Melodic death metal

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Melodic death metal (also referred to as melodeath) is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The style originated and developed in Sweden (pioneered by At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames) and the United Kingdom (pioneered by Carcass) around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal" scene.

Contents

Musical characteristics

The genre combines aspects of traditional heavy metal ranging as far as the new wave of British heavy metal, in particular fast riffing and harmonic guitar lines, with the heavily distorted guitars, fast double-bass drum patterns and occasional blast beats of death metal. [1] [2] The vocal style typically combines harsh screaming and growling with melodic singing, with some artists emphasizing one of these techniques over the rest. [1] Melodic death metal drum patterns are often built around the "skank beat", similar to thrash metal.

History

Origins

Carcass, shown here performing at Gods of Metal festival in Bologna, Italy (2008), helped develop the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork. Carcass 31.jpg
Carcass, shown here performing at Gods of Metal festival in Bologna, Italy (2008), helped develop the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork .

Much of the origin and popularity of melodic death metal can be attributed to the bands At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquillity, whose early 1990s music releases defined the genre and laid the foundation for the Gothenburg metal scene. [1] Writer Gary Sharpe-Young considered the Gothenburg scene the commercial salvation of death metal: "Gothenburg became the new Tampa and the genre received a new lease on life." [4] The titular melodic elements can be traced to traditional Scandinavian musical motifs. Another pioneer was the English band Carcass, which performed grindcore on its first two releases but morphed into death metal and an increasingly melodic style on the Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (1991) and Heartwork (1993). [3] [5] [6] Ceremonial Oath and Eucharist also played melodic death metal in the very early 1990s, however never gained much attentioned outside of their own scene. [7]

Late 1990s and expansion

Since the late 1990s, melodic death metal bands have added more melodic choruses and riffs and have used keyboards more prominently than other death metal bands; their lyrics, unlike those of death metal, did not focus on death, violence, gore, horror, or blood, for the most part. [8] However, bands prominent in the genre such as The Black Dahlia Murder have been described as maintaining the intensity of regular death metal, while incorporating elements from other extreme metal bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. [9] Additionally, other genres would begin using melodic death metal as an influence, including melodic metalcore [10] and melodic black/death. [11] [12] Stewart Mason claims that melodic metalcore has become very popular in the United States, using the term "Swedecore" to describe Scandinavian-style metal as played by non-Nordic bands. [13]

Influence on other genres

Many melodic death metal bands began being inspired by black metal and European romanticism. This style has been referred to as blackened melodic death metal, [11] melodic blackened death metal [11] and melodic black-death . [12] However, unlike most other black metal, this take on the genre would incorporate an increased sense of melody and narrative. [11] Some bands who have played this style include Dissection, [11] [12] [14] Sacramentum, [11] [12] Naglfar, [11] Dawn, [11] Unanimated, [11] Thulcandra [12] [11] and Cardinal Sin. [12]

Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of metalcore and melodic death metal, with a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns and clean singing. [10] These bands often take influence from the guitar riffs and writing styles of Swedish melodic death metal bands, especially At the Gates, In Flames, Arch Enemy and Soilwork. [10] Melodic metalcore bands include Poison the Well, [15] 7 Angels 7 Plagues, [16] Darkest Hour, [17] Killswitch Engage, [18] As I Lay Dying, [19] Bury Tomorrow [20] [21] [22] [23] and I Killed the Prom Queen. [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may include slasher film-style violence, political conflict, religion, nature, philosophy, and science fiction.

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<i>Heartwork</i> 1993 studio album by Carcass

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At the Gates Swedish band

At the Gates is a Swedish death metal band from Gothenburg, a major progenitor of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal. The band was initially active from 1990 to 1996, reforming in 2007 for a tour between April and September 2008. In 2011, they reformed again and have since continued to perform. They released At War with Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.

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<i>Stigmata</i> (Arch Enemy album) 1998 studio album by Arch Enemy

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Fredrik Nordström Swedish musician

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References

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