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

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death metal Music Reviews

DETHKLOK Dethalbum III

Album · 2012 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Dethalbum III" is as the title suggests the 3rd full-length studio album by US metal act Dethklok. The album was released through Williams Street Records in October 2012. It´s the successor to "Dethalbum II" from 2009 and continues the virtual band concept of the first two albums (Dethklok is a band in the animated tv-series "Metalocalypse"). The lineup still consists of Brendon Small who performs all vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, voice-overs, and handles production and prolific drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory...etc.). Charting at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, "Dethalbum III" was a very successful release for Dethklok.

Stylistically the material on "Dethalbum III" continues the melodic death metal style of the predecessor, although Dethklok do try out new musical elements. A track like "Starved" for example features sharp angular riffs and rhythms, and a jazz/fusion style guitar solo, not completely unlike a less complex version of Meshuggah. Dethklok weren´t the most original act to begin with (the cartoon image yes...the music, not so much), so they should be evaluated more for the quality of their output than the uniqueness of said output. And there´s nothing wrong with the quality of the material on "Dethalbum III", which are both well performed, catchy, and powerful. Everything on the album reeks class, including the professional and detailed sound production.

If you enjoyed the first two releases by Dethklok, this is another similar sounding release of an equal quality to add to your collection. This is as good a place as any to be introduced to Dethklok too, and fans of melodic death metal are definitely recommended to take a listen. The album is loaded with melodic harmony guitar parts, powerful drumming, and hard edged riffing, and add to that some well performed effect laden growling vocals, and there´s just so much quality here. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SPAWN OF POSSESSION Cabinet

Album · 2003 · Technical Death Metal
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UMUR
"Cabinet" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Spawn of Possession. The album was released through Unique Leader Records in January 2003. Spawn of Possession formed in 1997 and released "The Forbidden" demo in 2000 and the "Church of Deviance" demo in 2001. "Dirty Priest" from "The Forbidden (2000)" demo and all three tracks from the "Church of Deviance (2001)" demo are featured in re-recorded versions on "Cabinet".

Stylistically the music on "Cabinet" is ultra technical brutal death metal. Constantly shifting tempos, breaks, and unconventional time signatures are some of the main ingredients of the music. The riffs are strong, twisted, and very creative for the genre, the drumming is technical and sharp, and lead vocalist/drummer Dennis Röndum delivers a decent growling performance. The vocals are probably the least interesting feature on the album though, as they are fairly standard for the genre, but they get the job done fine and listening to some of the vocal rhythm patterns it shouldn´t be lost on the listener that Röndum is a drummer.

While "Cabinet" is certainly a very brutal death metal release, the album actually features a sound production which isn´t as bottom heavy and raw as many other contemporary releases in the genre. Initially I felt the album lacked a little power as a result of the production choices, but having given the album more spins I´ve arrived at the conclusion that the fact that the sound production is less massive and meaty than what is typical for the genre, makes the album stand out more, and it also has the advantage that all instruments and vocals are clearly defined in the mix. In other words "Cabinet" features a very well sounding production.

The material on "Cabinet" are well written and in some cases pretty catchy (well...relatively). This is not easy listening material by any means though, and the constantly changing tempos and breaks are bound to keep the listener on his/her toes throughout the playing time. There are some jaw-dropping technical moments on the album, but Spawn of Possession thankfully possess restraint too, which means they almost always incorporate a hook, a guitar solo, a melodic intro, or something else to prevent the listener from being overwhelmed and tired of listening to an album long tech fest. So upon conclusion "Cabinet" is one of those rare brutal technical death metal albums which stand out. There´s an original approach to the songwriting, the musicianship is through the roof, and the album also features an interesting production job. It´s a high quality release through and through and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SINISTER The Post-Apocalyptic Servant

Album · 2014 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Post-Apocalyptic Servant" is the 11th full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Sinister. The album was released through Massacre Records in May 2014. It´s the successor to "The Carnage Ending" from 2012, and given the many lineup changes the band have gone through in the past, it´s almost surprising to see that "The Post-Apocalyptic Servant" features the same five-piece lineup who also recorded "The Carnage Ending (2012)".

Sinister has been the child of lead vocalist (formerly drummer) Aad Kloosterwaard for many years now though, and almost ever changing lineups haven´t changed that, or changed the sound and style of the band. There have been slight changes in style between every album (as there should be), but it´s details which separate most releases. Sinister have kept the old school death metal flag high throughout their career and on their by now many releases.

In that respect "The Post-Apocalyptic Servant" is no different from the last many albums by Sinister. The listener is treated to technically well played, brutal, and catchy old school death metal with both fast-paced and mid-paced heavy sections. It´s relentlessly brutal and energetic, but varied enough to not become a one-dimensional listen. Sinister are seasoned musicians and composers, who understand how to write and deliver an effectful and intense death metal tune.

"The Post-Apocalyptic Servant" features a powerful, brutal, and raw sounding production, which suits the material well. The bass drums are maybe slightly too "clicky" sounding, but it´s no major issue. Upon conclusion Sinister have managed to produce another high quality death metal release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

ABYSMAL DAWN Nightmare Frontier

EP · 2022 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Nightmare Frontier" is an EP release by US, Los Angeles, California based death metal act Abysmal Dawn. The EP was released through Season of Mist in February 2022. It´s the successor to the band´s fifth full-length studio album "Phylogenesis" from April 2020. The quartet lineup who recorded "Phylogenesis" (2020) is intact on "Nightmare Frontier".

"Nightmare Frontier" features four tracks and a total playing time of 19:18 minutes. "A Nightmare Slain" is a new original composition, "Blacken the Sky" is a re-recording of the track which initially appeared on the band´s 2004 demo and subsequently on their 2006 debut full-length studio album "From Ashes". The two remaining tracks are cover songs of In Flames and Candlemass. The two original compositions are in the trademark Abysmal Dawn technically well played US death metal style, so there´s little new there. "Behind Space" (the In Flames cover) is decent but nothing special, but "Bewitched" (the Candlemass cover) is a bit more remarkable. Not that it gives the original a run for the money...but because lead vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliott, who normally only performs death metal growling, has suddenly turned into Messiah Marcolin, and sings clean vocals which is an almost one to one imitation of the Swedish singer. Abysmal Dawn´s cover of "Bewitched" was previously released as a flexi disc single in June 2020 and came free with the New Noise Issue 52 magazine.

So upon conclusion "Nightmare Frontier" features two familiar sounding death metal tracks, one decent but not remarkable In Flames cover, and an interesting but not exceptional Candlemass cover. The whole thing is packed in a powerful, detailed and well sounding production, so a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

MACABRE (IL) Shit List

Demo · 1987 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Shitlist" is the first and only official demo (originally cassette tape) released by US, Illinois based extreme metal act Macabre. The demo was originally released in 1987 but later reissues of the demo from 1989 exist with three additional tracks (recorded in 1989). Gore Records released a 7" vinyl version of the demo in 1990 (titled "Shitlist"), which features only 5 of the original 7 tracks from the demo. Most tracks from the demo appear in re-recorded versions on the early label releases by the band: The "Grim Reality (1987)" EP, "Gloom (1989)", and "Sinister Slaughter (1993)".

If you´re familiar with the early deathgrind sound of Macabre, you won´t be surprised by the style of music on "Shitlist". It´s fast, it´s ugly, it´s gory, and it´s incredibly well performed considering this is a 1987 extreme metal demo and the first release by Macabre. The demo features 5 "studio" recordings and 2 live tracks. The studio demo tracks features a lo-fi demo sound quality, but it´s still possible to hear what´s being played and sung and the live recordings are also very raw but sound great.

Although no one would mistake "Shitlist" for anything but a demo release, it´s still overall a decent quality release, and considering the time of release a seminal deathgrind release. What I´m most impressed about though, is how well defined Macabre´s trademark deathgrind style already was this early on. Most artists need a couple of demos to hone their craft and to write material worthy of inclusion on a future studio album, but had the material on "Shitlist" featured a more professional sounding production, this would have been a high quality release, which could easily be released through a label. 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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