My natural affinity and familiarity with the guitar insinuates itself into the posts on this blog. I have formerly expressed the opinion that metal is a predominantly melody-driven form, and since it arose from the ensemble tradition of rock n roll, it has retained the instruments used in that paradigm. In a previous article on the post-modern Gorguts, I explicitly subordinated the role of the drums to the guitar, to the extent of saying that the drums exist in a solely supporting capacity. To quote:”Metal is a predominantly lead-melody oriented form of music. Bass and drums are integral to creating a fuller sound but should only be viewed as swells on an ocean on top of which riffs and songs float. Often, swells rise and raise their load with them, but this hierarchy in relations is crucial and is to be preserved.”
I mostly stand by this notion, but I would be dishonest in not admitting that a healthy amount of prejudice works itself into this appraisal. Drums do occupy a secondary role to the guitar without doubt; rhythm is a colorless component of music in the general scheme of things, acting solely as a mathematical division of time into separate niches, niches into which melody rushes in like an effervescent spring bringing the composition to life. Rhythm is ebb and flow, and melody is the fragile thing caught in its throes. One might counter by saying that any two notes struck in succession set up an implicit, unsaid, rhythmic relationship between them, and therefore a delineation between melody and rhythm such as this is unneeded. This is indeed so from a strictly philosophical point of view, but for the purposes of this post, I find it useful to set up just that practical delineation.
What I’m getting at is that descriptions of metal, on this blog and elsewhere, overwhelmingly favor the melodic component over the rhythmic, save for a few cursory mentions of drumming dexterity and stamina, not unlike scraps fed to the family dog under the dinner table. Undoubtedly, the very nature of melody lends itself to verbal description much more than the almost-mechanical quality of rhythm. But sometimes I do find myself wishing that someone with an adequate knowledge of that rhythm would do it justice in the context of metal, and arrive upon a brand new style and perspective of heavy metal literature.