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.

melodic death metal top albums

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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.38 | 103 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.47 | 25 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.33 | 60 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.26 | 60 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.26 | 29 ratings
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SOILWORK The Living Infinite Album Cover The Living Infinite
SOILWORK
4.34 | 12 ratings
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SCAR SYMMETRY The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity) Album Cover The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)
SCAR SYMMETRY
4.38 | 9 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.38 | 9 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.26 | 15 ratings
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AMON AMARTH Surtur Rising Album Cover Surtur Rising
AMON AMARTH
4.17 | 29 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.14 | 32 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY Fiction Album Cover Fiction
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.16 | 20 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

AMON AMARTH Berserker

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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DippoMagoo
When talking about the best melodic death metal bands in the world, one band that should always be mentioned is Swedish Viking themed band Amon Amarth. They’ve been around since the early 90’s, and while other big names in the genre have gone through some ups and downs, as well as long periods of downtime, in some cases, these guys have been consistently putting out great albums their entire career, never going more than three years in between releases. Their previous release, Jomsviking, was particularly impressive, as it was an epic concept album, with a slight narrative angle to it, while still delivering their typical brand of melodic yet intense melodeath. Three years later, they’re back once again with their eleventh full length release, Berserker, and while few could blame them if they were to put out a less impressive effort, following such a strong release, the band has once again delivered and produced possibly their absolute best batch of songs to date!

Compared to Jomsviking, Berserker is a much more straight-forward, more in your face kind of album, with the focus put entirely on unleashing one killer song after another, which is exactly what the band has done. It definitely has all the signature elements of the band, with a ton of fast paced, headbanging melodeath fun, as well as some more epic mid paced stompers, a slower, almost power ballad like track, an epic closer, and of course there’s a ton of violent Viking imagery, as always. On the surface, the album may seem to be a “Greatest Hits” of sorts, and that isn’t entirely inaccurate, as there certainly is a feel that the band is combining all their best elements and throwing them onto one album, but there’s also some surprises to be found, including a nice acoustic section to open the album, as well as the aforementioned rather surprising track, and a few other little touches. Performances are obviously amazing all around, with duo guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg delivering some awesome riffs and melodies, while drummer Jocke Wallgreen is on point with some epic grooves, and of course, vocalist Johan Hegg unleashes his usual epic, deep death growls, which sound as impressive as ever. Sound production is also flawless and crystal clear, as always, with everything sounding perfect.

Songwriting has always been a strength for Amon Amarth, with all their albums having their share of killer tracks, though if anything, Berserker is even more impressive than usual, as none of its tracks are anything short of absolutely amazing! First up is the incredible opener, “Fafnir’s Gold”, which starts off with a nice acoustic intro for about 35 seconds, before some melodic guitar leads take over, and then after about a minute, the full band is in action, and the track charges ahead at a frantic pace, and turns into the kind of epic, speedy and hard hitting opener fans of the band have come to expect. It has a perfect mix of hard hitting riffs during the verses, and some great melodies to accompany Johan Hegg during the epic chorus. Next is second single “Crack the Sky”, a more mid paced track, with some nice grooves, as well as some excellent drumming. It gallops along at a decent pace, with some excellent lead guitar work, as well as Johan’s typically powerful growls, and then the chorus is insanely catchy and melodic, and is sure to become a fan favourite, while the melodic guitar solo in the second half is also amazing. After that is another fun, speedy track in “Mjölner, Hammer of Thor”, a heavy, guitar driven track, which moves at a frantic pace, alternating nicely between heavy and very melodic guitar work. Instrumentally, it’s one of those tracks that shows that the band could be an amazing power metal band, if not for the growls, but as is, it’s an amazing melodeath track, with a fun chorus, fun verses, and awesome instrumental work all around, as well as some cool hammer sound effects, for good measure.

The first real slower track on the album is “Shield Wall”, an absolutely brutal, yet epic and powerful track, with some very hard hitting riffs. It has a more modernised sound to it, with some very chunky yet awesome riffs, and Johan is at his absolute most intense, especially during the heavy and epic chorus. It’s definitely one of the band’s heavier tracks, yet it still has some nice melodies, as well, especially in the middle, and it’s an awesome track overall. On the lighter side, “Valkyria” is another more mid paced track, with some lighter, more melodic guitar work, while still being pretty epic and intense. It has some very nice melodic guitar leads throughout, as well as a nice chorus and fun verses, and it has a really cool atmospheric outro. Next is lead single “Raven’s Flight”, and it’s another standout, flawlessly alternating between speedy and slower passages, as well as some epic galloping riffs, excellent melodic guitar work, and some very heavy riffs. It has a very catchy and epic chorus, very fun verses, and awesome instrumental work, throughout, as well as a ton of tempo changes, all of which help make it an unforgettable track.

Following that absolute monster of a track, the album goes into slightly lighter territory for a while, starting with “Ironside”, another more mid paced track. It has some great riffs, but it’s the melodic guitar work, epic melodies and vocals that carry the track. It’s a very epic, very melodic track, with an amazing chorus, great lyrics and an incredible performance by Johan. Even softer than that is “The Berserker at Stamford Bridge”, an ultra-rare power ballad for the band, and it’s a bloody good one! It opens with some very epic melodic guitar work, and continues along with just that, vocals and some very light percussion for a while, before full drums appear during the chorus, and then the full sound kicks in shortly after that, for a heavy, yet melodic and very powerful track. It has an epic chorus, more epic lyrics and another incredible vocal performance, as well as some epic instrumental sections in the second half. It’s a pretty surprising track overall, and it may not win everyone over at first, but it’s a definite grower. On the slightly speedier, but still fairly light end of things is “When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails”, another track dominated by light, melodic guitar work, and epic vocals. It moves along at a nice pace, with some great riffs and beautiful melodies, and it’s another epic, and very melodic track, with an excellent chorus.

The heaviness gets kicked up several notches again for the remainder of the album, starting with “Skoll and Hati”, a fast and furious track, with some very hard hitting lead guitar work, frantic drums, and intense vocals. It’s the kind of speedy, aggressive track the band excels at, while still having some awesome melodies. In similar territory is “Wings of Eagles”, another ultra-fast, very heavy track with some excellent riffs, fast paced drumming, and a great melodic chorus. The chorus in particular is one of the band’s best, most epic in quite some time, and the track is amazing overall. Closing out the album is the mini epic “Into the Dark”, which starts out with some slight symphonic elements, before settling into a nice groove, with light, melodic guitar work, and then after a while some heavier riffs kick in, and the track turns into a mid-paced, very heavy track, more epic guitar work and amazing vocals. It’s yet another track which strikes a perfect balance between heavy and melodic passages, with Johan being softer at points, while being very intense at other points. It’s an epic track on its own, and an excellent closer.

Amon Amarth show no signs of letting up any time soon, and if anything, Berserker may be their best release yet, with a perfect mix of everything they’ve been known for in the past, as well as some small surprises here and there. It’s definitely one of their most energetic, most consistently entertaining releases, with an amazing flow, going from one killer track to another, and it has a perfect mix of fast, mid paced and slower tracks, while striking a perfect balance between heavy and melodic. It’s easily the best melodeath album I’ve heard in recent years, and it feels like the band is at the absolute top of their game right now. Long-time fans should be very pleased, while any melodeath fan who’s somehow never heard of the band before, could do no better than to check this album out right away, as it’s an absolute masterpiece!

originally written for myglobalmind.com:https://myglobalmind.com/2019/04/26/amon-amarth-berserker-review/

IN FLAMES Subterranean

EP · 1995 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Subterranean" is an EP release by Swedish melodic death metal act In Flames. The EP was released through Wrong Again Records in June 1995 and bridges the gap between the band´s debut and second full-length studio albums "Lunar Strain (1994)" and "The Jester Race (1996)". Just as the case was on "Lunar Strain" band founder and guitarist Jesper Strömblad hadn´t yet found a stabile lineup and therefore Henke Forss from Dawn performs vocals. The drums are this time around played by sessions musicians Anders Jivarp (plays on "Subterranean" and "Biosphere") and Daniel Erlandsson (plays on the remaining tracks). Guitarist Carl Näslund has left the band, so besides Jesper Strömblad, it´s only guitarist Glenn Ljungström and bassist Johan Larsson, who are left from the lineup who recorded the debut album.

The 5 tracks on the 21:46 minutes long EP continue the melodic death metal style which was initiated on "Lunar Strain (1994)". The music features loads of harmony guitar themes and leads, aggressive and rather high pitched growling vocals (or blackened growling if you will), an epic atmosphere, and the occasional nod towards folk. The rhythms are relatively varied, and there are acoustic sections in the music too, so it´s a pretty dynamic release. In terms of style and consistency "Subterranean" flows really well.

The musicianship is on a high level throughout and the EP is relatively well produced too, although there are some issues with the acoustic sections being too high in the mix compared to the the distorted sections. That was an issue on "Lunar Strain (1994)" too, but the production is still raw, powerful, and detailed as required for this type of music.

So upon conclusion "Subterranean" is the natural successor to "Lunar Strain (1994)". It´s a bit of a case of more of the same, as there hasn´t been much development of sound since "Lunar Strain (1994)", but in this case it´s not an issue, as the material is as strong as it is. Combined with the high level musicianship, and a suiting raw sound production, the outcome is strong. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

NOTHNEGAL Decadence

Album · 2012 · Melodic Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Despite being located in the middle of the Indian Ocean almost 1000 km from the Asian continent south of India and Sri Lanka and with a population that doesn’t even exceed 500,000, the atoll rich nation of the Maldives has produced more than its share of extreme metal bands which is usually not the case for a nation with a predominantly Muslim population. Coming from the capital city of Malé (which is a trip to see as it’s literally a city filled with skyscrapers contained on a tiny island) is the melodic death metal band NOTHNEGAL which was formed by guitarist Hilari after leaving the band The Mortuary.

After a few personal changes and the release of the 2010 self released demo “Antidote of Realism,” the band resulted in the current lineup of Alfan (lead vocals), Fufu (lead vocals, lead guitar), Hilari (lead guitar), Battery (bass), Marco Sneck (keyboardist Kalmah, Poisonblack ) and Keven Talley (drummer, percussionist of Six Feet Under, Dååth, Chimaira, Dying Fetus and Misery). Somehow the band attracted the attention of the famous Finnish producer Anssi Kippo who has worked with heavy hitters such as Children of Bodom and Norther amongst others and he produced the band’s debut album DECADENCE which won several awards in their homeland as well as finding them on tour in Europe with bands like Finntroll, Samuel and Rotting Christ.

DECADENCE is a modern melodic death headbanger that cranks out groovy Fear Factory type riffing and pummeling drum antics along with an audible bass that distinguishes itself as well as the shouted death growls but what really stands out are the loads of keyboard effects that add eerie atmospheres and give the album touch of industrial feel. Despite emerging from one of the most foremost tropical paradises where the sun is a plenty and the seas around are the most beautiful shades of blue, this should sound like an exotic specimen of metal with some kind of indigenous touches but that’s not the case at all. In fact it would be impossible to distinguish this band from any other similar styled melo-death band from Europe or the US.

Overall DECADENCE is a well performed and excellently produced album that ticks off all the right attributes for its subgenre of choice but what’s lacking are memorable compositions. For melodic music, the melodies aren’t really catchy enough to distinguish themselves from each other and the album suffers from a bit of sameness after it’s done, however it’s a compelling example of how extreme metal has blossomed in the most unlikely places that many haven’t even heard of. I mean, anyone been to the Maldives lately? True that the last two tracks change things up with some clean vocals but i don’t find it works out too well. Despite the lack of variation, the electronic effects are what saves this one from falling into the bland generic mode as they tend to give more independent form to an otherwise by the book melo-death approach. Impressive how the band emerged from nowhere and got noticed. Hopefully a better followup will emerge.

SOILWORK Verkligheten

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Verkligheten" (which is the Swedish word for "Reality") is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2019. It´s the successor to "The Ride Majestic" from 2015, although the 2016 compilation album "Death Resonance" bridges the gap between the two album releases. There have been two lineup changes since "The Ride Majestic (2015)" as drummer Dirk Verbeuren has left to join Megadeth and has been replaced by Bastian Thusgaard and bassist Markus Wibom has been replaced by Taylor Nordberg.

Stylistically "Verkligheten" is the sound of Soilwork through and through. Melodic death metal in the most accessible and polished end of the scale. Labelling the music death metal is sometimes actually a bit misleading, although there definitely are some pretty hard edged and even semi-brutal moments on the album (but they are few and far between). Other parts are so catchy and accessible though that we are closer to pop/rock melodic territory than we are to metal and there are also several of the riffs and rhythms on the album which are hard rock and heavy metal influenced rather than death and thrash metal oriented. Soilwork are however incredibly skilled composers who are able to combine all the sounds and influences into a sound that is unmistakably their own.

If you´re familiar with any of the predecing releases (maybe except for the first two which are harder edged), it´ll take you two seconds after lead vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid sings his first words, to identify that it is Soilwork you are listening to. While remaining relatively consistent Soilwork have still managed to develop and refine their sound over the years and continue to do so on "Verkligheten".

There are several standout tracks on the album and only a couple of quality "fillers". Highlights to my ears are tracks like the powerful "Arrival", "Bleeder Despoiler" (the start/stop riffs throughout the song are really great), and the ultra melodic "Full Moon Shoals" (where Strid reaches a new level of melodic excellence), but "Stålfågel" (which features some very well delivered clean female vocals by Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy), the hard edged "The Wolves Are Back in Town", and the closing "You Aquiver" are also tracks which stand out.

"Verkligheten" also features a top notch sound production, and upon conclusion it´s yet another high quality release by Soilwork. It´s quite frankly amazing they are able to continue releasing albums of this quality and what is even more amazing is that they are still capable of challenging themselves as songwriters while still maintaining a signature sound this far into their career. Soilwork are one of those artists where lineup changes haven´t always been a bad thing, as the lineup changes have often meant that the band have been able to take their music in different directions (in small steps). Always under the musical guidance of Strid though which has ensured continuety. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

NECROPHOBIC Mark Of The Necrogram

Album · 2018 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Mark Of The Necrogram" is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish melodic black metal/blackened death metal act Necrophobic. The album was released through Century Media Records in February 2018. It´s the successor to "Womb of Lilithu" from 2013, and as the case also was between the release of "Death to All (2009)" and "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", there have been quite a few lineup changes between the release of "Womb of Lilithu (2013)" and "Mark Of The Necrogram". Guitarists Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergebäck, who left before the recording sessions for "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", have now returned and have replaced Fredrik Folkare and Tobias Sidegård. Sidegård also performed lead vocals on "Womb of Lilithu (2013)", and his lead vocalist spot is taken by Anders Strokirk on "Mark Of The Necrogram". The only two remaining members from the last album are drummer Joakim Sterner and bassist Alex Friberg.

Despite the many lineup shuffles in the band´s history, they have remained surprisingly consistent in sound and in the quality of their output. This is a band with a signature sound and they stick to it. Sure they´ve evolved slightly over the years, and their albums don´t sound exactly the same (although there are many similar features on all releases), but there is a strong musical vision which Necrophobic have remained true to throughout their career. Occult/anti-Christian themed melodic death/black metal. Contemporary artists like Dissection and Unanimated are valid references. So it´s especially the vocals which are a blackened snarl, while the instrumental part of the music is closer to melodic death metal (of the darker and most raw kind).

"Mark Of The Necrogram" pretty much continues down the same path Necrophobic have travelled for many years, and there aren´t any surprises to be found on the album. The material is well written melodic blackened death metal and you can pick any track from the album and call it a quality track in the style. Like most Necrophobic albums, "Mark Of The Necrogram" become a bit of a one-dimensional listen only a couple of tracks into the album though, which isn´t a major issue, but it´s still an issue that the band aren´t able to vary their songwriting and sound more than they do. The whole album more or less passes by without any particular standout moments to hold on to and mention afterwards. So consistency can both be a strength and a weakness, and if you crave album variation it´s definitely a weakness in this case.

"Mark Of The Necrogram" features a professional and well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, and the musicianship is also on a high level on all posts, so upon conclusion it´s another quality melodic blackended death metal release by Necrophobic. The above mentioned lack of variation brings my rating down a little, but it´s still a strong release in the genre and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

melodic death metal movie reviews

AMON AMARTH Wrath of the Norsemen

Movie · 2006 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

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