Death 'n' Roll

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Death ‘n’ roll bands incorporates groovy riffs and beats as well as other elements from more traditional metal and hardrock, such as more rock-oriented guitar solos and simpler riffage, into their style, and often make use of midtempo paces. This style arose in the 1990s in the wake of the popularity of Pantera’s groove-oriented heavy metal, which revolutionized thrash metal and influenced other types of metal, too. Entombed and Gorefest were among the creators of death ‘n’ roll, and other examples of death ‘n’ roll artists are Six Feet Under, Debauchery, We Are the Damned, and Malignant Tumour.

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ENTOMBED Morning Star Album Cover Morning Star
ENTOMBED
4.34 | 22 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
ENTOMBED
3.98 | 39 ratings
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ENTOMBED Uprising Album Cover Uprising
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4.25 | 8 ratings
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ENTOMBED Inferno Album Cover Inferno
ENTOMBED
4.23 | 7 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
GOREFEST
3.89 | 15 ratings
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CARCASS Swansong Album Cover Swansong
CARCASS
3.64 | 40 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
GOREFEST
3.41 | 7 ratings
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ENTOMBED DCLXVI - To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth Album Cover DCLXVI - To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth
ENTOMBED
3.38 | 13 ratings
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death 'n' roll Music Reviews

PHLEGETHON Promo 1995

Demo · 1995 · Death 'n' Roll
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"Promo 1995" is the third demo recording by Finnish thrash/death metal act Phlegethon. The demo was recorded and released in 1995. Phlegethon disbanded in 1992 after releasing two demos and the 1991 "Fresco Lungs" EP. The latter saw the band suddenly change their style from raw and aggressive thrash metal to an eclectic style of death metal, which is quite honestly a bit hard to describe correctly. Original members Lasse Pyykkö and Teemu Hannonen opted to ressurrect Phlegethon and record this demo tape, but nothing more came of it, and they soon disbanded again. Pyykkö has opted to drop playing the drums here and he instead plays bass and he has also taken over the lead vocal duties. New members are Roland on drums and Saku Hurskainen on lead guitars. The material from "Promo 1995" is included on the January 2010 "Drifting in the Crypt" (Xtreem Music) compilation album.

If "Fresco Lungs" was a bit of a confusing release with its many different genre elements and playing styles mashed together, the three tracks on the 13:57 minutes long "Promo 1995" are slightly more consistent in sound and style. Phlegethon still haven´t decided if they want to play death´n´roll, melodic death metal, or atmospheric death/doom metal, but they combine the genres a little better here than they did on "Fresco Lungs". Unfortunately the overall sound and style of "Promo 1995" isn´t particularly interesting or unique. Pyykkö sings some clean parts, but mostly snarls his way through the demo. He has a sharp, angry, and commanding delivery (which actually isn´t miles from sounding like Satyr from Satyricon).

"Promo 1995" features a clear, detailed, and powerful sounding production job, but upon conclusion this really isn´t what most fans want to hear from Phlegethon, and I don´t think they earned many new ones with this release. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted. This isn´t a bad quality release by any means, but it doesn´t sound one bit like Phlegethon and it would probably have been best if it had been released under a different monicker.

PUNGENT STENCH The Pungent Stench Sessions

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2010 · Death 'n' Roll
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"The Pungent Stench Sessions" is a collaborative album release by Austrian death metal/death´n´roll act Pungent Stench and US artist Dr. Heathen Scum (known from among other acts The Mentors). The album was released through Mentor Records in April 2010. If you´re familiar with the extremity, the depravity, and over the top hedonism of the two artists, it´s no surprise that a collaboration saw the light of day. So what do you get when you combine two rotten entities?...well...

Stylistically the death metal/death´n´roll elements of Pungent Stench are not a part of the sound. So this is basically a filthy, hard rocking rock´n´roll album with some very primitive and nasty sexual tinged lyrics. It doesn´t get much more stupid and hedonistic (...and I´m sure some would add misogynistic) than the lyrics to opening track "Hot, Tight, and Wet" (...and then again, every track on the album features lyrics like these). Let´s just establish that the lyrics aren´t exactly respectful towards women. It´s like listening to a porn movie translated to music. Women are constantly referred to as sluts, bitches, whores...etc.

So yeah the lyrics are pretty offensive, but that´s to be expected from someone associated with The Mentors. I can´t say Pungent Stench add much of their usual identity to the music and it´s pretty primitive and badly performed rock´n´roll. A few of the lyrics make me crack a smile...but that´s it. This is simply too ridiculous/ignorant/offensive, amaturish/untight, and also pretty badly produced to make me excited. I´m sure there is a segment out there who´ll enjoy this...but it´s no one I know. A 2 star (40%) rating is warranted.

DESULTORY Swallow the Snake

Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll
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"Swallow the Snake" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal/death´n´roll act Desultory. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 1996 (the third album in a three album deal with the label). It´s the successor to "Bitterness" from 1994. A major lineup change has taken place since "Bitterness (1994)" as lead guitarist Stefan Pöge has jumped ship. Desultory opted to continue as a three-piece, and bassist Håkan Morberg has taken on the lead guitar duties on "Swallow the Snake" in addition to his role as bassist.

Using the words "major lineup change" when only one out of four members has left is justified because of the significance of Pöge´s lead guitar playing on the first two albums by Desultory and how much his departure meant for how "Swallow the Snake" turned out. Desultory already started incorporating traditional heavy metal/heavy rock elements to their sound on "Bitterness (1994)", which placed that album somewhere between a melodic old school death metal sound and a death´n´roll sound, but with an emphasis on the former. The scale has shifted on "Swallow the Snake" though which is through and through a death´n´roll album. Although the music still features occasional melodic leads, they are not nearly as interesting as the melancholic soaring leads and harmonies Desultory played on the first two albums. So Pöge´s exit from the band has definitely had a significant impact. The music now features a groove laden heavy rock/death´n´roll sound, which is pretty far removed from the melodic tinged death metal of the band´s previous releases. If anyone thought "Swansong (1996)" was a step too far down the death´n´roll path for Carcass, this is a similar situation, but with the difference that "Swallow the Snake" could have been recorded by a completely different act, as there is next to nothing on the album which links it to Desultory´s past.

Heavy groove laden hard/heavy rock riffs, blues rock influenced leads, a hard rocking rhythm sections, and lead vocalist/guitarist Klas Morberg raw shouting vocals on top. The vocals may be aggressive and angry, but there is not a single growling vocal part on the album, and labelling this album death´n´roll is maybe a bit of a stretch. Raw heavy rock/metal is probably a better description. "Swallow the Snake" features a raw and organic sounding production, which suits the rawness of the music well, and upon conclusion "Swallow the Snake" is a decent quality release. If the songs had stood out a bit more and had been memorable beyond the album´s playing time, it would have been a completely different situation though. "Beneath" is one of the standout tracks on the album featuring a dark goth rock atmosphere and deep register vocals, but the remaining tracks simply sound too much the same. It´s nothing out of the ordinary for the style and compared to what came before, it´s a huge disappointment. Desultory disbanded shortly after the release of the album, but continued as Zebulon in the period 1997 - 2008, releasing two studio albums under the Zebulon monicker before changing the band name back to Desultory in 2009. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

SIX FEET UNDER (FL) Graveyard Classics 2

Album · 2004 · Death 'n' Roll
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"Graveyard Classics 2" is the 7th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Six Feet Under. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 2004. It´s the successor to "Bringer of Blood" from 2003. Six Feet Under released the "Graveyard Classics" album in 2000, which featured covers of classic heavy metal and hard rock tracks by artists like AC/DC, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Dead Kennedys, and Venom. "Graveyard Classics 2" is as the title suggests the second installment in the series, but this time around, Six Feet Under have not chosen to cover tracks by various artists, but have instead opted to cover AC/DC's "Back in Black (1980)" album in its entirety.

Wether that is a good or a bad idea is probably very much up to the ears that hear, but it´s definitely (at least) interesting to hear the classic tracks featuring death metal growls. There´s nothing wrong with the musical skills or the execution of the material (the instrumental performances are relatively true to the original material), but personally I think the novelty effect wears off after a couple of tracks. Some tracks work better than others, with especially the more melodic tracks like "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Let Me Put My Love Into You" being the low points of the album, while more potent hard rockers like "Shoot to Thrill" and "Shake a Leg" actually work pretty well.

Upon conclusion "Graveyard Classics 2" is a decent experiment but it´s not an album I´ll listen to very often. I´ll take the original any day over this death metal cover version. It had probably been a childhood dream for Barnes to record this album, but sometimes dreams are better not fullfilled. "Graveyard Classics 2" may not be Six Feet Under´s best release, but at least the idea behind it was honest and for the love of the original. It does feature both fine musicianship and a quality production job too, so while this is not a personal favorite a 3 star (60%) rating is still warranted.

WOMBBATH Lavatory

EP · 1994 · Death 'n' Roll
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"Lavatory" is an EP release by Swedish death metal act Wombbath. The EP was released through Napalm Records in March 1994. It´s the follow-up release to the band´s debut full-length studio album "Internal Caustic Torments" from 1993. One lineup change has taken place as lead vocalist Tomas Lindfors has left. The vocals on "Lavatory" were therefore recorded by session vocalist Daniel Samuelsson (Disgrace, Corrosive Divine). "Lavatory" was Wombbath´s last release in their original run. They did actually record a full-length studio album after "Lavatory" and sent it to Napalm Records, but there was no response from their label, and after recording a 2-track promo tape they disbanded in 1995. None of the two latter mentioned recordings were released.

It´s not only on the lead vocalist spot that there have been changes, as the material on "Lavatory" is quite different sounding from the preceding releases by the band. Their 1992 demo, the 1992 "Several Shapes" EP, and "Internal Caustic Torments" (1993) feature a brutal US influenced death metal style (which doesn´t sound Swedish at all), but on "Lavatory", Wombbath play a pretty creative death´n´roll style, featuring many rhythmic changes, breaks, melodic lead guitar work, the occasional use of atmospheric keyboards, unconventional song structures and interesting musical ideas. The vocals are now semi-growling/shouting/screaming/cleans, instead of the deep brutal growling of the past releases. So in that respect Wombbath followed the trends of the time, and changed from a death metal act to a death´n´roll act, which I must say is a bit surprising if you´re familiar with the preceding releases by the band.

"Lavatory" features a slightly thinly produced sound, but it´s somehow still decent enough, and you´re able to hear all instruments and vocals in the soundscape. Upon conclusion "Lavatory" is definitely one of the most creative death´n´roll releases I´ve encountered. It´s a smorgasbord of different musical styles and ideas, and I´m actually pretty impressed by how many interesting sections and ideas are thrown around. As a cohesive listening experience, I´m not so sure I think all the parts and ideas work that well together though, and when I evaluate this EP, I find that I´m more intrigued by the boldness of it all than I am by the actual music. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

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