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

death metal top albums

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DEATH Symbolic Album Cover Symbolic
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DEATH The Sound of Perseverance Album Cover The Sound of Perseverance
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.38 | 100 ratings
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NILE What Should Not be Unearthed Album Cover What Should Not be Unearthed
NILE
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DEATH Individual Thought Patterns Album Cover Individual Thought Patterns
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
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CARCASS Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious Album Cover Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
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GORGUTS Colored Sands Album Cover Colored Sands
GORGUTS
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MORBID ANGEL Domination Album Cover Domination
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death metal Music Reviews

DE PROFUNDIS The Blinding Light of Faith

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Over the course of the last decade De Profundis have built themselves an enviable reputation for delivering music of staggering power and breathtaking skill, both in the studio and on the stage. Although many think of them as a technical death metal band, I actually believe that they would be better stated to be extreme prog metal as they continue to transcend any particular genre, using one form as a base and then going wherever they wish. Earlier this year they released their fifth full-length album, ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’, through Transcending Obscurity Records and they have now signed a deal with Lusitanian Music to release the album as a limited vinyl edition. This allows the listener to study in detail the intricate, nightmarish album artwork created by Alex Tartsus (Sinister, Depravity etc.) while the band’s new logo, also stands out far more than in would in the smaller CD version.

The band have been known to be influenced by doom in the past, and it does point its nose in at different points during the album, but what makes this such a delight is the sheer refusal to conform to any particular pre-conceived ideas. There are times when this is out and out technical death, others when it is almost power metal in its approach, but it is consistently bending and melding, creating something which is always powerful and dynamic, but twisting into different directions so that no-one can work out where and how it is going to end. I find the production really interesting as well, as in many ways it exaggerates the melodic power of the music, with a bass line that is often found to be wandering along creating a sub-melody without the level of attack that one may expect from this form of music.

Incredibly detailed and layered, this is an incredibly complex album which listeners will gain more from each and every time it is played. It is hard to imagine an more imaginative death metal album being released by anyone this year.

CAST THE STONE Empyrean Atrophy

EP · 2018 · Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Cast The Stone is Mark Kloeppel (Misery Index, Scour with Phil Anselmo), Derek Engemann (ex-Cattle Decapitation, Scour), Jesse Schobel (Legend, ex-Scour) and vocalist Andrew Huskey. First formations of the band began in 2002, long before its protagonists departed for their better known metal-scene mainstays, and as a trio they released their debut album as long ago as 2005 (when Kloeppel also acted as lead singer). So although they may seem to be something of a supergroup in some ways, this is an example of a band getting back together some years after the members have had success elsewhere. This is a six-song 27-minute-long EP

In many ways, this is an album which has far more in common with the Swedish death metal than Florida, which is somewhat surprising given that they hail from Missouri. An obvious influence is Opeth, especially on the delicate acoustic “Standing In The Shadows”, which site nicely towards the middle of the album to provide a break and contrast to what is happening in the other five songs. Guitarist Mark Kloeppel commented, "The band's sound is a testament to an enduring spirit that’s driven us to return to our most organic influences, merge them together, incorporate disparate elements, and forge our own sound. Each person has a distinct sound unto themselves, so it's really cool how smooth and cohesive this stuff comes across. You can immediately hear how different this is from the other things we've been involved in, yet it's still very true to our individual styles. Our bassist Derek progressively weaves my guitars and Jesse's uber-creative drumming style together in a way that only he can. This is all crowned off by Andy Huskey's crazy death metal vocals which are... well, just listen".

Dan Swanö (Katatonia, Merciless, Edge Of Sanity) has undertaken his normal flawless job on production, and the result is an EP which fans of the genre would do well to investigate. It has taken them 13 years to come up with this, let’s hope it isn’t so long until a full album.

LYKATHEA AFLAME Elvenefris

Album · 2000 · Technical Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
LYKATHEA AFLAME is, or was actually, one of those many artsy tech death bands that seems to cause derision in the metal community. On the one hand you have the metal purists who find any tinkering with the metal basics of brutal, distorted essentials that separate the genre from the greater rock universe will taint the defining musical “aesthetics” and wish to install a eugenics program to keep metal from “breeding” with other musical genres. And then you have those who love the idea of a brutal tech death band that has the gall to follow in the shoes of avant-gardists like Mr Bungle by adding completely opposing musical moods and styles to the frenetic bantering of the head banging bombast which LYKATHEA AFLAME does in abundance. And of course, you have many who fall somewhere in between.

This band came from the Czech Republic and released this one well known, well loved as well as well hated album after they morphed from their previous incarnation as Appalling Spawn. While in A.S. they had already begun the process of expanding their horizons beyond the Cryptosy meets Nile death metal paradigm, on their sole LYKATHEA AFLAME release ELVENEFRIS, they really let the dog off the leash and like a randy slut at a frat party, mixes company with more styles of music than a brothel sees when a navy ship docks in Bangkok. The result is a blissful journey for the aforementioned artistic types and a wellspring of irritation for the purists who cannot comprehend the massive effort that went into this one.

ELVENEFRIS is a long beast to say the least, so it requires a major commitment to sit through this one but for any open minded tech death metalheads out there, this is on the essential listening list as it randomly drifts at hyperactive speed through a plethora of genres that meet and greet the brutal Cryptosy inspired blastbeat drumming, Nile inspired compositional drive (think Egyptian themes and thundering epic heavy metal melodies that intertwine with the chaotic death metal riffs) and a seemingly random chaotic romp through the tech death universe. What sets LYKATHEA AFLAME apart from almost every other extreme metal band of the day was that they were equally at home with long drifting ebbs and flows that delved in post-metal, classic 80s heavy metal and even metalcore, Pagan black folk metal and of course progressively infused compositional efforsts.

While bantering death growls and orotund pyroclastic aggression is the norm, LYKATHEA AFLAME provide tender moments of melodic folky sections with clean and “properly” sung vocals as well as pacifying new age passages, the longest which ends this sprawling repertoire of just over 72 minutes. It’s fair to say that ELVENEFRIS started a trend in the extreme metal world that allowed bands like Between The Buried And Me, Augury, Unexpect and others to radically expand the parameters of what was acceptable within the confines of a death metal listening experience. As with any form of extreme music ranging from punk and industrial to metal, there are those who staunchly resist such artistic liberties and others who wholeheartedly embrace it. Personally i straddle both lines of thought. I love the pure unadulterated styles of death metal but when done right, an artsy mind-blowing mix of genres is exactly what scratches that itch.

It occurred to me that the type of musical delivery that artists like LYKATHEA AFLAME offer comes from a form of musical thought. As a musician i have found my own inner soundtrack operates much like the music presented on ELVENEFRIS, that being a seemingly random parade of riffing variations decorated with various dynamic and tempo shifts that seem to drift in and out of whatever background music of the moment happens to be. Think of this sort of thought process as having a continuous spectrum of counterpoints churning in our heads where metal, post-rock, circus clown music or whatever just sort of emerges as the dominate format at any given moment. It’s sort of like a pipeline to that invisible world where creativity comes from and while that is usually the first step for an artist in crafting their works, LYKATHEA AFLAME seemed to find it adequate to utilize these random inspirations into a freeform explosive callithump.

This is very much tantamount to what some musical savants can conjure up as they can effortlessly transcribe a Mozart piece to sound like a Dixieland jazz number on the spot. So too does this occur for a select few musical minds who seem to think in music, however very few artists record their music in this astroplane sort of style. Virtuosos like Steve Vai have had tracks that utilize this process as well as other avant-garde metal artists like Maudlin Of The Well, but in the grimy pits of the extreme death metal world, this sort of thing doesn’t emerge too often since death metal by its very nature is more of a hellish beast that is firmly based on a set of unspoken rules. LYKATHEA AFLAME was paramount in taking this underground musical world into the ethereal dream state and channel the results into what would emerge as ELVENEFRIS.

Many consider ELVENEFRIS to be a masterpiece while others a complete piece of trash. Having the same sort of musical loves of never-ending musical variations and genre bending, i have to say that i fall in the camp of loving this album however at the same time, my inner critic emerges to also agree that this is by far an imperfect album. Firstly, it’s way too long and some of the meandering in certain sections, especially the lengthy post-rock and ambient parts can be way too long and little editing would’ve made this much stronger. Both post-rock and ambient can be fine in their own realms but the contrast here seems awkward and not planned out as how to integrate it into the overall mood swings of the album. As many others have stated, the ubiquitous snare drum bombast provides a rather generic percussive drive throughout the album’s run. More percussive variation would’ve gone a long way.

If only the other elements of the music were as diverse as the need for an incessant tempo change and addition of changing subdued elements ELVENEFRIST could’ve been a much better album. LYKATHEA AFLAME should have developed into a true artistic powerhouse had they recorded another album or two but even taken as is, ELVENEFRIS is a powerfully unique technical death metal experience that more often than not delivers the goods of a true extreme avant-garde maelstrom of metal madness. On the plus side, the album balances melody with dissonance quite successfully and never relies on any trick or trinket within the metal passages for too long. While not perfect in my mind, LYKATHEA AFLAME, like many bands that have emerged from Eastern Europe delivered a strong album that offered a completely new way to experience the perpetually expanding world of the death metal universe and despite the incessant complaints of the wimpy non-metal parts, this is a brutal death metal beast of an album to be reckoned with.

DYING FETUS History Repeats...

EP · 2011 · Brutal Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
It can be a bit risky covering some of your influences, particularly when they are also your contemporaries. After all, some of these bands are still going, and it would be inevitable for the Dying Fetus crew to cross paths with them. What happens if you’ve covered one of your idol’s songs and fucked it up?

Fortunately, there’s no worries here. Brutal death metal doesn’t get much more brutal than Dying Fetus, and this is a nice indicator as to where some of that violence came from.

First track “Fade Into Obscurity” was originally recorded by Dehumanized. Most musicians have a local scene they grew up with and were a part of, and Dehumanized inhabited the same part of the world as Dying Fetus. It’s tight, deathly as fuck, and if you don’t know the original (I don’t) it could easily be a Dying Fetus song.

“Unchallenged Hate” might seem an unusual choice of song. The anti-racism song from Napalm Death’s legendary “From Enslavement To Obliteration” album is more grind oriented than the usual Dying Fetus fare. However, grindcore and brutal death metal are probably the two closest related major genres in extreme metal, and have often cannibalised each other. This version has more of a groove than the original, although the vocals retain a bit of Lee Dorrian’s screech and growl.

“Gorehog” is a cover from Broken Hope’s 1991 debut album “Swamped In Gore”, but is given a 21st century make-over here. It’s still just as guttural and gloriously gory, but the sound is fuller and Fetus-ized.

“Rohypnol” is a 43 second rape revenge original, not to be taken too seriously, although it has a seriously good blast beat at the end of the song.

Bolt Thrower is a band not often covered, or at least, not often enough. “Unleashed Upon Mankind” is a song with a relentless mid-pace riff, like a rumbling tank, and is punctuated with faster passages. Bolt Thrower didn’t use traditional blast beats, and it would have been tempting to add a few here, but no, this is a faithful cover. John Gallagher’s vocals use a different tone to Karl Willett’s electronically lowered voice, but it seems to suit the song.

“Twisted Truth”, originally by Pestilence, is another less obvious choice. Something from Pestilence’s more brutal Martin Van Drunen era would have seemed more likely, but this came from the more melodic Patrick Mameli-fronted “Testimony Of The Ancients” album. And ya know, Dying Fetus might be famous for brutality, but there’s nothing wrong with their ability to produce a melody either.

Final track “Born In A Casket” in a Cannibal Corpse classic, so of course, it sounds like a chorus of vomiting zombies wreaking havoc in a malfunctioning iron foundry, like it should.

Like most covers collections, there’s nothing stunningly surprising, although the injection of a bit of groove and melody here and there can raise an eyebrow. This was an appetizer while the band prepared a new album. It serves that purpose perfectly, leaving you looking forward to your next feed of ‘Fetus.

TAPHOS Come Ethereal Somberness

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
Taphos created quite a buzz with their 2016 demo MMXVI and even more so with their MMXVII EP in 2017. The EP was particularly good retaining that old school death metal vibe evident on the demo but with added clout with a more bottom end production.

With their debut album, Come Ethereal Somberness they’ve just got even better. These Danes know that raw organic heaviness is far preferable to processed precision, especially if you’re going for that old school sound. In fact it’s essential. Not counting three instrumentals including a short intro and outro we get six raw and ferocious songs of atmospheric blackened death metal . Nothing original for sure but what they lack in originality they more than make up for in conviction. These riffs are truly crushing, often tremolo picked. There’s no shortage of blastbeats but they’re not overdone with plenty of rhythmic shifts to keep things interesting aided by a crushing production. Not as doomy and dirty as Incantation can be but I hear an influence in here. The standard of musicianship is also impressive with drummer U – yes they all use initials, driving the compelling riffs of M and D on with ferocious precision. H’s vocals, who also supplies bass, are also impressive being suitably dark and dirty sitting between a death growl and a blackened rasp.

For a debut album in particular this is very impressive and I can only see this band going from strength to strength. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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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