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Djent

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Djent is a subgenre of heavy metal characterized by downtuned riffs, heavy grooves, polyrhythmic drumming, and irregular time signatures which became popular in the early 2010s. Later bands also added in other elements that became commonly associated with the genre, namely clean, ethereal atmospheric textures, electronic overtones, and occasionally clean singing depending on the act. Dissonance is sometimes associated with the genre in the late 2010s and early 2020s, usually in more extreme acts that may or may not use the "thall" tagnote ; this was largely codified by Car Bomb and Vildhjarta in the earlier part of the decade and additionally popularized by Humanity's Last Breath in the final quarter of the decade, and most extreme djent acts with prominent dissonant death metal or post-metal elements fit within this stylistic framework. Essentially, a cross between Progressive Metal and Groove Metal.

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Because djent refers to a style of guitar playing, the genre of metal largely depends on the band in question. A lot of bands sound very different from each outside of the djent guitar. For example, compare Animals as Leaders to Twelve Foot Ninja, or Periphery to Hacktivist. Though, Progressive Metal and Metalcore are the most common overlaps, Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, and Melodic Death Metal combinations are also popular.


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Bands typically considered to be Djent include:

Djent contains the following tropes:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Many metal fans new to djent often find it surprising to discover that guitars with more than six strings exist and are actually in common use.
  • Careful with That Axe: Harsh vocals in djent often come in suddenly and with little to no forewarning, leading to surprising reactions from listeners who would otherwise expect a purely instrumental track.
  • Dead Unicorn Trope: Djent bands are stereotyped as always using 8 and 9-string guitars, largely due to the influence of Meshuggah. In reality, most bands in the genre, even the earliest examples, use seven-string or conventional (albeit downtuned) six-string guitars.
  • Discredited Meme: Most bands in the genre are utterly sick of the "but will it djent?" meme.
  • Epic Rocking: Many bands in the genre would write songs that can range anywhere from six to eight minutes long, with some truly long-playing tracks recorded by older bands or those with a more overtly ambient influence. Occasionally, there will be E Ps or even full-length albums that are meant to be listened to as one complete song.
  • Follow the Leader: One of the biggest criticisms of the genre, and even its musicians will (half-jokingly) admit to it. The stereotype of the Periphery or Animals as Leaders soundalike with a plural noun name, preppy-looking members in dress shirts, a vocalist (if the band isn't an instrumental ensemble) who is either a clean-singing Chester Bennington / Chino Moreno stand-in, or a bald, hammy, funny-faced dude whose Harsh Vocals sound like someone going through a Sanity Slippage, guitarists who use Ibanez, Kiesel or Strandberg guitars, run everything through Axe-Fx, and play a mix of chugging riffs, groovy bends, effects-laden atmospheric textures, out-of-tune legato passages, and heavily processed fusionesque leadwork, and YouTube channels that are mostly covers and Jared Dines-aping comedy sketches exists for a reason, and all but the most self-unaware djent musicians will probably laugh with you and/or offer several additional components if you bring it up.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With shred. Despite the two genres' radically different approaches to musical composition, fans of djent and shred are generally on friendly terms due to a shared love of guitar playing and an emphasis on music theory, technical performance, and eclectic musicianship. Several djent artists such as Jeff Loomis, Per Nilsson, Devin Townsend, and Jason Richardson have crossed over into producing shred material as well.
  • From Clones to Genre: Many bands in the early days of the genre just started out copying Meshuggah or other Groove Metal bands and varying up the riffing style to some degree. Soon enough there were many bands performing in a similar style that they could be classified into their own separate microgenre.
  • Green Aesop: Bands with more of an ambient influence have this as a lyrical topic, Earthists, Invent Animate, and Aviana being the most notable. Yuto of Earthists jokingly refers to their style of music as naturecore.
  • I Am the Band: In Djent, a lot of "bands" in the genre are really just one guy who can play guitar and bass using programmed drums. The genre has become rather notorious for that. Many of these one-man projects evolve into full lineups, however.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The heavier and more extreme bands of the genre would sometimes record minute-long tracks that make up for their brevity with great intensity and technical prowess.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Many bands in the genre alternate between clean and harsh vocals, much like the Metalcore, Alternative Metal, and Melodic Death Metal bands they are influenced by. A few bands, notably Vildhjarta and Scar Symmetry, have dabbled with the idea of having two vocalists perform separate vocal roles.
  • Special Guest: It isn't uncommon for djent musicians to borrow talent from other bands, or lend theirs to musical projects that aren't their own. Many djent bands even have surprisingly good relations with former members, and may even occasionally feature them in their more recent material.
  • Techno Babble: A common trope in djent lyrics, song titles, and album naming. Often overlaps with Green Aesop themes and is most noticeable in bands with an Industrial Metal influence.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Zigzagged - the main focus of the genre is on start-stop riffs that are mostly devoid of melody, with some bands even writing entire songs with only one to three notes. But what djent riffs lack in melody, they make up for in precisely-timed picking and sheer complexity of rhythm. Many bands also add lush ambient soundscapes and even include guitar solos to break up the monotony of the polyrhythmic chugging.
  • Trope Codifier - Periphery
  • Trope Maker and Ur-Example - Meshuggah. Other musical acts that have left their influence on the genre include Nevermore, Scar Symmetry, Strapping Young Lad, Deftones and Mnemic.

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