You Can Use Djent and Still be Good in 2018
Did you just vomit in your sneakers from laughing too hard? I get it. You’re one of the 98% who is happy that the fad is mostly dead and real metal subgenres are having something of a resurgence in creativity. Without having the stupid “is djent a genre” argument (it’s probably not), I want to take the bold stance of saying that it’s still a technique that can funkify a riff in a good way.
The formula isn’t a hard one, there’s no percentage of djent that a song is allowed to have to make it still tolerable (but maybe I should pick one… does 18% sound good?). Just don’t make it your entire identity. Let’s start off with a good example, the one that prompted this little rant in the first place.
Our favorite unsigned Kansas band at one point in time, Existem are a progressive metal band that uses just about all the known modern prog-metal tropes, including djent, and still manage to sound fresh. They use djent to throw some texture into just a small handful of tracks on Mantle and never for long enough that even the frailest metalheads should get triggered. In fact, they never really do any one thing for too long. There’s a core harsh vocal, but there are about 5 other techniques and other members used to spice things up. There are tracks that are a middle finger to consistency like “Wrath of Gaia”. There’s plenty of variety and they do all of it pretty dang well.
A band that I listened to once and thought I liked, Distorted Harmony, coincidentally released an album on the same day. It still follows every trope of the 100% djent bands of the early 10’s with tons of synth/electronics, tolerable (at best) clean and harsh vocals, extended tapping solos, and constant djent layered with the cleanest of clean guitar tones that Periphery stapled into our consciousness. I’m sure there’s a weirdly large generation of people who will continue listening to this homogeneous music since people don’t like change, but I wouldn’t expect a huge growing fanbase in this area.
Because I don’t like throwing too much shade at lesser-known bands, I should say this album is actually well executed for what it is and there are way worse examples out there, but I’m just so goddamn sick of it.
Also on the same day (this is getting weird), Skyharbor had the gall to release this track on Spotify, which is somehow both the worst of djent and nu metal. Fucking Hell.
In conclusion, you CAN use djent in 2018 and still be good, but you probably won’t. It does seem like this bad breed is slowly dwindling, and as it does, I hope we can learn to start to tolerate the chugging palm mute in smaller doses. I planned to close out this post by showing you all another good example from this year, but I struggled to find one. Just listen to that whole Existem album instead. Have you heard a trace of djent out in the wild that you didn’t hate? Let me hear it!