Taylor Hoysradt, Copy Editor
It is the word that metal fans either love, or love to hate. It has permeated all types of heavy music over recent years yielding mixed results. The typical first reaction when coming across the word “djent” is “what the hell does that mean?” A valid question, as what started out as a small niche experiment has now become a phenomenon.
The most common misconception of djent is that it is a genre, which is not the case. It is nothing more than a distinct guitar sound, using high gain effects and palm-muting, giving the guitar a more percussive attack.
The word itself comes from the sound made by palm-muted notes when using the correct effects. If you are hearing a lot of “djun, djun, djun” while you are playing, you’re doing it right. Bands that use the style are typically more rhythm based, with plenty of syncopation, polyrhythms and are armed with seven or eight string guitars.
Swedish metal juggernauts Meshuggah are credited with first using the sound but it was Misha Mansoor, guitarist of Periphery, who took it to the next level by openly using the term to describe his bands music. When asked how to create his sound Mansoor stated “To get a djent tone on any guitar you have to buy a compressor, Overdrive or Tube Screamer, Distortion, and Shimmer Reverb pedals to allow you to get a djenty tone depending on your amp and guitar in general.” Once Periphery laid the foundation, now-successful bands such as Animals As Leaders, Volumes, Born of Osiris and Veil Of Maya began to come out the woodwork, creating a full-fledged scene.
Most bands that use the technique do not like to be identified as a “djent band” because it forces their music into a smaller scope when in reality there is much more to it than that. Leave it to the always-lovely Youtube community to start throwing out labels once something becomes popular. The most common criticism is that bands play riffs in binary code, the open string and the first fret (0-1-0-1-0-0-0-1 for example), and while this happens from time to time, one listen to the barrage of notes on “CAFO” by Animals As Leaders obliterates that misconception. It is ironic that in genre where fans always want something new, most innovations are met with heavy criticism. Djent may seem like a short-lived fad on the surface but it has done wonders for a scene that needed a facelift. So if you are looking for more bounce in riffs, or maybe that drop A tuning just isn’t heavy enough, you know what to do.
Recommended Tracks for Newcomers: “Icarus Lives!”-Periphery, “Do Not Look Down”-Meshuggah, “Pennyweight”-After The Burial, “Wormholes”-Volumes, “CAFO”-Animals As Leaders