Melodic Death Metal

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Melodic death metal, also referred to as melodeath, combines elements from death metal with elements from thrash metal, more traditional heavy metal and even hard rock. A typical feature of melodic death metal is the use of Iron Maiden-like twin guitar harmonies, melodic guitar leads and inherently melodic upbeat thrash riffage, and the guitars are often downtuned to B; sometimes synths and electronica elements occur in melodic death metal, too. The vocals are typically growled, shrieked or screamed, but some artists combine these harsh vocals with clean singing. Swedish artists in and around the city of Gothenburg have been especially influential in melodic death metal, leading to the establishment of the Gothenburg sound which has also made its way into metalcore and, more recently, power metal and progressive metal. Here on MMA, metalcore artists who make use of the Gothenburg sound, such as Nothing Divine, are included under metalcore, and power metal artists that make us of the Gothenburg sound, such as Raintime and Amaranthe, are included under power metal, while progressive metal artists that make use of the Gothenburg sound, such as James Labrie, are included under progressive metal. Sometimes a division is made between “melodeath” as a genre term referring specifically to melodic death metal based on the Gothenburg sound and “melodic death metal” as a term referring to more traditional death metal which emphasizes melody, as in the case of Terra Tenebrae, Arkan, and late Bolt Thrower. Carcass’ “Heartwork” is considered to be among the first melodic death metal releases, while artists like At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Arch Enemy are among the most influential melodic death metal artists, and other examples are late Illdisposed, Deadlock, Amon Amarth, Omnium Gatherum, and Blood Stain Child.

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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.38 | 102 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.47 | 25 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.33 | 60 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.27 | 59 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.26 | 29 ratings
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SOILWORK The Living Infinite Album Cover The Living Infinite
SOILWORK
4.34 | 12 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.38 | 9 ratings
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SCAR SYMMETRY The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity) Album Cover The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)
SCAR SYMMETRY
4.38 | 9 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.26 | 15 ratings
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AMON AMARTH Surtur Rising Album Cover Surtur Rising
AMON AMARTH
4.17 | 29 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.14 | 32 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY Fiction Album Cover Fiction
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.16 | 20 ratings
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Covered in Blood
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ARCH ENEMY
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Hexed
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CHILDREN OF BODOM
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Black Frost
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NAILED TO OBSCURITY
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Verkligheten
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SOILWORK
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

SOILWORK Verkligheten

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Verkligheten" (which is the Swedish word for "Reality") is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2019. It´s the successor to "The Ride Majestic" from 2015, although the 2016 compilation album "Death Resonance" bridges the gap between the two album releases. There have been two lineup changes since "The Ride Majestic (2015)" as drummer Dirk Verbeuren has left to join Megadeth and has been replaced by Bastian Thusgaard and bassist Markus Wibom has been replaced by Taylor Nordberg.

Stylistically "Verkligheten" is the sound of Soilwork through and through. Melodic death metal in the most accessible and polished end of the scale. Labelling the music death metal is sometimes actually a bit misleading, although there definitely are some pretty hard edged and even semi-brutal moments on the album (but they are few and far between). Other parts are so catchy and accessible though that we are closer to pop/rock melodic territory than we are to metal and there are also several of the riffs and rhythms on the album which are hard rock and heavy metal influenced rather than death and thrash metal oriented. Soilwork are however incredibly skilled composers who are able to combine all the sounds and influences into a sound that is unmistakably their own.

If you´re familiar with any of the predecing releases (maybe except for the first two which are harder edged), it´ll take you two seconds after lead vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid sings his first words, to identify that it is Soilwork you are listening to. While remaining relatively consistent Soilwork have still managed to develop and refine their sound over the years and continue to do so on "Verkligheten".

There are several standout tracks on the album and only a couple of quality "fillers". Highlights to my ears are tracks like the powerful "Arrival", "Bleeder Despoiler" (the start/stop riffs throughout the song are really great), and the ultra melodic "Full Moon Shoals" (where Strid reaches a new level of melodic excellence), but "Stålfågel" (which features some very well delivered clean female vocals by Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy), the hard edged "The Wolves Are Back in Town", and the closing "You Aquiver" are also tracks which stand out.

"Verkligheten" also features a top notch sound production, and upon conclusion it´s yet another high quality release by Soilwork. It´s quite frankly amazing they are able to continue releasing albums of this quality and what is even more amazing is that they are still capable of challenging themselves as songwriters while still maintaining a signature sound this far into their career. Soilwork are one of those artists where lineup changes haven´t always been a bad thing, as the lineup changes have often meant that the band have been able to take their music in different directions (in small steps). Always under the musical guidance of Strid though which has ensured continuety. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

NECROPHOBIC Mark Of The Necrogram

Album · 2018 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Mark Of The Necrogram" is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish melodic black metal/blackened death metal act Necrophobic. The album was released through Century Media Records in February 2018. It´s the successor to "Womb of Lilithu" from 2013, and as the case also was between the release of "Death to All (2009)" and "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", there have been quite a few lineup changes between the release of "Womb of Lilithu (2013)" and "Mark Of The Necrogram". Guitarists Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergebäck, who left before the recording sessions for "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", have now returned and have replaced Fredrik Folkare and Tobias Sidegård. Sidegård also performed lead vocals on "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", and his lead vocalist spot is taken by Anders Strokirk on "Mark Of The Necrogram". The only two remaining members from the last album are drummer Joakim Sterner and bassist Alex Friberg.

Despite the many lineup shuffles in the band´s history, they have remained surprisingly consistent in sound and in the quality of their output. This is a band with a signature sound and they stick to it. Sure they´ve evolved slightly over the years, and their albums don´t sound exactly the same (although there are many similar features on all releases), but there is a strong musical vision which Necrophobic have remained true to throughout their career. Occult/anti-Christian themed melodic death/black metal. Contemporary artists like Dissection and Unanimated are valid references. So it´s especially the vocals which are a blackened snarl, while the instrumental part of the music is closer to melodic death metal (of the darker and most raw kind).

"Mark Of The Necrogram" pretty much continues down the same path Necrophobic have travelled for many years, and there aren´t any surprises to be found on the album. The material is well written melodic blackened death metal and you can pick any track from the album and call it a quality track in the style. Like most Necrophobic albums, "Mark Of The Necrogram" become a bit of a one-dimensional listen only a couple of tracks into the album though, which isn´t a major issue, but it´s still an issue that the band aren´t able to vary their songwriting and sound more than they do. The whole album more or less passes by without any particular standout moments to hold on to and mention afterwards. So consistency can both be a strength and a weakness, and if you crave album variation it´s definitely a weakness in this case.

"Mark Of The Necrogram" features a professional and well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, and the musicianship is also on a high level on all posts, so upon conclusion it´s another quality melodic blackended death metal release by Necrophobic. The above mentioned lack of variation brings my rating down a little, but it´s still a strong release in the genre and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

SOILWORK A Predator's Portrait

Album · 2001 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"A Predator´s Portrait" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2001. It´s the successor to "The Chainheart Machine" from 2000 and features the exact same lineup who recorded the predecessor.

The material on "A Predator´s Portrait" are melodic and pretty polished melodic death metal with thrashy riffing. The polished sound is very much due to the omnipresent keyboards, which add a lot of depth and atmosphere to the sound but also take away a little of the savage power of the first two albums. Every possible space in the music is filled with background keyboards and the music is often not given much time to breathe (which is up to the ears that hear if that is a good or a bad feature). So the listener is treated to a wall of sound type of soundscape. The guitars play some relatively fast melodic thrashy riffing and even enters neo-classical territory at times. There are some pretty impressive sections here and there if you take a close listen. Lead vocalist Björn Strid handles both aggressive high pitched snarling vocals and clean vocals too. Strid is a skilled singer and his clean vocal delivery adds lots of melodic memorability to the tracks. "A Predator´s Portrait" is the first Soilwork album where he combine his raw vocals with singing clean vocals (having exclusively performed raw vocals on the first two albums), and although he would develop his clean vocal style on subsequent releases, his performance here is of high quality too.

Highligts to my ears are "Like the Average Stalker", "Neurotica Rampage", "Grand Failure Anthem", and the title track (the rerecording of "Shadowchild" from the Japanese/reissue version of "The Chainheart Machine (2000)" is also worth a mention), but all tracks are almost on an equally high quality level. Some tracks are a bit too formulaic and predictable and a bit more rawness and less polish could also have elevated the album to a higher level, but all in all "A Preditor´s Portrait" is a quality product. The sound production is professional and the performances are high class all around, so upon conclusion "A Predator´s Portrait" is another high quality release by Soilwork and because of the inclusion of clean vocals an important step in the development of the band´s sound. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

IN FLAMES Lunar Strain

Album · 1994 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Lunar Strain" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act In Flames. The album was released through Wrong Again Records in April 1994. In Flames was formed by guitarist Jesper Strömblad (also drums and keyboards on this release) in 1990 as a side-project where he wanted to explore a more melodic version of death metal. Something he wasn´t able to do in his then main act Ceremonial Oath. After leaving the latter in 1993, he started assembling a lineup for In Flames, but initially wasn´t able to find a suitable vocalist and therefore Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity sung on the 1993 demo. An arrangement which was continued on "Lunar Strain".

The music on the 10 track, 36:43 minutes long album is indeed melodic oriented death metal. Loads of harmony guitar themes, leads, and an overall epic atmosphere. There are also quite a few folk elements featured in the music like the occasional use of violins and acoustic guitars. The vocal style is an aggressive and relatively high pitched growling type of vocals, and they provide the music with just a slight touch of black metal (there are a few female vocals featured on the album too). A track like "Upon an Oaken Throne" even touches thrash metal territory, so In Flames are relatively eclectic on "Lunar Strain". Artists like Necrophobic, Dissection, and Unanimated aren´t completely wrong as references, although In Flames doesn´t embrace blasphemous/anti-Christian lyrics, but instead opt for a fantasy universe.

The quality of the material is very high throughout and "Lunar Strain" overall features a relatively good flow too. The sound production could have been better, but the album is still relatively well sounding, and the sound suits the music pretty well. The band is well playing too, and upon conclusion "Lunar Strain" is not only a promising debut release by In Flames, it´s also a very high quality release in it´s own right. Especially considering that it´s a debut release. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

NECROPHOBIC Mark Of The Necrogram

Album · 2018 · Melodic Death Metal
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Nightfly
Necrophobic have been releasing quality extreme metal albums since their 1993 debut The Nocturnal Silence, a highly regarded by many, old school death metal release. They shortly afterwards adopted a more blackened death metal sound which is pretty much where they have remained since. All of their albums have been at least good, if not essential listening, though I must admit to my recollection with some mid period releases vague.

It’s been five years since Womb Of Lilithu and Mark Of The Necrogram sees the band remaining faithful to their blackened death metal sound which means no surprises I guess but it’s still a quality release. The sound is nearer to 2009’s Death To All than WOL which is not surprising when you know that it marks the return of guitarists Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergebäck who last played on that record. It also sees the return of original vocalist Anders Strokirk.

The first thing that hit me with the opening title track, apart from the crystal clear production, is they appear to have upped the melody quotient and as the album progresses it proves to be the case. There’s no shortage of catchy riffs, which I must admit to a large extent didn’t hit me straight away but once they did I was hooked. It doesn’t get any better than Odium Caecum which after a moody guitar arpeggio intro kicks in full throttle, more death than black until the chorus and is one of the heaviest songs too. There’s no shortage of great songs though played with strong musicianship. Ever present drummer Joakim Sterner throws in the expected array of blast beats and double kicks with expert precision and the guitar work is impressive with some melodic solo work too.

I’ll stick my neck out here and say that Mark Of The Necrogram may just be the bands best and most consistent album in their career. It’s also their best sounding too. I’ve never felt the need to own all Necrophobic’s albums, having cherry picked their back catalogue but this ones a keeper for sure.

melodic death metal movie reviews

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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