Death Squad: The Deathcore Round-Up
What’s the future of deathcore?
HOUSEHOLDER Some say that deathcore is just a fad and will die out soon enough. So our idea is to take deathcore to the next level.
WINDS OF PLAGUE
After initially forming under the name Bleak December back in 2002, this SoCal six-piece changed its name to Winds of Plague just in time to release its 2005 debut, A Cold Day in Hell. On last year’s sophomore album, Decimate the Weak (Century Media), Winds of Plague’s dual-riffing—care of Nick Piunno and Nick Eash—death growls and floor-punch breakdowns are augmented with bleak keyboard lines, which gives their sound an epic, Scandinavian vibe.
What the hell is deathcore?
NICK PIUNNO I have no idea. Someone out there decided to create a genre that blends death metal and hardcore and threw us in the mix, even though none of us consider ourselves a deathcore band.
NICK EASH I was hoping Guitar World magazine had the answer. I guess you could sum up deathcore as a genre made up by 13-year-old boys who spend too much time taking photos of themselves and posting them on MySpace. If I could tattoo “Winds of Plague is not a deathcore band” on my face, I would.
Which death metal album most influenced your style?
PIUNNO I like Necrophagist’s Epitaph, Dying Fetus’ Stop at Nothing and Vital Remains’ Dechristianize.
EASH Behemoth’s Demigod, Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon and Meshuggah’s Nothing, of course.
Which hardcore bands most influenced your style?
EASH Hardcore is a major ingredient in the whole Winds of Plague recipe, specifically bands like 100 Demons, Hatebreed, Icepick and Strife.
What distinguishes deathcore from metalcore and death metal?
PIUNNO I have no idea, but age seems to be a factor. You don’t see any 30-year-olds playing deathcore. It’s mostly kids right out of high school.
What technical skills are needed to play this music?
EASH Knowing your fretboard and theory will really help you. Personally, dive bombs are a big thing for me right now. I started doing them a few years ago and haven’t stopped.
What guitar approach makes you stand out from the pack?
EASH We tune in E standard, which is a bit different from what most bands do right now. A lot of guys are tuning down to drop-B or using seven-strings, but we play in E standard with only a few drop-D exceptions.
PIUNNO Kids actually argue with me and say it sounds way too detuned to be E. But if you play fourths on the E and the A strings, it sounds like you’re detuned. We play in E standard, but the way we play chords makes us sound as low as drop A.
What piece of gear is crucial to making deathcore?
PIUNNO I’d say a high-gain head, Ibanez Tube Screamer, cabs that have Celestion Vintage 30 speakers—
EASH And some EMGs in your guitar. Don’t even bother recording without those pickups.
What guitar are you playing, and why is it right for your sound?
PIUNNO I’ve used Washburns since I started playing guitar. I’ve also been rotating a Carvin CT3 in and out of my setup.
EASH I’m also playing Washburns and Carvins. The Carvins are great because they have a wide variety of models and neck shapes.
What’s the future of deathcore?
PIUNNO Who knows? It could be another fad, or it may have some longevity.
EASH There are some amazing bands in this genre that will go on to sell millions of records—and hopefully stay around long enough to outlive the name they’ve been lumped under!
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