Death Metal

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Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes.

Building from the musical structure of thrash metal, death metal emerged during the mid 1980s. It was mainly inspired by thrash metal acts like Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost. Along with the band Death and its frontman Chuck Schuldiner (who is often referred to as "the father of death metal"), bands like Possessed and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular record labels like Earache and Roadrunner began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate. Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning a rich variety of subgenres.

Inclusive death metal music subgenres:

  • Brutal death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/brutal-death-metal
  • Melodic death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/melodic-death-metal
  • Swedish death metal, also referred to as Scandinavian death metal, should not be confused with melodeath. This genre is characterized by its focus on raw energy and aggression. The guitars are typically extremely distorted and downtuned, and, in addition to traditional death metal elements, artists within this subgenre also draw on hardcore punk and early thrash metal. While not restricted to Sweden, the genre is called death metal because it was largely popularized by death metal artists from Sweden, such as Carnage, Nihilist, early Entombed, Dismember, Grave, and Unleashed. Seeing that many of the prominent artists within this genre were located in around Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as the Stockholm sound in contrast with the Gothenburg sound. While big in the 1990s, the popularity of this genre waned in the 2000s, as melodeath became more popular, but recently a number of bands based in Eastern Europe, such as Brutally Deceased and Morbider, have taken up the Stockholm sound and are bringing it back onto the scene.
  • Death-grind combines elements from death metal with element of grindcore. From grindcore, the genre inherits song brevity (with the average length being 2:30), emphasis on fast picking and blastbeating as well as the lyrical content (which means that a lot of death-grind deals with gore, pornography or socio-politics). From death metal, it inherits song complexity and focus on performance and technique, although guitar solos are not as common as in other styles of death metal. When Napalm Death started to gravitate towards death metal from pure grindcore, they developed a death-grind sound, and they are probably the most influential band in the death-grind genre. Other death-grind acts are Lock Up, Terrorizer, and Pig Destroyer. On MMA, those death-grind artists and releases that lean more towards grindcore are included under grindcore, while those that lean more towards death metal are included under death metal.
  • Technical/progressive (or tech/prog) death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/technical-death-metal
  • Blackened death metal combines death metal and black metal, of lyrically the focus is typically on Satanism, occultism and anti-religion. Behemoth is considered one of the most influential blackened death metal bands.
  • Death ‘n’ roll See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/death-n-roll


The following subgenres are NOT listed under death metal in the MMA:

  • Grindcore: has its own sugbenre section.
  • Death-thrash: included under thrash metal.
  • Deathcore: included under metalcore.
  • Doom-death: included under doom metal.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_metal

Written by Time Signature.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • Time Signature
  • Dobbie03
  • Vim Fuego
  • Necrotica
  • The T 666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

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death metal Music Reviews

OBSCURE INFINITY Putrefying Illusions

Album · 2012 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Putrefying Illusions" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscure Infinity. The album was released through Obscure Domain Productions in July 2012 and it´s the successor to "Dawn Of Winter" from 2010. Obscure Infinity were formed in 2007 with the declared goal to play old school death metal, and that they do on "Putrefying Illusions"...

...which continues down the same musical path as it´s predecessor. That means a traditional early 90s death metal style, which predominantly draws influences from the Swedish, Stockholm scene, but isn´t limited to sounding like a retro clone of that scene. The music is very retrospective though, and we´re exposed to just about everything that was great about the early 90s death metal scene. Deep and brutal, yet relatively intelligible growling vocals, downtuned distorted guitar riffs. Both tremolo picking, and longer sustained chords for crushingly heavy doomy effect, effectful lead guitars, either playing solos, or providing the music with gloomy and morbid themes, classical oriented acoustic guitar interludes, and an overall dark and mystic atmosphere. Add to that ethereal songtitles like "The Wilting Splendour", "From the Bleak Spots to Infinity", and "Ascension-Kenosis", and you should be able to easily figure out what territory we´re in.

That songwriting approach could have ended up being a generic and tedious listening experience, but Obscure Infinity manage to play the style with passion and conviction. They are very skilled songwriters too, and obviously know exactly which elements to put where, for most impact on the listener. The album is well produced too, featuring a raw, yet detailed sound production, which suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Putrefying Illusions" isn´t a very original sounding release, but it´s both skillfully performed, well produced, and well written, so a 4 star (80%) rating isn´t all wrong.

INGESTED The Level Above Human

Album · 2018 · Brutal Death Metal
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Nightfly
Things have been a bit quiet lately on the new release front from my death metal favourites. Whilst I’m always looking to check out bands I’ve never heard before this current dearth has encouraged me to look a bit wider. One such album I’ve recently come across in my search is The Level Above Human by Ingested. It’s the fourth from this brutal Manchester bunch but the first I’ve heard by them.

Whether there’s any musical growth from their earlier releases I couldn’t say and maybe I should have done my homework and found out. What I can say though is while it doesn’t offer anything original, something that’s not necessary anyway if you’ve got the songs to back it up, if brutal/slam death metal and deathcore is your thing then you probably will find much to enjoy here. The playing is tight and pretty complex at times with tempos ranging from the expected breakneck blasts to slower breakdowns and slam death parts. There are plenty of strong riffs throughout though the opening riff of Invidious sounds like a rip off of Iron Strengthens Iron from the last Dyscarnate album, With All Their Might. Individually each song sounds fine but nothing jumps out particularly to distinguish it from the rest despite the bands efforts to inject plenty of changes into individual tracks. After a while one song tends to blend into another and after the full 44 minutes I was feeling like I’d had enough. The more melodic instrumental Obsolescent offers some welcome respite from the overall bludgeon and alternating growl/shriek vocals making a good choice for closing the album.

Overall then, The Level Above Human whilst certainly no classic is a pretty good album. I’m sure plenty of people will love it but my own preference for my death metal being served straight up makes it more an album I admire rather than love. One that I’ll be happy to give a spin from time to time though for sure.

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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FMOTP
I rarely listen to death metal; Morbid Angel is the only "old school" death metal band I listen to regularly. I think my very high rating for ALTARS OF MADNESS has something to do with that fact. The creativity and musical skill that the band showed, starting with their first album, places them above almost every other band in the genre IMO. Although I'm far from the first person to say it, major credit has to be given to drummer Pete Sandoval. I can't imagine the skill it takes to play these constantly changing rhythms, even within individual songs.

Some have complained about the sound quality. I listened to ALTARS OF MADNESS on a decent pair of headphones (this is music that definitely requires attentive listening), and had no problems with the sound. Although Morbid Angel may have refined their approach on later albums, that takes nothing away from the brilliance of ALTARS OF MADNESS.

AUTOPSY Shitfun

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Shitfun" is the 4th full-length studio album by US death metal act Autopsy. The album was released through Peaceville Records in September 1995. "Shitfun" was already recorded in Nov/Dec 1994 though. It was the last album released by the band until they reunited 2009 and a couple of years down the line released "Macabre Eternal (2011)". At the time of the release of "Shitfun", Autopsy had already disbanded and several of the members went on to form Abscess. For most of the recording sessions for "Shitfun", Autopsy functioned as the three-piece of Chris Reifert (Vocals, Drums, Bass), Danny Coralles (Guitars, Bass), and Eric Cutler (Guitars, Bass), but with some additional bass tracks being played by Freeway Migliore and Clint Bower. Both guests would be part of the early Abscess lineup.

Stylistically "Shitfun" pretty much continues down the filthy, old school US death metal path of "Acts of the Unspeakable (1992)", but still manages to sound vastly different from it´s predecessor. Not so much because of the music itself, but as a consequence of the very different sounding production. Where "Acts of the Unspeakable (1992)" features a rather thin sounding production, "Shitfun" features a dark, brutal, and rather meaty sounding ditto. The tracks alternate between faster deathgrinding parts, mid-paced death metal sections, and crushingly heavy/doomy parts. It´s often very simple, almost punk oriented, but Autopsy always incorporate little details to keep the listener interested throughout. The lead guitar work is for example very intriguing, and often the icing on the morbid cake. If you hadn´t guessed it by looking at the disgusting and perverted cover artwork, songtitles like "Humiliate Your Corpse", "I Sodomize Your Corpse", and "Shit Eater", should tell you that Autopsy is still as twisted and gore obsessed as always. This time around with an even more sick sexual twist.

The musicianship is a story in itself. Autopsy is just about the epitome of organic played old school death metal. The playing is skillful yet delivered with a great loose organic feel, that transports the listener right into the rehearsal room with the band. Chris Reifert´s growling vocals are relatively intelligible, and delivered in his usual deranged style, but it´s his drumming that deserves a special mention more than anything else. He is simply the master of this style of drumming. The other guys are well playing too.

The above mentioned sound production is very well sounding and brings the best out in the tracks. So upon conclusion "Shitfun" is a great death metal release by Autopsy. At 21 tracks distributed over a 55:38 minutes long playing time, the album is a bit too long for it´s own good, but taken track by track, there is a lot of quality to be found here. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

AT THE GATES The Red in the Sky Is Ours

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act At the Gates. The album was released through Deaf Records in July 1992. At the Gates was formed in 1990 after Grotesque disbanded. They were part of the very furtile Gothenburg scene of the early 90s, which also spawned artists like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.

While At the Gates are often mentioned among the forefarthers of the melodeath style, the music on "The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is not melodeath by any means. At least only in very small portions. There are plenty of melodic guitar themes featured throughout the album, but the music on this particular At the Gates album is a much more eclectic size to be just labelled melodeath. The album features elements from technical death/thrash metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, and even a couple of nods toward folk metal. The latter is only true when the band incorporate the use of folky violin playing a couple of times during the playing time, but it´s there and therefore a part of the sound on the album. The blackened edge mostly stems from Tomas Lindberg´s singing style which is a higher pitched growl than your usual more deeper growl, but also as a result of the often dark and mystic atmosphere of the music. I´m sometimes reminded of artists like Unanimated and Necrophobic. But then the band also mix in melodic guitar themes and quite technical death/thrashy riffing/drumming, and it´s hard not to get the feeling that the album is a bit "all over the place".

Stylistic inconsistency can be a huge issue for some releases, but At the Gates somehow manage to pull it off convincingly. So even though it´s obvious the band were pretty immature composers at this point, they still have so many great intriguing songwriting ideas, and a passionate, skillful, and convincing delivery of those ideas, that "The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is overall a pretty strong debut album. I´m even ready to forgive the rather thin and not too well sounding production, because of the creativity on display here and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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NAPALM DEATH Punishment in Capitals

Movie · 2003 · Death Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Punishment In Capitals is a 2002 live DVD (also available on CD) by British extreme metal icons Napalm Death, released after their triumphant Enemy Of The Music Business album won back the praise of fans and critics after their experimental string of records in the nineties.

The band play a mixture of every era in their career up to that point, the catchy nineties singles ‘Breed To Breathe,’ and ‘Greed Killing,’ sit side by side with mid era death inspired fare such as ‘Suffer The Children,’ and ‘World Keeps Turning,’ which blends against the band’s early grindcore material era like ‘Scum,’ ‘Lucid Fairy Tale,’ and the famous ‘You Suffer,’ in a set list which also leans heavily on the band’s then newest, and still arguably best album Enemy Of The Music Business.

Standout tracks include an energetic version of ‘Hung,’ as well as ‘Can’t Play Won’t Play,’ and ‘Narcoleptic,’ which was as yet unreleased at the time of recording. With a set-list of this caliber, Punishment In Capitals should be a rewarding viewing experience for most Napalm Death fans and would serve well as an introduction to the band for potential fans as well.

Interestingly, the DVD recording retains all the dead air, waiting out-of-breathe and other non-musical moments in between tracks, presenting you the gig as it actually happened and not inter-cutting the show with outside material to create some false sense of professionalism or excitement. This is a double edged sword as it is commendable but may still irritate viewers raised on slicker, fast paced major label DVD releases.

The production is fairly good in terms of audio recording quality and mix, with simple camera work and editing covering the visual side of things. Although not the most impressive looking DVD ever released, it serves well for Napalm Death to deliver an energetic a sweaty performance. My only major gripe is that for the first half of the show shots of drummer Danny Herrera are very few and far between, but this is remedied later on.

There are a fair amount of extras too, including two bootleg quality recordings in Tokyo from 1996, a six track selection from a Chilean gig in 1997 as well as a hidden Easter Egg (a live-in-a-TV-studio version of ‘If The Truth Be Known,’ accessible by making the image’s eyes glow red my navigating the menu.) In addition to the musical extras there is also a documentary, which while not masterfully crafted is worth at least one watch, covering topics such as Barney’s haircut, the effect of foreign food on the bowels and the charity for which this gig was in aide of.

Overall, Punishment In Capitals is a worthwhile DVD purchase that will give you a good selection of Napalm Death material, both in the concert itself and with a nice selection of extras. Definitely recommended viewing for fans of the band.

ZYKLON Storm Detonation Live

Movie · 2006 · Death Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
This DVD captures Norwegian death metal band Zyklon on their 'Aeon,' era tour Live; the tracklisting on the wonderful but slightly short DVD is made up of tracks from the bands excellent first two albums.

The band are on top form and deliver the material fantastically live, They never miss a step, and are ruthlessly professional.

Song's from the band's debut album are much better here with new singer Tony 'SecthDamon,' Ingebrigtsen. Who has a better voice to match the material than Daemon did.

Furthermore the audio and visual quality is great, and apart from a little intro interrupting the first 20 seconds of fan favorite 'Core Solution,' there's very little to complain about whatsoever.

Indeed, with such a brilliant performance, a good production and an excellent track listing, this DVD is a real must-have for any Zyklon fan.

AMON AMARTH Wrath of the Norsemen

Movie · 2006 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Talk about value for money, from a band like Amon Amarth you wouldn’t expect them to be able to afford such a crazily generous and in depth DVD package when some of the bigger bands can’t afford anything even half this good.

The Set comes in a glorious 3 DVD digipak with detailed artwork, a full booklet and an awesome little viking crown that keeps it closed. Then you get Five full concerts (with 22, 16,13, 11 and 9 tracks respectively) and a documentary.

The main feature; a 22 track concert from Cologne in 2005 is an incredible affair with crystal clear sound, Huge guitar tones, amazingly heavy drums and nice clunky bass. The camera work is of a higher quality than even some of the biggest metal bands’ DVDs and again the sound is immense.

Then theres the performance, the band are absolutely electric delivering furious renditions of material from all eras a their career from the massive ‘Amon Amarth,’ and ‘Fate of Norns,’ to catchy closer ‘Death In Fire,’ and the crowd just lap it up.

Vocalist Johan Hegg absolutely commands the stage, engaging the crowd at every opportunity and singing his heart out while the band hammer through their classics like ‘heavy,’ is going out of style.

On top of all that you have a great light show, huge Amon Amath banners, more pyro than a kiss concert and an interlude with about thirty Viking reenactors sword fighting on stage! That feature is worth the money alone, the show is probably one of the best metal concerts on the market and I can’t stress how good the sound and picture are; then on top of all that you get the rest of the set, featuring virtually ever Amon Amarth song ever written, and performances from ‘Waken Open Air festival,’ ‘Summer Breeze Festival,’ and two more indoor concerts in Europe.

If you like Amon Amarth Buy this right now. If you don’t, you will within thirty seconds of watching this.

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