Gear Demigod Zeke posited in his post 5 Ways That Djent Has Ruined Metal that the genre will be on the decline in 2017, and that it has had a negative impact on metal as a whole.




Let’s look at the ways in which djent has given metal a much-needed kick in the pants.

1. It Raised The Bar For Interesting Rhythm Guitar

Metal is many wonderful things, but between the ol’ power metal power chord ring, death metal tremolo picking, and metalcore chugging, there needed to be a new kind of groove. Bands like Periphery and Animals as Leaders popularized big, jazzy chords and polyrhythmic syncopation over the stale riffing of traditional metal. I was ready to fucking jump ship to jazz for good if I had to hear another trite double-picked thrash riff.

Where’s the one?

2. It Made It Okay To Not Dress Like A Hobo Copyright BenClementPhoto 2012

Now doesn’t this just look like a group of nice young men?

Metalheads are fashion whores. Not as bad as punk rockers or hip-hop fans, but they are still one of the most fashion-conscious groups of music fans I know. Go to any metal festival and it’s the same looks – black t-shirts, long hair, ripped jeans, battle vests, pentagram tattoos, poor hygiene. I once took my girlfriend in high school to a Helloween concert, and she looked around and whispered to me “Why do all these people look homeless?”. I didn’t have a good answer. But the Derelicte fad didn’t look like it was going to subside anytime soon until this wave of bands came along with a more subdued and tasteful look. Modern prog metal bands play for crowds that don’t look like they’re going to ask you for spare change, which means that girls come to the shows.


Clean cut.

3. Increased Focus On Production Means Better Sounding Metal

Okay, so nothing, and I mean nothing but nothing beats a finely crafted song. A great song with shitty production is still a great song, and some of my favorite music was recorded on 4 track machines. Good production will not make a shitty song good. But a great song with great production is untouchable, and for all the annoying “wat pickups r u using those toanz r dank” “can I have your superior presets” posts, the djent crowd brought production to the forefront of our consciousness, and better sounding production benefits everyone. Meshuggah albums sound better than most things you will experience in your life, and that’s because they put in the time to make them sound magical. They gave a shit about what kind of pickups they were using, and tried different kinds of amps until they found the sound they were looking for. This contrasts starkly with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t play something other than a B.C. Rich into a Marshall” attitude of traditional metal.

Zeke cited a lack of good bass players due to the emphasis on low tunings, but djent has some of the best bass tones I’ve heard ever (I cite this Nolly playthrough as evidence). And every good producer worth a damn knows that the bass is the most important element in a mix.

To be clear – it doesn’t matter if you like djent production or not. Even if you hate it (maybe especially if you hate it) it brought the topic to the attention of the metal community, and that’s good. In our first episode of the Gear Gods Excessive Nerd Shit Podcast, we talked to Stratovarius guitarist and producer Matias Kupianen, who cited djent guitar tone as an inspiration for some of his layers of sound. If power metal guys dig it, then there must be at least something to it.

4. They Elevated Meshuggah To Their Rightful Place As Gods


Meshuggah are, of course, the godfathers of djent as we know it. Bands like Vildhjarta, Periphery, Tesseract, and Northlane all start with a basis of Meshuggah worship and add their own elements. They are right to worship Meshuggah; They fucking rule. They even recorded their most recent album live in the studio, with real tube amps, and it sounds fantastic, and they’re easily one of metal’s best live acts. But they have been increasing in popularity recently, with each successive album achieving their highest first-week sales ever – due, in no small part, to the wave of bands carrying the banner that bears their sigil.

5. It Encourages Musical Exploration

For all the complaints that djent all sounds the same, the bands that have championed it are the ones I see most strongly embracing sounds and stylistic elements from outside metal. Many of them have taken these influences greatly to heart, with bands such as Polyphia and Intervals evolving into something completely different. I follow a lot of these dudes on social media, and the music they talk about the most is pretty rarely metal, and those diverse influences make their music a great deal more interesting to listen to. Jake Bowen of Periphery has an EDM side project, Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders plays classical guitar, and I discovered Dirty Loops from an Aaron Marshall Instagram video.

Metal has long been about tradition and staying trøø, and other dumb things that don’t allow for growth or exploration. This kind of shitty attitude leads to extreme burnout and boredom and drifting audiences. Including outside influences in your music might not be kult, but it keeps things fresh.

Feel free to disagree, but like it or not, the face of metal in 2017 has djent in its DNA.

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

Latest comments
  • When did Javier Reyes join Periphery?

  • “Metalheads are fashion whores” damn. i know i am… but i try to not say it out loud. xD

    i hadnt noticed that point 4 is a big reality. that people like me, may not be aware of. i think that is a reality i was ignoring this whole time. its just like when slipknot became big and everyone wanted a part of that… and now meshugah with this djent thing. the only reason i have never listened to meshugah was because i kept thinking it was like another boring deathcore band with no soul…, but theyre the “sabbath” for this “djent-era”, just like slipknot redefined metalcore back in their time, back when limpbizkit was the nu stuff and they came along with a more stronger, darker, and brøøtal sound. i want to thank the djentlemans in after the burial for putting out an extremely great fucken record (dig deep)…. since its going away now… peace

    • Did Slipknot redefine metalcore? I was just a kid back when Slipknot became giants, but I never heard a metalcore band souding like Slipknot. Would you mind go deeper on this subject?

      • yeah. i think slipknot did redefined because it already kind of existed, i think converge were your first “metalcore” band without knowing it. then came trivium, and probably a lot more bands… but slipknot, to me, were the ones who became more appealing to a wider audience, at least they were on mtv. im not googling this but thats what i remember, im probably not 100% accurate. but for example bands like: underoath, or of mice and men, who may not sound a lot like slipknot but they have that same formula to me.

        probably metalcore is not the wiser term for those bands but thats what i meant. now when you have bands that are 100% metalcore like like moths to flames, memphis may fire, motionless in white. thats metalcore, no doubt. cheers!

        • Wow. Again Slipknot are rap metal. Released with the 3rd wave of rap metal at that. Capitalizing on a craze and just never going away like Nickelback. The fact that you even mention them in the same breath as Converge is friggin sacriledge.

          • i think you replied on two comments ive already made from two different days, no biggie.

            slipknot = rap metal? Wow. listen to limp bizkit youll see that slipknot has a long shot if they want to be inducted into the “rap metal hall of fame” LAWL… dj lethal? “nookie”? “take a look around”? sounds like freds going for the rap and wes, john otto and the other guys are going in for the metal. get it? rap/rock…

            corey taylor? not much of a rapper, sings fast in many of the songs? yes, but does he has that flow that a rapper does? does his lyrics relate to a freestyle arena of hip hop? dude better get off stage SON.

          • Slipknot at least looks like a douche rap metal band.

    • Slipknot is rap metal. Always was and always will be. They came out along side korn and limp bizkit and have the same level of credibility.

  • Agree a thousand times. Shit, if anything, djent improved my fashion sense for sure haha

  • djent sucks!!!!

    • Ohhh I’m gonna post an djent-hater comment in a djent-about conversation! I’m so bad!!!

  • Had it not been for djent (and my introduction to the rap scene), I probably wouldn’t think that it was okay to wear any other colour than black, and I would probably hate caps. I realised after I joined the djent community that it was fine to wear and like other colours than black, and that caps aren’t the worst thing to happen to the clothing industry. Instead of wearing all black and having long hair, I now wear a relatively wide selection of colours, and I feel more free to wear whatever I want without being branded a genre heretic.

    I also felt more free to listen to what I want. I stuck to a few different kinds of metal and rarely deviated in the past, but now I actively listen to music from almost any genre, especially rap, jazz, electronica and contemporary classical. I even listen to pop music every so often, and that is okay, since the idea of djent encourages musical and stylistic exploration and integration. That is what makes djent so special, it is very non-discriminatory in terms of style and tastes.

    Say what you will about djent, but it is undeniable that it has opened the metal community up a lot, and made everyone at least a little bit less afraid to go out and try different things. It has made me a more open-minded person for sure.

    • Wow. That is craziness. Wear whatever you want. Being yourself is the essence of metal. I’ve never worried about it and never had a problem at show regardless of the genre.

  • The op pic would have fit greatly the topic brother to this one

  • I don’t think that your points above can be exclusively allocated to the effect of Djent in metal. In fact all of those “contributions” were brought much before by progressive metal bands, bands with a different proposal such as protest the hero or veil of Maya long ago, new metal (re fashion and more than 6 strings’ guitars), metal core, technical death metal etc. I enjoy some of the Djent bands, particularly those truly creating new stuff each album like Periphery or Tesseract, but there are so many out there just overusing the Messugah formula.

    • Since nobody else said it, I will. You’re right.

  • Thank you for writing this lol the other article really sounded like it was written by a stereotypical, elitist duechebag. Eh, djent ruined Meshuggah even though they just released one of the most highly lauded albums of the year. That’s just dumb.

  • I don’t know what metal you were listening to before this djent stuff started up, but it sounds like you had some shitty taste if all you took away from it is what you state in your argument here. There’s been so many sub genres of metal cropping up over the last 30 years and it’s fine it’s that you found something you personally enjoy. But why sit around and shit on the almost 40 years of heavy music that came before. Also, its sad that you think something like playing your guitar parts live in the studio with a tube amp is such a notable thing. You should drop by my studio, it’ll seem like a magic kingdom of people who can actually play and record with real instruments.

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