Saturday, January 17, 2009
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It typically employs fast tempos, heavily distorted guitars, deep growling vocals, morbid lyrics, blast beat drumming, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes.
Building off the speed and complexity of thrash metal, death metal emerged during the mid 1980s. It was mainly inspired by thrash and early black metal acts like Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost. Along with the band Death and its frontman Chuck Schuldiner (who is often hailed as "the father of death metal"), bands like Possessed, and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular record labels like Earache Records and Roadrunner Records began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate. Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning a rich variety of subgenres.
Death metal is considered an "underground" form of music, and has been met with considerable hostility from mainstream culture, mainly because of the socially unattractive themes, imagery and stage personae surrounding many bands.
There are several theories how the term "death metal" originated. One theory is that the name originates from an early pioneer of the genre, Death. A Florida journalist explained to his readers that Death play their own kind of metal: "Death's Metal". Others contest that Death is not the origin, but that the harsh vocals and morbid lyrical content generally inspired the genre. Another possible origin is a fanzine called "Death Metal", started by Thomas Fischer and Martin Ain of the band Hellhammer (later Celtic Frost). The name was later given to the 1984 compilation Death Metal released by Hellhammer's label Noise Records. The term might also have originated from other recordings. Possessed's 1984 demo is called Death Metal, and a song with the same name is featured on their 1985 debut album Seven Churches. A demo released by Death in 1983 is called Death by Metal.