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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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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
4.41 | 108 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
4.47 | 29 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
4.33 | 69 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
4.29 | 63 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
4.43 | 11 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
4.24 | 18 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
4.18 | 32 ratings
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OMNIUM GATHERUM Beyond Album Cover Beyond
4.36 | 9 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
4.21 | 17 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
4.13 | 37 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Above the Weeping World Album Cover Above the Weeping World
4.23 | 13 ratings
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SOILWORK The Living Infinite Album Cover The Living Infinite
4.20 | 16 ratings
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CHILDREN OF BODOM Follow the Reaper

Album · 2000 · Melodic Death Metal
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After two albums with producer Anssi Kippo at the helm, CHILDREN OF BODOM adopted a completely new approach for their third album FOLLOW THE REAPER after choosing Hypocrisy lead singer Peter Tägtgrten to be the next producer after touring with his band in 1998. The band headed to Sweden’s Abyss Studios where Tägtgrten steered the band in a more polished direction. Firstly the band who had already forged a unique blend of neoclassical infused power metal along with death metal and other extreme metal genera focused more on the power metal side of the equation which allowed the once subordinate keyboard runs of Janne Wirman to become an integral part of the band’s overall sound.

FOLLOW THE REAPER focused on harder driving neoclassical melodies still inspired by Mozart but less in your face and sharpened with the instruments playing more independent roles making this third album a much more focused offering in comparison to the previous two albums. Likewise Tägtgrten trained Alexi Laiho to make better use of his raspy guttural growls thus giving him a more controlled style that could span out in a greater range. The album is notorious for various mixing jobs due to the band’s dissatisfaction but the overall effect is an extremely professional sounding extreme metal album that continues the band’s stylistic approach laid out on the debut album “Something Wild.”

CHILDREN OF BODOM came of age with FOLLOW THE REAPER and not only did the album soar to the top of the Finnish charts but also found a positive reception outside of the band’s homeland. Some critics even referred to the album as black metal with the happiest keyboards ever but still uncompromisingly brutal and to be honest that does sort of sum it up. The album is relentless with wickedly brutal guitar, bass and drum performances crafting power metal melodies only infused with neoclassical shredding tradeoffs between the guitar and keyboards only much more refined than the previous offerings. Likewise the keyboard acts as a fourth instrument with independent riffing roles that craft creative counterpoints whereas on the first two albums it remained somewhat in the background for atmospheric effects with occasional soloing outbursts.

With FOLLOW THE REAPER, the band toured the world extensively and experienced a warm welcome due to the album’s extremely strong melodic hooks augmented with a power metal bombast that was contrasted by death, black and metal elements that no other band had really put together in such a way before. As well as the aforementioned changes that solidified the band’s established sound, the compositions on FOLLOW THE REAPER are simply stronger and more varied than before however the neoclassical elements had been tamped down a bit in favor of stronger power metal displays that showcased the guitar and keyboard shredding in completely new ways. To give the album a darker feel, the instruments were set down to D tuning and Laiho’s vocals seem as strong as ever.

With another cover of the Grim Reaper designed by Canadian artists Graham French, the band had also established a visual continuity much like Iron Maiden did with its Eddie album covers with this one’s primary backing color set to stark blue something unusual for metal album covers of the day. For my money, FOLLOW THE REAPER is my pick for favorite CHILDREN OF BODOM album although each album shares the same extraordinary musicianship led by the guitar wizard Alexi Laiho with strong melodic hooks and rampaging metal orotundity. Personally i just find the dynamics to be better mixed and the compositions are nearly perfect with only a few moments of tedium seeping in. When i have the hankering to get my deathened power metal fix, this album is usually the one i head to.


Album · 1999 · Melodic Death Metal
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CHILDREN OF BODOM caught the metal off guard by doing the unthinkable of mixing neoclassical power metal with elements of death metal, thrash metal and even atmospheric black metal with its debut “Something Wild.” The band found its own distinct sound right out of the gate and one that would launch the band as one of Finland’s greatest metal sensations having topped the charts with four albums in a row but that would come later. At this stage in 1999, bandleader / guitarist / lead vocalist Alexi Laiho was still nurturing that perfect stylistic fusion that wouldn’t totally gel until the band’s third album “Follow The Reaper,” however this sophomore effort HATEBREEDER ramped up the energetic level a bit as well as brought he Mozart inspired neoclassical shredding closer to the forefront.

Originally this album was supposed to be titled “Toward Dead End” but midway through the recording process that began in 1998, the band members decided the title should be changed and the winner was HATEBREEDER which continued the band’s career long tradition of featuring the Grim Reaper on the album cover with a different primary color schematic in this case the distinct green background. The band released the single “Downfall” two weeks before the album’s release which hit #1 on the Finnish charts and propelled the album to gold status in the band’s homeland but at this point CHILDREN OF BODOM hadn’t quite become the international sensation that it would become despite touring with bands like Dimmu Borgir in support of the debut.

HATEBREEDER pretty much followed in the footsteps of “Something Wild” only with more attention to the neoclassical Mozart inspired melodies along with faster tempos, heavier metal rampage and an increased focus on the technical shredding tradeoffs of Laiho’s guitar and Janne Wirman’s keyboard heft. The album was also praised for the unique vocal style that could be described as existing somewhere between the guttural growls of death metal and the raspiness of black metal. The vocals in tandem with the primary power metal style infused with elements form many metal subgenera continued CHILDREN OF BODOM’s unique format that would bring them into the international limelight as the millennial odometer geared closer to a new century.

While CHILDREN OF BODOM’s style is pretty much present on all their releases, it’s all about the subtleties that differentiate them. HATEBREEDER provides a transition where the neoclassical elements would become more prominent although not as in your face as they would become starting with “Follow The Reaper.” The beauty of CHILDREN OF BODOM is that the band caught the melodic vitality of 80s heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest only with the power metal heft of bands like Helloween and Iced Earth along with the darker elements of the more extreme corner of the metal world in both atmosphere and thematic presentation. Overall HATEBREEDER is an excellent consistent flow of one satisfying energetic track after another that features some of WIrman’s most unique keyboard contributions, a trait that would only amplify on subsequent releases.


Album · 1997 · Melodic Death Metal
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Starting out as Inearthed in Espoo, Finland, CHILDREN OF BODOM formed by guitarist ALex Laiho (R.I.P.) and drummer Jaska Raatikainen would go on to become one of Finland’s most successful metal bands with a string of gold albums. Starting out in 1993, the fledgling Inearthed existed for five years influenced by death metal bands such as Entombed, Cannibal Corpse and Obituary but with the arrival of Janne Warmann on keyboards, the band reinvented itself and emerged as one of the first examples of death metal and power metal fusion. The world would never be the same!

Having developed a unique sound that took several competing metal styles and forcing them to play together, Inearthed was forced to change its name before a recording contract for Spineform Records and after a random perusal through the phone book settled on Lake Bodom which was the scene of some murders. After some reworking, CHILDREN OF BODOM had arrived and released the debut album SOMETHING WILD In 1997 which at the time sounded like nothing else. Death metal didn’t take long to splinter off into a million categories but once thrash metal split into death metal and power metal, the two sort of became the antithesis of each other until CHILDREN OF BODOM changed all that.

Mostly tagged as melodic death metal, SOMETHING WILD comes across more of a power metal album with death metal elements therefore a deathened power metal album that showcases neoclassical wizardry, fast tempos, Iron Maiden inspired gallops and highly melodic tunes leaving only the growly vocals and blastbeats to really bring any death metal attributes to the table. The album showcased the guitar virtuosity of Laiho who has been labeled as one of Finland’s all time greatest guitarists however Warmann’s keyboard wizardry is also of an equal caliber with frenetic soloing tradeoffs that are highlighted on the Slayer cover “Silent Scream” that is included as a bonus track on some CDs.

Added to the aggressive mix of melodic power metal and death metal grit, SOMETHING WILD also features an interesting black metal atmosphere which possibly was gleaned from touring with Dimmu Borgir. There are also moments of thrash metal attacks and many moments of good old fashioned 80s heavy metal coming through in the mix. The music is really quite unclassifiable as it wriggles around through various stylistic moments but its’ perhaps the neoclassical underpinnings most apparent by the Mozart inspired intro of “Red Light In My Eyes Pt 2” that defines the CHILDREN OF BODOM sound.

This is one of the bands that seems to get a lot a hate. Purists of both death metal and power metal find CHILDREN OF BODOM to be an unthinkable bastardization of two classic metal styles but for those of us who aren’t so hung up on genre purities, i personally find this music to be quite fascinating in how it manages to juggle all these disparate stylistic effects and fuse them together to proficiently. CHILDREN OF BODOM truly hit the ground running and propelled themselves to the top fo the melo-death tiers with this eclectic and energetic mix of extreme metal styles. While i can’t say CHILDREN OF BODOM has ever topped my list of favorite all-time metal bands, i am always in awe of the musicianship on display and the maturity of the compositions. Excellent debut.

SOILWORK A Whisp of the Atlantic

EP · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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"A Whisp Of The Atlantic" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast in December 2020. It´s the follow-up release to the band´s 11th full-length studio album "Verkligheten" from January 2019, although the "Underworld" EP from June 2019 bridges the gap between the two releases. There has been one lineup change since the release of "Verkligheten (2019)" as bassist Taylor Nordberg has left. He has not been replaced here and the bass parts are therefore recorded by guitarist David Andersson. "A Whisp Of The Atlantic" features 5 tracks and total playing time of 36:52 minutes, which makes it longer than some album releases although it´s labelled an EP, so there is a lot of quantity for the money (I´ll get to the quality a little later).

Stylistically Soilwork play a melodic death metal/heavy metal style, featuring intricate melodic lead- and harmony guitar lines, an energetic and powerful playing rhythm section, atmosphere enchancing keyboards, and Björn "Speed" Strid´s raw snarling vocals and clean vocals complimenting each other. What sets the EP apart from other Soilwork releases is predominantly the song length and progressive structure of the 16:31 minutes long title track. This is something completely new in the world of Soilwork, which is a band where most tracks feature a rather formulaic vers/chorus structure and it´s definitely a breath of fresh air to hear them try something new. They´ve dipped their toes in progressive territories a few times before in the past, but never to this extent and definitely not with a long track like "A Whisp Of The Atlantic".

This could easily have been a forced attempt at creating a long progressive track, but fortunately Soilwork have managed to write a greatly intriguing composition, with many different sections, atmospheres, tempo changes, and even excursions into completely different musical territories like the semi-jazzy part on the track and the use of instruments like cello and flugelhorn. The remaining four tracks on the EP are also very well written compositions. "The Nothingness and the Devil" features an infectious melodic heavy metal riff and memorable vocal melodies and "Feverish" is also quite the brilliant track. I like the way they play blastbeats while Strid sings a melodic clean vocal line. The contrast of fast-paced brutality and melodic sweetness works perfectly. To my ears "Desperado" and "Death Diviner" are less interesting tracks. They are still high quality compositions, but they don´t stand out as much, and when you know what Soilwork can produce when they set their mind to it, I´m afraid those two tracks come off a little more standard in quality. Standard quality in the world of Soilwork is still way above what most other artists are able to produce on their best days mind this is ultimately a minor critique.

"A Whisp Of The Atlantic" features a clear, powerful, and detailed sound production, which does exactly what the best sound productions are meant to do...enchance the listening experience and make the material shine. So upon conclusion "A Whisp Of The Atlantic" is yet another high quality release by Soilwork and the band successfully manage to further develop on their signature sound here, which is a great sign for an experienced act like Soilwork. No stagnation in sight here. It actually feels like something new is about to happen. A shift of gears or musical approach maybe. I´m excited, and I hope Soilwork don´t blow this chance to broaden their musical horizon and experiment with their sound on the next releases. Because what they have done here is certainly promising. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.


Album · 2003 · Melodic Death Metal
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"Unhallowed" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Michigan based death metal act The Black Dahlia Murder. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in June 2003. The Black Dahlia Murder was formed in 2001 and released two demos and the "A Cold-Blooded Epitaph" EP before releasing "Unhallowed". The band are named after the infamous 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short (who was nicknamed "The Black Dahlia" by the press).

Stylistically the material on the 10 track, 36:30 minutes long album is melodic death metal with both high pitched screaming vocals and deeper growling vocals. Both vocal styles courtesy of lead vocalist Trevor Strnad. The music is highly energetic and predominantly very fast-paced and there is a good balance between the melodic and the brutal elements of the band´s sound. While there are clear nods toward Swedish melodic death metal, and especially an act like At the Gates comes to mind, The Black Dahlia Murder incorporate other musical elements, which ultimately mean they have their own relatively unique sound. The atmosphere of the album is dark and the horror tinged lyrics further enhance the gloomy yet also somewhat uplifting melodic tinged mood of the release. It´s an interesting combination of melody and energetic death metal brutality.

The musicianship is generally very impressive. High level performances on all posts and a convincing and passionate delivery of the music earn them plus points in my book. "Unhallowed" is also well produced, featuring a raw, powerful, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. The high quality of the product is actually a bit baffling considering that "Unhallowed" is a debut album, but there is a very little here to mention as issues. Maybe the songwriting could have been slightly more varied and as a result the tracks could have been a bit easier to tell apart, but it´s not a major issue, and "Unhallowed" is a high quality release through and through. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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AMON AMARTH Wrath of the Norsemen

Movie · 2006 · Melodic Death Metal
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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.

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