11 Best Djent Bands: The Masters of Low-Tuned Complexity
Gather ’round, music lovers! Let’s embark on a journey into the world of Djent, a sub-genre of progressive metal characterized by its high-gain, palm-muted guitar sound, complex rhythms, and polyphonic ambiance. If you’ve ever heard a metal song that made you think, “Wow, that guitar tone sounds like it’s chugging,” then you’re on the right track.
But what is Djent? And no, it’s not just a sound you make when you’re trying to impersonate a guitar with your mouth. Djent is like the sophisticated, math-loving cousin in the vast family of metal. It’s an onomatopoeic term, referring to the chunky guitar tone that defines the genre. Although many believe that the genre emerged in the 2000s, its roots can be traced back to bands in the ’90s experimenting with extended-range guitars and intricate rhythms.
Now, who’s leading the pack in this magnificent mesh of musical mastery?
Best Djent Bands
1. Meshuggah: The Godfathers of Djent
It’s only right to begin this list with Meshuggah, the Swedish band often credited with pioneering the Djent sound. These guys have been playing with polyrhythms and complex time signatures since the late ’80s, making them bona fide veterans in the scene. Their album “Destroy Erase Improve” released in 1995 is a masterclass in progressive metal, and tracks like “Bleed” from their 2008 album “obZen” are must-listens for any budding Djent enthusiast.
2. Periphery: Pushing Boundaries with Every Release
This American band is a titan in the Djent community. Formed in 2005 by guitarist Misha Mansoor, Periphery took the scene by storm with their self-titled debut album in 2010. Their unique blend of melodious vocals, chunky guitar riffs, and intricate drumming patterns is nothing short of mesmerizing. Songs like “Scarlet” and “Alpha” showcase the band’s incredible range and ability to craft complex, yet catchy tunes.
3. TesseracT: Polyrhythmic Perfection from the UK
Hailing from the UK, TesseracT brings a slightly different flavor to the Djent table. Their music is atmospheric, almost ethereal at times, but don’t be fooled – it packs a punch! With tracks like “Nocturne” and “Dystopia”, TesseracT displays their ability to seamlessly blend ambient sounds with heavy guitar riffs and shifting time signatures.
4. Animals as Leaders: Instrumental Brilliance
Who needs vocals when you have Tosin Abasi’s incredible guitar skills? Animals as Leaders is an instrumental band, and they prove that words aren’t always necessary to convey emotion and meaning. From tracks like “CAFO” to “The Brain Dance,” this band’s music is a rollercoaster of rhythmic changes, mind-bending guitar techniques, and, of course, that iconic Djent sound.
5. Monuments: A Synthesis of Melody and Rhythm
Last on this part of our list but by no means least, Monuments offers a mix of groovy riffs, soaring vocals, and, of course, complex rhythms. Their track “Amanuensis” is a great example of how they balance melody with the heaviness that Djent is known for.
6. Vildhjarta: Bringing the Thall
Vildhjarta, hailing from Sweden, stands out not only for their enigmatic online presence but also their signature “thall” sound. A term they’ve coined themselves, it’s become synonymous with their ultra-low-tuned, groovy, and chaotic approach to Djent. The track “Dagger” is an exemplary showcase of their relentless riffs and haunting ambiance.
7. Northlane: The Aussie Twist
Australia’s Northlane brings a fresh perspective to the Djent scene, intertwining their deep chuggy tones with post-hardcore influences. Their album “Node” won the 2015 ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album. Tracks like “Quantum Flux” blend ethereal clean vocals with the more aggressive Djent sound, showing the band’s dynamic range.
8. After The Burial: A Djent Pillar
Founded in 2004, After The Burial from the USA has been a significant influence in the Djent community. Their knack for mixing breakdowns with technical guitar play makes tracks like “Lost in the Static” mosh-worthy masterpieces. They are known for their energetic live performances and their dedication to pushing their musical boundaries.
9. Veil Of Maya: Breaking the Mold
Another band from the States, Veil Of Maya, combines elements of deathcore with Djent, creating a more aggressive and punchy sound. Their album “[id]” is a perfect testament to their artistry, where they combine complex rhythms with melodic overtones. “Mikasa” is one of their more popular tracks, blending clean vocals with their signature heavy riffs.
10. Intervals: Djent’s Melodic Maestro
Intervals, originally a one-man instrumental project by Aaron Marshall in 2011, expanded into a full band, delivering a harmoniously rich Djent experience. The band flawlessly transitions between calm, melodic segments and heavier, intricate passages. Their track “Libra” offers a sweet blend of progressive melody lines, punctuated by Djenty rhythms.
11. Skyharbor: From India to the World
Skyharbor started as a cross-continental internet project and quickly blossomed into one of the most well-known Djent bands on the international scene. With members hailing from India and the US, their music reflects a beautiful confluence of cultures. Songs like “Evolution” and “Dim” demonstrate their capability to fuse ambient, dreamy passages with heavy Djent grooves.
Wrapping It Up: The Resonance of Djent
While we’ve just scratched the surface of the Djent universe, these bands represent the crème de la crème of a genre that continues to push the boundaries of musical complexity and technicality. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just dipping your toes, there’s no denying the sheer power and innovation of Djent.
In an era dominated by electronic sounds and predictable pop melodies, Djent stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of genuine instrumentation and musicianship. It’s a celebration of syncopation, polyrhythms, and, of course, that unmistakable chuggy guitar sound. Whether you’re grabbing your own seven-string guitar to jam along or just nodding your head to the beat, the world of Djent is sure to captivate and inspire. Rock on!