Death metal is a form of heavy metal music which emerged in the US and Canada during the 1980s with bands like Death, Morbid Angel, Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse.
Going one step beyond other metal genres, death metal is identified by extreme brutality and speed. The vocals, or growls as they are usually referred to, are rough and/or incomprehensible and they usually communicate macabre subject matter. This style of music is known for very abrupt tempo and count changes, and extremely fast drumwork. Most bands of this sort consist purely of guitars and drums
, often two rhythm guitars, a bass, a drum set, and a vocalist. Some bands add incidental synthesizers for discordant effect.
During the 1990s, death metal grew in many directions, spawning a rich variety of subgenres, including the following:
- 'Symphonic' or 'melodic' death metal, where harmonies and melodies are much more present in the guitarwork. This subgenre is mostly associated with Sweden, especially in Gothenburg, as well as Norway and Finland (see Scandinavian death metal).
- 'Grind' metal (grindcore) is basically an even more extreme variant of death metal. Like death metal itself, this subgenre spawned in the US.
- 'Technical' death metal is a narrow, but influential subgenre where musical complexity and skill is the main focus. It is represented by bands like Cynic, Atheist, Theory in Practice and eventually the originators of death metal themselves, Death.
There are also other metal
subgenres that have come from fusions between death metal
and other genres. Bands like My Dying Bride (doom
/death hybrid) and Emperor
/death hybrid) are two examples.
Other notable death metal bands: