by T Coles
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Pub Date 17 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 17 Dec 2022
An overview of death metal that explores the genre’s foundations, tropes, and myriad microgenres.
Steeped in foreboding mythology, the dark underbelly of heavy metal ignites debate to this day. Guitars play abrasive, discordant riffs, the thunderous double-kick of the drums acts like an accelerated heartbeat, and guttural vocals pummel twisted lyrics. Courting controversy from inception to its modern-day iteration, death metal presents a number of contradictions: driven and adventurous musicians compete to make uncomfortable noises, it is crude and beyond parody yet consistently popular, and the music is pig-headedly uncommercial despite making a few labels, albeit briefly, wealthy.
This book explores the history and methodology of the genre, charting its aims and intentions, crossovers to the mainstream, and successes and failures. It tracks death metal’s ascent from the bedrooms of Birmingham and Florida to the near-mainstream, and to the murky cult status it enjoys today.
Genre: A 33 1/3 Series publishes short books about musical subgenres that have intrigued, perplexed, or provoked listeners.
T Coles is a writer and music journalist based in Somerset, UK. They have worked as a contributing writer for the print magazines Terrorizer, Zero Tolerance, and Discovered and websites Cvlt Nation and The Quietus. They play drums for Sail.