I was asked to put a video together to show what techniques are used in death and black metal. All the techniques used in this style of music are really used in just about any form of metal, or music in general.
It's how you use the techniques that count.
However, the techniques used a lot are:
Death and black metal, in my opinion, are both very similar. They're both extremely aggressive in how they sound. They both have strong negative emotions attached to what is played.
There's a lot of hate and anger with how the notes are played, as well as the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics can be more political, or story telling, but most of the time they deal with something harsh.
Death metal tends to be played in the lower register of notes for the riffs and rhythms. Black metal tends to be a bit higher pitched. That was just a broad generalization. There are always exceptions.
Death and black metal will sometimes borrow elements from each other. For the inexperienced listener it can be next to impossible to tell the difference between these two styles of music.
To truly learn how to play death and/or black metal, it would do you well to learn the songs, or parts of songs, that have a sound you're looking to emulate.
Learning what chords are used and how the individual notes of riffs are structured will help you to hear how different sounds and emotions are created.
Learning different scales and chord theory will also help with this. Starting with minor and harmonic minor scales is a good place. Understanding triad chords is where I recommend you start learning about chord theory.
Do you have any thoughts or opinions about how death and black metal are different? Perhaps how they're related? Please share your ideas in the comments!
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John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.