Opinion: DEATH TO FALSE SLAM
This nerd is Very Mad Online and here to warn you about the latest epidemic in metal: False Slam
Ah, Slam. The genre that I go to whenever I feel like jamming the sickest grooves without putting any thought into it. As with a lot of extreme metal, I find it a bit tricky to reconcile the most common themes and topics of the genre with music that is just plain stupid fun. But as ignorant as the lyrics are (a perfect match for the music), they’re usually sung by massive dorks who are, in my experience, incredibly nice IRL. It’s a very strange subculture-within-a-subculture, and I’m far from an expert in the field, but it’s a neat little place that I can go to to decompress and sweat out my troubles.
So when a buddy of mine goes “hey dude, check out this sick new Slam band I found”, I think “oh hell yeah, dumb gurgles, grating guitars and comically pingy snares are just what I need right now”. And then I click on the video link.
…Deathcore with a few lightly slam-influenced parts. Yay.
Here’s the thing: extreme metal genres are generally heavily production-dependent. What I mean by this is that it wouldn’t make sense for a War Metal album to have the same production as a Symphonic Power Metal one, or vice versa. This can be said just about any genre of music, really, but I think it’s even more important in the case of Slam. And the main defining trait of the Slam sound is that it has to sound bad. Loose uneven drumming, unintelligible guitars, unfocused and overcluttered bass frequencies. BAD. I’m saying it: if it doesn’t sound terrible, it isn’t Slam.
The trend for the last 3-4 years or so within Deathcore was to incorporate Black Metal elements into the “traditional” formula, and I enjoy quite a bit of this stuff even though I figured it was a passing fad. As it turns out I was right on the money, because last year Slam started creeping into the scene, and it seems like this year it’ll replace Black Metal as the reigning Real Metal Aesthetic that Deathcore Will Use to Try and Seem Legit.
Never forget where you come from.
That’s a harsh dig, sorry. I like Deathcore, but it’s an overcrowded genre that has, for some time now, been relying so heavily on post-production processing and editing that all the bands end up sounding very bland and indistinguishable from one another. So when all they do in terms of innovating is taking that same clean-sounding production philosophy applied to a minimally changed composition style and slapping a “Slam” label over the final product, it makes me boil with Dork Rage.
Deathcore bands, by all means: keep rehashing 20-year-old ideas with increasingly sterile cookie-cutter production, it’s what your entire genre was built upon. But for the love of h*ck, don’t pump out another album’s worth of Slam Worldwide exclusive boring-ass third rate Attilla worship songs with ironic-but-not-really trap intros and call it Slam. Just fucking don’t, please.
This has been Mosh Hoff with your weekly Get Off My Metal Lawn PSA. Tune in next time to find out if your favorite grind band is using only All-Acoustic Free-Range Drums (TM).