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

HERESIARCH Incursions

Boxset / Compilation · 2019 · Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Up to this point Wellington (NZ) based death metal band Heresiarch have released just one album in their ten plus years of activity, but that has now been amended by French label Krucyator getting the rights to their debut demo ‘Obsecrating The Global Holocaust)’ (2011) and their two EP’s ‘Hammer of Intransigence’ (2011) and ‘Waelwulf’ (2014). They have all been put together in one album, with the track listing staying in the same sequence as when they originally came out. Given the gap between the last EP and the 2017 album ‘ Death Ordinance’ it perhaps isn’t surprising that none of their earlier songs made it onto that release, so this is a nice and easy way to listen to the early material without having to dig too hard.

Hearing this album made me realise just how small the music scene is in New Zealand, as there are few bands who actually tour very much, and this is the first time I have come across the name as they are in Wellington and I tend to be in either Auckland or Christchurch. With small venues closing here as they are elsewhere it is incredibly hard for local bands to get enough of an audience to justify playing outside their own small area. That’s a real shame as this is an incredibly powerful outfit, heavily influenced by the likes of Cannibal Corpse, but also bringing in Nile as well as some more over the top black metal tendencies at time. It is frantic, it is frenetic, and the only way for it is to make any sense at all is by playing it very loudly indeed. Your neighbours will thank you. Having only just come across these guys I can see I am going to have to hear some more, as this is over the top mayhem guaranteed to create a serious mosh. Intense.

PESTILENCE Consuming Impulse

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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Unitron
Anxious, disturbing, manic.

Never has any album invoked real horror and anxiety more than Pestilence's Consuming Impulse. Instrumentally, it's an incredible album with fantastic hooks, thrashing rage, screaming solos, and all that is essential to death metal. Out of the Body and Reduced to Ashes especially have absolutely crushing grooves. However, the vocals are what takes it to a whole new level of what death metal can be.

On every song, every vocal, Martin van Drunen sounds like he's screaming for his life and there's nobody there to save him from all the torment. Dehydrated is about dying in a barren desert, The Trauma is self-explanatory, Out of the Body seems to be about having your body infested with parasites, Chronic Infection about having an incurable disease, and Echoes of Death is probably the most emotionally powerful song about death I've ever heard.

This is truly a one-of-a-kind album, and is one of the most passionate performances I've ever heard. It's a shame Pestilence were never able to make anything like it again, but they really couldn't do it without Drunen.

NUCLEUS Entity

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Entity" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Chicago based death metal act Nucleus. The album was released through Unspeakable Axe Records in June 2019. It´s the successor to "Sentient" from 2016 and features the same four-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor.

Stylistically the material on "Entity" is old school influenced death metal featuring sci-fi lyrics. It´s a well performed and relatively well produced album, and the sci-fi themed lyrics and imagery create a futuristic atmosphere to the album. The songwriting is of a good quality too and Nucleus certainly understand how to write an effectful death metal song with both a decent number of tempo changes, brutal riffs and heavy rhythms, atmosphere enhancing lead guitar work, occasional use of dissonance (which imply a slight Immolation influence), and a solid growling vocalist in front.

The word solid actually comes to mind often when listening to the album, which is of course great as it´s a word which spells quality, and Nucleus are definitely a quality death metal act. I´m a little less inclined to use the word excellent here though, as I still think the band are lacking a few things to enter the premier league of death metal. First of all the material could have been a little more catchy/hook laden (and it´s got nothing to do with variation, because considering the core music style here, there is actually a decent amount of variation on the album) and secondly a more distinct sounding growling vocal style could also have enhanced the overall impression of the album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is still well deserved though and Nucleus can rightfully be proud of what they´ve achieved with "Entity".

COME BACK FROM THE DEAD The Rise Of The Blind Ones

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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Nightfly
Despite kicking around for a decade Come Back From The Dead, a death metal band from Spain were unheard of to me, until I recently added them to our database here on MMA that is. Always eager to hear some new death metal that will pummel me half to death I gave this, The Rise Of The Blind Ones, their second album a listen.

Did it do the trick? Well, to be honest not really, but that’s not to say Come Back From The Dead don’t have any merit. They clearly sit in the old school camp and play with no shortage of enthusiasm. Their songs are on the raw side, fairly simply structured but played well enough nevertheless. Vocalist Paul attacks the songs with unrestrained vigour and is the bands greatest asset. These songs whilst not going to set the world on fire occasionally makes me sit up and listen more intently but for the large part its death metal by numbers. They also inject a bit of doom and some punk touches too which is a welcome addition. Death metal should bludgeon the listener into submission but a weak and thin sounding production robs the band of having much hope of doing this. The drums in particular sound very distant at times though drummer Marcos is clearly giving it his all. Something that dawned on me later, that’s unusual in death metal, unless I missed them – no double kick drums. They’re barely missed however with Marcos throwing in no shortage of fast rhythms and fills around the kit.

Come Back From The Dead should not be written off by any stretch and I warmed to this album more with repeated plays but with the glut of great death metal out there they’ll need to follow this up with something a bit more special if they are to make any serious dent in the current scene. I think they have it in them though and the next album with a better production could be a winner.

DAWN OF NIL Culminating Ruins

Album · 2019 · Technical Death Metal
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UMUR
"Culminating Ruins" is the debut full-length studio album by French progressive death metal act Dawn of Nil. The album was independently released in May 2019. Dawn of Nil is a one-man project formed by Vincent Laugier, who performs all instruments and vocals on the album.

Stylistically the music on "Culminating Ruins" is progressive death/black metal, often atmospheric in nature (keyboards are occasionally used and the album feautures acoustic parts too). The vocals are low in the mix growling/occasional black metal screaming, and the riff- and rhythm styles vary between death metal and black metal influenced playing styles (often in the more melodic end of the spectrum). The material is structurally adventurous and there are some pretty creative songwriting ideas on the album.

It´s obvious that Laugier is both a skilled musician and knows how to compose music, but the sound production on "Culminating Ruins", do come off slightly amaturish. It´s a bit too audible that the drums are programmed, which wouldn´t be a problem if the artificial programmed drum sound was an integral part of the the soundscape and enhanced it, but here they work like a replacement for a human drummer, because a human drummer was either not available or because Laugier did not want to bring in a session musician to play the drums. It´s sometimes the curse of one-man projects that the artist has full control and often don´t realise that outside input could have enhanced their project greatly. The drums are otherwise well programmed, they just sound a little stiff and artificial.

The choice to place the vocals as low in the mix as they have been placed is another production choice I question. Maybe they are placed this low to create a mystical effect or something like that, but to my ears it does not work well. They sound like a deep growling noise in the soundscape and thereby more like an instrument than actual vocals.

So upon conclusion I´ll praise the many creative songwriting ideas on the album (and the many great epic and melodic moments) and the fact that Laugier is a capable musician, but the songs really aren´t that memorable and they generally don´t differ enough from each other (there are many great ideas, but they aren´t put together in a particularly effectful or memorable fashion), and as mentioned above the "bedroom" sound production and the programmed drums don´t do the material any favors either. I overall respect the basis of project, but to my ears the glass is only half full, and Laugier still has some way to go, before releasing what I would characterize as a fully professional sounding release. Still a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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
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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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