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
4.40 | 15 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
GOREFEST
4.73 | 5 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
ENTOMBED
4.17 | 26 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
GOREFEST
4.06 | 12 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
3.68 | 7 ratings
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ENTOMBED Same Difference Album Cover Same Difference
ENTOMBED
3.47 | 6 ratings
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CARCASS Swansong Album Cover Swansong
CARCASS
3.28 | 28 ratings
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FMKD
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KEMEROV
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Slay Your Son
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KEMEROV
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Torment
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SIX FEET UNDER
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death 'n' roll Music Reviews

SIX FEET UNDER Torment

Album · 2017 · Death 'n' Roll
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Vim Fuego
Six Feet Under will always live in the shadow of Cannibal Corpse. ‘Torment’ has done nothing to drag it out from under that shadow.

Vocalist Chris Barnes was one of the founders of death metal’s biggest band, and contributed a huge part of Cannibal Corpse’s genre-defining sound. His less than amicable split from the band caused great consternation in death metal circles, worried Cannibal Corpse would become a shadow of its former self. For his own part, Barnes had formed death metal’s first super group, his side project Six Feet Under, which then became his full time gig.

However, Barnes leaving Cannibal Corpse did the band a great favour, allowing them to move into far more technical realms, pushing the boundaries of death metal. Barnes himself though, has continued to wallow in the fetid swamps of days gone by.

‘Torment’ is better than the ‘Graveyard Classics’ covers albums series, but not much. There is so little inspiration or effort in the music its surprising even the musicians themselves don’t get bored with it. Yes, it is mostly old school. Yes, it’s heavy, decently executed death metal. Yes, unfortunately, Chris Barnes’ gargly vocals are just the same as they have always been. He is supposed to be the superstar of this band, but is far and away its weakest link.

The indecipherable cupped mic growl was cutting edge in the early 1990s. It was one of the defining features of the still developing fledgling death metal genre, which Chris Barnes so ably pioneered. As musicians experimented and pushed at the edges of all things brutal and heavy, death metal evolved. Vocalists discovered it was possible to be guttural, varied and even comprehensible at the same time, while maintaining the music’s inherent brutality. Chris Barnes, his head fogged in a cloud of THC infused smoke, seems to have missed it. He is still peddling the same monotonous bark which so straight-jacketed Cannibal Corpse.

Barnes’ other innovation of the day was to push the boundaries of good taste and bestial lyrical perversion. Song Titles like “Meat Hook Sodomy”, “I Cum Blood” and “Fucked With a Knife” leave potential listeners in no doubt about what they are about to hear. The lyrics were always violent, often sexual, and always confronting. Sometimes though, Barnes’ murder/rape fantasies missed the mark, and just became tasteless, silly parodies of the truly vile. Songs like “She Was Asking for It”, “Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s Cunt” and “Necropedophile” were a bit distasteful even to the most dedicated gore fiends. On ‘Torment’ Barnes once again crosses the line, with the tasteless “Bloody Underwear”, a title which conjures unsavoury imagery in any one of several ways.

That’s not to say ‘Torment’ is a total loss. While mid-paced plodding gets a bit monotonous, when the band uses a bit of tempo things improve. “Exploratory Homicide” blasts into life after the dreary opening track “Sacrificial Kill”. “Skeleton” also shows promise, with a militaristic snare and grumbling bass intro, but falls flat on its ass when Barnes attempts a vocal melody, in the loosest definition of the word melody. “Obsidian” also shows a glimmer of inspiration above the dull generic mass surrounding it.

Times have moved on and left Six Feet Under behind. The kindest thing to do would be to quietly euthanise the band. The more appropriate thing would be to scourge, flay, flense, eviscerate, disembowel, gut and fillet Six Feet Under (the band, not the people responsible!), and bury the mangled, maggot infested remains in an unmarked grave, along with glories also long since dead.

GOREFEST Soul Survivor

Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll
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Warthur
With Soul Survivor, Gorefest jump onto the death 'n' roll microgenre bandwagon that Entombed and others had been driving for a couple of years prior, and to their credit they pull off the style admirably. To be fair, they had been preparing this sonic shift some time in advance, with groundwork laid on the preceding Erase, but here they lock on to the genre and really nail it, churning out a set of songs which manage to balance being genuinely anthemic whilst still having a thick layer of death metal grit to them. Never mind that you can't listen to "Forty Shades" without thinking of 50 Shades of Grey - this is still a death 'n' roll mosh party in a sleek 44 minute package.

CONVULSE Cycle of Revenge

Album · 2016 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Cycle of Revenge" is the 4th full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Convulse. The album was released through Svart Records in March 2016. It´s the successor to "Evil Prevails" from 2013 and the second album since Convulse reformed in 2012. Convulse was one of the seminal death metal acts out of Finland in the late 80s/early 90s, but they split-up in 1994, only to reform 18 years down the line.

"Evil Prevails (2013)" pretty much continued the old school death metal style from the band´s 90s releases, but added an occasional rock´n´roll element (especially the guitar solos pointed in that direction), but "Cycle of Revenge" is a very different kind of beast. In fact the only thing the two albums have in common are the emotionless and unintelligible growling vocals. The vocals are about the only death metal trait left in the music, and instead of old school Scandinavian style death metal, we´re treated to a psychadelic tinged (and at times nicely atmospheric) heavy rock/metal style with growling vocals. At various points I´m reminded of artists like Tiamat, mid-period Gorefest, contemporary Tribulation, and Convulse fellow countrymen in Sentenced. So at this point I guess it´s fair to call the music death´n´roll (there´s a hard rocking stoner riff or two in there too).

The instrumental part of the music is very well executed and the material is generally well written and relatively varied, which means the 8 track, 33:57 minutes long album is entertaining throughout. "Cycle of Revenge" is also an incredibly well produced album, featuring a powerful and organic sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. Unfortunately the growling vocals sound completely out of place, and when the band experiment with spoken word passages or semi-raw clean vocals, like they do on "Ever Flowing Stream", you can hear great potential. So without knowing if Convulse are going to drop the growling vocals on the next release, I´ll go out on a limb here and call this a transition release between their old school death metal days and their new psychadelic tinged heavy rock/metal style, because I do expect them to drop the growls on future releases. They are so obviously out of place here, that not dropping them would be a crime.

So "Cycle of Revenge" is a bit hard to rate fairly, because I´m rather biased about it. On one hand I think the instrumental part of the music is of a high quality and it´s both powerful, adventurous, and intriguing, but on the other hand the growling vocals do drag my rating down a bit, so I think it speaks volumes about the rest of the music, when a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still warranted.

PAINFACE FleshCraft

Album · 2000 · Death 'n' Roll
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Unitron
Fleshcraft is the debut album from death metal band Painface.

Anders Colsefni left Slipknot when they decided to replace him with Corey Taylor on lead vocals pushing the band into super-stardom. Of course they also drastically altered their sound, getting rid of all of the jazz, funk, death metal, and various other styles of Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. Colsefni eventually re-formed his old band Painface, and continued through the underground while Slipknot went ahead and became a household name with their more accessible sound. So does Painface continue where Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. left off?

No, not really, as Fleshcraft features a much more straight-forward groovy death metal sound with the occasional thrash riff. Not that this is a bad thing, as this is a killer album. Songs like "Cave Dancer", "The New Son", "Fallen Silent", "Umbral Quest", "Dead to Me", "Last Rites", and "Step Into the Dark" are among the highlights of the album. The album is pretty consistent though, so most of the songs are of equal quality. It's also a short album, clocking in at just over 32 minutes, so it doesn't get boring.

Colsefni's vocals are fantastic as always, usually staying in growl/snarl/gruff range for this album. His gruff vocals fit surprisingly well with some of the melodies. The guitar work is in total groove-death fashion, with groovy main riffs and classic metal riffing and soloing. The production is decent, albeit a bit rough so the rhythm section sometimes sounds a bit murky. Thankfully, this is death metal so it can work. Gorefest is a good reference to the overall sound of the band.

While I enjoy their recent EP more, this album is certainly worth a listen if you're a fan of death 'n' roll in the vein of bands like Gorefest. Hope you found this review helpful, Feel free to comment!

ENTOMBED A.D. Dead Dawn

Album · 2016 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Dead Dawn" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Entombed A.D.. The album was released through Century Media Records in February 2016. As most people probably know Entombed A.D. is a continuation of the legendary Swedish death metal act Entombed minus guitarist Alex Hellid, so while Entombed A.D. is still a relatively new act, the four guys in the band have played together for quite a few years...

...and the music on the album sounds unmistakably like "classic" Entombed (which was also the case on "Back to the Front (2014)" (the debut album by Entombed A.D.). The guitars have the right crusty sound, the drums play a punk/rock´n´roll influenced hard pounding energetic style, and lead vocalist L-G Petrov roars with his semi-growling distinct sounding voice. Entombed A.D. are wise enough to spice it up with the occasional more melodic and atmospheric moment, and as in the past there are quite a few hard rock elements in the sound too.

The quality of the material is generally high, although some tracks are more catchy than others. Highlights include powerful album opener "Midas in Reverse", the heavy "As the World Fell", the atmospheric "Hubris Fall", and "The Winner Has Lost" (which the band has also shot a video for). Especally the latter has the qualities to make it a future Entombed A.D. classic.

"Back to the Front (2014)" was a good solid effort by the band, although it wasn´t exactly earth shattering, and the same can be said about "Dead Dawn". The latter is just a notch more interesting and features a couple of really great tracks, which compared to the predecessor makes it the slightly better album overall. "Dead Dawn" is packed in a powerful sounding production, and the high level musical performances are another asset. 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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