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Death metal is one of the heaviest genres I've listened to, and I can respect the amount of technical skill involved in being in a death metal band. I'm not turned off by the lyrics (because I have no idea what they're saying) or the "brvtal" imagery (although their music videos are pretty obnoxious), but the vocals just kill me.

The song that I always point to for this is Stabwound by Necrophagist. The intro and subsequent instrumental segments are all amazing – full of intricacy. But as soon as Muhammed Suicmez opens his mouth, I just think "can we move on to the next solo." I don't know if death metal bands are just trying too hard to sound satanic, but they all get into this "burping" situation on vocals, and I can't make it through an album.

Interestingly, I do like Meshuggah's vocals. Meshuggah's lead singer has a kind of "angry dog" bark that seems to click with the music better than the burping/growling of the rest of death metal/tech. death metal. I don't really have a good reason for why one sounds better than the other, but you can certainly hear the difference if you listen to Meshuggah vs any standard death metal band.

All in all, death metal vocals just rub me the wrong way (and this is not even broaching the topic of black metal). I don't want to listen to someone burp through the whole song. They're only doing it to be TRVE KVLT, and I just don't care.

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One thought on “I liked it a lot until the vocals came in – Death Metal

  1. Agreed. I think like any musical technique designed to shock audiences has to work well with the music that surrounds it. It makes the difference between finding a habanero in your burrito to finding a habanero in your strawbery souffle. One works. The other most definitely does not.

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