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

GOJIRA The Link

Album · 2003 · Death Metal
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Necrotica
Something I’ve always found a bit perplexing about The Link is that there’s not much backstory behind it. Gojira’s debut Terra Incognita has plenty of interesting tidbits to its name, such as how frontman Joe Duplantier lived in a secluded cabin for two years while coming up with inspiration for the record, or how the interlude “04” was intended by Joe and his brother Mario to be a birthday present for their mother. But The Link is… just The Link. Even the cover art - while indicative of the more tribal elements on the record (we’ll get to that) - is very unassuming. As such, its popularity and significance are often dwarfed by the records that sandwich it. Terra Incognita is the brutal and aggressive fan-favorite debut, and From Mars to Sirius is the breakthrough album that brought them significant acclaim in the wider metal community. But that doesn’t mean we should be forgetting about The Link.

Not in the slightest. On top of being a necessary stepping stone for Gojira’s progression, it’s also quite possibly the strangest and most experimental record of theirs to date. You’ll find the usual helping of groovy chugs and double bass worship, but it’s all topped off with the aforementioned tribal elements as well as a more “mystical” overall vibe. Right from the title track, you’re thrown into an otherworldly environment full of droning vocal inflections, hypnotic grooves, and wood block percussion; suddenly, the world crafted by Terra Incognita has expanded and become an even more diverse place to explore. Death metal sections are still present on The Link but they’re used much more sparingly this time around to make room for an expanding palette of influences. Whether it be the beautiful ambient interlude “Torii”, the doom metal-inspired riffs of “Inward Movement”, or the lengthy post-metal mini-epic that is “Dawn”, the unpredictability of The Link’s tracklist goes a long way in describing its appeal to anyone who’s a bit bored with the current iteration of the band’s sound.

Yet the surprise comes in just how well the songs flow into each other. You’d think so many disparate elements being put together would cause some massive consistency issues, but such is not the case with The Link. Even at this stage, Gojira were great at knowing what transitions and dynamics to use at the right times. A perfect example would be the one-two-three punch of “Connected”, “Remembrance”, and “Torii”. Technically, only one of these is a full-length song; however, all three of them flow into each other so well that you’d might as well treat it as one single eight-minute track. “Connected” opens up with some light tribal drumming that opens the gates for the death metal fury of “Remembrance”; in turn, the amazing breakdown of “Remembrance” fades out to set the stage for the lovely “Torii” to take place. Meanwhile, you can perceive “Wisdom Comes” as the band letting out their final blast of death metal aggression before the expansive and slow-moving “Dawn” moves in to bring The Link to a fitting close. While I’d argue From Mars to Sirius is even more well-constructed because it uses a concrete narrative to tie the songs together, this album is no slouch either.

As one would expect from a Gojira album, the performances here are absolutely stellar. Joe and lead guitarist Chrisian Andreu have wonderful chemistry together, especially on the heavier tunes. “Wisdom Comes” is especially noteworthy, as the duo perform dual tremolo-picked harmonies to create a sinister vibe that compliments the intense riffs nicely. Mario and bassist Jean-Michel Labadie are also perfectly locked-in on The Link, providing just the right balance of groove and technicality for those heavy songs while showing incredible restraint on the softer ones. In a 2005 interview with Hard ‘n’ Heavy Magazine, Mario said the sessions for the album represented “a period during which I wanted to play fast: I was starting to master well the grind parts and the double bass pedal”. This is definitely evident in fast cuts such as “Remembrance” and “Wisdom Comes”, which feature the most impressive double bass work and rapid-fire blastbeats that he’d ever played up to this point; the fact that the rest of the band could keep up and hold their own so well against his drumming is pretty damn impressive.

Admittedly, I’m quite tired of The Link being considered the red-headed stepchild of Gojira’s catalogue (well, according to the fanbase, it’s either this or Magma). It has a plethora of fantastic songs, a unique atmosphere, the most experimental writing of the band’s career, and some of their most technical and intricate playing to top it off. It set the stage perfectly for Gojira’s heyday, and it remains an incredible record in its own right.

SUFFERING HOUR In Passing Ascension

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Out of all the styles of metal that have evolved over the decades it seems that the death and black metal camps have become the most productive with countless new bands crafting new methodologies of creativity infused with elements of outlying musical genres and hitherto unexplored hybridization. While war metal began all the way back with Blasphemy in the early 90s which basically mixed the aggressive fury of old school death metal with the atmospheric mindfuckery of black metal, the two have proven time and time again to make a compelling dynamic duo of torturous metallic fury and with myriad modern record labels ranging from Dark Descent to Blood Harvest cranking out the legions of new acts.

SUFFERING HOUR is among the newer bands in this current wave of blackened death metal that borrows the immediacy of classic Morbid Angel with the angular dissonance that jars the senses a la Incantation and adds elements of atmospheric doom and gloom right out of the black metal realms along with moments of pseudo-progressiveness with off-kilter time signature deviations, extended playing times and an overall focus on an album’s run experience over the strength of any particular track. This band that consists of Dylan Haseltine (vocals, bass), Josh Raiken (guitar, vocals) and Jason Oberuc (drums, vocals) was formed in the Minneapolis suburb of Forest Lake and IN PASSING ASCENSION is the debut which emerged in 2017.

Talk about a gluttony of excess! It seems that so many bands are so talented these days that it’s really hard to keep up with it all and SUFFERING HOUR is just one more band to craft exquisitely designed musical dread in the form of blackened death metal which ticks off all the boxes in the proper proportions. For this kind of music it’s almost mandatory to create a short introductory mood setting intro in this case the opening “Insufferable Scorn” which immediately yanks your consciousness out of the benevolence of sanity and plunges it deep into the dark recesses of a hellish soundscape dominated by atonal doomy guitar riffs, murky atmospheric frightfulness and slinking rhythmic cadences.

After the proper tone has been set the first fully fueled metal track “For The Putridity Of Man” cranks things up a few notches and goes for the death metal gusto with fully fueled chugga chug action and freewheeling frenzies of dissonant sound clusters bantering the senses with high octane intensity. While true that what SUFFERING HOUR performs here may not be exactly groundbreaking at this stage in the metal timeline, where the band succeeds brilliantly is in crafting an album’s worth of aggressive modern blackened death metal that allows enough diverse elements to keep the album from hitting any brick walls. “The Abrasive Black Dust” for example perfectly punctuates the muddled murky madness with an occulted melody of sorts that is dressed up with delightfully designed riffing motifs that oscillate like swells from the sea with the proper amount of distorted feedback bleeding into every nook and cranny culminating in the album’s highlight, the near 9-minute monster “Procession To Obscure Infinity.”

Ugly is certainly the new beautiful in the world of unhinged brutality in the world of modern day death metal and in the case of SUFFERING HOUR is met with an arsenal of creative tricks and trinkets that are intelligently designed to enhance the whole shebang rather than derail. The band mastered the art of balance on IN PASSING ASCENSION and eschewed the pitfalls of adding filler simply for the sake of making a longer playing time. There’s something about the classic playing time of around 40 minutes that is in the human psyche and by sticking to this principle, the overbearing intensity of the album resonates rather than enervates. Add to that the extraordinary musicianship of this trio and it’s no wonder by SUFFERING HOUR received so many plaudits from the world of the underground metal scene when this was released. This is recommended to those who love those dissonant spidery guitar workouts in the vein of Deathspell Omega, Ad Nauseum, Gorguts and similarly minded techy black death.

FUNEBRE Children of the Scorn

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Children of the Scorn" is the debut full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Funebre. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in 1991 and is on an interesting sidenote produced by Timo Tolkki (later of Stratovarius fame). Funebre were formed in 1988 and released two demos before releasing the "Brainspoon" EP in 1990. The band were relatively short lived and after releasing "Children of the Scorn" they disbanded. Although never commercially successful or reaching other than obscure underground recognition, Funebre are widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the Finnish death metal scene along with artists like Abhorrence and Convulse.

Stylistically the material on "Children of the Scorn" continue the old school death metal style of the 1990 "Brainspoon" EP, but while the EP was a relatively amaturish release, Funebre have stepped up on "Children of the Scorn" and deliver a good quality performance. The playing is solid, The sound production is suitably raw and organic (the guitars feature a slightly unpleasant distorted tone, but other than that the sound production suits the music well), and the songwriting is for the most part inspired and intriguing. Funebre don´t have the most unique sound, but they deliver their music with both passion and great conviction.

While this isn´t exactly doom/death, one of the greatest features of the music are the many crushingly heavy doomy parts. Funebre understand how to vary pace though and also put in a couple of hooks along the way, so for an old school death metal release, "Children of the Scorn" is relatively varied. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

GRAVE Burial Ground

Album · 2010 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Burial Ground" is the 9th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Grave. The album was released through Regain Records in June 2010. After several lineup changes on the last couple of albums, "Burial Ground" features the exact same lineup who recorded "Dominion VIII (2008)" in Ola Lindgren (vocals, guitars), Fredrik Isaksson (bass), and Ronnie Bergerståhl (drums).

Stylistically it´s also pretty much more of the same old school Swedish death metal as was featured on "Dominion VIII (2008)". Downtuned guitar riffs, heavy drumming, and Ola Lindgren´s brutal growling vocals in front. The groove element which was a dominant feature in the middle part of the band´s career, is no longer a part of their sound. In fact it feels like "Burial Ground" is another step back to a more old school death metal sound, just as the case was with "Dominion VIII (2008)". The only time the music features a heavy mid-paced groove is during some of the mid-song breakdowns, which are present on some tracks.

The material on the 9 track, 42:06 minutes long album are well written and effective old school death metal, but upon conclusion it is a bit one-dimensional in style. It´s not a major issue, but a bit more variation between tracks and within tracks could have made the overall listening experience a bit more intriguing. The musicianship is on a high level and the sound production is suitably raw and powerful too, so upon conclusion "Burial Ground" is another good quality old school death metal release by Grave. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

OBITUARY The End Complete

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"The End Complete" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Obituary. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in April 1992. It´s the successor to "Cause of Death" from 1990 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as lead guitarist Allen West returned to the fold after a one album absence, after James Murphy left to join UK death metal act Cancer, and soon after that formed his own band Disincarnate. "The End Complete" is Obituary´s most commercially successful release selling around 250.000 copies worldwide. Not many death metal releases have sold in those numbers.

Like the case also was on the two preceding albums, "The End Complete" was produced by Scott Burns and Obituary. The sound production is raw, organic, and brutal, which suits the rawness and brutality of the material perfectly. It´s a bit more dark and gritty compared to the more clear sounding production style on "Cause of Death (1990)", and while there´s absolutely nothing wrong with the sound quality of the predecessor, my ears prefer the more organic sound on "The End Complete".

Stylistically the material on "The End Complete" is crushingly heavy and and groove laden brutal death metal. Obituary have increased their focus on heavy grooves and "The End Complete" is ultimately a very rhythmic release. Drummer Donald Tardy deliver groove laden heavy beats and rhythm patterns throughout the album, perfectly complimenting the ultra brutal downtuned guitar riffs and heavy bass (and the many blistering screaming guitar solos). John Tardy performs his distinct sounding growling vocals with both great passion and conviction. I dare say it´s his strongest performance yet. While the horror/gore themed lyrics aren´t exactly great poetry, there are longer and more coherent lyric lines on this album, than the sparse lyrics on the first two albums. The effect is the same though and Tardy´s commanding growling still often work as an extra instrument rather than regular vocals. His pronunciation of the words and his phrasing have great impact on the ears that hear.

"The End Complete" is one long highlight and there´s not a single sub par track featured on the album. Tracks like "I'm in Pain", "Back to One", "Sickness" (the breakdown on that track is earth shattering brutal), and of course the brilliant title track are just examples of strong tracks, but I could mention any track of the album and call it a standout track. Upon conclusion "The End Complete" is Obituary at their peak. It´s through and through a high quality release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

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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