Death Metal

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Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes.

Building from the musical structure of thrash metal, death metal emerged during the mid 1980s. It was mainly inspired by thrash metal acts like Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost. Along with the band Death and its frontman Chuck Schuldiner (who is often referred to as "the father of death metal"), bands like Possessed and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular record labels like Earache and Roadrunner began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate. Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning a rich variety of subgenres.

Inclusive death metal music subgenres:

  • Brutal death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/brutal-death-metal
  • Melodic death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/melodic-death-metal
  • Swedish death metal, also referred to as Scandinavian death metal, should not be confused with melodeath. This genre is characterized by its focus on raw energy and aggression. The guitars are typically extremely distorted and downtuned, and, in addition to traditional death metal elements, artists within this subgenre also draw on hardcore punk and early thrash metal. While not restricted to Sweden, the genre is called death metal because it was largely popularized by death metal artists from Sweden, such as Carnage, Nihilist, early Entombed, Dismember, Grave, and Unleashed. Seeing that many of the prominent artists within this genre were located in around Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as the Stockholm sound in contrast with the Gothenburg sound. While big in the 1990s, the popularity of this genre waned in the 2000s, as melodeath became more popular, but recently a number of bands based in Eastern Europe, such as Brutally Deceased and Morbider, have taken up the Stockholm sound and are bringing it back onto the scene.
  • Death-grind combines elements from death metal with element of grindcore. From grindcore, the genre inherits song brevity (with the average length being 2:30), emphasis on fast picking and blastbeating as well as the lyrical content (which means that a lot of death-grind deals with gore, pornography or socio-politics). From death metal, it inherits song complexity and focus on performance and technique, although guitar solos are not as common as in other styles of death metal. When Napalm Death started to gravitate towards death metal from pure grindcore, they developed a death-grind sound, and they are probably the most influential band in the death-grind genre. Other death-grind acts are Lock Up, Terrorizer, and Pig Destroyer. On MMA, those death-grind artists and releases that lean more towards grindcore are included under grindcore, while those that lean more towards death metal are included under death metal.
  • Technical/progressive (or tech/prog) death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/technical-death-metal
  • Blackened death metal combines death metal and black metal, of lyrically the focus is typically on Satanism, occultism and anti-religion. Behemoth is considered one of the most influential blackened death metal bands.
  • Death ‘n’ roll See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/death-n-roll


The following subgenres are NOT listed under death metal in the MMA:

  • Grindcore: has its own sugbenre section.
  • Death-thrash: included under thrash metal.
  • Deathcore: included under metalcore.
  • Doom-death: included under doom metal.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_metal

Written by Time Signature.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • Vim Fuego
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

death metal top albums

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death metal Music Reviews

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE Agony

Album · 2011 · Brutal Death Metal
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UMUR
"Agony" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Italian death metal act Fleshgod Apocalypse. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in August 2011. It´s the successor to "Oracles" from 2009 although the two full-length albums are bridged by the "Mafia" EP from 2010.

Stylistically the material on "Agony" is a continuation of the symphonic technical death metal sound of the two preceding releases. The death metal part of the music is pretty brutal, highly energetic, and technically well played, predominantly featuring deep growling vocals, but also occassional high pitched (semi-operatic) male clean vocal parts performed by bassist Paolo Rossi. Soprano Veronica Bordacchini performs vocals on "Temptation" and "The Egoism". There are strong neo-classical leanings in the lead guitar work, but it´s the dominant classical orchestral parts which define the music. It´s obvious from the arrangements that at least one of the guys in the band is a classically trained musician/composer.

The high level musicianship is definitely one of the great assets of the music, and it´s hard not to be impressed by the speed and dexterity of the performances. The drumming is fast-paced and blasting and drive the music forward with a great energy, and the guitars/bass follow suit. The orchestral parts provide an epic atmosphere to the death metal basis of the music, and that´s where the band shine. To my ears the death metal basis is solid, but it´s not extraordinary, and that´s because there aren´t that many killer riffs in the music. Most riffs on the album are brutal fast-paced tremolo picking and more or less just there to support the orchestral parts and bring brutality, and only few stand out. A couple of more memorable riffs could have elevated the music to a higher level. The growling vocals are also slightly one-dimensional in style, and although neither the guitar riffs nor the vocals are major issues, both parts of the music should be mentioned as features with room for improvement.

When that is said the lead guitar work is on a high level and the orchestral parts are well composed and suit the music well, and as "Agony" also features a powerful and detailed sounding production, it´s ultimately a high quality release. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SIX FEET UNDER (FL) Bringer of Blood

Album · 2003 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Bringer of Blood" is the 6th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Six Feet Under. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in September 2003. It´s the successor to "True Carnage" from 2001.

Stylistically the listener is treated to a heavy and groove laden type of death metal. Old school in some departments but the groove element provides the music with a more contemporary edge. The tracks are powerful, simple (and often a bit repetitive), and features lead vocalist Chris Barnes high in the mix. "Bringer of Blood" opens pretty strong and tracks like "My Hatred" and "Murdered in the Basement" are quality death metal tracks, but the simple nature of the material makes the album drag a little about midway through. It´s not that the material which closes the album are as such sub par to the material which opens the album, but the one-dimensional and simple nature of the material makes it hard to appreciate the album from end to finish, without one´s attention wandering a couple of times.

When that is said "Bringer of Blood" features a powerful sound production, decent musicianship, and some relatively well written material, and overall it´s a good quality release. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

CANNIBAL CORPSE Violence Unimagined

Album · 2021 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Violence Unimagined" is the 15th full-length studio album by US, Florida death metal act Cannibal Corpse. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in April 2021. It´s the successor to "Red Before Black" from 2017 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Pat O'Brien has been replaced by Erik Rutan (Ripping Corpse, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal). The former had what can probably best be described as a psychotic episode i December 2018, which led to his arrest, and after some uncertainty regarding O'Brien´s situation and his legal issues, Rutan started filling in for him on tours in January 2019 and finally replaced O'Brien in February 2021.

Stylistically the material on "Violence Unimagined" is the sound of Cannibal Corpse as we know them. Brutal gore/horror themed old school death metal played with great technical skill. Rutan is a suitable replacement for O'Brien, so the guitar riffs are as challenging and sharp as always, and the guitar solos few and far between (as usual). Lead vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has a pretty one-dimensional growling vocal style, which becomes monotone after a few tracks. The monotony of the growling vocals are thankfully interrupted by a couple of higher pitched screams here and there, but the vocals are generally not that interesting. A little more emotion and a few catchy vocal phrases would have helped, but I´m not hearing that. The only track I remember after listening to the album many times is album opener "Murderous Rampage" (and bits and pieces from other tracks).

Cannibal Corpse are a technically well playing band, and every track is loaded with fast-played riffs, Paul Mazurkiewicz distinct sounding drumming, and Alex Webster impressive bass lines. This is what we´ve come to expect from the band, and they fully deliver on that promise. The songwriting is solid, but like the growling vocals, "Violence Unimagined" quickly becomes a little monotone and one-dimensional. More spins help, but Cannibal Corpse often appear more interested in delivering brutality at any cost than delivering catchy and memorable songs (I guess that can be said about a great deal of their albums). It´s interesting because the parts are pretty strong. There are some killer riffs on the album (I love how thrashy some of the riffs actually are), and the rhythm style is unique, and although I find Fisher a monotone listen, he arguably gets the job done, so it´s the sum of the parts, which could have worked better.

The whole thing is packed in one of those dry and sterile Rutan productions, and that doesn´t help the material shine either. Riff details are often blurred in the production, and although it initially appears to be a professional and well sounding production, something is off. So upon conclusion this review came out pretty negative, but it´s only because I expect high quality from an artist like Cannibal Corpse, and all the prerequisites are here for success, but to my ears the songwriting isn´t memorable enough to warrant more than a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

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.

AT THE GATES The Nightmare Of Being

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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ssmarcus
While At the Gates' output over the past decade or so since their reunion has undoubtedly been enjoyable, I think all but their die hard fans would agree that it has fallen short of the expectations one would have set for one of the most enduringly influential death metal bands of the 90's. But hey, there are death metal acts far less competent and important that have managed to string together a several decades-long career churning out the same recycled noise. If At the Gates wanted to spend the rest of their career riding the trends that, at the start of it all, were largely of their own making anyway, it would do nothing to tarnish their legacy.

And yet, with the release of The Nightmare of Being, At the Gates have announced to the world that they have no interest in sitting on their laurels and letting the opportunity to keep making worthwhile music this late into their careers slip away.

The Nightmare of Being starts off unassumingly with track 3, the title track, only beginning to tease what would follow. But from the tracks "Garden of Cyrus" through "The Fall into Time," the band strings together arguably the most unique and forward thinking stretch of music of their entire careers with instrumentation and chord progressions you would hardly ever expect to find on a record like this. The progressive ambition caked into these tracks belies a band both confident in their abilities and rife with inspiration. As front man and co-songwriter Tomas Lindberg told Loudwire, bringing in Jonas Stålhammar, a guitarist with a strong prog-rock foundation, to replace founding member Anders Björler enabled the group stretch their wings in ways they would not have previously dared to try.

The album's weakness is that it just doesn't commit enough to this new direction. The record is bookended by fairly standard melo-death fare. Its mesial section stands out, like a juicy and tender piece of meat between coarser cuts - edible but inferior. Still, The Nightmare of Being has succeeded in stoking my excitement for whatever At the Gates has in store for us going forward. How many veteran metal bands can we actually say that about?

death metal movie reviews

NAPALM DEATH Punishment in Capitals

Movie · 2003 · Death Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Punishment In Capitals is a 2002 live DVD (also available on CD) by British extreme metal icons Napalm Death, released after their triumphant Enemy Of The Music Business album won back the praise of fans and critics after their experimental string of records in the nineties.

The band play a mixture of every era in their career up to that point, the catchy nineties singles ‘Breed To Breathe,’ and ‘Greed Killing,’ sit side by side with mid era death inspired fare such as ‘Suffer The Children,’ and ‘World Keeps Turning,’ which blends against the band’s early grindcore material era like ‘Scum,’ ‘Lucid Fairy Tale,’ and the famous ‘You Suffer,’ in a set list which also leans heavily on the band’s then newest, and still arguably best album Enemy Of The Music Business.

Standout tracks include an energetic version of ‘Hung,’ as well as ‘Can’t Play Won’t Play,’ and ‘Narcoleptic,’ which was as yet unreleased at the time of recording. With a set-list of this caliber, Punishment In Capitals should be a rewarding viewing experience for most Napalm Death fans and would serve well as an introduction to the band for potential fans as well.

Interestingly, the DVD recording retains all the dead air, waiting out-of-breathe and other non-musical moments in between tracks, presenting you the gig as it actually happened and not inter-cutting the show with outside material to create some false sense of professionalism or excitement. This is a double edged sword as it is commendable but may still irritate viewers raised on slicker, fast paced major label DVD releases.

The production is fairly good in terms of audio recording quality and mix, with simple camera work and editing covering the visual side of things. Although not the most impressive looking DVD ever released, it serves well for Napalm Death to deliver an energetic a sweaty performance. My only major gripe is that for the first half of the show shots of drummer Danny Herrera are very few and far between, but this is remedied later on.

There are a fair amount of extras too, including two bootleg quality recordings in Tokyo from 1996, a six track selection from a Chilean gig in 1997 as well as a hidden Easter Egg (a live-in-a-TV-studio version of ‘If The Truth Be Known,’ accessible by making the image’s eyes glow red my navigating the menu.) In addition to the musical extras there is also a documentary, which while not masterfully crafted is worth at least one watch, covering topics such as Barney’s haircut, the effect of foreign food on the bowels and the charity for which this gig was in aide of.

Overall, Punishment In Capitals is a worthwhile DVD purchase that will give you a good selection of Napalm Death material, both in the concert itself and with a nice selection of extras. Definitely recommended viewing for fans of the band.

ZYKLON Storm Detonation Live

Movie · 2006 · Death Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
This DVD captures Norwegian death metal band Zyklon on their 'Aeon,' era tour Live; the tracklisting on the wonderful but slightly short DVD is made up of tracks from the bands excellent first two albums.

The band are on top form and deliver the material fantastically live, They never miss a step, and are ruthlessly professional.

Song's from the band's debut album are much better here with new singer Tony 'SecthDamon,' Ingebrigtsen. Who has a better voice to match the material than Daemon did.

Furthermore the audio and visual quality is great, and apart from a little intro interrupting the first 20 seconds of fan favorite 'Core Solution,' there's very little to complain about whatsoever.

Indeed, with such a brilliant performance, a good production and an excellent track listing, this DVD is a real must-have for any Zyklon fan.

AMON AMARTH Wrath of the Norsemen

Movie · 2006 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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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