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 | 16 ratings
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ENTOMBED Wolverine Blues Album Cover Wolverine Blues
ENTOMBED
3.99 | 29 ratings
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ENTOMBED Uprising Album Cover Uprising
ENTOMBED
4.22 | 5 ratings
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GOREFEST Soul Survivor Album Cover Soul Survivor
GOREFEST
3.94 | 13 ratings
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CARCASS Swansong Album Cover Swansong
CARCASS
3.61 | 29 ratings
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GOREFEST Erase Album Cover Erase
GOREFEST
3.50 | 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
3.39 | 9 ratings
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Bowels Of Earth
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ENTOMBED A.D.
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death 'n' roll Music Reviews

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" reminds me a lot of Slayer and Converge - just a nonstop, crushingly heavy, relentless, thrashy and sludgy death metal masterpiece that still manages to be head-banging groovy.

Lyrically it's sort of a concept album about Christianity and Satan, which isn't exactly breaking new ground. I don't tend to pay much attention to lyrics at any rate. 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

ENTOMBED Uprising

Album · 2000 · Death 'n' Roll
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Triceratopsoil
Entombed does Motorhead-

Stockholm band Entombed is mostly famous for two things - popularizing the Boss HM-2 "chainsaw" guitar tone, and pathfinding the unfortunately nicknamed "death-n-roll" style of music. Uprising is an album that has both those trademarks. Where it differs from Entombed's other offerings is in catchiness. The grind is all there, but the riffs have a toe-tapping 70s hard rock characteristic to them. The vocals are harsh, but not death metal growls. It's an album that would be hard to place in time if you didn't know better... and yet in a sense it is far heavier than most anything from the 70s and 80s. Truly worth a listen for the open minded metalhead. Great gym music, by the way, with far better production value than their earlier studio albums.

Favourite tracks: Seeing Red, Won't Back Down, Something out of Nothing

GOREFEST Erase

Album · 1994 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Erase" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Gorefest. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in July 1994. Gorefest had experienced a relative amount of success with both "Mindloss (1991)" and "False (1992)", and were in those days widely awknowledged as one of the most prolific death metal artsts out of The Netherlands.

With the addition of guitarist Boudewijn Bonebakker to the lineup on "False (1992)" a musical tranformation began though, and the results of that change was first heard on "Erase". While both "Mindloss (1991)" and "False (1992)" are arguably old school death metal releases to the bone, the sophistication in the guitar and harmony department were enhanced with the addition of Bonebakker to the ranks. He made it clear from the start that he wasn´t interested in just playing basic death metal, but that he wanted to incorporate a more melodic and rock oriented touch to the music, inspired by his great love of 70s and 80s heavy metal and hard rock.

Stylistically that change is clearly heard on "Erase" which features several elements from 70s and 80s heavy metal and hard rock in addition to maintaining a death metal basis. The many guitar harmonies are one of great assets of the music, and a feature the band focus on much more than before on "Erase". I wouldn´t label the music death´n´roll, but at times it´s very close to that description and it wouldn´t be completely wrong to tag the music as that. Jan-Chris De Koeijer (vocals, bass) has changed his vocal style slightly too. He is less of a growler and more or a raw barking shouter on this album.

The musicianship is strong. Gorefest were at this point a tight playing unit. Diverse rhythmic playing by drummer Ed Warby (who would later find fame with Ayreon and a bunch of other projects), great harmony guitar work and solos and catchy powerful riffs, and De Koeijer´s distinct sounding vocals in front.

The 8 tracks on the 42:21 minutes long album are all relatively catchy and powerful, and feature great guitar work. The latter element is to my ears the highlight of the album and at times the harmony guitar themes are rather sophisticated. Tracks like "Low", "Erase", "To Hell and Back", and "Goddess in Black", are among the standout tracks, but as mentioned "Erase" is a strong release throughout. It´s also a relavitely diverse release and tracks like "Peace of Paper" and "Goddess in Black" stick out as being a bit different than the rest of the material. The former is the most death metal oriented track on the album and even features a couple of blast beat sections, where the rest of the material is predominantly heavy or mid-paced. The latter mentioned track is slow paced and slightly more atmospheric than the remaining tracks.

"Erase" features a powerful and well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. It´s not as brutal or in your face as the productions of previous releases, but it suits the more sophisticated sound well. "Erase" is probably a fanbase divider as it could prove not to be old school and brutal enough for the fans of Gorefest early material and as a consequence of the still relatively brutal vocals, it may prove a bit to harsh for those who enjoy the more rock oriented part of the band´s sound, but personally I think they strike a good balance here and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

XYSMA The First and Magical

Album · 1993 · Death 'n' Roll
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siLLy puPPy
Although XYSMA started out as one of Finland’s first grindcore bands near the city of Turku, the band’s involvement with the Swedish death metal scene altered their development substantially as one can hear from the detour on the early demos to the eclectic mix of death, doom and grindcore on the debut “Yeah!” The band befriended one of Sweden’s more popular death metal bands, namely Entombed and with the success of their 1993 “Wolverine Blues” the Entombed inspired a whole new legion of followers with the strange newfangled musical hybrid. That would be the silly titled death ’n’ roll tag which took the death metal traits that included guttural growls and heavy distorted guitars and married them with compositional constructs of 70s rock and roll and heavy metal.

XYSMA jumped on this bandwagon and while elements were present on the debut, the band went full death ’n’ roll on the sophomore album FIRST AND MAGICAL. Gone were the Napalm Death influences and in was a unique mix of Carcass sounding death metal mixed with 70s blues oriented hard rock. Hardly a combo one would consider to attract a new legion of followers. In fact, out of all the subgenera of metal that were splintering off in the early 90s, this is the one that probably attracted the fewest newcomers mostly because it doesn’t really sound very compelling unless the elements are balanced just right. While Entombed did a pretty good job on “Wolverine Blues,” they didn’t really manage to follow up with anything of equal stature.

As far as XYSMA’s take on this weird combo style, they pretty much follow the Entombed playbook and created a similarly fashioned sound. While XYSMA had great potential in what they crafted as their own unique style, they always seemed to botch up aspects of their albums that made it a bumpy ride. Same goes for FIRST AND MAGICAL which starts off with a rather silly sound check sequence that bookends the entire album. After the initial head scratching moment, “One More Time” starts off as 70s hard rock which makes you think the band had abandoned metal altogether however after a few measures it finally adds the death metal bombast. Despite the awkwardness it does demonstrate perfectly as to how the two styles are mixed. Once the groove is established and the death metal moments are churning out, a psychedelic keyboard appears that makes this album a tad surreal.

All in all, the tracks that sport the death ’n’ roll tag are not bad at all. The groovy hard rock aspects keep a nice melodic flow while the pummeling percussion and riffs add the proper bombast as does Janitor Mustasch’s growly death vocals. The band had really stepped up the musical tightness since “Yeah!” Mustasch and Olivier Lawny provide the stellar twin guitar attacks as they simultaneously create the double melodic counterpoints that keep the groove on. The biggest head scratcher comes in the form of the all acoustic “Can’t Imagine Your Death” which sounds like a completely different band. In fact it sounds like some rejected track off of Led Zeppelin III as it has a similarly styled guitar chord progression but lacks the intensity of anything the great Led Zep cranked out not to mention Mustasch’s vocals sound ridiculous.

While XYSMA does a decent job tackling the death ’n’ roll style of death metal, i can’t say that this is a style of death metal that really works for the most part and although the album is mostly played spot on, the compositions themselves seem to be lacking in some unknown substance that is needed to spice them up. Add to the fact that the silliest moments sort of derail the entire flow of the album which means this album doesn’t stack up against some of sub’s greatest moments that bands like Entombed and Gorefest dished out. There are some great moments on this one and at a short playing time of just over 31 minutes it doesn’t wear out its welcome either. It’s just not compelling enough to call great.

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