Melodic Death Metal

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Melodic death metal, also referred to as melodeath, combines elements from death metal with elements from thrash metal, more traditional heavy metal and even hard rock. A typical feature of melodic death metal is the use of Iron Maiden-like twin guitar harmonies, melodic guitar leads and inherently melodic upbeat thrash riffage, and the guitars are often downtuned to B; sometimes synths and electronica elements occur in melodic death metal, too. The vocals are typically growled, shrieked or screamed, but some artists combine these harsh vocals with clean singing. Swedish artists in and around the city of Gothenburg have been especially influential in melodic death metal, leading to the establishment of the Gothenburg sound which has also made its way into metalcore and, more recently, power metal and progressive metal. Here on MMA, metalcore artists who make use of the Gothenburg sound, such as Nothing Divine, are included under metalcore, and power metal artists that make us of the Gothenburg sound, such as Raintime and Amaranthe, are included under power metal, while progressive metal artists that make use of the Gothenburg sound, such as James Labrie, are included under progressive metal. Sometimes a division is made between “melodeath” as a genre term referring specifically to melodic death metal based on the Gothenburg sound and “melodic death metal” as a term referring to more traditional death metal which emphasizes melody, as in the case of Terra Tenebrae, Arkan, and late Bolt Thrower. Carcass’ “Heartwork” is considered to be among the first melodic death metal releases, while artists like At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Arch Enemy are among the most influential melodic death metal artists, and other examples are late Illdisposed, Deadlock, Amon Amarth, Omnium Gatherum, and Blood Stain Child.

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melodic death metal top albums

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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.40 | 109 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.49 | 30 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.35 | 72 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.28 | 65 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.43 | 11 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.24 | 18 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.18 | 33 ratings
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OMNIUM GATHERUM Beyond Album Cover Beyond
OMNIUM GATHERUM
4.36 | 9 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.15 | 38 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.21 | 17 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Above the Weeping World Album Cover Above the Weeping World
INSOMNIUM
4.23 | 13 ratings
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SOILWORK The Living Infinite Album Cover The Living Infinite
SOILWORK
4.19 | 17 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

ANTAGONIST Вечность Смерти

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
One of the many modern extreme metal bands to emerge from the vastness of the Russian Federation, this band ANTAGONIST comes from the far eastern city of Vladivostok and formed in 2017 with the members of Dmitry Strobykin (bass), Roman Kim (drums), Tatiana Markova (guitar), Andrey Primachenko (guitar) and Roman Kayukov (vocals). This seems to be a popular name for metal bands as there is a tech trash band from Wisconsin, USA, a California based metalcore band and yet another thrash metal band from Germany. While this was forgivable before the advent of the search engine, all i can ask myself is why would a band take a name that has been used in such abundance?

This ANTAGONIST for some reason uses an English moniker but has released its debut album Вечность Смерти (BYESH-na-ya SMYER-tee) which means “Eternity of Death” in the Russian language with all the track titles and lyrics in Russian. Whatever the case, ANTAGONIST is a ferocious band that performs a thrash metal infused mix of death metal and does a fairly decent job in cranking out ten strong tracks which hover around the 43 minute mark. This is pretty much by the books thrashy death metal with the emphasis on melodic hooks but done so bombastically with twin guitar ferocity and slower breakdowns between the rampaging riff monster attacks.

In fact the breakdowns are out of the metalcore playbook but for the most part the thrash metal riffing made more intense with blastbeats and other death metal elements dominates Вечность Смерти. The band is quite competent and performs this style of music like a champ but in the creativity department this is pretty mediocre as it sounds like a generic blueprint rather than a band that has found its own voice however ANTAGONIST doesn’t really sound like any other band particularly either. To my ears the rampaging metal style is more akin to tech thrash giants Vektor with some deathcore elements thrown in. Some thrash guitar solos also join in.

The guttural growling vocal style of Roman Kayukov is perfectly done but becomes a little monotonous as does the compositional one-dimensionality of this album. Not a bad listening experience when you just want to zone out to some kick ass death metal with thrash and core elements but there really isn’t anything on Вечность Смерти that invites a return visit. Perhaps a welcome live band for a remote setting such as Vladivostok but if ANTAGONIST wants to compete on the now global market, these guys need to step up their game a bit. The musicianship is certainly there.

ИМПЕРИЯ Наёмники

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Coming from the city of Temryuk, Russia which sits just across from the southern Ukrainian enclave of Crimea, the band Империя ( Imperya ) which means “Empire” is one of those bands that formed all the way back in 1995 but never had the chance to release any product until recently. Apparently the brainchild of the duo of Roman Aguryanov (guitar) and Alexander Aguryanov (vocals), the band offers little info about its history but has had many lineup changes over its 25 years of existence.

While remaining an independent band, Империя ( Imperya ) has finally released its so far only album in 2019 titled Наёмники ( Nah-YOHM - kee ) which translates into “Mercenaries” which are of course soldiers of fortune who fight for a cause and often resort to violence. This band is obviously not interested in a greater international audience since all song titles and lyrics are in the Russian language but in the modern world where foreign languages add an exotic flair, i suspect that many non-Russian speakers will still be interested.

What we have here is Russia’s answer to Amon Amarth as Империя ( Imperya ) delivers a convincing and competent version of melodic death metal with local folk flavors fortified with catchy melodic hooks and death metal bombast complete with the growly vocals however Империя ( Imperya ) is certainly no one-trick pony and does a great job at implementing various tempos and dynamics to keep this short album of just under 31 minutes from becoming too derivative or in any way stale.

While the main melo-death flavors may remind of Amon Amarth, the band is talented enough to offer various personal stamps such as the call and respond differing vocal styles on “Безымянный” and the ferocity displayed on “Славим” showcases the band’s tight knit all out assault with the twin guitar attacks of Kiril Kucherenko and Roman Aguryanov whizzing around the bombastic rhythm section of bassist Petr Lemeshtenko and drummer Eldar Mekhtiev.

While i would hardly declare Империя ( Imperya ) a band to get hugely excited about at least in the terms of creativity, for those who love the melo-death sounds of bands like Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Insomnium and of course Amon Amarth, Империя ( Imperya ) does deliver a high quality album that is in the same league as its predecessors probably due to the fact that the core members have been at it since as far back as 1995 when this style of melo-death was coming of age.

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Miasma

Album · 2005 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Miasma" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Michigan based death metal act The Black Dahlia Murder. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in July 2005. It´s the successor to "Unhallowed" from 2003 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Cory Grady has been replaced by Zach Gibson.

The material on "Miasma" pretty much continue the melodic death metal style of "Unhallowed (2003)". It´s sharp, predominantly fast-paced and energetic melodic death metal, and features both deep growling vocals and high pitched screaming vocals. It´s all delivered by skilled musicians who are more than capable of handling their instruments with great conviction and passion. At 10 tracks and 33:48 minutes of playing time "Miasma" doesn´t overstay its welcome and the relatively short playing time is perfect for this release. The Black Dahlia Murder simply don´t write varied enough material for much longer releases. It´s a criticism which sounds much harder on paper than it is actually meant, because if you give "Miasma" enough spins, the tracks begin to stand out a bit more. Ultimately a bit more variation between tracks could have made "Miasma" a more memorable release though (the same can be said about most of the band´s albums).

With that out of the way each track featured on the album is still an incredibly powerful and catchy listening experience on an individual level. Not a single track is of a sub par qaulity to the rest, and the consistent quality of the tracks and the skillful delivery of the material are some of the greatest assets of the album. "Miasma" features a powerful and detailed sound production too, which is another great asset and upon conclusion it´s a high quality album through and through. The lack of variation between tracks is a minor issue, but not enough for me not to grant the album a 4 star (80%) rating.

DETHKLOK The Dethalbum

Album · 2007 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Dethalbum" is the debut full-length studio album by US metal act Dethklok. The album was released through Williams Street Records in September 2007. Dethklok is both a virtual band featured in the Adult Swim animated series "Metalocalypse" and a real band assembled to play live shows. Dethklok was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha. The latter does voice-overs on the album, while the former performs all vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, voice-over, and handles production. The drums on the album are played by prolific drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory...etc.). "The Dethalbum" features tracks from the Tv-series as well as unreleased material. So this is like the heavy metal equivalent to Gorillaz or something like that.

Stylistically this is melodic death metal with strong traditional heavy metal leanings. It´s not a particularly hard edged death metal release, although the music is powerful enough. The band make good use of guitar harmonies, but also powerful riffs and rhythms. Hoglan is as always an incredibly skilled and powerful drummer who knows exactly what to play at the right time to push the music forward in the most effective way. The vocals are a bit odd and took a bit of getting used to. They are essentially growling vocals, but they are clearly processed and sounds more like they are spoken, put through effect filters, and turned up in volume, than actually sung. Personally it was a bit on an issue to begin with, but after getting used to the vocal style, I see know that it´s just another feature to make Dethklok stand out.

The material on the 16 track, 52:16 minutes long album is well written, catchy, and effective. The tracks are relatively accessible, featuring easily recognisable vers/chorus structures, and quite a bit of repetition both in the vocal department but also in the way the drum patterns and the riffs are arranged. Sometimes a bit more variation between tracks would have been nice, but overall the material is strong and memorable. It is great for the variation though, when the band introduce a few symphonic elements on a track like "Dethharmonic".

"The Dethalbum" is very well produced, featuring a powerful and detailed sound, which suits the music perfectly. Great emphasis is put on making the drums sound as great as possible, and when you have a drummer like Hoglan playing for you, that makes perfect sense. "The Dethalbum" is upon conclusion a high quality release by Dethklok. It´s certainly one of the most unconventional and different sounding melodic death/heavy metal albums on the scene, but it´s probably also an aquired taste (so consider yourself either warned or intrigued). A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

THE FIFTH SUN The Moment of Truth

Album · 2002 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
One of the few metal bands i’m aware of to emerge from the extreme frigid lands of northern Minnesota, THE FIFTH SUN emerged from the small city of Bemidji in 1991 with the band name Consumed with the three primary members of Bryan Horn (vocals, guitar), Shawn Mattila (guitar) and John Eggers (drums). Although it would take 10 long years to get to this debut album THE MOMENT OF TRUTH, the band moved to Portland, Oregon in order to find exposure to a much more appreciative audience but nothing came of that journey and the band ended up back in Minnesota where after two albums it would disappear completely into the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

In many ways, THE FIFTH SUN is the USA’s answer to Amon Amarth with chugging beastly guitar riffs coalescing with the bass, drums and guttural growls into something rather melodic. AND there’s a reason that Minnesota’s pro American football team is called the Vikings! That’s because the weather and European immigrants from Scandinavia seemed to flock here way back when. THE MOMENT OF TRUTH features nine tracks that clock in over 38 minutes and feature a competent display of melodic death metal with a few technical touches just to give it some spice. Stylistically the album is fairly uniform in presentation without really deviating from the regularly scheduled program but overall not bad in doing so.

This is a fast paced album with rampaging riffs at fast tempos. The guitar tones are heavily distorted and the death metal presented is out of the old school death camps only more fine-tuned to craft an overarching melodic presentation. Influences as cited by vocalist / guitarist Brian Horn include Death, Edge of Sanity, Testament, Entombed, Obituary, Slayer and Sepultura but as already stated, THE FIFTH SUN evokes more of a Swedish melo-death vibe than anything from Tampa or Brazil. The album is consistent in its pummeling attacks and crafts a satisfying rampaging metal stampede with just enough melodic touches to keep the hooks alive. The technical wizardry is actually quite subtle as it mostly revolves around complex key changes, riffs out of place and incessant tempos but nothing crazy in the vein of Death.

While many may consider THE FIFTH SUN very derivative in many ways, the album is actually excellently performed if not in any way original. The musicians deliver a tight-knit set of tracks that doesn’t deviate for a moment throughout the album’s playing time. The guttural growls are wickedly evil sounding and keep this album from sounding too polished and same for the production. A few non-death metal moments emerge to offer some contrast but for the most part it’s a death chug-fest with a few melodic guitar sweeps along the way. For a melo-death album this one is actually quite well executed although THE MOMENT OF TRUTH won’t score high for any groundbreaking moments. Juggling the balance between melo-death and tech death may sound a hard nut to crack, THE FIFTH SUN does a really great job on this even if the overall impression may not blow you away.

melodic death metal movie reviews

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.

Artists with Melodic Death Metal release(s)

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