Melodic Death Metal

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

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.

Click for Full Sub-Genre Chart

melodic death metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
EDGE OF SANITY
4.41 | 114 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CARCASS Heartwork Album Cover Heartwork
CARCASS
4.39 | 76 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DARK TRANQUILLITY The Gallery Album Cover The Gallery
DARK TRANQUILLITY
4.44 | 34 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
AMORPHIS Tales From the Thousand Lakes Album Cover Tales From the Thousand Lakes
AMORPHIS
4.32 | 69 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate Album Cover Winter's Gate
INSOMNIUM
4.47 | 12 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave Album Cover Heart Like A Grave
INSOMNIUM
4.52 | 9 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CARCASS Torn Arteries Album Cover Torn Arteries
CARCASS
4.34 | 17 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INSOMNIUM Since the Day It All Came Down Album Cover Since the Day It All Came Down
INSOMNIUM
4.36 | 11 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INSOMNIUM Across the Dark Album Cover Across the Dark
INSOMNIUM
4.39 | 9 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow Album Cover One For Sorrow
INSOMNIUM
4.25 | 18 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor Album Cover Back to Times of Splendor
DISILLUSION
4.24 | 18 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul Album Cover Slaughter of the Soul
AT THE GATES
4.17 | 38 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

melodic death metal online videos

melodic death metal New Releases

.. Album Cover
No Time To Suffer
Single
AWAKENING SUN
Buy this album from MMA partners

melodic death metal Music Reviews

SOILWORK Natural Born Chaos

Album · 2002 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Natural Born Chaos" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in March 2002. It´s the successor to "A Predator's Portrait" from 2001. There´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player Carlos Del Olmo Holmberg has left and has been replaced by Sven Karlsson. "Natural Born Chaos" was successful upon release, and Soilwork toured both Europe and the United States (their first US tour) in support of the album.

Stylistically the material on the album continue the melodic death metal style from "A Predator's Portrait (2001)", but in a more polished version and featuring some alternative metal nods. Soilwork have brought in Devin Townsend as producer and Fredrik Nordström as co-producer, and Townsend´s touch is unmistakable, as the keyboards have found a more prominent place in the mix, and the soundscape is often multi-layered, featuring Townsend´s trademark massive production approach. The tracks are a bit formulaic vers/chorus structured, and just a couple of structural surprises during the album´s playing time would have been nice, but it´s not a major issue, and the tracks are of course more easily accessible this way. Accessibility/catchiness are obviously features that Soilwork have opted to focus on, and one of the places where that is most audible is the increase in use of clean vocals and less extreme raw vocals.

"Natural Born Chaos" is not a "soft" heavy metal album by any means, but in the context of death metal, it´s certainly in the more melodic, accessible, and polished end of the spectrum. The tracks typically feature raw vocals in the verses and clean vocals in the choruses (often layered with harmonies and choirs), the guitar style is predominantly heavy start/stop type riffing and faster-paced death/thrash riffing, and the drums play heavy and occasionally faster-paced beats. And then there´s the omnipresent keyboards. The music is literally drenced in keyboards. If anyone felt that "A Predator's Portrait (2001)" was a bit too keyboard heavy, it´s nothing compared to how the keyboards are used on "Natural Born Chaos".

The musicianship is strong on all posts, and we´re treated to skillful rhythmic playing, blistering melodic guitar leads, and Björn "Speed" Strid strong voice and vocal delivery. His clean vocal style was introduced on "A Predator's Portrait (2001)", but the clean vocals weren´t present on all tracks, and Strid was still a bit restrained in his use of that vocal style, but on "Natural Born Chaos" he is all in on the use of clean vocals (in addition to his raw vocals) and his performance here is varied and intriguing.

Upon conclusion "Natural Born Chaos" is a strong release by Soilwork and it feels like a natural progression from "A Predator's Portrait (2001)". Personally I miss the more savage approach of the early releases and sometimes it all feels a bit too polished and keyboard heavy, but that´s purely a subjective opinion, and viewing the album a bit more objectively this is a high quality release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CARCASS Torn Arteries

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Torn Arteries" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Carcass. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in September 2021, almost to the day 8 years after the release of the preceding album "Surgical Steel" from September 2013. Carcass have been quite busy in the intermediate years though, touring the world and trying to profit as much as possible on their long awaited comeback. In addition to touring, the band have also released the "Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel" EP in 2014 and the "Despicable" EP in 2020, so there have been some new material for the fans between the two album releases. "Despicable" (2020) ended up being released as a gap release because Carcass didn´t want to release "Torn Arteries" during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally planned for a summer 2020 release, and the band had already released the teaser single track "Under the Scalpel Blade" in December 2019 to promote the release of the album, but as things turned out, they opted to push the album release little over a year.

"Under the Scalpel Blade" is included on the tracklist of "Torn Arteries", but other than that track, which was both released as an individual single and as part of "Despicable" (2020) (and is an absolutely brilliant track), all other tracks are new original compositions. Stylistically the material are unmistakably the sound of Carcass and you´ll hear elements on the album which will remind you of "Surgical Steel" (2013), but also elements from the three albums released from 1991-1996 ("Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)", "Heartwork (1993)", and "Swansong (1996)"). Sharp, aggressive, and melodic death metal with both thrash metal and tradtional heavy metal leanings. The lead vocals are predominantly handled by vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker (in his usual raw and aggressive snarling vocal style), which has been the case since the early 90s, but guitarist Bill Steer actually contributes a few of his low growling vocals too a few times during the playing time, and it´s a treat to fans of the early albums.

"Torn Arteries" is probably the most varied Carcass album yet, and stylistically it´s arguably a little inconsistent. When you opt to put a death´n´roll influenced track like "Dance of IXTAB (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No.1 in B)" on the same album as a death metal/goregrind track like "Under the Scalpel Blade" (the 9:42 minutes long "Flesh Ripping Torment Limited" also stands out as a unique song on the album), some listeners are bound to find either the former or the latter most interesting and hoping to hear more of the same, but if we´ve learned anything from Carcass over the years, it´s that they write and release exactly what they feel like witing and releasing. They are not an act who you can count on releasing formulaic albums. So "Torn Arteries" is not necessarily an album which will hook you on first listen. It takes time and an effort to listen to the album and hear all the details and let the different stylistic features sink in. Overall all tracks of course still sound unmistakably like Carcass. The vocals are described above, and the same with the death/thrashy riffs, but the many well played guitar leads and harmonies also deserve a special mention. Steer has again produced many memorable and powerful lead guitar moments.

The album features a darker and more organic sounding production that the more clinical, sharp, and sterile sound production on "Surgical Steel" (2013), and that production choice suits the material on "Torn Arteries" well. Upon conclusion it was worth the wait as "Torn Arteries" is a high quality Carcass album. It´s familiar enough to please the fans, but still features enough development and small experiments with sound and form to keep Carcass relevant. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

BARREN EARTH Our Twilight

EP · 2009 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Our Twilight" is an EP release by Finnish doom/death metal act Barren Earth. The EP was released through Peaceville Records in November 2009. Barren Earth was formed in 2007 by bassist by Olli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis). He had composed material which didn´t fit any of the other projects he was involved in and decided to form a band to record his material. Having been a member of Amorphis from 1990-2000, Laine had been an integral part of the Finnish metal scene and had many contacts within the scene, which made it possible for him to recruit seasoned musicians like guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Waltari, Kreator), lead vocalist Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), guitarist Janne Perttilä (Põhjast, Rytmihäiriö, Moonsorrow), drummer Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow, October Falls), and keyboard player Kasper Mårtenson (Amorphis) for the project.

The EP features 4 tracks and a total playing time of 22:26 minutes. Stylistically this sounds very much like mid-90s Amorphis, which of course makes sense, since two of the members of that band from that time are part of the lineup on "Our Twilight". This is doom/death metal with 70s progressive rock leanings and strong, epic, and melancholic melodies. There is a touch of Scandinavian folk too, and again it´s hard not to think of mid-90s Amorphis. The vocals are predominantly death metal growls, but there are also several clean sung parts on the EP. Barren Earth are obviously both seasoned and skilled musicians, and "Our Twilight" reeks professionalism that you won´t find on many debut releases. Although the band don´t often stray from their musical path, the addition of Yli-Sirniö to the lineup, does result in a couple of more unconventional musical ideas (it would be strange if a member of Waltari didn´t act out just a little bit), but they are incorporated successfully into the main musical style of the album.

"Our Twilight" is a heavy and atmospheric release, and that´s one of the greatest strengths of the EP. Barren Earth balance brutal heavy doom/death metal parts with their 70s progressive rock influences very well and creates a big epic soundscape in the process. All tracks are enjoyable and memorable compositions, but I have to mention EP closer "Floodred" for it´s death metal brutality and epic clean sung parts, and "Jewel" for it´s progressive middle section. The sound production is massive, layered, and ensures the right environment for the material to shine, and upon conclusion "Our Twilight" is a quality first release by Barren Earth. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

AT THE GATES The Nightmare Of Being

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
lukretion
I am a late comer to the At the Gates appreciation club, having paid attention to the Swedish icons only since their 2018 album To Drink from the Night Itself. Therefore, when their new record, The Nightmare of Being, was released earlier this year, I finally decided to purchase the CD to properly check it out. The reason why the last two records caught my attention is probably also the reason why some oldtime supporters are giving the band a hard time in specialized webzines and review sites: slowly but surely, the Swedes have started weaving conspicuous progressive rock/metal into their sound, noticeably bastardizing the melodic death metal style they once contributed to create.

The Nightmare of Being brings together three different strands of musical influences. The core of the music is still melodic death metal, built on a foundation of fast guitar riffs that are both razor-sharp and exquisitely melodic, pounding and hypertight drumrolls (Adrian Erlandsson puts in a massive performance behind the drumkit), and Tomas Lindberg’s unhinged, high-pitched growls. While in a few songs At the Gates seem happy to not stray too far from the style that made them famous (most evidently in the initial three songs of the record), elsewhere they enrich the melodeath assault with hints of 1970s hard prog as well as dark wave and gothic rock, conjuring up a hybrid sonic world that it is hard not to find enthralling.

The prog rock influences hark back to the sound of the darkest end of the spectrum of 1970s bands, such as King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator. This is conveyed through the use of the mellotron and other eerie keyboard sounds, as well as sombre real strings and woodwinds arrangements (“Touched by the White Hands of Death”, “The Fall into Time”, “The Abstract Enthroned”). Meanwhile, “Garden of Cyrus” introduces a jazzy saxophone lead, which again brings to mind King Crimson (and particularly their Red album). It should be said that At the Gates are not the only nor the first extreme metal band to look back at the dark progressive rock of the 1970s for inspiration. Ihsahn, Enslaved, and Opeth are three prominent examples of bands that have followed the same path several years ahead of the Swedes. Moreover, these bands have definitely pushed the prog rock influences much more prominently into their sound compared to At the Gates, which instead use the 1970s heritage only to add hints of a new dimension to their artform rather than as a way to completely revolutionize it, like Opeth have done for instance. It is nevertheless fascinating to hear violins, flutes and clarinets weaving in and out of aggressive death metal riffs, especially in tracks like “The Fall into Time” where the band have truly challenged themselves to write music that stretches well beyond the classic melodeath canon. Elsewhere, At the Gates make a more vanilla use of the barrage of classical instrumentation they have at their disposal, essentially as an atmospheric prelude or interlude to their more conventional death metal style. Tracks like “Touched by the White Hands of Death” and “The Abstract Enthroned” are slightly underwhelming in this respect, and they do not strike me as neither very original nor particularly accomplished.

The other element that emerges through the 10 tracks of The Nightmare of Being is an evident penchant for dark wave and gothic rock. This is most apparent on the oppressive yet groovy “Cosmic Pessimism”, a track that builds on a bouncy clean guitar riff apparently inspired to krautrock and bands like Neu! and Tangerine Dream, for what is one of the standout moments of the whole album. Elsewhere, the gothic undertones surface through the use of clean guitar breaks and especially Tomas Lindberg’s half-spoken vocal croon, a style he uses quite often on this record, reminding me at times of Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne.

With all these disparate ingredients thrown into the mix, The Nightmare of Being makes for a varied and engaging listening experience. Not everything on the album is gold, and in fact there are more than a couple of episodes that feel a tad too run-of-the-mill and unremarkable (“The Paradox”, the title-track, “Touched by the White Hands of Death” “Eternal Winter of Reason”). However, when inspiration strikes them, At the Gates manage to give us some striking pieces of music, perfectly balanced between raw aggression and sophisticated melancholy. “Garden of Cyrus”, “The Fall into Time”, “Cult of Salvation” and “Cosmic Pessimism” are all little gems of modern melodic death metal that cleverly push the boundaries of the genre without straying too far from its core essence. The Nightmare of Being is a bit too patchy to be heralded as a contemporary masterpiece, but it nevertheless shows that there is still creative blood running in the icy veins of the Swedish combo, and it will certainly be interesting to see where they will decide to bring this creativity next.

ENDARKEN The Plague of Truth

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"The Plague of Truth" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish death metal act Endarken. The album was independently released in September 2021. Endarken formed in Copenhagen in 2017, and features members (or ex-members) of several other Danish metal acts like The Kandidate, Billy Boy in Poison, Sinphonia, and HateSphere. The album track single "Insomnia" was released in August 2021, but other than that "The Plague of Truth" is the first release by the band.

Stylistically the material on "The Plague of Truth" is melodic death metal with both snarling aggressive vocals and clean/shouted melodic vocals. The tracks are relatively easy to follow and all feature energetic drumming, melodic guitar riffs, and well played lead guitar parts. The musicianship is solid and although lacking some bite and power the sound production is also decent. The tracks don´t really stick much though, and although the songwriting isn´t of a bad quality, it is pretty standard for the genre, or maybe even a little below standard in some departments. The clean/shouted melodic vocals are for example a bit questionable in quality and execution. It´s not that lead vocalist Tim Nederveen can´t sing or hit the notes right, but he just doesn´t have a particularly interesting voice, and while his snarling vocals aren´t the most interesting either, they are far better than his cleans.

"The Plague of Truth" is upon conclusion a standard quality melodic death metal release, and you´ll be able to find thousands of artists in this style producing music of this quality. Decent but ultimately unremarkable and forgettable. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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.

Artists with Melodic Death Metal release(s)

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Led Zeppelin IV Hard Rock
LED ZEPPELIN
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

2nd Degree Murder, Third Degree Burns Deathcore
PANDA SUPLEX
Buy this album from MMA partners
Consumption And Madness Metalcore
MILITANT ME
Buy this album from MMA partners
Of My Vice Metalcore
THROUGH THE WALLS
Buy this album from MMA partners
Radiant Metalcore
THE SLEEPER
Buy this album from MMA partners
Wit's End Black Metal
מזמור
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us