Melodic death metal

Last updated

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 (including New Wave of British Heavy Metal). The genre features the heaviness of death metal but with highly melodic or harmonized guitar riffs and solos, and often features high-pitched shrieked vocals (differing from traditional death metal) alongside the low-pitched growls commonly featured in traditional death metal. Pioneered by the English heavy metal band Carcass with their 1993 album Heartwork , melodic death metal developed further in Sweden (developed by bands like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames) in the mid-1990s. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal" scene. At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul , Dark Tranquility's The Gallery , and In Flames' The Jester Race , all released in the mid-1990s, were highly influential albums in melodic death metal, with At the Gates and In Flames being the two most common influences on North American 2000s heavy metal bands. Many American heavy metal bands emulated At the Gates' sound, resulting in the usage of the phrase "At the Gates worship".

Contents

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many melodic death metal bands emerged, including Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Soilwork. In the 2000s decade, melodic death metal achieved popularity among heavy metal fans, starting with the release of In Flames' 2002 album Reroute to Remain , which showed a change to a more eclectic sound while retaining the band's melodic death metal sound. Many other melodic death metal bands quickly had chart success.

In the mid-2000s, melodic metalcore, a subgenre of metalcore that combines the genre with melodic death metal, achieved popularity with the chart success and sales success of bands like Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, and As I Lay Dying. Deathcore bands during this time period like Bring Me the Horizon and Through the Eyes of the Dead also were influenced by melodic death metal and achieved popularity.

Musical characteristics

Melodic death metal combines death metal with elements of traditional heavy metal ranging as far as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, especially melodic or harmonized guitar riffs, with the heavily distorted guitars, fast double-bass drum patterns and occasional blast beats of death metal. [1] [2] The vocal style typically features either high-pitched shrieks screaming (differing from traditional death metal) or low-pitched growling (similar to traditional death metal)and can feature clean sung vocals. [1]

History

Origins (early–mid 1990s)

Carcass helped develop the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork. Carcass 31.jpg
Carcass 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 mid 1990s music releases (namely Slaughter of the Soul , The Jester Race , and The Gallery , respectively) 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] Death's 1995 album Symbolic is also considered to be influential in the development of the genre. [7] Ceremonial Oath and Eucharist also are early melodic death metal bands; however, they never gained much attention outside of their own scene. [8]

At the Gates live at Summer Breeze Open Air in 2016 At the Gates 2016231182342 2016-08-18 Summer Breeze - Sven - 1D X II - 0834 - AK8I5737 mod.jpg
At the Gates live at Summer Breeze Open Air in 2016

In Flames' The Jester Race combined death metal with guitar riffs heavily influenced by bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The album's sound heavily contrasted with traditional death metal, and made Swedish death metal more accessible to more people compared to other Swedish death metal albums that pioneered a new sound, including the death 'n' roll of Entombed's Wolverine Blues . [9] At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul influenced many American metal bands, especially metalcore bands who used guitar riffs and vocals emulating At the Gates' music. The vocals also were noted by AllMusic for being more decipherable than other death metal vocals, resembling high-pitched shrieks that foreshadowed 2000s American screamo bands. [10] The album brought At the Gates underground popularity, including rotation on MTV's Headbanger's Ball , a nomination at the Swedish Grammys, and American tours with Morbid Angel and Napalm Death. [11]

Expansion (Late 1990s and early 2000s)

Children of Bodom combined melodic death metal with power metal influences. Children of Bodom Rockharz 2016 16.jpg
Children of Bodom combined melodic death metal with power metal influences.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, melodic death metal quickly expanded with many bands emerging, including Amon Amarth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, and Children of Bodom. [13] Additionally, other genres would begin using melodic death metal as an influence, including melodic metalcore [14] and melodic black/death. [15] [16] 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. [17] Many melodic death metal and metalcore bands (especially after melodic metalcore band Killswitch Engage rose in popularity) were heavily influenced by Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates and had an influence of them in their music. [13] Many heavy metal bands in the mid-2000s, in turn, were labeled "At the Gates worship". [18]

Popularity and emergence of melodic metalcore (2000s)

Melodic metalcore band All That Remains performing at Ozzfest 2006 All That Remains live in East Troy at Ozzfest 2006.jpg
Melodic metalcore band All That Remains performing at Ozzfest 2006

In the 2000s, melodic death metal became popular among heavy metal fans. In 2002, In Flames' album Reroute to Remain peaked at number 10 on the Top Heatseekers chart. [19] The album, retaining the band's melodic death metal sound, showed a diverse mix of different musical genres, including occasional electronica and hip hop synthesizers and occasional clean singing. This helped gain the band a new amount of fans while alienating fans of In Flames' early work. [20] In Flames' next two albums, Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004) and Come Clarity (2006), peaked at numbers 145 and 58 on the Billboard 200, respectively, [19] with the latter album giving In Flames a Swedish Grammy Award. [21] The Black Dahlia Murder, Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom, and Amon Amarth also enter the Billboard 200 during the 2000s decade. In the mid–late 2000s, melodic metalcore became one of the most popular heavy metal genres, with bands like Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Bullet for My Valentine, All That Remains, Shadows Fall and Atreyu achieving success, headlining major festivals and selling a lot of records. [22] Melodic metalcore combined melodic death metal elements like melodic guitar riffs and screaming with elements of the original style of metalcore like breakdowns. [22] At the Gates and In Flames were major influences on these bands. [21] [13] Killswitch Engage are often credited as the band that brought melodic metalcore into the mainstream among heavy metal fans. [13] Some deathcore bands during this time, such as Through the Eyes of the Dead and Bring Me the Horizon, combined deathcore with melodic death metal. [23]

Subgenres

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, [15] melodic blackened death metal [15] and melodic black-death . [16] However, unlike most other black metal, this take on the genre would incorporate an increased sense of melody and narrative. [15]

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. [14] 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. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

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, true crime and science fiction.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and United States. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock and acid rock, heavy metal bands developed a thick, monumental sound characterized by distorted guitars, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats and loudness.

Swedish death metal is a death metal music scene developed in Sweden. Many Swedish death metal bands are associated with the melodic death metal movement, thus giving Swedish death metal a different sound from other variations of death metal. Unlike American death metal groups, the first Swedish bands were rooted in hardcore punk. Gothenburg has a large melodic death metal scene while Stockholm is known for its more raw death metal scene.

Killswitch Engage American metalcore band

Killswitch Engage is an American metalcore band from Westfield, Massachusetts, formed in 1999 after the disbanding of Overcast and Aftershock. Killswitch Engage's current lineup consists of vocalist Jesse Leach, guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz, bassist Mike D'Antonio, and drummer Justin Foley. The band has released eight studio albums and two live performance albums. Their eighth studio album, Atonement, was released on August 16, 2019.

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

Heartwork is the fourth album by British extreme metal band Carcass. The album was released in the UK through Earache Records on 18 October 1993, and in the United States on 11 January 1994 through Columbia Records, making it the band's only major label release. Heartwork has been described as the band's "breakthrough" and "mid-period masterpiece", as well as a landmark album in the melodic death metal genre. The album was recorded at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool from 18 May – 21 June 1993.

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times, heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

<i>The Jester Race</i> 1996 studio album by In Flames

The Jester Race is the second studio album by Swedish metal band In Flames, released in February 1996. It is the first album to feature Anders Fridén as the band's vocalist, Björn Gelotte as the drummer, and Jester Head as the band's mascot.

<i>Slaughter of the Soul</i> 1995 studio album by At the Gates

Slaughter of the Soul is the fourth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on November 14, 1995. It was their last album before their eleven-year breakup from 1996 to 2007. Slaughter of the Soul is considered a landmark in melodic death metal and played a major role in popularizing the Gothenburg scene, alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquillity. The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Fredman, early 1995.

Metalcore is a fusion music genre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. As with other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumental qualities include heavy riffs and stop-start rhythm guitar playing, occasional blast beats, and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically use thrash or scream vocals. Some later metalcore bands combine this with clean singing, often during the chorus. Death growls and gang vocals are common. 1990s metalcore bands were inspired by hardcore while later metalcore bands were inspired by melodic death metal bands like At the Gates and In Flames.

In Flames Swedish heavy metal band

In Flames is a Swedish heavy metal band, formed by guitarist Jesper Strömblad in Gothenburg in 1990. Alongside At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity, In Flames pioneered the genres known as Swedish death metal and melodic death metal.

The Black Dahlia Murder (band) American melodic death metal band

The Black Dahlia Murder is an American melodic death metal band from Waterford, Michigan, formed in 2001. Their name is derived from the 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, often referred to as Black Dahlia. Since 2016, the band had consisted of lead vocalist Trevor Strnad, rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach, bassist Max Lavelle, drummer Alan Cassidy, and lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. The Black Dahlia Murder has undergone various lineup changes, with Strnad and Eschbach remaining the only constant members, until the former's death in 2022. Out of the eight studio albums they have released to date, the last seven have charted on the U.S. Billboard 200, with their fifth album Ritual peaking at No. 31 in 2011, marking them as one of the most popular contemporary American extreme metal bands. Their ninth and latest album Verminous was released on April 17, 2020.

Carcass (band) British extreme metal band

Carcass are an English extreme metal band from Liverpool that was formed in 1986. The band have gone through several line-up changes, leaving guitarist Bill Steer and bassist and vocalist Jeff Walker as the only constant members. They broke up in 1996, but reformed in 2007 without one of its original members, drummer Ken Owen, due to health reasons. To date, the band have released seven studio albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, two demo albums, one video album, and six music videos.

Nepalese rock Rock music of Nepal

Nepalese rock refers to rock music culture of Nepal and the Nepali-speaking regions in India like Sikkim and northern West Bengal, and some parts of Bhutan and Burma.

Deathcore Fusion of death metal and metalcore genres

Deathcore is an extreme metal subgenre that combines death metal with metalcore. The genre consists of death metal guitar riffs, blast beats, and metalcore breakdowns. While there are some precursors to the concept of death metal fused with metalcore/hardcore elements seen in the 1990s, deathcore itself emerged in the early 2000s and gained most prominence beginning in the mid-2000s within the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and inland southern California, which are home to many notable bands and various festivals.

Blackened death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal that fuses elements of black metal and death metal.

<i>Count Your Blessings</i> (Bring Me the Horizon album) 2006 studio album by Bring Me the Horizon

Count Your Blessings is the debut studio album by British rock band Bring Me the Horizon. Recorded at DEP International Studios in Birmingham with producer Dan Sprigg, it was originally released in the United Kingdom on 30 October 2006 by Visible Noise. The album was later issued by Earache Records in the United States on 14 August 2007. Count Your Blessings was supported by the release of music videos for two of the album's tracks: "Pray for Plagues" on 4 June 2007 and "For Stevie Wonder's Eyes Only (Braille)" on 6 March 2008.

<i>Bloodlust</i> (Through the Eyes of the Dead album) 2005 studio album

Bloodlust is the debut studio album by American deathcore band Through the Eyes of the Dead, released on October 25, 2005 through Prosthetic Records. After releasing an EP and a split, Through the Eyes of the Dead released Bloodlust. The album is considered a deathcore album with elements of melodic death metal, featuring a musical style similar to bands like At the Gates and The Black Dahlia Murder. Before the deathcore label existed, Bloodlust was labeled as metalcore due to its combination of melodic death metal with occasional hardcore breakdowns, which resembled metalcore. Bloodlust's lyrics were inspired by serial killers, and depicted poetic lyrics telling stories and imagery. Through the Eyes of the Dead cited Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Death, In Flames, At the Gates and Dark Tranquility as influences.

Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of melodic death metal and metalcore; it has a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, distorted guitar tones, palm muting, double bass drumming, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns, aggressive screaming, death growls, and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a more accessible sound at times compared to other forms of extreme music. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates and In Flames.

Diesear is a melodic death metal band in Taiwan. It was established in 2007.

Beatdown hardcore is a subgenre of hardcore punk with prominent elements of heavy metal. Beatdown hardcore features aggressive vocals, down-tuned electric guitars, gang vocals, heavy guitar riffs, and heavy breakdowns. The genre emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s with bands such as Killing Time, Madball, and Sheer Terror. In the mid-late 1990s and early 2000s, many other beatdown bands emerged, such as Hatebreed, Bulldoze, Shai Hulud, and Strife. Bands such as Terror and Death Before Dishonor gained cult followings in the mid–late 2000s. New York hardcore bands such as Agnostic Front, Warzone, Sick of It All, and Cro-Mags and the thrash metal subgenre crossover thrash paved the way for beatdown.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Bowar, Chad. "What Is Melodic Death Metal?". About.com . Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  2. Purcell, N. Death Metal music: the passion and politics of a subculture, at 9, McFarland, 2003 (retrieved 3 June 2011)
  3. 1 2 Bowar, Chad. "Carcass". About.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  4. Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). Metal: The Definitive Guide. Jawbone Press. p. 162. ISBN   9781906002015.
  5. "Can You Feel The Forceps: Carcass, Surgical Steel And Heartwork Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  6. McIver, Joel (15 December 2008). The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. Jawbone Press. p. 122. ISBN   9781906002206.
  7. "10 Best Songs by the Band Death". Loudwire . 18 July 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2020. 'Symbolic" saw a massive shift towards melody and a bit of a departure from the death metal that most bands were playing at the time. Along with Carcass and At the Gates, Death helped pave the way for infectious melodies and hooks to enter the genre.
  8. Ekeroth, Daniel. Swedish Death Metal.
  9. Huey, Steve (5 April 2022). "The Jester Race - In Flames". AllMusic.
  10. Huey, Steve. "Slaughter of the Soul - At the Gates". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  11. Birchmeier, Jason. "At the Gates". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  12. Ewing, Jerry (22 November 2006). "Children Of Bodom: Metal Detector". Metal Hammer . Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Lawson, Dom. "The 10 essential melodeath albums". Metal Hammer . Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  14. 1 2 3 Giffin, Brian (2015). Encyclopaedia of Australian Heavy Metal. Australia: DarkStar. ISBN   9780994320612.
  15. 1 2 3 4 ANDREW, J. "Blackened Melodic Death Metal: A History Lesson". Metal Injection. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  16. 1 2 D, Chris. "Top 5 Dissection Clones". Decibel. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  17. Mason, Stewart. "Glass Casket". AllMusic . Rovi Corporation . Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  18. Deneau, Matt (13 January 2009). "Architect Ghost of the Saltwater Machines". Exclaim! . Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  19. 1 2 "In Flames". Billboard. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  20. Sheaks, Matthias. "Reroute to Remain - In Flames". AllMusic . Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  21. 1 2 DaRonco, Mike. "In Flames". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  22. 1 2 Bowar, Chad. "What Is Metalcore?". LiveAbout. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  23. Smith-Engelhardt, Joe (8 January 2021). "Best 2000s deathcore albums". Alternative Press . Retrieved 5 April 2022.