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Excuse Me, Sir, You Have Some Jazz In Your Metal

The Spanish doom metal band Orthodox forgoes the distorted low-end for clustered piano chords.
Courtesy of the artist
The Spanish doom metal band Orthodox forgoes the distorted low-end for clustered piano chords.

Earlier today, NPR Music published one of my pieces for Take Five, our weekly jazz feature, called Blast Beat Improv: Metallic Free Jazz. I've come to subtitle it "Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Bill Laswell"; the beret-ed bassist and producer is worth his own essay (seriously), in part because he spearheaded a lot of metal-influenced free jazz. (Aka grind-jazz, acoustic grind, death jazz or free death.) It's not swing for the faint of heart.

On the flip side, jazz (free and otherwise) has had a large influence on metal. Often, musicians with jazz backgrounds start thrash and death metal bands, using their knowledge of chord progressions and polyrhythms to inform brutal compositions.

There are countless other examples — too many to list — but I do want to know your favorite jazz-influenced metal bands, especially ones I may not have heard.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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