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

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death metal Music Reviews

ILLDISPOSED Sense The Darkness

Album · 2012 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Sense The Darkness" is the 11th full-length studio album by Danish death metal act Illdisposed. The album was released through Massacre Records in September 2012. The regular version features 11 tracks, while the digipack version features 2 bonus tracks ("War" and "Desire").

The music on the album is in the trademark groove oriented death metal style that Illdisposed have more or less played since day one. They´ve added more contemporary sounding keyboards and melodeath traits along the way, but they´ve always sounded like themselves. On this album the keyboards aren´t present and in that respect it´s a more "regular" sounding death metal album, but still more contemporary sounding than old school. Bo Sommer´s distorted and effect laden deep growling, the groovy riffs and the predominantly mid-paced heavy rhythms are in place, and "Sense The Darkness" in many ways feels like another day at the office.

The songwriting is solid (yet not outstanding), the musicianship are strong, and the album features a powerful sound production that suits the music well (although to my ears the clicky bass drum sound doesn´t do the music any favours). Yet the album doesn´t stand out much in the band´s discography and the tracks have a tendency to sound a bit too much the same. It´s solid enough, but not more than that. It´s obvious that Illdisposed have the skills, and backed up by Massacre Records, the money for a strong sound production, so it´s in the songwriting department they could improve.

They sound too comfortable, too at ease with what they do, and I think "Sense The Darkness" suffers because of it. To my ears it lacks bite and passion. It´s still a reasonably strong death metal album though and while my words are probably a bit harsh, a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.

SHED THE SKIN Harrowing Faith

Album · 2016 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Harrowing Faith" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Ohio based death metal act Shed the Skin. The album was released through Hells Headbangers Records in May 2016. Shed the Skin was formed in Cleveland in 2011 and their first release was the "Rebirth Through Brimstone" EP in 2014. "Harrowing Faith" was mixed and mastered at Unisound Studios, Sweden by Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Witherscape...etc.).

The material on the 12 track, 38:53 minutes long album is relatively standard early 90s influenced death metal. It´s well performed, very well produced (the sound production is powerful, clear, and detailed), and the songwriting is decent too. It´s in the latter department where Shed the Skin could improve though. As written the material is decent enough in terms of being powerful and brutal death metal (mostly mid-paced with both brutal growling vocals and higher pitched screams), but when "Harrowing Faith" has finished playing, I don´t really remember any tracks off it. That´s not unusual for a death metal album, and it´s not always a major issue, as long as the album is enjoyable while it plays, and "Harrowing Faith" certainly is that, but I can´t help thinking of the album as a release with some brilliant moments but also a lot of generic ones. It just doesn´t stand out much.

When that is said, "Harrowing Faith" is still a quality release on most other parameters, and as mentioned above entertaining while it plays. So while my description above may sound a bit negative, "Harrowing Faith" is overall a pretty strong debut release by Shed the Skin. The lack of hooks mentioned above is meant as a constructive criticism in terms of Shed the Skin hopefully adding more catchy moments to future material. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse

Album · 1998 · Death Metal
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voila_la_scorie
After recording the first two albums with the same band line-up and the same producer in the same studio, Opeth underwent a big change in direction. To begin with, both drummer Anders Nordin and bassist Johan De Farfalla left the band and the drum stool was taken over by Martin Lopez. Though Martin Mendez was to take on the bass player role, he was not able to learn all the bass parts for the new album prior to the recording and so Mikael Akerfeldt played all the bass. This isn’t so much of a surprise as Mikael was originally hired for the band as the new bass player back in the early days. Frederik Nordstrom became the new producer and the album recorded over two months and in three studios in 1997 and released a year later on Candlelight Records.

With all these changes, the band’s sound was altered dramatically. I feel in a way we could compare the differences to Deep Purple’s “Shades of Deep Purple” and “The Book of Taliesyn” versus “In Rock”. The psychedelic/progressive/hard rock style of these first two, very similar albums gets replaced by thundering, loud heavy rock on “In Rock”. Likewise, I see “Orchid” and “Morningrise” as a nice pair with melodic riffs and long songs broken down with frequent acoustic interludes while “My Arms, Your Hearse” is so much heavier, has shorter songs, and incorporates acoustic and clean electric breaks into the structure of the song more fluidly.

Basically, Opeth have not only added a ton of extra weight to their guitar sound but also Mikael’s death vocals have gone from a shredding roar from the back of the throat to a deeper, guttural roar. The music just packs that much more sonic wallop.

In a way, this album set the blue print for the next few Opeth albums. A conceptual piece, the album flows naturally from song to song and includes some brief instrumental tracks as well as the melodic, organ-backed epilogue aptly titled “Epilogue”. The acoustic parts are well mixed with clean electric guitar breaks which don’t stand apart from the heavy music like on the first two albums but instead feel like a natural progression of the song. On the first two albums, the heavy music would just stop and a simple Medieval or folk acoustic melody would direct the next course of the song. On MAYH, the acoustic guitars often play along with the heavy electric guitars and it feels more natural when the more melodic and less raucous parts progress within the song. The songs have also become shorter with not a single track clearing 10 minutes.

Reading some reviews and the comments of critics, there are those who give this album much praise. At first it failed to captivate my interest because I couldn’t pick out any songs that really stood out, except of course the obvious short instrumental tracks like “Prelude” (simple piano piece) and “Madrigal” (short but very different clean guitar instrumental). Later, however, once I had all the Opeth albums and I started mixing up playlists and choosing songs, I discovered that I really liked “April Ethereal”, “When”, “The Amen Corner”, and “Karma”. “Demon of the Fall” is really heavy and with totally demonic sounding vocals in the first half but later turns into a Zeppelin-esque folk-like bit that then alternates between heavy and melodic metal with the strummed acoustic parts coming in and out. Mikael’s clean vocals here and on other songs are much better than previously because he is singing with more energy. His clean vocals on the first two albums lacked confidence and energy and sometimes sounded timid and barely adequate. On this album here we get the Mikael that we know from later releases.

In the end, even though this album doesn’t contain any of my ultimate fav Opeth tracks, I do very much enjoy letting this one play through from start to finish and as well, I can easily throw a track on a mixed playlist. Welcome to the birth of the classic sound of Opeth!

MARDUK Dark Endless

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MARDUK released their dirty full-length debut “DARK ENDLESS” in1992 after their blasphemous demo “Fuck Me Jesus” the previous year and continued with their feet in both the black and death metal worlds much like other early black metal bands like Darkthrone. Black metal elements include Andreas Axelsson shouted and screamed anguished vocal style, blasphemous anti-Christian lyrical content as well as the black metal fashion statements of spiky leather things and corpse paint and while the music itself is more remnant of old school death metal, it also exhibits at this early stage some of the transitions of becoming black metal with buzzsaw guitar frenzies and blastbeat drumming madness. On the composition side of things though this does indeed sound a lot like old school death metal of the early 90s with heavy distorted riffing and the stylistic meanderings throughout the album. The band added a second guitarist in the form of Magnus Andersson as well.

This debut album by MARDUK is a mixed bag for me as it seems that the two styles of metal are more of a hindrance for a cohesive whole sound than one would hear on more developed blackened death metal as heard by bands like Behemoth. After a rather sinister sounding piano piece that sounds super creepy and twisted, “DARK ENDLESS” seems to fall in a stale rut fairly quickly but still manages to pack enough punch to keep the album from totally falling into the abyss. While the compositions seem to be more sophisticated than some of the contemporary black metal bands of the era, unfortunately the musicianship is a little lackluster at times with Joakin Grave’s percussion standing out as the weakest link.

While MARDUK has never been one of the most original bands in the black metal world, they have persevered for their tight wickedly evil black metal style that has come to perfect the old school black metal sound that they would adopt after this debut album. However, on this one things just sound off as the their fusion prowess was clearly not firing on all cylinders. “DARK ENDLESS” in the end comes off as a decent raw and filthy early blackened death metal album with all the shock and awe one would expect but ultimately fails to deliver the goods in an ultimately satisfying way. Despite the lack of perfection on this one, it’s a decent listen and i simply love the album cover! Wisely they would abandon the death metal side of their equation and ultimately master the black metal side quite well.

OBITUARY Obituary

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Nightfly
I must admit that I don’t usually get excited at the prospect of a new Obituary album, interested yes but rarely more than that. Considering their importance in death metal, one of the originals etc, I find this strange to say the least. First of theirs I ever bought was Cause Of Death back in 1990 (didn’t hear Slowly We Rot until later as it happens), generally regarded as one of their best and my penchant for Celtic Frost style guitar riffs certainly helped me enjoy that but John Tardy’s strangled growl wasn’t an easy listen for me, though time has tempered that feeling and his voice for that matter. Since then I’ve heard good and not so good Obituary and there’s at least a couple of their albums I don’t recall hearing at all. Now don’t ask me why but some reason my interest was piqued by this eponymous new release and I even pre-ordered a vinyl copy. I’m really glad I did as it’s brilliant!

There’s no particular reason why this self-titled album should be better than the last few as they haven’t deviated from their formulaic no-nonsense traditional death metal with groove approach. It’s Obituary doing pretty much what they’ve always done. That Celtic Frost guitar sound is still present - not quite as obvious as in the past, though there are moments where it’s unmistakeable and Tardy’s vocals are less extreme these days too. Why it’s so good is for starters the production is spot on - Clear and powerful with everything sitting well in the mix. Mostly though it’s a killer collection of songs that make it. Ten songs at only thirty three minutes is a short album but fortunately they don’t waste any of it. Brave and Sentence Day make a strong start. Both pretty pacey, packing powerful and memorable riffs and the pair of them all done in less than five minutes. There’s also the slower groove based stuff the first being A Lesson In Vengeance and features some fine lead work from Kenny Andrews. End It Now is the best of both worlds with its fast rolling triplet kick drum pattern though slowing down for a more groove orientated section. Without going into every song individually the rest of the album maintains the high standards set early on making it one of, if the not the most consistent Obituary album since the early days.

If you’re looking for innovation look elsewhere, there’s no great leap in style from past Obituary but if you enjoy this band this is an essential album for you. Right now I’m enjoying this more than any Obituary album and put it up there with their best no problem. My only complaint is at the length of the album the bonus track No Hope on the CD could have easily fit on the vinyl version too.

death metal movie reviews

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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