Death 'n' Roll

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Death ‘n’ roll bands incorporates groovy riffs and beats as well as other elements from more traditional metal and hardrock, such as more rock-oriented guitar solos and simpler riffage, into their style, and often make use of midtempo paces. This style arose in the 1990s in the wake of the popularity of Pantera’s groove-oriented heavy metal, which revolutionized thrash metal and influenced other types of metal, too. Entombed and Gorefest were among the creators of death ‘n’ roll, and other examples of death ‘n’ roll artists are Six Feet Under, Debauchery, We Are the Damned, and Malignant Tumour.

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ENTOMBED Morning Star Album Cover Morning Star
ENTOMBED
4.32 | 17 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
ENTOMBED
3.97 | 31 ratings
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ENTOMBED Inferno Album Cover Inferno
ENTOMBED
4.28 | 5 ratings
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ENTOMBED Uprising Album Cover Uprising
ENTOMBED
4.20 | 6 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
GOREFEST
3.93 | 13 ratings
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CARCASS Swansong Album Cover Swansong
CARCASS
3.61 | 32 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
GOREFEST
3.45 | 6 ratings
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ENTOMBED DCLXVI - To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth Album Cover DCLXVI - To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth
ENTOMBED
3.33 | 9 ratings
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BLACKSTAR Barbed Wire Soul

Album · 1997 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Barbed Wire Soul" is the debut full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Blackstar. The album was released through Peaceville Records in September 1997. "Barbed Wire Soul" was released through Metal Blade Records for the American market, but under the Blackstar Rising monicker, because the band found out that another act had the rights to the Blackstar name in the US. Blackstar formed in 1995 after Carcass disbanded and features 3/4 of the lineup, who recorded "Swansong (1996)" (which was released posthumously). Guitarist Bill Steer went on to other projects, but bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker, guitarist Carlo Regadas, and drummer Ken Owen opted to stay together and form Blackstar. The lineup is completed by second guitarist Mark Griffiths, who among other things had a stint with Cathedral as their bassist in the early 90s.

Listeners familiar with "Swansong (1996)", know that at the end of Carcass original run, they played a 70s influenced death´n´roll style which actually had very little in common with what came before. "Barbed Wire Soul" pretty much continues that style but sheds any death metal element which was left on "Swansong (1996)" (and those elements were arguably few). So the music is basically a 70s influenced heavy rock/metal style, with Jeff Walker singing/snarling in key instead of snarling slightly in key as he more or less did on "Swansong (1996)". The tracks are vers/chorus structured and easy to follow. The playing is organic yet tight and Walker´s new and less extreme vocal approach suits the material well. He reminds me of a combination of mid-90s Mille Petrozza from Kreator and Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on some of that band´s most hard rock/heavy metal oriented material.

The overall musical direction of the material is generally not a major revolution of sound but it´s solid and relatively entertaining. The most progressive aspect is probably the occasional use of saxophone, but other than that it´s pretty basic vocals, bass, drums, and two guitars hard rocking heavy metal. The album features a well sounding production, which suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Barbed Wire Soul" is a decent quality release by Blackstar. It´s not necessarily the most memorable nor the most interesting release in the genre, but it´s definitely a great listen while it plays. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

DOMINUS The First 9

Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"The First 9" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Danish death metal act Dominus. The album was released through Progress Records in 1996. Dominus formed in 1991 and they were one of the more active and prolific death metal acts on the Danish underground scene of the early 90s. They released two demos and the "Sidereal Path of Colours" single in 1993 before releasing their debut full-length studio album "View to the Dim" in 1994. Today Dominus are probably mostly known for being the first child of Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen, but the early recordings by Dominus couldn´t be much further from the rock´n´roll infused rock/metal of Volbeat. There have been two lineup changes since the release of "View to the Dim (1994)" as lead guitarist Mads Hansen has been replaced by Jens Peter Storm and drummer Jess Larsen has been replaced by Lars Hald. The remaining members of the lineup are Michael Poulsen (vocals, guitars) and Jesper Olsen (bass).

"The First 9" is a concept release. It´s in short a horror/fantasy story about a dream kingdom ruled by the Crystal Demon served by 9 demons and how the protagonist is to complete the birth of the 9 demons by sacrificing 9 people. Stylistically the music on the 10 track, 35:54 minutes long album is quite different sounding to the predominantly old school death metal style of "View to the Dim (1994)". While "View to the Dim (1994)" is mostly an old school death metal release, it also features quite a few groove metal oriented riffs and rhythms, and the groove elements are further developed upon on "The First 9". In fact the music style is a groove oriented death´n´roll style and while there are traces of old school death metal in the music, that element has been scaled back considerably. While there are differences too there are also quite a few similarities to the groove laden death metal of fellow countrymen in Illdisposed. The vocals have become a lot more intelligible and more aggressive growling and there are male clean vocals on the album too (delivered by producer Casper Munkebo). The latter vocal style only occurs occasionally and sounds slightly like Dave Mustaine (Megadeth).

The quality of the material on the album is pretty good and the songwriting is relatively memorable. Some tracks are more memorable than others, and some don´t stand out as much, but the quality is overall decent. The musicianship is solid and the two new members bring a lot to the music. Compared to "View to the Dim (1994)", the sound production on "The First 9" is also a major upgrade and the music sounds both raw, powerful, and detailed. So upon conclusion "The First 9" is a definite step up in quality from the debut, but it´s also quite the musical development and the two albums could basically have been released by two different artists. That´s how different they sound. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

ENTOMBED A.D. Bowels Of Earth

Album · 2019 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Bowels Of Earth" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Entombed A.D.. The album was released through Century Media Records in August 2019. It´s the successor to "Dead Dawn" from 2016 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as second guitarist Guilherme Miranda has been added to the lineup, making Entombed A.D. a five-piece on "Bowels Of Earth".

Stylistically the material on "Bowels Of Earth" is a continuation of the old school Swedish death metal style of the two predecessors. It´s slightly darker and features less death´n´roll elements (although they are still there. An example is the guitar solo section on "Elimination"), but it´s nuances and ultimately "Bowels Of Earth" sounds unmistakably like Entombed A.D.. The regular version of the album features 9 originals and a cover of "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" by country musician Hank Williams, while the limited edition of the album features an additional cover track in "Back at the Funny Farm" by Motörhead.

The musicianship is strong and lead vocalist L-G Petrov still delivers a distinct sounding growling attack, although his vocal style has changed a bit over the years. He is slightly more monotone these days, but his vocals are still decent. The material on the album are generally well written and mostly fairly memorable, but some tracks a bit unremarkable. Highlights to my ears are the album opener "Torment Remains", the title track, "Fit for a King", and "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive". The latter is actually the most standout track on the album, and that´s of course a bit worrying, when a cover track is the most interesting song on an album, but the other tracks are of a good quality too.

"Bowels Of Earth" features a raw and powerful sound production, so it´s a quality release on most parameters. The songwriting could have been a little more memorable and there are some moments on the album which are maybe a bit dull or at least sounds much like something we´ve heard before (and better) from the band. Mostly though "Bowels Of Earth" is another good quality death metal release by Entombed A.D. and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

ENTOMBED A.D. Bowels Of Earth

Album · 2019 · Death 'n' Roll
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Nightfly
It can’t be easy being Entombed A.D. Seemingly destined to always be in the shadow of the band that spawned them, Entombed of course, who were responsible for ground-breaking death metal albums like Left Hand Path and Clandestine. A band who along with others like Dismember established the Stockholm sound and influenced god knows how many imitators with that buzzsaw guitar sound. Entombed A.D. nevertheless have much to offer themselves.

Bowels Of Earth is the bands third release and I’d say it’s the best of the three. You’re not going to find any great leaps in terms of style here but if you have a penchant for straight forward no nonsense death ‘n’ roll then this could be for you. Buzzsaw guitar sound intact the band romps through ten tracks with little variation but plenty of strong riffs and hooks. The album starts off strong with first three tracks – Torment remains, Elimination and Hell Is My Home hitting all the right spots with the later perhaps the pick of the bunch. The rest though is not lacking in quality songs with the band playing with plenty of enthusiasm with only the occasional slight dip in quality but it’s barely noticeable when they do with most of the songs only being around the three minute mark. An unexpected cover of the Hank Williams song I’ll Never Get out Of This World Alive works surprisingly well with Entombed A.D. making it their own. Whilst most of the material runs along at a fair pace they throw in a few slower tempos for parts of some of the songs for variation, though final song To Eternal Night really slows things down and at 5:43 is the longest track here. It’s also a bit of a weak ending to an otherwise great album, dragging somewhat and outstaying it’s welcome.

While I’ve heard a lot of better death metal this year Bowels Of Earth is still a welcome addition and one I’ll be playing pretty regularly over the coming months. Well worth checking out if you’ve ever liked this band and its parent outfit.

ENTOMBED Morning Star

Album · 2001 · Death 'n' Roll
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Triceratopsoil
If "Uprising" is Entombed's tribute to Motorhead, "Morning Star" is the greatest Slayer album that never was - just a nonstop, crushingly heavy, relentless, thrashy and sludgy metal masterpiece that still manages to be head-banging groovy.

The vocals and instruments are both heavier and harsher than the several previous album. Lyrics on the surface sound like boilerplate anti-Christian (not atypical in death metal), but lots of them are really just movie quotes. The rhythms are tight and chugging, crisp snappy drumming, spirited raw vocals, ripping guitar solos - Morning Star has a lot to offer, and is possibly the best release from this consistently great band.

Favourite tracks: Chief Rebel Angel, I for and Eye, Year One Now, Fractures, City of Ghosts, About to Die

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