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

SUPURATION Still in the Sphere

EP · 1994 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Still in the Sphere" is an EP release by French death/progressive metal act Supuration. The EP was released through French label Reincarnate in 1994. Supuration have existed under a couple of different monickers since 1987 but settled on Supuration in 1990 and released a couple of minor releases in the early 90s before releasing their 1993 debut full-length studio album "The Cube". After releasing "The Cube" Supuration recorded and released a 1994 soundtrack demo (only available through the Supuration fanclub) for the French film "Jacques le Fataliste", but they also worked on the music featured on "Still in the Sphere".

"Still in the Sphere" features five tracks and a total playing time of 27:39 minutes. So it´s a mini-album length release rather than an EP length release. Four tracks are new originals which are exclusive to this release and the closing track is a cover of "Shout" by Tears For Fears. Supuration already turned things on their head on "The Cube", where they produced a pretty unique sounding progressive death metal album, and naturally they continue that trend on "Still in the Sphere". The death metal elements have been scaled back a bit, although lead vocalist/guitarist Ludovic Loez still performs death metal growls. He also sings a lot of clean vocal parts too though, so the two vocal styles are pretty evenly distributed on this release.

The songwriting is quite intriguing and Supuration continue to come up with interesting and unconventional ideas. Not everything works wonders and the relatively weak sounding production job isn´t a positive either. But "Still in the Sphere" is still overall a quality release from a very unique act, which Supuration can be proud of. It´s a varied and dynamic release featuring a subdued death metal element, and otherwise leans more towards progressive metal. Not progressive metal like Dream Theater or Fates Warning, but more just an unconventional type of metal. The original material is of a good quality and the odd futuristic sounding doom/death metal cover of "Shout" is actually pretty great too. It´s definitely not a one to one interpretation of the original song and Supuration deserve praise for that. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

PHLEBOTOMIZED Immense Intense Suspense

Album · 1994 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Immense Intense Suspense" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch death/doom metal act Phlebotomized. The album was released through Cyber Music in September 1994. It follows the release of the 1993 "Preach Eternal Gospels" EP and there has been one significant lineup change since the release of the EP as lead vocalist Barry Schuyer has been replaced by Dennis Geestman. Phlebotomized are therefore still a septet including a keyboard player and a violinist in addition to two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a lead vocalist.

Stylistically they are in the more death metal oriented and brutal end of the death/doom metal scale. They often play faster parts too, and this is by no means your regular My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost clone, although the slow paced sections featuring violin point in the direction of the former. Phlebotomized are a pretty adventurous and creative act and it wouldn´t be wrong to call their music progressive in nature. The songs feature many shifts in pace and a lot of different sections. The atmosphere is gloomy and mournful all the way though. This is not a happy release. It´s dark, grim, and brutal, and it´s only the keyboards and the violin layered sections, which point in another direction and which provide the band´s music with an extra epic dimension. That Phlebotomized happen to write and play some really effectul, brutal, and heavy old school death metal too is just one part of their sound which works well.

The change on the lead vocalist spot doesn´t affect Phlebotomized´s sound much, as Geestman is just as convincing, powerful, and brutal a growling vocalist as Schuyer was. He even adds the occasional (and rare) clean vocal moment which is great for the variation of the album. The clean vocals are delivered in either a showgaze type vocal style or a goth rock ditto. No high pitched epic singing here, but more a subtle monotone/dreamy clean vocal performance, although closing track "Gone" hints at a slightly more regular melodic rock voice performance.

"Immense Intense Suspense" features a well sounding production job, which suits the material well. The keyboards are sometimes placed a little high in the mix and the clean vocals are placed pretty low, but other than that it´s a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production. Upon conclusion it´s one of the more unique sounding death/doom metal albums from the early- to mid-90s. Calling it progressive death/doom metal isn´t always true because of the brutal old school death metal sections and higher pace, but evaluated overall that´s probably still the best description of the content of "Immense Intense Suspense". A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

PESTILENCE Levels of Perception

Album · 2024 · Technical Death Metal
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UMUR
"Levels of Perception" is the tenth full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Agonia Records in April 2024. It features twelve re-recordings of tracks which have appeared on some of the band´s earlier releases. Not all preceding albums are represented (there are no re-recordings of tracks from "Malleus Maleficarum" (1988) or from "Spheres" (1994)), but all other Pestilence studio albums are represented with at least one track each...

...and the tracklist is up for debate. It seems a bit odd to me, why Pestilence would chose to re-record no less than four tracks from their last album "Exitivm". Re-recordings are usually done to show how a current version of a group plays older classic material, but it seems Pestilence had another vision with "Levels of Perception". "Consuming Impulse" (1989) and "Testimony of the Ancients" (1991) are represented by two tracks each (I guess they didn´t dare leave out "Out of the Body") but that´s the only pre-reformation material featured on "Levels of Perception". It´s not that Pestilence more current material isn´t decent, but it just seems a bit strange to re-record material from 2021 on a 2024 release.

When that is said, there are unfortunately much, much worse things to say about "Levels of Perception" which is through and through a horrible release. I can´t call it anything else than an abomination and a terrible misstep in the discography of Pestilence. The material is what it is, but the performances and some of the new arrangements are tame and uninspired. Honestly it almost made me cry listening to the re-recordings of "Twisted Truth" and "Out of the Body", which are two of my absolute favorite Pestilence tracks, both of which are butchered here (Patrick Mameli how could you?).

But the performances and the weak vocals from Mameli aren´t even the worst here...it´s the production values. The drums were recorded live at one studio in 2021 and everything else was overdubbed at other studios during the next couple of years. Many artists have made live recordings of drums in the studio and have gotten great results from it, but that can´t be said about the drums on "Levels of Perception", which sound like they were recorded at a rehearsal space (and not at a studio like they are) using an old fashioned four-track tape recorder. This is demo quality sound production values. And it´s not just the drums. The guitars feature an odd high end tone which is grating on the ears, Mameli´s voice is distorted and you can´t always make out the words he sings (which usually isn´t an issue on Pestilence albums), and the bass is completely disconnected from the rest of the instruments in the mix...and bass player Joost van der Graaf often sounds like he is playing another song than the rest of the members of the band.

A pretty harsh critique, which I´m not happy to deliver since Pestilence have long been some of my heroes, but I have to call it like I see it. Honesty and full disclosure. Pestilence have some work to do, to drag themselves back from this disaster. Their next album better be the best album they have released since reforming in 2008 or they may find themselves a fan or two short. You don´t come back from something like this without some careful consideration and reflection in terms of what went wrong, and what should we never do again...a 1.5 star (30%) rating is warranted. I´m tempted to give an even lower rating, but I´m trying to be fair and at least give Pestilence some sort of credit for existing, but there really isn´t much to give them credit for after listening to this album.

VLTIMAS Epic

Album · 2024 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Epic" is the second full-length studio album by multi-national death metal act Vltimas. The album was released through Season of Mist in March 2024. It´s the successor to "Something Wicked Marches In" from March 2019, so it´s been almost to the day five years since the release of the predecessor. Vltimas was formed in 2015 by three veterans of the death/black metal scene in lead vocalist David Vincent (Morbid Angel, Terrorizer), drummer Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), and guitarist Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen (Mayhem, Aura Noir). On this album they´ve added bassist Ype TVS to the ranks.

Stylistically the material on "Epic" continues the blackened death metal style of "Something Wicked Marches In", but with a few twists and development of sound. Vincent is as distinct sounding and intelligible as ever with his growling vocals, but adds a few more layers to his vocal arsenal on "Epic". His semi-operatic vocals are utilized more often here (take a listen to the title track or "Mephisto Manifesto" for proof of that) and his growling vocals are varied with some aggressive raw shouting vocals too, so although Vincent already was one of the most unique sounding and versatile death metal vocalists before "Epic" was recorded, he has pushed the boundaries even further here. It may scare away a few hardcore death metal fans, but to those who crave diversity this is a welcome addition to the band´s sound.

Eriksen is the main composer of the material on "Epic" as was also the case on "Something Wicked Marches In" and he has again created a varied and intriguing blackened death metal sound. Everything from chaotic sounding blackened death metal, to mid-paced heavy epic death metal tracks, to melodic inclined lead guitar moments, and also a good understanding of rhythm dynamics. Flo Mounier of course doesn´t need an introduction and we all know that the man can play anything, but his performance here is relatively restrained, which serves the purpose of the drumming fitting the compositions. In other words he is a team player here, and saves his most technical drumming wizardry for Cryptopsy.

"Epic" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, which suits the sophistication of the material well. This type of death metal would not have benefitted from a murky and gritty sounding production job. So upon conclusion "Epic" is a death metal release for those who enjoy their death metal with a touch of sophistication and variation, and who aren´t afraid to hear a death metal vocalist experiment with his voice and vocal style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DISINTER Exitus Letalis

Demo · 1993 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Exitus Letalis" is the first demo recording by Finnish death metal act Disinter. The demo was indpendently released in February 1993. It was recorded on a 4-track recorder at the band´s rehearsal space in February 1993. It´s the only item released by Disinter before they disbanded.

Considering that this is more or less a self-produced effort and it´s not recorded on professional studio recording equipment, Disinter have managed to produce a both powerful and well sounding demo. Of course it´s not a professional sounding release, but the rawness of the sound production perfectly fits with the brutality of the music...

...and brutal this is. Which isn´t surprising given that many contemporary Finnish death metal artists were also quite brutal in nature, but what is more surprising is that the material on "Exitus Letalis" doesn´t sound Finnish at all. Instead Disinter have gone for a brutal and technically well played US, Florida influenced death metal sound, which is strongly influenced by Deicide in particular. Disinter have two vocalists. One performs brutal deep growling, while the other performs higher pitched snarling vocals (often doubled), and together they mimmick Glen Benton pretty well.

So it´s fans of Deicide and their ilk who should find "Exitus Letalis" an entertaining release, rather than fans of the more traditional Finnish death metal sound. That doesn´t make it any better or worse than most other contemporary Finnish death metal demos, and although it´s certainly not the most original sounding demo from 1993, it´s both well performed, well composed, and decently produced. 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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