Death Squad: The Deathcore Round-Up
What non-metal guitarist most influenced your style?
ORUM Hands down, my favorite non-metal guitarist is David Gilmour. His guitar playing has always spoken to me, whether in Pink Floyd or solo, like on his last album, On an Island.
STOREY There are tons, like [Black Oak Arkansas’] Shawn Lane, Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola and many more.
What technical skills are needed to play this music?
STOREY Breakdowns have enabled any kid to pick up a guitar, start a band and immediately join the scene. The danger when that happens is that the scene becomes way more important than the music, and the kids don’t even realize it. I try to work on all techniques, including seven-finger tapping, so that I don’t become a washed-up player who looks cool but can’t play.
What guitar approach makes you stand out from the pack?
ORUM My guitar approach is not so much about playing fast, or packing as many notes into a riff as possible, but more about invoking an emotion and engaging the listener.
STOREY I come from the Rusty Cooley approach to guitar. You can probably hear it in my playing, because it’s so over the top.
What about deathcore is catching the kids’ attention?
ORUM Deathcore’s youthful image and look brings more girls to the shows, then the girls attract the guys, and boom!—a crowd is formed.
STOREY This music is loud, angry and obnoxious. But I think that is only a small part of why it’s getting big. This whole identity is bought and sold, just like anything else. Don’t get me wrong—I like where things are going, because it helps me in the long run.
What piece of gear is crucial to making deathcore?
STOREY For me, it’s two Dean USA Rusty Cooley RG7G signature guitars, two Rocktron Prophesy IIs, VHT Two/Ninety/Two Series II stereo power amplifiers, a Furman power conditioner, a Whirlwind Selector A/B switch, an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor and a 100-watt Framus Dragon full stack.
What guitar are you playing, and why is it right for your sound?
ORUM I play Schecter seven-string guitars exclusively. They come stock with EMGs, which add a nice bite to my tone.
What’s the future of deathcore?
STOREY Hopefully that we’ll all be playing arenas.
THE RED CHORD
Massachusetts extreme metallers the Red Chord are led by guitarist Mike McKenzie, whose rhythmic approach reflects his love of old-school death metal like Suffocation, Immolation and Gorguts. On the Red Chord’s third album, Prey for Eyes, released on Metal Blade in 2007, McKenzie merges his death metal influences and love of crossover hardcore into riff after pummeling riff, which culminate into a dynamic record full of unexpected peaks and valleys.
What the hell is deathcore?
MIKE McKENZIE I suppose it’s a hybrid of death metal and whatever the kids are calling “hardcore” these days. It tends to contain overly abundant breakdowns and ideas stolen from Suffocation that are rarely executed with the same finesse.
What death metal guitarist most influenced your style?
McKENZIE Immolation’s Robert Vigna. Not only does it sound like he is actually torturing his guitar, he’s written some of the darkest and most brooding riffs imaginable. My playing owes a lot to his very unconventional, amazing work.
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