Everyone knows hardcore dancers go apeshit for breakdowns. It is their bread and butter. The moment in the song when the tempo slows down and the "chugga-chugga" guitar riffs release their endorphins and give them an excuse to flail their limbs like an epileptic on speed. Breakdowns are easy to play, which is why so many new "popular" metal bands use them so much. They're simplistic, and the kids love them.
Which is why I hate them. For the most part. Granted I can't stand most of these new deathcore bands because so much of their songs revolve around breakdowns, but a well placed breakdown is arguably the best way to get a listener's adrenaline pumping. What I'm trying to say is, breakdowns should be implemented scarcely and specifically, and songs should never, never revolve around breakdowns.
The purpose of this column is to educate you all on the difference between good breakdowns and bad breakdowns, which can help you decipher good bands from bad bands. So, I'll begin your education with arguably my favorite modern metal band, Lamb of God.
Many of you out there might be saying "but Lamb of God is formulaic," and to an extent you are correct. While their originality has taken a downward spiral in recent memory, these guys still have more skill than most other popular groups out there and always put on an energetic show. I can tell you firsthand that their pits are hands-down the most intense you are likely to find in this day and age, and that if they're ever playing near you then you better get tickets and first aid kit ready if you plan on going in the pit.
Also, lamb of god have arguably the best breakdowns around. No other band gets me more amped up than them, especially during their breakdowns. They build up the song's tension til its tight as an eighteen-year-old virgin, and release it like fucking cannon, sadly killing said virgin. It might be better for you to hear it than have me explain it, so listen to the following a track to see what I mean. To really experience the intensity of the breakdown you should listen to the full song, but if you're lazy you can fast forward to the 2:28 mark.
Hear that? That's fucking killer. If that doesn't get you pumped up then you need your head checked.
And to further emphasize the intensity of Lamb of God's show, check out the following clip of the band playing "Black Label" live. I've been in the wall of death when the band played this song, and I'm lucky I got out alive. As you can tell by checking out the 1:21 mark, shit gets pretty intense, and alternatively there's another great example of an awesome breakdown at the 2:42 mark.
These are the pits we need people! We need more Lamb of God pits! Also notice the lack of hardcore dancers in the video. Maybe it's because the number of true metalheads overpowered them, or maybe it's because Lamb of God's breakdowns aren't the type to throw down to. I'm too tired to analyze it now, but either way I propose a toast to this band and their breakdowns, and may good metal pits prosper!