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Death metal is an extreme subgenre of metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, double kick and/or blast beat drumming, minor keys or atonality, and multiple tempo changes.

The setup most frequently used within the death metal genre is two guitarists, a bass player, a vocalist and a drummer often using "hyper double-bass blast beats". Although this is the standard setup, bands have been known to occasionally incorporate other instruments such as electronic keyboards. The genre is often identified by fast, highly distorted and down tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking. The percussion is usually aggressive and powerful.

Death metal is known for its growled vocals and for abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes. Death metal may include chromatic chord progressions and a varied song structure. In some circumstances, the style will incorporate melodic riffs and harmonies for effect. This incorporation of melody and harmonious playing was even further used in the creation of melodic death metal. These compositions tend to emphasize an ongoing development of themes and motifs.

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