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 | 113 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.48 | 33 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.38 | 75 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.31 | 69 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.47 | 12 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.52 | 9 ratings
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CARCASS Torn Arteries Album Cover Torn Arteries
CARCASS
4.46 | 11 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Since the Day It All Came Down Album Cover Since the Day It All Came Down
INSOMNIUM
4.36 | 11 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Across the Dark Album Cover Across the Dark
INSOMNIUM
4.39 | 9 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.25 | 18 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.17 | 42 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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The Utopian
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

CARCASS Torn Arteries

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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LightningRider
I don't normally listen to violent albums, but Carcass's ypical lyrics are just barely under the maximum level of lyrical violence I accept when I listen to a new album. I'm familiar with Heartwork and Necroticism, both of which are almost phenomenal. But this album pretty much just feels like a rehash of all of those strengths. Torn Arteries is pretty much Carcass saying, "this is what we do and even though all our best ideas have been used up, we still have good ideas." To be fair, those strengths are still healthy and apparent, allowing for a great balance between technicality, melody and brutality that Carcass is known for, especially in the longer and more progressive songs like "Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited," but every this this album did was already brutally outdone by Carcass's earlier aforementioned albums. Basically, it's a good album almost strictly for Carcass fans.

SOILWORK The Chainheart Machine

Album · 2000 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Chainheart Machine" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Listenable Records in February 2000. It´s the successor to "Steelbath Suicide" from 1998 and features two lineup changes compared to the lineup who recorded the predecessor, as guitarist Ludvig Svartz has been replaced by Ola Frenning and drummer Jimmy "Judas" Persson has been replaced by Henry Ranta. The remaining part of the lineup are Björn "Speed" Strid (vocals), Peter Wichers (guitars), Ola Flink (bass), and Carlos Del Olmo Holmberg (keyboards).

"The Chainheart Machine" was recorded during February 1999 at Studio Fredman with producer Fredrik Nordström, and the sound production is a professional, powerful, and detailed affair, which provides the material on the 9 track, 43:34 minutes long album with the best possible conditions to shine. The rawness of this production is something they would tone down on subsequent releases, and in that regard "The Chainheart Machine" is one of the band´s most heavy, raw, and edgy albums.

Stylistically the material on the album pretty much continues down the same melodic death metal path as the material on "Steelbath Suicide (1998)". The songwriting is just a bit more mature, melodic, and sophisticated, and the band have obviously also become more tight playing. There is a conviction behind the delivery which is pretty impressive considering that Soilwork were still a relatively young act at this point. Strid would introduce clean vocals on the succeeding album release, but on "The Chainheart Machine" he only uses his high pitched screaming/growling vocals.

It´s an album were almost every track on the album deserves to be mentioned as a highlight, but I´d give a special mention to tracks like "Generation Speedkill", "Possessing the Angels", and "Room No 99", just to mention a few of the standout tracks featured on the album. The only minor issue with the album is that the riffing/rhythm style have a tendency to become a bit the same on all tracks (the vocals a bit too actually). So there are both positive and negative consequences of stylistic consistency. Individually the tracks are absolutely killer material though. Hard edged death/thrashy riffing and rhythms, skillfully played melodic guitar solos, and a good understanding of effectful songwriting.

Upon conclusion "The Chainheart Machine" is a high quality sophomore release by Soilwork, showing a positive development of sound. A powerful sounding production and high level musical performances of course aren´t issues either, so my minor issue with one-dimensionality in the songwriting department really aren´t a major problem, and "The Chainheart Machine" is a quality release through and through. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

CARCASS Torn Arteries

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
“For fuck’s sake, give it here and let me show you how to do it properly!” – Carcass to every other melodic death metal band.

OK, this quote is obviously made up, but this is what “Torn Arteries” feels like Carcass is saying to other bands. After all, Carcass gave them the blueprints back in the early 90s. “Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious” showed societal satire could be combined with glorified gore and head kicking metal. And then with “Heartwork” they threw in huge chunks of unexpected melody, mountainous riffs, and a crystal clear yet distinctly deathly sound, and defined a whole new metal sub-genre. The band then got justifiably pissed off with the music business and fucked off for more than a decade. The creaky old zombie was stitched back together in 2007, and since then seems to be on a fairly relaxed album cycle. It’s been 8 years since “Surgical Steel”, and “Torn Arteries” was well and truly worth the wait.

You see, when it comes to melodic death metal, Carcass focuses on the death metal, and the melody comes second, and not the other way round. This is evident right from the first bars of the first track on the album, also the title track. It has a punishing drum intro and then into the trademark riffs. No samples, no atmospheric fucking about, just foot to the floor metal. Yes, there’s melody, but it’s dialled way back and comes more through lead guitars than vocals. It’s the perfect mix of “Necroticism...” and “Heartwork”, but dragged battered and bleeding into the 21st century.

The humour, both philosophic and comedic, drips from almost every track. “Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No.1 in B)” refers to the Mayan goddess of suicide by hanging. “Eleanor Rigor Mortis” has the fastest intro this band has written since 1991, and thankfully has nothing to do with The Beatles song this title parodies.

“Under The Scalpel Blade” seems to be a pointed examination of the cradle-to-grave medical industrial complex, which profits from pain. “The Devil Rides Out” is an anti-Satanism song, but most definitely isn’t pro-Christian, with some evil, twisted riffs, an outro which could almost be a black metal parody. And then just to fuck with you, the intro to “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited” is some gentle acoustic picking… and then the song then smashes into full death metal fury, transforming into a near 10 minute epic. Yeah, they nearly went prog here, but kept it interesting.

From a band which seems to have produced masterpiece after masterpiece (consider “Swansong” a minor blip on the radar), and is justifiably said to have produced the best album of their career each time a new disc drops (yes, skip “Swansong” again), Carcass have done it again. Only the most primitive gore freaks who never moved on from the “Reek of Putrefaction” days could be dissatisfied with this album.

“Torn Arteries” takes everything Carcass has created over the past 35 years and distilled it down to the finest essence du mélodique morte métal. No one else is going to do it better than this.

TEMPLESTOWE Cimmerian

Album · 2009 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Cimmerian" is the debut full-length studio album by Australian death metal act Templestowe. The album was independently released in October 2009. Templestowe were formed in 2007 and disbanded again in 2010, so they were a relatively short lived act, and "Cimmerian" was their only album release.

Stylistically Templestowe play a very melodic type of death metal influenced by artists like In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, and when they are most fast-paced and energetic The Black Dahlia Murder. The latter influence is only heard very seldom though. So the material on the 10 track, 48:17 minutes long album may not be the most unique sounding on the scene (although the band occasionally venture into semi-progressive territories), but Templestowe fully make up for the lack of originality with a convincing and passionate performance. These guys are very well playing/singing and the listener is treated to one powerful riff after another, soaring lead melodies/harmonies, powerful rhythmic playing, and a commanding snarling/growling lead vocalist. Everything just works here and the tracks are also well written and memorable.

"Cimmerian" features a powerful and detailed sound production, so it´s also a high quality release in that department. Considering the high quality of all features on the album, it´s a real shame "Cimmerian" ended up being Templestowe´s sole studio album, because there are clear signs here that something great was in the making. A slightly more unique sound and "Cimmerian" would have reached a highher level of excellence, but as it is "Cimmerian" is still a really strong release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fully deserved (and maybe even a bit too low).

BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT Paint the Sky with Blood

EP · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Paint the Sky with Blood" is an EP release by Finnish melodic death metal act Bodom After Midnight. The EP was released through Napalm Records in April 2021. Bodom After Midnight was formed in 2020 by lead vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho and guitarist Daniel Freyberg after their former act Children of Bodom disbanded. The three tracks featured on "Paint the Sky with Blood" are the only material recorded by the band, and "Paint the Sky with Blood" will be their sole release, as Bodom After Midnight was discontinued after Laiho passed away in December 2020, only 41 years old.

The 14:53 minutes long EP features two original compositions (the title track and "Payback's a Bitch") and a cover of "Where Dead Angels Lie" by Dissection. Anyone familiar with the melodic death metal sound infused with power metal keyboards and neo-classical themes that Children of Bodom more or less produced throughout their long and successful career, won´t find any surprises on this EP, as Bodom After Midnight is a natural successor to Children of Bodom. It´s not surprising as Laiho was always the main composer and leader of Children of Bodom, and he obviously didn´t opt for any changes in sound and style with his new band.

Both "Paint the Sky with Blood" and "Payback's a Bitch" are well composed tracks and the performances are high class all around. The same can be said about "Where Dead Angels Lie", but Bodom After Midnight´s interpretation is almost too true to the original, and it would have been a more interesting cover had the band put their own spin on it. It´s of course still a quality track and well worth the price of admission. The EP is well produced featuring a powerful and sharp sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. If the quality of "Paint the Sky with Blood" is anything to go by, it´s too bad Bodom After Midnight never got the chance to release a full-length studio album and continue the legacy of Children of Bodom, but as things stand we´ll have to settle with the relatively sparse output on this EP. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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