Your Guide Into The Djent
Author: Mujtaba Bader - 2012-02-29
The new hype within the metal community, love it or hate it, Djent now a genre of its own, and have their own scene, their own heroes and "Big Four", and the scene influence started to cross over the genres and reach main stream levels. To know more about this relatively new phenomena, here we will go through the history of the scene, how the term emerged, and most importantly , the Middle Eastern reaction the Djent-ish movement and if there any Djent band here or any bands got influenced by it!!
The Early Days:
Djent history start with the beginning of one of the most prominent metal acts in the world, Meshuggah, since their debut album Contradictions Collapse in 1991 , and the band presented something new to the world of metal, and solidified in their ground breaking, genre defining second album, Destroy Erase Improve, in 1995, the song structures, time signatures, and the most important thing: Fredrik Thordendal guitar tuning, that changed the world few years after.
And between these two albums, None EP was released in 1994, which contain the song "Aztec Two-Step", this song in particular, was called by Misha Mansoor, the man who put Djent in the map later, as "the essence of the djent sound".
Another bands that helped in expanding the sound of djent in the early to mid 2000's, Sikth, Texture, Hypno5e, Veil of Maya, After the Burial and Born of Osiris, all of which had complex sound, mixed with progressive and ambient music elements. Some bands like Gojira, The Ocean, Between the Buried and Me, and Mastodon, also cited by some of the genre fans as influence of the genre developing. Also, Fredrik Thordendal himself released a solo album in 1999, that can be added too, to the development of Djent
Djent, The Term and The Scene Birth:
Most of the djentlmens give the credit of Djent uprising to one man, Misha Mansoor [a.k.a Bulb], the guy with his own guitar and pc, made hundreds of djent tunes before it was cool, and put in the internet, and BAM, things went viral. He was regularly updating in his Soundclick account, Meshuggah and John Petrucci forums, and the sevenstring.org message boards.
The stuff become notable over the years from people from around the globe, most notably North America and Europe, and many people started to follow. But the word "djent" is not the creation of Misha himself, despite the contrary belief, it was Mr. Fredrik Thordendal himself who coined the term, and Misha was the one who made it popular among the masses.
Now , for the meaning of the word Djent, originally, the word referred to a specific sound; it is in fact an onomatopoeia. Misha Mansoor says it best: "The onomatopoeia of a heavily palm muted distorted guitar chord which is usually played as but not limited to a 4 string double octave powerchord, and as a result sounds much more metallic and sonically present than a 'chug' 'chugga' or 'djun' per se, and which is basically how Periphery would describe its palm muted guitar sound."
More recently, it has also been used to refer to a specific brand of progressive, technical metal that incorporates the use of this sound, as well as a couple of other characteristic traits. There is much discussion about what these traits are precisely, but they definitely include low tuned, open note syncopated riffs.
Finally, it is now also being used to refer to bands that employ the techniques and playing styles in their music. When used in this way, it is typically an adjective, and some people prefer to use the derivation 'djenty' instead.
Breaking Into The Metal Mainstream
Around the mid to late 2000's, the pure sound of djent became to emerge, and the first real full-lengths started to come out around 2008 and 2009. First stuff were mostly instrumental Djent, Such as Cloudkicker, Chimp Spanner and Animal as Leader who all released their debut albums in 2008, 2009 except Chimp Spanner who released his debut in 2005, but it was his 2009 album who made the most recognition for his name, all of these releases had been met with high acclaim from the musical community, mainly for the high talent of the guitars technique for each band that came from Ben Sharp, Paul Ortiz, and Tosin Abasi, respectively.
So, around this time, band like the afford mentioned, started to gain some success, others were releasing EP's and Demo, and thank for 21st Century technology, those EPs and Demos were everywhere in the internet, another guy was preparing to make his move too, Misha Mansoor, the godfather of Djent, after contribution to Tosin Abasi project Animal as Leader, and many other djenty stuff, and several changes to his main band, Periphery, he finally started to take the step forward, and make all these web demo and ideas, into one solid album , Periphery self-titled album in 2010, the year that can be called the true birth of Djent into the real world, the album take the world with a buzz , and music critics were mesmerized by the music techniques, the quality of self produced stuff, all that lead to make Periphery as the definitive sound of Djent, and the place where those who is interested in Djent should start, just like when we were kids or teenagers , and start with Metallica or Iron Maiden.
Now, on the other side of the Ocean, another guy named Acle, and with his band TesseracT, were also in the same steps of Periphery, and their music went viral on the web, until they got signed Century Media, one of the most prominent Metal Labels, and under the fans heavy request , the band released their debut EP Concealing Fate in 2010, which was a part from the debut album next year, One, which was also a success but the fact that the half of the album was released months before, and the heavy rise of another bands in the Djent scene, made it success faded by the rising sun of new bands like the Swedes debut of Vildhjarta, Måsstaden (who have coined the term of their own, Thall), the French's Uneven Structure, and others like Volumes, Circles and Ever Forthright.
2011 also saw the release of Animals as Leaders second album, Weightless, with another success and high acclaim. Cloudkicker kept releasing his free stuff through his Bandcamp account, although he had done some shift into the ambient side.
Djent in The Middle Eastern Metal
As metal in general in the Middle East, still, Djent is not wide spread, actually , you cant find a pure Djent band, but if you have to pick, its UAE based, Benevolent who have the most djenty sound among the M.E. bands, with their lead guitarist Hadi adding the techniques of djent and Meshuggah into the band sound, the band debut EP, Divided, was a great success in the region, that lead the band to be signed to Spellbind Record, a UAE based record label who have been responsible for Nervecell success in the past
Some new Djent bands, or have some djenty sound, in the emerge as well; Awesome K from Kuwait posted a teaser of upcoming release this year. Birth Of Nebula from Qatar, have some teasers and demo in their Facebook official page, but still there is no much info about the band or future releases.
Another notable act, is the France-based Tunisian artist Anas Abid (BRINGER OF THE 7 PLAGUES) has released a single titled "The Mirror of Life". A track taken from the upcoming EP titled "Bismillah" of his new Oriental Progressive/Djent project, called AIM PROJECT.
Counter Reaction To Djent
Despite the wide spread, recognition and success of Djent, it still face some kind of denial from some of the main metal society, and recently, one of the most notable take down on Djent was from Lamb of God main man, Randy Blythe himself said: "THERE IS NO SUCH FUCKING THING AS ‘DJENT’. ITS NOT A GENRE. I’m sorry, it’s STUPID AS FUCK. Metal already WAY over classified. Look dude- all this BULLSHIT ‘Deathcore’ & ‘Djentcore’ & fucking ‘Cantplayinreallifebutcanona-computer-core’ it’s just a NAME".
Another thing that djent scene faces, is the refuse of the main metal archives to identify their music as Djent, and some time not even recognize them as a metal act, for example, Metal Archives, the most notable online metal encyclopedia, still dont have an entry for Periphery Animals as Leaders, or Vildhjarta, all of which made a wide success inside the metal scene.
And it was until recently, that sites to give Djent more place and admit it became a definitive genre and metal phenomena, for example, Metal Storm started in 2012 a category for the best Djent/Math Metal in 2011, while the year before, Periphery self-titled debut was listed in the Progressive Metal category.
The Future Of Djent
You want to accept it or not, Djent is the new wave of heavy metal, despite some saying that the scene reached the end of its development, and may even start to fade, but in the contrary, band like Periphery, Animals as Leaders and TesseracT, among others, have their very own sold name, and even started to do their own tour.
2011 was also a proof that the scene have more to give, with a ground breaking releases from Vildhjarta, Uneven Structure, TesseracT debut, and Animals as Leaders second album.
Albums to Start Djenting With
Periphery - Periphery
Animals As Leaders - Animals As Leaders
TesseracT - One
Vildhjarta - Måsstaden
Meshuggah - obZen
What you should be looking for in 2012?
The most important releases of 2012, not just in djent but in metal in general, without any doubt is, Meshuggah new album Koloss. Periphery also said there are two albums in the preparation phase. Monuments, another important British band that made a stir in the demos days, have their debut album coming this year. And of course, Middle Eastern most Djenty outfit, Benevolent Debut album