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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melodic death metal top albums

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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.40 | 112 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.46 | 32 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.38 | 74 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.31 | 68 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.47 | 12 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.52 | 9 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Across the Dark Album Cover Across the Dark
INSOMNIUM
4.44 | 8 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.25 | 18 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Since the Day It All Came Down Album Cover Since the Day It All Came Down
INSOMNIUM
4.35 | 10 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.24 | 18 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.18 | 36 ratings
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OMNIUM GATHERUM Beyond Album Cover Beyond
OMNIUM GATHERUM
4.36 | 9 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

TEMPLESTOWE Cimmerian

Album · 2009 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Cimmerian" is the debut full-length studio album by Australian death metal act Templestowe. The album was independently released in October 2009. Templestowe were formed in 2007 and disbanded again in 2010, so they were a relatively short lived act, and "Cimmerian" was their only album release.

Stylistically Templestowe play a very melodic type of death metal influenced by artists like In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, and when they are most fast-paced and energetic The Black Dahlia Murder. The latter influence is only heard very seldom though. So the material on the 10 track, 48:17 minutes long album may not be the most unique sounding on the scene (although the band occasionally venture into semi-progressive territories), but Templestowe fully make up for the lack of originality with a convincing and passionate performance. These guys are very well playing/singing and the listener is treated to one powerful riff after another, soaring lead melodies/harmonies, powerful rhythmic playing, and a commanding snarling/growling lead vocalist. Everything just works here and the tracks are also well written and memorable.

"Cimmerian" features a powerful and detailed sound production, so it´s also a high quality release in that department. Considering the high quality of all features on the album, it´s a real shame "Cimmerian" ended up being Templestowe´s sole studio album, because there are clear signs here that something great was in the making. A slightly more unique sound and "Cimmerian" would have reached a highher level of excellence, but as it is "Cimmerian" is still a really strong release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fully deserved (and maybe even a bit too low).

BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT Paint the Sky with Blood

EP · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Paint the Sky with Blood" is an EP release by Finnish melodic death metal act Bodom After Midnight. The EP was released through Napalm Records in April 2021. Bodom After Midnight was formed in 2020 by lead vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho and guitarist Daniel Freyberg after their former act Children of Bodom disbanded. The three tracks featured on "Paint the Sky with Blood" are the only material recorded by the band, and "Paint the Sky with Blood" will be their sole release, as Bodom After Midnight was discontinued after Laiho passed away in December 2020, only 41 years old.

The 14:53 minutes long EP features two original compositions (the title track and "Payback's a Bitch") and a cover of "Where Dead Angels Lie" by Dissection. Anyone familiar with the melodic death metal sound infused with power metal keyboards and neo-classical themes that Children of Bodom more or less produced throughout their long and successful career, won´t find any surprises on this EP, as Bodom After Midnight is a natural successor to Children of Bodom. It´s not surprising as Laiho was always the main composer and leader of Children of Bodom, and he obviously didn´t opt for any changes in sound and style with his new band.

Both "Paint the Sky with Blood" and "Payback's a Bitch" are well composed tracks and the performances are high class all around. The same can be said about "Where Dead Angels Lie", but Bodom After Midnight´s interpretation is almost too true to the original, and it would have been a more interesting cover had the band put their own spin on it. It´s of course still a quality track and well worth the price of admission. The EP is well produced featuring a powerful and sharp sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. If the quality of "Paint the Sky with Blood" is anything to go by, it´s too bad Bodom After Midnight never got the chance to release a full-length studio album and continue the legacy of Children of Bodom, but as things stand we´ll have to settle with the relatively sparse output on this EP. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

IN FLAMES Colony

Album · 1999 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Colony" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act In Flames. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in May 1999. It´s the successor to "Whoracle" from 1997 and it features a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor. Björn Gelotte solely focuses on playing guitar on the album (he also played drums on the predecessor) and Daniel Svensson has been recruited as the band´s new drummer. Bassist Johan Larsson has been replaced by Peter Iwers. Guitarist Glenn Ljungström has also jumped ship and the guitars are therefore now handled by the above mentioned Björn Gelotte and by Jesper Strömblad. Vocals are handled by Anders Fridén.

Fans of In Flames usually mention the first five albums as mark 1 In Flames, where the band could be identified as a melodic death metal act, and from album number six ("Reroute to Remain (2002)") and onwards as a more alternative oriented metal act, but listening to "Colony" it´s obvious the journey towards alternative territories started much earlier. Stylistically the material on the 11 track, 41:35 minutes long album is still rooted in melodic death metal, and the listener is exposed to plenty of soaring lead guitar melodies and harmonies, as well as powerful riffs and rhythms. The vocal part of the music is one part semi-growling/screaming vocals and one part harsh semi-melodic shouting. The latter vocal style is usually used in the chorus of the tracks and is the bridge to their alternative metal future.

"Colony" features several strong compositions and I´ll mention "Ordinary Story", "Zombie Inc.", and "Coerced Coexistence", as some of the highlights, but "Colony" is overall a very consistent release when it comes to the quality of the material but also when it comes to style and sound. The album reeks high class songwriting and paired with high level musicianship and a powerful and detailed sound production, "Colony" is a high quality release by In Flames. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Nocturnal

Album · 2007 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Nocturnal" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Michigan based death metal act The Black Dahlia Murder. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in September 2007. It´s the successor to "Miasma" from 2005 and there have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of the predecessor as drummer Zach Gibson has been replaced by Shannon Lucas and bassist David Lock has been replaced by Bart Williams. So that´s the third drummer and the second bassist change in, at the time, a three album discography...

...and that´s why it´s pretty amazing how consistent The Black Dahlia Murder are both when it comes to the songwriting and to the quality of the material. So if you´re familiar with the first two albums and the high energy melodic death metal style, with both high pitched screaming vocals and deeper growling vocals, that is featured on those releases, you´ll find very few surprises on "Nocturnal". The material on the 10 track, 34:58 minutes long album is a direct continuation of where "Miasma (2005)" left off. The consistency of the material is both a strength and a weakness as you´ll always be treated to high quality tracks, but stylistically "Nocturnal" is slightly one-dimensional in sound.

The album opens strong with "Everything Went Black" and "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", but settles into more standard quality territory for most of the remainder of the album, with some tracks standing out a little more than others, and a couple being slightly unremarkable (although still of a high quality if listened to independently). "Nocturnal" closes with the slower and heavier "Warborn", and at that point the slower pace and more heavy riff driven track is a cherished variation from the predominantly frantic pace of the rest of the album. The Black Dahlia Murder are incredibly energetic and their skillful high speed playing are impressive, but a bit more songwriting variation could have made "Nocturnal" an even better release than it is.

"Nocturnal" features a clear, powerful, and professional sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion "Nocturnal" is another high quality release by The Black Dahlia Murder. It features exactly the same strenghts and weaknesses as the band´s first two releases, which means that fans of those releases will probably enjoy this one greatly, while those who didn´t find the first two albums to their tastes, won´t find anything new here to get hooked on. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

INSOMNIUM In the Halls of Awaiting

Album · 2002 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
It didn’t really take much time at all for the early death metal scene to splinter off in myriad directions with some bands going the technical route and others adopting the melodic guitar riffs and solos of traditional heavy metal. The melodeath scene was pioneered primarily by Swedish bands like Dark Tranquility, In Flames and At The Gates which all formed in the city of Göteburg (Gothenburg) therefore the entire 90s was pretty much about Sweden’s Gothenburg scene as far as melodeath was concerned. Of course it didn’t take long for non-Swedish bands to adopt the style as their own including Britain’s Carcass after abandoning grindcore influences and on that list is the Finnish band INSOMNIUM that formed in Jeonsuu in 1997.

As far as full-length albums are concerned INSOMNIUM didn’t get its start until the 2002 debut IN THE HALLS OF AWAITING which was released a good decade after the whole melodeath thing had taken off but in that time bands like Edge of Sanity, Amorphous, Amon Amarth and the aforementioned bands kept the style running neck in neck with the other offshoots of the world of death metal. As far as direct influences are concerned for INSOMNIUM, it seems that this band’s biggest included In Flames and albums like “Whoracle” or “The Jester Race” as well as Dark Tranquility and early Amorphous with heavy chunky death metal riffing accompanied by melodic hooks culled from Scandinavian folk flavors.

IN THE HALLS OF AWAITING sounds like the typical melodeath of the day with the intensity of death metal including percussive blastbeats and growling guttural vocal angst. Also included are lots of clean guitar arpeggiated moments that allow the melodic influences to lead the way but the band even at this stage was really adept at crafting an album’s worth of material that took in the zeitgeist of the 90s scene which is really the problem with this debut. It was a few years late to the party for simple straight-forward melodeath and even though the band would up its game and remain relevant for the next couple of decades, at this point INSOMNIUM was a competent but just run of the mill melodeath metal band.

It’s amazing that this band has kept three constant members throughout its entire run of albums beginning with this one. Nillo Sevänen (bass, harsh vocals), Ville Friman (guitar, clean vocals) and Markus Hirvonen have remained a trio for all those years with only the fourth member changing guard. While IN THE HALLS OF AWAITING is by no means a bad example of melodeath it doesn’t grasp the complexities of what the band would prove itself capable of and therefore this debut is often regarded as the band’s weakest album. While that may be true, it’s still a decent album if you happen to be craving no nonsense melodeath without too much fuss and bother.

Personally i prefer the more sophisticated albums that follow so this one doesn’t register on my radar but it’s certainly a competent beginning for a band that managed to break free from its generic origins into something unique and innovative. At 55 1/2 minutes this album is also too long as it gets a little samey after several tracks however at the end are the best including “The Bitter End” and the lengthy 11-minute closer title track which really allows the melodic aspects to develop with nice piano rolls and extended dynamics. The nature of this debut certainly brings the band’s epic and sombre style to light but would require a couple more years of practice to really nail their own distinct sound.

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.

Artists with Melodic Death Metal release(s)

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