)
Final answer: no, regular DM’s not dead (and WASP ain’t death; they’re a hair band). I have those albums–like the Broken Hope CDs–but they’re classics, and I’m a collector.