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 | 119 ratings
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CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.38 | 83 ratings
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DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
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4.43 | 41 ratings
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AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
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4.31 | 78 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.48 | 12 ratings
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CARCASS Torn Arteries Album Cover Torn Arteries
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4.35 | 20 ratings
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INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.37 | 15 ratings
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AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
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4.17 | 43 ratings
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INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
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IN FLAMES Colony Album Cover Colony
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DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
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4.24 | 19 ratings
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melodic death metal Music Reviews

AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes

Album · 1994 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Tales From the Thousand Lakes" is the second full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Amorphis. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in Finland, through Relapse Records in the US, and through Nuclear Blast Records in Europe in September 1994. It´s the successor to "The Karelian Isthmus" from 1992 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player Kasper Mårtenson has been added to the ranks, making Amorphis a quintet on this release. "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" proved to be a huge commercial success for the band and the label, and it kickstarted Amorphis international career.

While "The Karelian Isthmus (1992)" certainly is a decent quality Scandinavian styled death metal album, it´s not an album which stands out much on the scene, and had Amorphis continued down that path it´s doubtful they would have been able to make such a long and successful career from playing music. Stylistically "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" may retain some of the Scandinavian old school death metal elements of its predecessor, but Amorphis add a great deal of melody, ethnic folk atmosphere (the lyrics are inspired by the great epic book of national Finnish folklore "Kalevala"), vintage keyboards (Moog, organ), and more moderne keyboards/synths, clean vocals, and traditional heavy rock/metal influenced riff and rhythms, to their sound, which ultimately makes "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" a very different sounding album to "The Karelian Isthmus (1992)", and maybe more importantly it also sounds quite different from any other contemporary release. Other contemporary artists playing similar styles like Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Sentenced, and Cemetary, only share the heaviness and the melancholic leads and gloomy atmosphere of their music with Amorphis. Other than those features they are completely different sounding artists.

The most death metal oriented feature on "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" is arguably the growling vocals by guitarist/lead vocalist Tomi Koivusaari and even in that department there have been some changes as Amorphis have enlisted Leningrad Cowboys vocalist Ville Tuomi to sing clean vocal parts on the album. The clean vocals are not a dominant feature on "Tales From the Thousand Lakes", but they make quite an impact when they appear...maybe as a result of them appearing relatively sparsely. The use of keyboards/synths is quite dominant though and one of the defining elements of the music. The opening instrumental "Thousand Lakes" showcases this immediately, but a track like "Black Winter Day" also features dominant use of synth (moog) and on closing track "Magic and Mayhem" there´s even an electronic and psychedelic tinged techno influence. It´s a pretty interesting track when those influences are combined with the dark heavy rocking doomy death metal core sound of Amorphis.

"Tales From the Thousand Lakes" features an organic, powerful, and well sounding production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality album release by Amorphis. It´s not just a step forward for Amorphis, it´s a giant leap and a significant change of their core sound, and they really did create something unique here, which their audience clearly embraced considering the fact that the album sold a large number of copies and became Amorphis international breakthrough release. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

CHRONICLE Where Chaos Thrives

Album · 2023 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Where Chaos Thrives" is the third full-length studio album by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The album was released through Mighty Music in May 2023. It´s the successor to "Demonology" from March 2020 and unlike what happened when "Demonology" came out almost simoultaniously with the COVID-19 lockdown, Chronicle got the opportunity to tour in support of "Where Chaos Thrives". "Where Chaos Thrives" features nine tracks and two unlisted bonus tracks, which are the two songs from the October 2021 "Undivided" single.

Chronicle again (like they did on "Demonology") tapped producer Tue Madsen to produce, mix, and master "Where Chaos Thrives" at his Antfarm Studios, and if I had a few minor complaints regarding the drum tone on "Demonology" those complaints are completely gone when listening to "Where Chaos Thrives", which is a very well produced release, providing Chronicle´s music with the perfect platform to shine.

Stylistically it suits Chronicle to add a little more brutality and growling vocals to their music, which they of course had done gradually over the last couple of releases, but it works really well here along with the more dominant blackened snarling vocals. The instrumental part of the music is dynamic with varied tempi, which means both fast-paced sections, mid-paced sections, and slower sections (although not too many of the latter). The lead guitar themes and solos are incredibly well thought out and performed.

So upon conclusion "Where Chaos Thrives" is without a doubt the best quality release from Chronicle up until now, but if I have to make one minor complaint it would be that they don´t really produce music that is particularly unique sounding. You can hear a lot of influences from other melodic death metal artists (past- and present) and if they could conquer that last border and create more original sounding music they have both the songwriting and playing skills to travel even further. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

CHRONICLE Demonology

Album · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Demonology" is the second full-length studio album by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The album was released through Mighty Music in March 2020. It marks the first time Chronicle has released anything through a label, as all previous releases were independent releases. It´s been almost four years since the release of the "Memento Mori" EP from December 2016 but the intermediate years have been spend wisely. Unfortunately for Chronicle "Demonology" was released almost simoultaniously with the COVID-19 lockdown and they therefore had to wait for a long time to tour in support of the album.

"Demonology" is just the right push forward that Chronicle needed to enter the contemporary Danish death metal elite, which makes it even more a pain in the arse that they couldn´t tour in support of the album immediately after its release. The core melodic death metal sound of the early releases is still in place and the variation between blackened snarling vocals and aggressive growling vocals which was introduced on the "Memento Mori" EP is also continued here.

It´s audible on all parameters that Chronicle have moved forward and developed their music, which is now more memorable, powerful, and full of interesting melodic lead guitar themes, but "Demonology" also features a pretty well sounding production job (although I could have wished for the drums to feature a heavier punch) courtesy of Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studios, who is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering "Demonology".

Chronicle can rightfully be proud of "Demonology" and the development which they went through to get to the point where they could produce a good quality release like this. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

CHRONICLE Memento Mori

EP · 2016 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Memento Mori" is an EP release by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The EP was independently released in December 2016 and bridges the gap between Chronicle´s debut- and sophomore studio albums "Primordial Fear" from November 2015 and "Demonology" from March 2020.

While continuing their core melodic death metal style (by now having ditched most of their early thrash metal influences) "Memento Mori" still shows a more professional sounding and mature Chronicle. Lead vocalist/guitarist Lars Bo Nepper has now spiced up his blackened snarling vocals with some aggressive growling vocals, and the more varied vocal approach is a great asset to the band´s sound. A better quality sound production than on the early releases is also a big plus, and as the musicianship has also become tighter and the performances stronger, "Memento Mori" definitely comes off as a good quality melodic death metal release.

5 tracks distributed over a 27:39 minutes long playing time is what you get and therefore there´s both enough quantity and quality here to warrant a purchase. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

CHRONICLE Primordial Fear

Album · 2015 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Primordial Fear" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish, Frederikshavn based death metal act Chronicle. The album was independently released in November 2015. It succeeds the "Welcome the Darkness" EP from July 2014, which was the band´s first official release.

Chronicle´s core melodic death metal style with occasional thrash metal leanings is intact on "Primordial Fear" although the pace has generally been increased, which was a good choice as the higher tempos provide the music with more power and drive. Chronicle still understand that variation is the key though and the tracks always feature different tempi (also slower parts) and atmosphere enhancing lead guitar work, to ensure that the tracks are kept interesting. The vocals are blackened snarling and the sandpaper raw delivery works well with the instrumental part of the band´s music.

The sound production is not perfect, but it´s of a pretty decent quality. The drums sound a little thin and there are a few other details which could have been better, but it is a step up from the production on "Welcome the Darkness" and if it was a goal to move forward and produce something better both in terms of production values, songwriting, and more tight performances, Chronicle have certainly succeeded in doing just that with "Primordial Fear". It´s not the most unique sounding melodic death metal release, but it´s a solid release which is enjoyable from start to end. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

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.

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