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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
4.40 | 15 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
4.73 | 5 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
4.15 | 27 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
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
3.68 | 7 ratings
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ENTOMBED Same Difference Album Cover Same Difference
3.47 | 6 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues

Album · 1993 · Death 'n' Roll
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Entombed: one of the Big Four in Swedish death metal and the first of the four that I was to encounter on CD. Fairly recently. Like, a few months ago and nearly three decades after the band's career commenced. As with many old school death metal bands I have gotten acquainted with, I found out about Entombed by watching old school death metal playlists on YouTube. Of course, the album usually mentioned is "Left Hand Path" with some attention also going to "Clandestine". It was either of these two that I had to choose for my first purchase. Then I saw "Wolverine Blues".

Blues?! A death metal band is using the word "blues" in an album title? And Wolverine? Even at the time this album was released, the X-Men character was well known. What on earth were these Swedes up to?

So, I checked out some songs on YouTube and, well, wow! Consider this: I had been checking out a couple of dozen bands or more in a subgenre I was not too familiar with and had previously avoided. At first, everybody sounded awesome. But after a while, everybody sounded similar. I wanted to find that band or album that did something different to make it stand apart from the usual death metal environment. This album certainly did stand out.

After two death metal albums in Swedish style, Entombed decided to get into some other stuff and came up with an album that sounds like a conconction of mid-seventies Black Sabbath and Motorhead with some hardcore peppered in. In-your-face, angry biker style vocals, really growly, dirty, massive-rusty-industrial-chain guitar sound, and a rhythm section that almost swaggers, this album took a death metal band in such a new direction that they called this music "death n' roll". While the title probably was supposed to sound cool, I can't help but think of crocodiles when I hear this. Death roll!

There's little point in picking apart each song. It's just ultra-gritty guitar riffs, groove, and guts throughout with some songs capturing my attention more than others for one reason or another. I'd say the first three or four tracks and the last two are my preferred songs, but the whole album is consistent, though "Hollowman" brings in a bit of melody.

After several listens, some of the excitement of hearing the entire album has worn off, but I am still very curious about the next album, "DCLXVI: To Ride Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth". For now, "Clandestine" is on its way to my place, so I'll get to see the earlier side of the band.

Death n' roll or whatever, it was really good to hear an album that combined components of the death metal sound with more familiar, traditional stuff like Black Sabbath and Motorhead.

MACABRE Grim Scary Tales

Album · 2011 · Death 'n' Roll
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"Grim Scary Tales" is the 5th full-length studio album by US extreme metal act Macabre. The album was released through Decomposed Records in January 2011. It´s been 8 long years since the release of "Murder Metal (2003)", but Macabre are not exactly known for being the most productive band on earth in terms of churning out major releases. The band have released a couple of minor releases between 2003 and 2011 though.

Stylistically the material on "Grim Scary Tales" is instantly recognisable as the sound of Macabre. Macabre are probably one of the most unique sounding metal acts on the scene despite what can only be characterized as a very eclectic extreme metal style. On this release they combine elements from death metal, goregrind, black metal, thrash metal, country/bluegrass, swing, children songs and other oddities for your entertainment. The lyrical content is as usual about serial killers/mass murderes delivered with a humourous/bizarre touch. This time around several older legendary killers like "Countess Bathory" (a nice cover of the Venom classic), "Bella the Butcher" (Belle Sorenson Gunness), "Lizzy Borden", and Roman Emperor Nero on "Nero's Inferno", have been included. Most of the murderes described in the lyrics on "Grim Scary Tales" are actually pre-1900 killers, which is a slightly different lyrical approach, as Macabre in the past have predominantly written about post-1900 killers.

Despite the aggression and brutality of the album, the overall atmosphere of the release can sometimes turn towards the somewhat silly (which isn´t unusual for Macabre), but there´s nothing silly about the excellent musicianship, or the band´s compositional skills. The Macabre trio are very well playing and they know how to write a catchy and powerful extreme metal track, and how to effectively incorporate elements from alien music styles to their core sound. Regarding the high level musicianship, it´s especially the drumming by Denis The Menace which stands out. Both the sound of the drums (this is an example of when triggered bass drums work perfectly) and the playing by Denis The Menace are greatly enjoyable throughout the album. The vocals by lead vocalist/guitarist Corporate Death (backed up by bassist Nefarious) are also one of the defining features of Macabre´s music and on this album he sings more varied than ever. You´ll hear his trademark high pitched hysterical vocals on the album but also several types of clean and raw vocals, and some death metal growling too.

As always it´s a bit hard to pick favorites, because Macabre´s releases are usually of a very consistent quality, and the same applies to "Grim Scary Tales", but if I have to pick a few standout tracks it would probably be opening track "Locusta", "Nero's Inferno", and most definitely the country/bluegrass track "The Bloody Benders". "Grim Scary Tales" is well produced, featuring a slightly more raw and organic production than its two direct predecessors, but it´s still a professional, clear, and detailed sounding production.

Upon conclusion "Grim Scary Tales" is not an album which adds much new to the Macabre discography, although the band do conduct a few new sonic experiements, and it´s probably not an album you´d pick over classic albums like "Sinister Slaughter (1993)" and "Dahmer (2000)", but with that said Macabre´s music is still relevant on this release and in its own right "Grim Scary Tales" is a solid and quite enjoyable album and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.

GOREFEST Soul Survivor

Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll
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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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"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.


Album · 2000 · Death 'n' Roll
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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!

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