Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grant's Tomb

A new monthly feature on the blog will be Grant's Tomb, where local Des Moines musician Grant Peter will offer his opinion on everything rock and roll. In his inaugural post, he will explore the depths of Deathcore metal and it's evolution from an attitude of self loathing and apathy to it's modern form, which is more mature in the traditional sense.

This is after all, 2011... Inattention from your father can't still be blamed for your instabilities. -T.Church

Grant's Tomb: The Nu-Deathcore

The early 2000’s saw the death of numetal dominating the charts of local rock radio (thank you Clear Channel), thus spawning two factions of rock idolizing masses. Camp one is your typical Red State Rock, you know the bands (thank you Clear Channel, again). The other changed what could be considered mainstream metal. Killswitch Engages’ stunning sophomore album, and first for major Roadrunner, Alive or Just Breathing as well as a handful of other talented musicians stemming from the Boston, Massachusetts area redefined what modern metal was all about.

Around the same time KsE and the likes were receiving attention on MTV2 and the then metal/rock oriented Fuse, a lesser known band started playing shows in the Boston area. The Red Chord exploded on the scene with their first album Fused Together in Revolving Doors. The albums original combination of grind/hardcore and death metal flourishes sent a shock wave through the underground community with it raw production and unrelenting pummeling. This was Deathcore. As silly as the genre sounds, for the time it was fresh, uncompromising and most of all real.
Fused Together In Revolving Doors

And it spread. No sooner had The Red Chord's album been released, then the bastardizations came out of the woodwork. Deathcore evolved at such a rapid pace that almost no one had the chance to keep up with it. New acts where being signed to independent labels left and right, saturating the market with acts for kids with disposable income to buy, buy, buy. Artists like The Acacia Strain and Job for a Cowboy reinvented the genre, TAS went more Meshuggah while JfaC followed the path towards more traditional death metal, but both bands incorporated the rubric instituted by The Red Chord.

Currently, deathcore is still around, although its current state is crippled by lack of originality and in some cases obvious copy cat moves. The deathcore we have today versus from when it started is not the same sound, as stated above, it’s evolving. But is this evolution good? My argument would be no. Artists like Suicide Silence, Winds of Plague, and countless other nameless acts have seemingly taken a step backwards to a style of music that was originally wiped off the planet by its predecessor. Lack of guitar solos, generic and predictable break downs, simple lyrics recall an age where Korn was being nominated for Grammys and Limp Bizkit was still cool.

For example, take Winds of Plague's latest single “California.” The opening line brings to mind 90’s West Coast Connection, with the phrase “Put your hands, up reach for the sky, Do what I say or let the Bullets fly.” WTF, seriously??? Are they purposely channeling Fred Durst or do they really buy this? How about the inclusion of Johnathan Davis on the new Suicide Silence track during the chorus? Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, there is nothing wrong with paying homage to the bands/influences that made you want to start playing music, but when you-as an artist-retread the same ground broken back in the mid 90’s there is a problem.

As an artist, it is your duty to expand and push the boundaries of what your forefathers have done. No more mindless lyrics about how your parents didn’t pay enough attention to you. No more misogynistic lyrics (unless it’s a metaphor for the planet Earth *wink wink Acacia Strain**). No more using the words break, pain, hate, or kill to express your emotions. No more usage of the word fuck just because you’re trying to be edgy or controversial. Grow up, put on your big boy pants, and grab a thesaurus.

Written by Grant Peter



TurtlexBoy said...

Deathcore always sucked in my opinion. Its that gene u don't want associated with ur music. I can't talk to many people about hardcore/Grindcore ;death metal without someone bringing up a lame band. The emo trend is dead. Deathcore is one of the new disco scenes. 2 more cents: STOP MAKING PARTS OF SENTENCES YOUR BAND NAME!