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
4.38 | 118 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.44 | 40 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.38 | 82 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.31 | 75 ratings
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CARCASS Torn Arteries Album Cover Torn Arteries
CARCASS
4.35 | 20 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.48 | 11 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.37 | 15 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.24 | 21 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.18 | 42 ratings
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
IN FLAMES
4.17 | 46 ratings
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.24 | 19 ratings
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CORMORANT Metazoa Album Cover Metazoa
CORMORANT
4.39 | 9 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

SOILWORK Stabbing the Drama

Album · 2005 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Stabbing the Drama" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2005. It´s the successor to "Figure Number Five" from 2003 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Henry Ranta has been replaced by Belgian drummer Dirk Verbeuren.

Stylistically "Stabbing the Drama" marks a slight change in musical direction as it features quite a few chugging start/stop type rhythm guitar riffs, a more polished vers/chorus songwriting formula (the polish amplified by the use of keyboards), and a generally more heavy groove laden playing style. So the album features a strong metalcore influence, although it´s still in some ways a melodic death metal release (the album generally features few harmony leads though). The change in style came gradually over the course of the last couple of albums, but on "Stabbing the Drama" the change was complete. Most tracks on the album feature a similar style (the style described above) but "Blind Eye Halo" stands out from the remaining tracks for being fast-paced and aggressive. Other than being different it´s not a particularly standout track though.

I´d mention tracks like the title track and maybe "Distance" as some of the highlights, but "Stabbing the Drama" is overall a consistent quality release. The songwriting is solid, the musicianship is on a high level on all posts, and the sound production is clear, polished, and powerful. The icing on the cake is as always lead vocalist Björn Strid, who performs both aggressive shouting raw vocals and clean vocals with conviction and great passion.

So upon conclusion "Stabbing the Drama" is a good quality release, but when that is said, it is one of the least remarkable releases in the band´s discography and the metalcore influences/elements of the sound sometimes come off a little generic, and if I should be a little provocative in my critique, I could accuse Soilwork of jumping on the very successful contemporary metalcore bandwagon by using those elements, but on the other hand, it was maybe just time to try something new. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

DETHKLOK The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera

Album · 2013 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera" is the 4th full-length studio album by US metal act Dethklok. The album was released through BS Records in October 2013. It´s the successor to "Dethalbum III" from 2012. The core lineup still consists of the two-piece Brendon Small who performs vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, voice-overs, and handles production and prolific drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Testament, Fear Factory...etc.). This time around there are several guest/sessions musicians featured, including a 50 piece orchestra under the direction of Bear McCreary, and quite a few guest vocalists. Dethklok is a virtual band concept created for the animated tv-series "Metalocalypse", and "The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera" is a soundtrack to a "Metalocalypse" special of the same name. The album works a lot like a rock opera/Broadway musical without the visuals.

Rock/metal operas featuring orchestras/choirs can be a bit of an aquired taste. Sometimes touching cheesy Broadway musical territories, but sometimes thankfully staying in more tasteful environements. Not surprisingly the material on "The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera" is generally in the harder end of the musical spectrum, but other times it´s maybe a bit more surprising actually rather close to sounding like something out of "Cats" or something in that vein (a much harder edged version that is). Small is definitely a classically trained composer, and his scores are professionally done (just listen to the 23:23 minutes long classical music bonus track "The Doomstar Orchestra" for proof of that) and he makes them work well with the rock/metal orchestration and vocals. Dethklok are usually labelled a melodic death metal act, but the death metal part of the band´s sound is toned down considerably on "The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera", and this is more a symphonic metal release with the occasional nod towards the extreme part of the metal scene. So while there are death metal vocals featured on the album, the many guest vocalists predominantly perform various types of clean vocals. Among the guest vocalists who perform on the album are Jack Black, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), and none other than Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.

The plot is as crazy as ever when dealing with the "Metalocalypse" tv-series. It´s like a heavy metal version of a Terry Pratchett novel or something similarly weird and out there. The story includes an abduction, a rescue mission, an assassin, drug addicts, old groupies, a group of failed musicians angry at Dethklok, a dreamlike sequence featuring a guitar duel, and of course our heavy metal band heroes of Dethklok as the unwilling protagonists...and that´s just the half of it. I can strongly recommend reading the lyrics while listening to the album (they are both fun and a little silly, but definitely entertaining), as the musical transitions and different stylistic elements used, make much more sense when combined with the lyric sheet.

"The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera" is well produced and features a professional, clear, and detailed sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Upon conclusion it´s through and through a high quality release. The songwriting is intriguing and clever, the musicianship is on a high level, and the interaction between the classical orchestra and the rock/heavy metal band instrumentation and vocals are effectful. You´ll have to be able to enjoy a crazy concept plot and occasionally equally crazy vocal styles/moments, but if that´s not a problem, then "The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera" is highly recommendable. It´s a bold release and pretty different from Dethklok´s previous releases, but it´s just as entertaining and definitely a worthy part of the band´s discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SOILWORK Underworld

EP · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Underworld" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast in June 2019. It´s the follow-up release to the band´s 11th full-length studio album "Verkligheten" from 2019, and the EP features 4 tracks recorded during the sessions for "Verkligheten (2019)" which didn´t make it unto the album (or maybe a seperate session afterwards, because it looks like bassist Taylor Nordberg who plays on the album isn´t credited here). All 4 tracks were however included on the limited special edition of "Verkligheten (2019)". So to those who already own the special edition of the full-length album, "Underworld" is a redundant release.

Stylistically the 4 tracks on the 19:50 minutes long EP are in the signature melodic death/heavy metal style of Soilwork, so there are not many surprises here. If you enjoy the last couple of Soilwork albums, the material featured here will probably also please your ears. Both "Summerburned and Winterblown" and "Needless and Kin" are high quality Soilwork tracks, but the two other tracks on the EP are slightly less interesting and of a more standard quality for the band. That doesn´t mean they are bad quality tracks, just that they aren´t up to par with the best material Soilwork are able to produce.

"Underworld" features a clear, powerful, and detailed sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly and paired with the predominantly strong songwriting and skilled musicianship, it´s another high quality release by Soilwork. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

INTESTINE BAALISM An Anatomy of the Beast

Album · 1997 · Melodic Death Metal
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SilentScream213
Although Intestine Baalism were one of the first significant Death Metal bands from Japan, they sound more like something straight out of Sweden. Dismember and Entombed influence runs rampant in this unholy union of brilliant Melodeath leads and pummeling OSDM riffage. Combining the best of both worlds, the band ensures every track has some fantastic leads that make them memorable and discernable from each other, without ever sacrificing brutality or darkness.

The vast majority of this album is straight up Death Metal, and the lyrics check out. Occultic ramblings of sacrifice and violation paint a picture of a twisted and godforsaken underworld, and the music similarly oozes an evil urgency. Even the melodic aspects of this album are much further towards the “evil” end of the spectrum than Melodeath tends to be. It’s clear here that the band enjoyed and was influenced by OSDM more than anything, but their penchant for writing melodic, memorable leads just happened to be smacked right into the middle of it. Which is actually typical of Japanese-style music; which tend to be on the more melodic side, when not going into full blown Avant-Garde territory.

Everything the album sets out to do, it achieves and does well. Even the acoustic interlude is nicely done. Not a weak moment here, no songs that aren’t amazing.

CARCASS Captive Bolt Pistol

Single · 2013 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Captive Bolt Pistol" is a two-track single release by UK death metal act Carcass. The single was released through Nuclear Blast in August 2013. It was released to promote the release of the band´s September 2013 comeback album "Surgical Steel". "Captive Bolt Pistol" is featured as track number 10 on "Surgical Steel" and appears here in the exact same version as on the album. "Intensive Battery Brooding" is on the other hand an exclusive track, and obviously an outtake from the "Surgical Steel" sessions. It would subsequently be included on the November 2014 "Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel" EP, which features leftover tracks from the "Surgical Steel" sessions.

"Captive Bolt Pistol" is a fast, sharp, and brutal death metal track, which is reminiscent of the early- mid-90s output by Carcass. "Intensive Battery Brooding" is a heavy track featuring more traditional heavy metal elements. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) 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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