Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where do the 'Bass drops' in Deathcore come from?

Question: Greg of the red chord gave an interview where he said that the reason for certain bass drops in some of the newer deathcore bands is because of the fact that most of the guys in the bands got into metal during the nu metal age. im wondering if you agree with this statement is it possible that because they got into metal during the age of slack bass playing its rubbed off on the new bands? From:

Answer: Well thanks for noticing these bass drops are in the mix, most people listening to the bigger Deathcore bands on ipod buds or in-built laptop speakers probably have no idea what you are talking about. Subwoofers or serious "Skull Candy" headphones are needed to hear these trademark Bass-drops which usually come before the massive breakdowns and add an extra accent to the brutality. I personally love em, they are sick as hell and can be suprisingly effective the first time you hear them.

Bands like Acacia Strain and Job For A Cowboy started it off- both bands have one or two bass drops mixed into songs on their albums from a few years ago, I believe they started out as a little studio trick to emphasise the bottom end of the chug chug parts of the breakdowns. Check out 0.47 seconds into JFAC's 'Entombment of a Machine' or 1.01 in 'Dont Dink and Drance' by Devil Wears Prada to hear early examples. Its a real mongrel-sound with influences from Death Metal, Dillinger/Converge as well as knuckle- dragging straight-up 'chug chug' hardcore- hence tagged as'Deathcore'. Works for me, anyway.

As for influences, I don't think its Korn or Nu Metal, because the sound is not from a bass-guitarist, its an sample played by the drummer on a drum pad. Its a straight up sound derived from Hip Hop, or Techno really. Technically its a Roland 808 bass kick sample maybe lengthened an made deeper, then imported into the pad and played back by hand by the drummer on the required beat.

The main method is using a sample pad like ROLAND SPD S- this pad is what Oceano drummer Daniel Terchin uses, and can be seen in the Oceano video for 'A Mandatory Sacrifice'- see still from clip above.Additionally, many Deathcore bands use 7 string guitars and 5 string basses to get that powerful sludgy bass-driven sound, its what makes them sound 'heavy'.

Its nothing exclusive to modern bands, Morbid Angel adopted 7 stringers during their very sludgey-sounding "Domination" (1994) album period. Korn also used that set up, and became one of the world's biggest selling rock bands during the nu-metal era. Looking back,I reckon Korn were- sonically- one of the most radical rock bands ever, their downtuned, bass-guitar driven sound was so out-there, its truly remarkable they sold millions of records.

I personally love all types of Bass in music, its really under-represented in the Rock and metal scenes generally but its pretty much the cornerstone of the hip hop and Dubstep communities.

Originating from Jamaica in the 70s by the Reggae/Dub musicians, Bass got serious with the advent of early drum machines- a short-lived, raw and gnarly sub-genre of Rap in the 80s called 'Miami Bass' became popular in the USA south. Sonically, it was all about massive TR808 bass drops, and sub-bass lines. 2 Live Crew where probably the biggest band of the style due to their constant use of controversial lyrics.

Modern-day Hip Hop producers thrive on bass. If you hook up the sub-woofers you can hear layers of extreme bass-drops in this Flo Rida track 'Never':

If you want to totally blow out your subs,I recommend you crank up the Skream remix of UK pop artist La Roux.Uk producer Skream is the Don, and remains the last word on bass, currently. Warning: this track will blow a serious gale of air outta your speakers. Neither Earache nor YouTube takes any liability for hearing damage etc.

Here's our own band- Oceano. Hear the bass-drops at 0.17 and 1.06, 2.46.


Anonymous said...

Cheers Dig, he mentioned them in said interview and then i listened to the oceano record and a red shore record through my set of Skullcandy's, first time i heard it well it was a "what the fuck is that" moment! I actually find myself listening to deathcore records now more with headphones on now listening for the bass drops, I listen to alot of dubstep as well as metal and your right thats one production aspect that does cross over between the genres.

Lewis said...

Its between Skream and Jamie Vex'd for the king of bass at the moment.
gunman by vex'd is crushing

Brooke said...

weird, i was just wondering about this this morning. I have yet to hear a metal band use these as effectively as on SYL's 'Alien' album.

Anonymous said...

What about Suffocation? The first bass drop I ever heard in metal was on 1995's Pierced from Within. They start around the 2:20 mark of the title track.

Anonymous said...

You still can't beat the Death Star for bass drops. Sub bass at it's earliest perhaps?

Still i find these bass drops in metal fascinating.

Anonymous said...

ah, the Death Star link....whoops


we all know it anyway

CernunnosTrismegistus said...

How are you going to mention a dubstep producer but not mention former Earache band Scorn which is now just Mick Harris' solo dubstep project?

Anonymous said...

"serious skullcandy" headphones, lolwat?

Anonymous said...

These bass drops are so overused at this point, it's ridiculous. Every band in this genre abuses them. I saw All Shall Perish recently, and their bass drops pissed me off to no end. It isn't SUPER HEAVY when you use six in every song. :/