What is it?
Djent is a contentious sub-genre of metal, to put it mildly, with detractors such as Lamb of God's Randy Blythe claiming, "there's no such thing as Djent" and even bands under the umbrella wanting nothing to do with the label. An onomatopoeia for the palm-muted guitar sound, mixed with progressive leads, intricate rhythms, strange time signatures and musical technicality (first credited to Fredrik Thordendal and Meshuggah in the early '00s), this style just won't djie. Initially originating out of progressive and technical metal, it's since infiltrated metallic hardcore and beyond.
Who's doing it?
Obviously Meshuggah, who, for better or worse, are credited with originating the style, if not its individual elements, as well as the likes of Periphery, TesseracT, Animals as Leaders, A Life Once Lost, Ion Dissonance, Veil of Maya, the Acacia Strain, Structures and a plethora of lesser-known acts.
Where should I start?
As with most things, start at the beginning: Meshuggah, Meshuggah and more Meshuggah (Chaosphere and Nothing), as well Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects (Sol Niger Within). Not to mention, Periphery and Animal As Leaders' self-titled efforts, and A Life Once Lost's A Great Artist and Ion Dissonance's Solace.
With some claiming this nascent sub-genre has already jumped the shark (or "chugged the chug," if you will), it nonetheless continues to infiltrate aggressive music's disparate sounds, mixing with whatever it can. While Meshuggah just released Koloss in March, Periphery have a new record coming July 3 and Toronto, ON's Structures are about due for their debut full-length.