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
4.38 | 119 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.38 | 84 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.43 | 41 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.31 | 78 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.48 | 12 ratings
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CARCASS Torn Arteries Album Cover Torn Arteries
CARCASS
4.35 | 20 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.37 | 15 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.17 | 43 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.23 | 22 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.17 | 46 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY Fiction Album Cover Fiction
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.20 | 28 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.24 | 19 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

CHILDREN OF BODOM A Chapter Called Children Of Bodom: The Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019

Live album · 2023 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
On 15th December 2019, Children Of Bodom, which at the time consisted of Alexi Laiho (lead guitar, lead vocals), Jaska Raatikainen (drums), Henkka Seppälä (bass), Janne Wirman (keyboard), and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar), held their last concert in Helsinki named, 'A Chapter Called Children of Bodom', before dissolving the band. In 2020, Laiho and Freyberg carried on as Bodom After Midnight, but Laiho was dead before the year was out. Obviously, this album has quite some importance given it is a recording of the last ever performance of one of Finland’s greatest ever metal acts, containing one of metal’s new breed of frontmen and shredders, but putting all the emotion to one side is this as good as one wants it to be?

The short answer is “Yes”, as that night the band were on fire. While no-one realised quite how ill Laiho was, this was planned to be the last ever show for the melodic death metallers and they were determined to go out on a high. I first came across the band at the time of their fourth album ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ after I saw the video for “Needled 24/7” and loved their hugely complex approach with intense note density and complicated melodies which combined shredding with powerful keyboard lines which were far more than just background, since when I followed their releases with interest, and while I enjoyed their other live releases, this takes it to a whole new level. the band were determined to put on a show to remember, reaching all their way to their debut album from 1997 to ensure they provided fans with a great setlist. “Needled 24/7” will probably always be my favourite CoB number, and here it is gets blasted with the whole band putting their heads down to smash it with incredible intensity, yet also with the lightness and interplay one expects.

Children of Bodom cannot exist without Laiho, so there will never be a reunion, but fans will relish in this wonderful performance being captured for all, and I am sure it will also attract new aficionados who will seek out the back catalogue. Here we have a band captured at the height of their live powers and is a fitting tribute and reminder of just what a great guitarist and frontman Alex Laiho was.

CROWORD The Great Beyond

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Based in Vienna but formed in the central Austrian city of Judenburg, CROWORD (often stylized as CroworD) is the brainchild of bassist Lukas Rappitsch who formed the band in 2012 after recruiting Martin Karner (vocals), Michael Karner (guitar), Florian Bogensberger (guitar) and Gabriel Cresnar on drums. They made somewhat of a splash with the debut EP “Manifest of Mortal Sickness” in 2016 and has been gaining momentum ever since but still doesn’t seem to be quite well known outside of its native Austria.

Inspired heavily by the Gothenburg scene of melodic death metal, this quintet has so far released two EPs and this sole full-length THE GREAT BEYOND which came out in 2017, features 12 tracks and adds up to just over 51 minutes of playing time. The album was produced in the band’s own studio with André Alvinzi who has worked with Insomnium and The Foresaken in the producer’s seat. The mastering was done by Jens Bogren of At The Gates, Opeth and Katatonia fame.

Sounding like a veritable mix of Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquility and perhaps a touch of Edge of Sanity, CROWORD delivers a convincing melo-death style that would make you swear they emerged from the southern lands of Sweden. The music features the typical melo-death characteristics of dueling guitar harmonies with distorted down-tuned riffing. The Amon Amarth comparison really ring true with lead singer’s Martin Karner’s deep guttural growling but the music isn’t quite as epic as that Swedish powerhouse.

While mostly an aggressive head banging journey from beginning to start, moments of clean guitar tones with slow melancholic moments do occur particularly on tracks like “Wall of Blackness (Part I) and (Part II).” Chunky riffs with blazing lead guitar solos underneath dominate the soundscape with a bouncy bass groove and diverse array of drumming styles. Generally speaking the band delivers the right mix of aggressive gnarly death metal with the typical melodic guitar sweeps in the vein of classic heavy metal. While as unintelligible as any guttural growly death metal, lyrics are inspired by medieval legends of the Alps and the works of Aldous Huxley, Michael Ende, Antoine Saint-Exupéry and Franz Kafka.

Overall this is a decent band that has absolutely nailed the classic Gothenburg melo-death sound but doesn’t quite add enough original imprints to make this stand out amongst the hoards of competition. Musically speaking these guys are incredibly talented and deliver this style of metal without flinching. It’s not exactly a clone of any particular band but sort of falls between the cracks of various Gothenburg metal bands thus sounding somewhat distinct but not instantly obvious that that’s the case. All in all this is certainly an entertaining listen and displays CROWORD as a veritable act that ready to hit the big time if only they could find some unique spin to break free from the somewhat generic approach they display here.

AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes

Album · 1994 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Tales From the Thousand Lakes" is the second full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Amorphis. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in Finland, through Relapse Records in the US, and through Nuclear Blast Records in Europe in September 1994. It´s the successor to "The Karelian Isthmus" from 1992 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player Kasper Mårtenson has been added to the ranks, making Amorphis a quintet on this release. "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" proved to be a huge commercial success for the band and the label, and it kickstarted Amorphis international career.

While "The Karelian Isthmus (1992)" certainly is a decent quality Scandinavian styled death metal album, it´s not an album which stands out much on the scene, and had Amorphis continued down that path it´s doubtful they would have been able to make such a long and successful career from playing music. Stylistically "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" may retain some of the Scandinavian old school death metal elements of its predecessor, but Amorphis add a great deal of melody, ethnic folk atmosphere (the lyrics are inspired by the great epic book of national Finnish folklore "Kalevala"), vintage keyboards (Moog, organ), and more moderne keyboards/synths, clean vocals, and traditional heavy rock/metal influenced riff and rhythms, to their sound, which ultimately makes "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" a very different sounding album to "The Karelian Isthmus (1992)", and maybe more importantly it also sounds quite different from any other contemporary release. Other contemporary artists playing similar styles like Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Sentenced, and Cemetary, only share the heaviness and the melancholic leads and gloomy atmosphere of their music with Amorphis. Other than those features they are completely different sounding artists.

The most death metal oriented feature on "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" is arguably the growling vocals by guitarist/lead vocalist Tomi Koivusaari and even in that department there have been some changes as Amorphis have enlisted Leningrad Cowboys vocalist Ville Tuomi to sing clean vocal parts on the album. The clean vocals are not a dominant feature on "Tales From the Thousand Lakes", but they make quite an impact when they appear...maybe as a result of them appearing relatively sparsely. The use of keyboards/synths is quite dominant though and one of the defining elements of the music. The opening instrumental "Thousand Lakes" showcases this immediately, but a track like "Black Winter Day" also features dominant use of synth (moog) and on closing track "Magic and Mayhem" there´s even an electronic and psychedelic tinged techno influence. It´s a pretty interesting track when those influences are combined with the dark heavy rocking doomy death metal core sound of Amorphis.

"Tales From the Thousand Lakes" features an organic, powerful, and well sounding production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality album release by Amorphis. It´s not just a step forward for Amorphis, it´s a giant leap and a significant change of their core sound, and they really did create something unique here, which their audience clearly embraced considering the fact that the album sold a large number of copies and became Amorphis international breakthrough release. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

CHRONICLE Where Chaos Thrives

Album · 2023 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Where Chaos Thrives" is the third full-length studio album by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The album was released through Mighty Music in May 2023. It´s the successor to "Demonology" from March 2020 and unlike what happened when "Demonology" came out almost simoultaniously with the COVID-19 lockdown, Chronicle got the opportunity to tour in support of "Where Chaos Thrives". "Where Chaos Thrives" features nine tracks and two unlisted bonus tracks, which are the two songs from the October 2021 "Undivided" single.

Chronicle again (like they did on "Demonology") tapped producer Tue Madsen to produce, mix, and master "Where Chaos Thrives" at his Antfarm Studios, and if I had a few minor complaints regarding the drum tone on "Demonology" those complaints are completely gone when listening to "Where Chaos Thrives", which is a very well produced release, providing Chronicle´s music with the perfect platform to shine.

Stylistically it suits Chronicle to add a little more brutality and growling vocals to their music, which they of course had done gradually over the last couple of releases, but it works really well here along with the more dominant blackened snarling vocals. The instrumental part of the music is dynamic with varied tempi, which means both fast-paced sections, mid-paced sections, and slower sections (although not too many of the latter). The lead guitar themes and solos are incredibly well thought out and performed.

So upon conclusion "Where Chaos Thrives" is without a doubt the best quality release from Chronicle up until now, but if I have to make one minor complaint it would be that they don´t really produce music that is particularly unique sounding. You can hear a lot of influences from other melodic death metal artists (past- and present) and if they could conquer that last border and create more original sounding music they have both the songwriting and playing skills to travel even further. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

CHRONICLE Demonology

Album · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Demonology" is the second full-length studio album by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The album was released through Mighty Music in March 2020. It marks the first time Chronicle has released anything through a label, as all previous releases were independent releases. It´s been almost four years since the release of the "Memento Mori" EP from December 2016 but the intermediate years have been spend wisely. Unfortunately for Chronicle "Demonology" was released almost simoultaniously with the COVID-19 lockdown and they therefore had to wait for a long time to tour in support of the album.

"Demonology" is just the right push forward that Chronicle needed to enter the contemporary Danish death metal elite, which makes it even more a pain in the arse that they couldn´t tour in support of the album immediately after its release. The core melodic death metal sound of the early releases is still in place and the variation between blackened snarling vocals and aggressive growling vocals which was introduced on the "Memento Mori" EP is also continued here.

It´s audible on all parameters that Chronicle have moved forward and developed their music, which is now more memorable, powerful, and full of interesting melodic lead guitar themes, but "Demonology" also features a pretty well sounding production job (although I could have wished for the drums to feature a heavier punch) courtesy of Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studios, who is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering "Demonology".

Chronicle can rightfully be proud of "Demonology" and the development which they went through to get to the point where they could produce a good quality release like this. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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