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
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4.36 | 21 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
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3.98 | 33 ratings
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ENTOMBED Uprising Album Cover Uprising
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4.25 | 8 ratings
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ENTOMBED Inferno Album Cover Inferno
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4.23 | 7 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
GOREFEST
3.89 | 15 ratings
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CARCASS Swansong Album Cover Swansong
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3.67 | 38 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
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3.43 | 11 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
GOREFEST
3.45 | 7 ratings
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death 'n' roll Music Reviews

DOMINUS Godfallos

Album · 2000 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Godfallos" is the 4th full-length studio album by Danish metal act Dominus. The album was released through Progress Records in 2000 and was the last album by the band before they disbanded in 2000-2001. Lead vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen would subsequently go on to form the more commercially succesful Volbeat (named after Dominus third full-length studio album "Vol.Beat" from 1997). Throughout Dominus career they continuously changed their sound, starting as a fairly brutal anti-Christian/satanic themed death metal act, then evolved to a more groove laden death´n´roll act, to what they ended up with on "Godfallos"...

...which is a thrash metal oriented groove metal style with hard rock and death metal elements. Sounds a bit confusing eh? Well it makes more sense when you listen to it, but it doesn´t erase the impression that Dominus were never a stylistic consistent act, and that their music suffered from it. It´s fair enough that artists want to experiment and try different approaches when they´ve settled on a core sound that their fans recognize and which sets them apart from other artists, but experimenting this much over the course of your first four albums, just makes your audience confused and in some cases probably frustrated.

As mentioned above describing the overall sound of "Godfallos" is slightly difficult, but take a healthy dose of late 80s Metallica (yeah Poulsen really has that Hetfield phrasing down), and mix in a lot of groove, and the occassional death´n´roll influence and growling vocal part, and you´re half way there. It´s actually not bad at all, and there are several crushingly heavy riffs and rhythms featured on the album. Some tracks are more memorable than others, but the general quality of the songwriting is pretty high.

There have been two lineup changes since "Vol.Beat (1997)" as bassist Anders Nielsen has been replaced by Franz Hellboss, and drummer Lars Hald has been replaced by Brian Andersen. The lineup changes don´t affect the quality of the music much, as Dominus are as well playing as ever. "Godfallos" features a decent and relatively powerful sound production. The guitar tone could have been a bit more powerful, but other than that the production works alright with the material. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

SCHEITAN Nemesis

Album · 1999 · Death 'n' Roll
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lukretion
Released in 1999 via Century Media, Nemesis is the third and final full-length album of Swedish black/goth metallers Scheitan. The band started as a black metal outfit revolving around Oskar Karlsson (guitars/drums) and Pierre Törnkvist (guitars/vocals), and then slowly evolved towards a more accessible form of Death'n Roll / Gothic metal that on Nemesis reaches perhaps its most forthright and direct expression.

The album is comprised of nine tracks for an overall duration of a mere 33 minutes. The songs are short, simple and straightforward, striking a balance between boisterous death metal assault and melodic gothic metal accessibility. A fitting description of the album’s sound would be a cross between Rotting Christ (circa A Dead Poem) and Children of Bodom, minus the technical shredding. There is a touch of punkish urgency and rawness in some of the songs (“Psyched”, “Ways”) that stands in direct contrast with the more melodic gothic influences surfacing on songs like “Fury Flow” and “Black Rain”. However, the formula quickly grows stale, also because the melodic ideas, song pace, structure, and instrumental solutions the band plays with are always the same from one song to another.

There are two tracks, however, that stand out as completely different from the other seven: “A Silent Hum” and “My Isle”. These two songs feature a female vocalist, Lotta Högberg, who had also appeared on Scheitan’s previous albums. On these tracks, Scheitan abandon the boisterous Death'n Roll of the other songs and veers instead more decidedly towards goth/doom territories, reminding me of bands like Flowing Tears and The Gathering, albeit with a more primitive and rougher streak. The tempos are slower, the atmospheres become more dilated and lysergic and Lotta’s low-register vocals are dark and morose. The strong melodies of the choruses make an immediate impression on the listener and stand as an open invitation to spin these two songs again and again so as to uncover all their hidden secrets. Truth be told, these songs are two minor gothic masterpieces and the only reason I actually own this album.

However, the inclusion of these two tracks on the album is fairly incongruous, as they have almost nothing in common with the other compositions. Equally incongruous is the inclusion of the vaguely electronic album closer “Emergency”. This track is a (poor) cover version of a minor hit by 1980s Swedish pop group Trance Dance, bringing the album’s sound in yet another direction.

Overall, Nemesis comes across as a hotchpotch of disparate musical ideas that Scheitan somehow decided to assemble together in the same album. Most tracks are really derivative and forgettable, but the record does contain two killer pieces, “A Silent Hum” and “My Isle”, that elevate it just above the ordinary. It’s worth a spin or two, but approach with caution.

SIX FEET UNDER (FL) Graveyard Classics

Album · 2000 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Graveyard Classics" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Six Feet Under. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 2000. It´s the successor to "Maximum Violence" from 1999. "Graveyard Classics" is not a "regular" studio album with original material, but as the title may suggest it´s a cover album featuring Six Feet Under´s take on classic heavy metal and hard rock tracks by artists like AC/DC, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Dead Kennedys, and Venom.

While the instrumental parts of the tracks are kept fairly true to the originals (although the album of course features a heavy death metal production), the vocals are brutal growling courtesy of Chris Barnes. Not all tracks work equally well and not surprisingly it´s the tracks, which were the most hard edged in their original form, which transform best to Six Feet Under´s sound. Tracks like "Piranha" by Exodus and "In League with Satan" by Venom (the Savatage cover "Holocaust" also holds up surprisingly well). Tracks like "Smoke on the Water" and "Purple Haze" function less great.

"Graveyard Classics" is both well produced and well played, but upon conclusion it is one of those albums where the novelty wears off around the middle of the album. Playing death metal covers of tracks which normally feature vocal lines which are sung and generally highly memorable melodies, just becomes a bit monotonous, and while Chris Barnes vocal performance is actually pretty strong on this album it just isn´t enough to save the day. "Graveyard Classics" is still a relatively good quality release though and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

ENTOMBED Morning Star

Album · 2001 · Death 'n' Roll
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Tupan
Riffs, riffs everywhere!

One of the creators of the death'n'roll subgenre (the kind of music I need to listen more), Entombed shows in this Morning Star why they were the masters of their game. In this album one can listen an almost perfect blend of death, thrash and stoner/doom metal, with exciting riffs, great production and the awesome vocals of the late Lars Göran Petrov. I just can imagine now how these songs would sound alive - and I am not talking about seeing mere live videos!

I don't know what the long term fans thinks about Morning Star, but for me it's a class A album with no fillers. It helps the facts it's short, the listener will always return to this release wanting more. I can't recommend enough!

CONVULSE Reflections

Album · 1994 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Reflections" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Convulse. The album was released through Relapse Records in June 1994, almost 3 years after the release of the band´s debut full-length studio album "World Without God (1991)". "Reflections" was already recorded at Sunlight Studios in late 1992/early 1993, but a number of lineup changes took place between the two albums and also a label change, which probably resulted in the long time between the debut album and the sophomore release (in those days 3 years between albums, were a pretty long time). Guitarist Jani Kuhanen died in 1992 and was replaced by Toni Honkala, drummer Janne Miikkulainen has been replaced by Juppo Paavola, and Aki Yli-Salomäki has been added to the lineup as lead vocalist. So guitarist/vocalist Rami Jämsä and bassist Juha Telenius are the only remaining members of the lineup who recorded "World Without God (1991)".

Maybe it was the change in personel or maybe it was just the musical current at the time, which caused a drastic stylistic change, but the sound on "Reflections" is vastly different from the old school death metal sound of "World Without God (1991)". The listener is treated to a death´n´roll sound which isn´t far removed from what contemporary artists like Entombed, Gorefest, and Furbowl, were releasing at the time (just even less death metal oriented). I´m sure the stylistic development must have come as quite a shock to the fans, because there is very little here which reveal that it´s the same artist who released both "World Without God (1991)" and "Reflections". Other than the brutal growling vocals (which is occasionally complimented by a raw heavy metal oriented vocal style) there is nothing on "Reflections" which is death metal oriented. This is purely hard rock influenced heavy metal.

The playing is organic and the same can be said about the sound production. It´s not the most well sounding production, and unfortunately the songwriting is also a bit one-dimensional and the tracks are generally hard to tell apart. Considering that most hard rock/heavy metal artists aim and succeed at creating catchy and anthemic material, Convulse seem to have forgotten that part of composing less extreme material. Most listeners can accept that extreme metal albums can be a bit one-dimensional in style and that tracks aren´t always easy to tell apart, but when you release something like this, the listener expects a certain degree of cathiness to the material. It´s not that the band aren´t able to make the music swing with an organic playing style, but the material simply isn´t catchy enough. Add to that a sound production which isn´t that well sounding, and "Reflections" overall comes off a bit mediocre. Especially compared to other contemporary releases in a similar style. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

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