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sonic_enemy_333
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:56 am
Posts: 190
Location: India
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 12:56 pm 
 

Can someone explain to me? Hopefully with examples?
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 1:06 pm 
 

Band plays normally, then breakdown, take the word literally:

https://youtu.be/z8ZqFlw6hYg?t=131
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MetallicaTrueFan
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:23 pm
Posts: 508
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 1:33 pm 
 

Breakdowns are slower and hardhitting sections in otherwise fast and aggressive songs. Extreme Metal subgenres or Punk influenced Metal subgenres are prone to breakdowns. Many songs build up to the breakdown and for me there are many songs where the breakdown is the best part.
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raumr
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:11 pm
Posts: 1208
Location: Norway
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 4:44 pm 
 

I struggle with this as well.

I saw someone claim that Dimmu Borgir's "The Serpentine Offering" had a breakdown. Would that be around 1:35 here?
https://youtu.be/eAmMcBQavKE?t=1m35s

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blackmantram
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:51 pm
Posts: 501
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 4:52 pm 
 

I'd say pretty much every metal genre has some form of 'breakdown', yeah, even black metal, however it is more common in slam, metalcore and deathcore, in fact, as far as I understand, the word is mostly associated to those genres as an inherent characteristic of them.

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alexo666
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:53 am
Posts: 336
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 5:45 pm 
 

blackmantram wrote:
I'd say pretty much every metal genre has some form of 'breakdown', yeah, even black metal, however it is more common in slam, metalcore and deathcore, in fact, as far as I understand, the word is mostly associated to those genres as an inherent characteristic of them.


Thrash also has numerous (and the best) breakdowns. Overkill, Power Trip, Vio-Lence, Sepultura, Slayer, etc.
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thrashinbatman
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 1006
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:41 pm 
 

alexo666 wrote:
blackmantram wrote:
I'd say pretty much every metal genre has some form of 'breakdown', yeah, even black metal, however it is more common in slam, metalcore and deathcore, in fact, as far as I understand, the word is mostly associated to those genres as an inherent characteristic of them.


Thrash also has numerous (and the best) breakdowns. Overkill, Power Trip, Vio-Lence, Sepultura, Slayer, etc.

Youtube: show


@2:15

Thrash breakdowns are definitely the best.

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Xenophon
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:07 am
Posts: 1009
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:45 pm 
 

When the guitar plays a syncopated, generally palm-muted rhythm over a slow or mid-paced beat.

Breakdowns are similar to grooves, which are generally more "riff-like" and have a shorter, repeated pattern:

https://youtu.be/BWaHfVtnen4?t=35s

There are different styles of breakdowns:

The "classic" type of breakdown is very similar to the groove riff above:

https://youtu.be/37OXNakWPEE?t=50s

There's also a "stuttering," random-sounding burst of notes on the low string, generally in deathcore, sometimes in death metal:
https://youtu.be/Ep0vCSwP1f4?t=19s
I generally don't like this type of breakdown as much, but the song above does a really good job with it. It seems like for most people this is what they think of when they hear the term "breakdown."

There's a type of breakdown commonly seen in "Entombedcore" bands, which is similar to the groove or the classic style of breakdown, and generally has non-palm-muted chords thrown in to take advantage of the Boss HM-2 guitar tone:
https://youtu.be/_bWKVE2Qq_k?t=42s from 0:43-0:53
https://youtu.be/sLu7eawM3ZI?t=48s from 0:50-1:20
Beatdown hardcore sometimes features a very similar style of breakdown, which generally takes the form of a steady, moderately-paced stream of chugging chords with some open chords thrown in:
https://youtu.be/9M-F2sfXPbY?t=1m52s
https://youtu.be/f-uy0h3eOH0?t=1m38s

There are two very closely related types of riffs called slams and slowdowns, which are similar to a breakdown and generally involve a series of slow power chords, sometimes with a bit of syncopation (usually for the more slam type of riffs).
Slowdown:
https://youtu.be/Xt7JSI9y46g?t=1m13s
Slam:
https://youtu.be/72BkII5Z9Cg?t=2m55s

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MawBTS
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:16 am
Posts: 796
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 7:54 pm 
 

Like porn, breakdowns are hard to define but easy to recognise.

Go to Youtube, search for "heaviest breakdowns" or something, and watch the videos. You'll soon get an idea of what they are.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... breakdowns

In a metal context, breakdowns are the part of a song where you "dance" (meaning moshing, or a circle pit). The tempo slows down, usually to half time, or there's a heavy rhythmic feel, with the guitars chugging on the open strings.

Quote:
I struggle with this as well.

I saw someone claim that Dimmu Borgir's "The Serpentine Offering" had a breakdown. Would that be around 1:35 here?
https://youtu.be/eAmMcBQavKE?t=1m35s


I don't think so. Usually a breakdown sounds pretty different from the rest of the song, but that one doesn't really. It's basically as fast and as energetic as the section that came before it - there's not an obvious slowdown.

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PvtNinjer
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:45 am
Posts: 3939
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 9:07 pm 
 

I always thought Tired and Red by Sodom had the best thrash breakdown ever.

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Subrick
Metal freak

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:27 pm
Posts: 8104
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 10:23 pm 
 

raumr wrote:
I struggle with this as well.

I saw someone claim that Dimmu Borgir's "The Serpentine Offering" had a breakdown. Would that be around 1:35 here?
https://youtu.be/eAmMcBQavKE?t=1m35s


That part kinda counts, but the section starting at 3:52 is more like a breakdown how people generally think of it in metal. Most of the songs on the follow up Abrahadabra are loaded with breakdown-esq sections, actually, but it's more to mask the uninspired, lazy songwriting on that album than anything.
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AcidWorm
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:37 pm
Posts: 3139
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 10:44 pm 
 

Deathcore gave breakdowns a bad name, and is one of the things that puts me off of the genre, but I like them in other genres. Breakdowns work really well in grindcore.

Thrash breaks, which are very abrupt tempo changes, but not full on breakdowns are among my favorite. Demolition Hammer, and Morbid Saint are a couple bands that did thrash breaks very well.


And, this is a very iconic breakdown.
Youtube: show
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Xenophon
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:07 am
Posts: 1009
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 11:22 pm 
 

I'm not a fan of thrash breaks. They just sound like they're slowing down the intensity of the song, but they're still too peppy and not syncopated enough to really add any heaviness. Even the name "thrash break" sounds lame, like the guitarists need to take a break because their poor widdle arms are getting tired from playing all those faster metal riffs.

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RichardDeBenthall
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:46 am
Posts: 352
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 4:43 am 
 

I love a good breakdown. It's a thing that was first really used to great effect in hardcore punk and was taken as a big influence by early and later extreme metal bands.

The slower bits of hardcore punk were a big influence on early Doom metal e.g. Sleep, The Obsessed, Cathedral.

I think there are examples even earlier than punk though. Listen to the end of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and say that doesn't feel like a breakdown in context. Also the mid/end of Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin. That thud thud, followed by guitar solo. It's powerful, it's visceral and it makes you want to move.

Thats a breakdown!

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Resident_Hazard
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Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:33 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:26 am 
 

Brian Posehn points it out in his Metal by Numbers video:

Youtube: show
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Rasha_yad
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:46 pm
Posts: 113
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 1:30 pm 
 

I saw someone on here a while ago describe the difference between breakdowns and slams, likening slams to 'trudging through muck' and breakdowns as 'bouncing in place'. I've found that a useful visualization, and it works spookily well on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. As RichardDeMenthall points out, the ending is pretty much a breakdown, and the part at 3:16 is definitely a slam riff.

Youtube: show

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