|Stylistic origins||Progressive metal, Math metal|
|Cultural origins||2000s, Europe and United States|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass, drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, occasional use of orchestral and ethnic instruments|
Djent // is a style of heavy metal music that developed as a spinoff of traditional progressive metal. The word "djent" is an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted palm-muted guitar sound employed by bands like Meshuggah. The term was initially coined by their lead guitarist, Fredrik Thordendal. Typically, the word is used to refer to music that makes use of this sound, to the sound itself, or to the scene that revolves around it.
The Swedish band Meshuggah are considered the originators of the djent technique. However, the scene itself developed from an online community of home recording enthusiasts including Misha Mansoor whose success with Periphery brought djent "from the virtual world into the real one." Other important bands in the development of the style are Animals as Leaders, TesseracT, Textures, & Volumes. The scene has grown rapidly and members of the original online community, including the bands Chimp Spanner, Gizmachi, and Monuments, have gone on to tour and release albums commercially.
Djent as a style is characterized by progressive, rhythmic, and technical complexity. It typically features heavily distorted, palm-muted guitar chords, syncopated riffs and polyrhythms alongside virtuoso soloing. Another common feature is the use of extended range seven or eight-string guitars.
Some members of the metal community have criticized the term 'djent', either treating it as a short-lived fad, openly condemning it, or questioning its validity as a genre. Post-metal band Rosetta said: "Maybe we should start calling doom metal 'DUNNN'." In response to a question about 'djent', Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe stated: "There is no such thing as 'djent,' it's not a genre." In an interview with Guitar Messenger, Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor said:
I was looking for gear that was djenty. I was like: ‘Are these pickups djenty?’ For some reason it caught on, but completely in the wrong way, because people think it's a style of music and they think it's a style of music I play.
In a later interview with Freethinkers Blog, Misha Mansoor stated that he felt djent had become "this big umbrella term for any sort of progressive band and also any band that will [use] off-time chugs [...] You also get bands like Scale the Summit [who are referred to as] a djent band [when] eighty percent of their stuff sounds like clean channel and it's all beautiful and pretty, you know [...] In that way I think it's cool because it groups really cool bands together [...] We are surrounded by a lot of bands that I respect, but at the same time I don't think people know what djent is either [...] It's very unclear." Later in the interview he stated, "If you call us djent that's fine, I mean I would never self apply the term. But at the same time it's just so vague that I don't know what to make of it."
During an interview with got-djent.com, Sybreed guitarist Thomas "Drop" stated: "First, I don't really like the term 'djent'. It doesn't sound like 'djent-djdjdjent', more sounding like a mad duck, 'quack-quaquaquack'."
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders also takes a more lenient view of the term, stating that there are specific characteristics that are common to "djent" bands, therefore implying legitimate use of the term as a genre. Whilst stating that he personally strives not to prescribe to genres, he makes the point that a genre is defined by the ability to associate common features between different artists. In this way, it is possible to view djent as a genre describing a particular niche of modern, progressive metal.
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