Swedish death metal

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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 punk rock. Although Norway is known for its quantity of black metal, Gothenburg in Sweden has a large melodic death metal scene, while Stockholm is known for its more raw death metal scene.

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 invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Melodic death metal 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 and the United Kingdom around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal” scene.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands typically produced short or fast-paced songs, with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

Contents

History

Precursors

Unlike American groups, the Swedish death metal scene's earliest originators were influenced by punk rock, especially the D-beat and hardcore punk scene. [1] [2] Bathory, who would subsequently become a primary influence for the black metal scene, were a pivotal group in Swedish extreme metal. [3] In the early 1990s, two death metal scenes emerged in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The first wave of "Swedish death metal" consisted of the bands Carnage, Morbid and Nihilist, who fragmented later into Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed. Many of these bands used the trademark Tomas Skogsberg/Sunlight Studios "buzzsaw" guitar tone.[ citation needed ] It was created by using heavily detuned electric guitars (usually C# standard or lower), a maxed out Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal, sometimes in combination with a single guitar through a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal. The originator of this guitar sound was Nihilist guitarist Leffe Cuzner, though it was evolved and altered over the years. [4] Newer bands playing in the "old school" Swedish style include Bloodbath, [5] Paganizer [ citation needed ] and Repugnant. [6] According to Stewart Mason of AllMusic, the "increasingly melodic" style of Swedish death metal combines the post-hardcore aggression and guttural vocals of black metal with melodic and technically proficient guitar lines. [7]

D-beat

D-beat is a style of hardcore punk, developed in the early 1980s by imitators of Discharge, after whom the genre is named, as well as a drum beat characteristic of this subgenre. D-beat is known for its "grinding, distorted and brutally political" sound. Discharge may have themselves inherited the beat from Motörhead and the Buzzcocks. D-beat is closely associated with crust punk, which is a heavier, more complex variation. The style was particularly popular in Sweden, and developed there by groups such as Crude SS, Anti Cimex, Mob 47, and Driller Killer. Other D-beat groups include Doom and the Varukers from the UK; Disclose from Japan; Crucifix and Final Conflict from the U.S.; Ratos de Porão from Brazil; and MG15 from Spain. While the style initially developed in the early 1980s, a number of new groups working within the subgenre emerged in the mid-1990s. These include the Swedish groups Wolfbrigade, Totalitär, Avskum, Skitsystem, and Disfear.

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Bathory (band) Swedish metal band

Bathory were an extreme metal band formed in Vällingby, Sweden, in 1983 named after Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory. The band's frontman and main songwriter was Quorthon. Considered to be one of the most influential acts in heavy metal, Bathory's first four albums are considered to be "the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal". The band departed from this style on their fifth album, Hammerheart (1990), which is often cited as the first Viking metal album. Bathory continued in the Viking metal style throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, although the band experimented with thrash metal on the albums Requiem (1994) and Octagon (1995). Bathory ended when Quorthon died from heart failure in 2004.

Gothenburg scene

Later, Swedish and Finnish bands used grindcore-based riffs and began adding progressive rock influences, and the scene moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg.[ citation needed ] The Gothenburg sound, (also known as melodic death metal, Gothenburg melodic death metal or melodeath), [8] propelled by both the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal distortion effect pedal with cleaner recordings and melded with new wave of British heavy metal guitar lines, was pioneered by bands such as At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames for their respective albums: Slaughter of the Soul , The Gallery and The Jester Race . [9]

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening, not dancing.

Stockholm Capital city in Södermanland and Uppland, Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 960,031 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Other groups to have emerged from the Swedish death metal scene include Scar Symmetry, Hypocrisy, Tiamat, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Meshuggah, Amon Amarth, Edge of Sanity, Opeth, Desultory, Cemetary, Avatar and The Haunted. [10]

Scar Symmetry band

Scar Symmetry is a Swedish metal band from Avesta in Dalarna County, Sweden, formed in 2004. The band has released six albums, with seven released singles. They are currently signed to Nuclear Blast records.

Hypocrisy (band) Swedish death metal band

Hypocrisy is a Swedish death metal band formed in October 1991 in Ludvika, Sweden by Peter Tägtgren.

Tiamat (band) metal band

Tiamat is a Swedish band that formed in Stockholm in 1987 and led by Johan Edlund. The band went through a number of stylistic changes, usually leaning towards gothic metal.

Influence

The death metal scene in Sweden has influenced many bands and genres outside Sweden. Stewart Mason has noted this popularity in the United States, using the term "Swedecore" to describe Scandinavian-style metal as played by non-Nordic bands. [7] The Stockholm sound has been known to be very influenced by the first Entombed album and bands such as Autopsy, Death and Repulsion. The Stockholm sound has less reception but is strictly followed by bands like Trap Them and Rotten Sound. Melodic death metal, on the other hand, has had a notable influence on the melodic metalcore sound of the 2000s.

Nordic countries Geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic

The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden. The term includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands—which are both part of the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands and Svalbard and Jan Mayen archipelagos that belong to Finland and Norway respectively, whereas the Norwegian Antarctic territories are often not considered a part of the Nordic countries, due to their geographical location. Scandinavians, who comprise over three quarters of the region's population, are the largest group, followed by Finns, who comprise the majority in Finland; other groups are indigenous minorities such as the Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people, and recent immigrants and their descendants. The native languages Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese are all North Germanic languages rooted in Old Norse. Native non-Germanic languages are Finnish, Greenlandic and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity. The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. The Nordic countries have a long history of political unions and other close relations, but do not form a separate entity today. The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century, with the indepedence of Finland in the early 20th century, and Iceland in the mid 20th century, this movement expanded into the modern organised Nordic cooperation which includes the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, but that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.

Entombed (band) Swedish death metal band

Entombed is a Swedish death metal band formed in 1987 under the name of Nihilist. Entombed began their career as an early pioneer of Scandinavian death metal which initially differed from its American counterpart by its distinct "buzzsaw" guitar tone. However, by the early 1990s their sound had broadened to include garage rock and other influences. This new style would eventually be described as death 'n' roll. Entombed has been influenced by bands such as Slayer, Exodus, Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Autopsy, Repulsion, Kiss, The Misfits, Motörhead, Discharge, Death and Testament. Along with Dismember, Grave and Unleashed, Entombed has been referred to as one of the "big four" of Swedish death metal.

Autopsy (band) American death metal band

Autopsy is a death metal band, founded in 1987 in the United States by Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler. They disbanded in 1995, but reunited in 2009.

See also

The early 1990s Norwegian black metal scene is credited with creating the modern black metal genre and produced some of the most acclaimed and influential artists in extreme metal. It attracted massive media attention when it was revealed that its members had been responsible for two murders, one suicide, and a wave of church burnings in Norway.

Related Research Articles

Dismember (band) Swedish death metal band

Dismember is a Swedish death metal band formed in 1988. They split up in 2011, but reunited in 2019. Pioneers of Swedish death metal, Dismember is now considered one of the country's "big four", alongside Entombed, Grave and Unleashed.

<i>Clandestine</i> (album) album by Swedish death metal band Entombed

Clandestine is the second studio album by Swedish death metal band Entombed. It was released on November 12, 1991, in Europe, and on February 11, 1992, in North America. It helped establish a distinctively Swedish sound in the death metal genre. This is the only Entombed album on which original vocalist L.G. Petrov does not appear.

Crust punk is a form of music influenced by English punk rock and extreme metal. The style, which evolved in the early-1980s in England, often has songs with dark and pessimistic lyrics that linger on political and social ills. The term "crust" was coined by Hellbastard on their 1986 Ripper Crust demo.

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.

Dissection (band) black/death metal and later melodic death metal band

Dissection was a Swedish extreme metal band from Strömstad, formed in 1989 by guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter Jon Nödtveidt and bass guitarist Peter Palmdahl. Despite a number of lineup changes, Dissection released The Somberlain in 1993 and Storm of the Light's Bane in 1995, before splitting up in 1997 due to Nödtveidt's imprisonment for complicity in the murder of Josef Meddour.

<i>Deathcrush</i> EP

Deathcrush is an EP by the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. It was released on 16 August 1987 by the Posercorpse record label, and was the first studio release by any band in the Norwegian black metal scene.

<i>Under the Sign of the Black Mark</i> album

Under the Sign of the Black Mark is the third studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was recorded in September 1986 and released on 11 May 1987 through New Renaissance Records and Under One Flag. It was a key album in the development of the black metal genre, and greatly influenced the Norwegian black metal scene that emerged in the early 1990s.

<i>Bathory</i> (album) 1984 album by Bathory

Bathory is the debut studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released in October 1984, through Tyfon Grammofon. It is deemed by many fans and critics to be the first black metal record.

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

Merciless Swedish metal band

Merciless is a Swedish extreme metal band. The band was formed during the summer of 1986 in Strängnäs, Sweden by Erik Wallin (guitar), Fredrik Karlén and Stefan Carlsson (drums). They were inspired by the early fast-playing bands such as Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and Bathory. First they did some local gigs as "Obsessed" and "Black Mass" but changed their name to Merciless in early 1987. A demo was recorded titled Behind the Black Door, which led to the replacement of Kåle by Rogga in early 1988. With this line-up they recorded a second demo Realm of the Dark in June 1988. This demo drew the attention of Deathlike Silence Productions - the label of Euronymous. That label released their debut album The Awakening in March 1990.

Grotesque was a Swedish death metal/black metal band formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in September 1988 by former members of Conquest: Kristian Wåhlin (Necrolord) and Per Nordgren (Virgintaker), with the addition of Tomas Lindberg (Goatspell). The band was, however, short-lived and recorded a few demos and an EP. The band's original drummer Shamaatae formed the black metal band Arckanum in 1993. After the demise of Grotesque, Lindberg and Svensson started At the Gates, while Necrolord created his own band Liers in Wait and focused more on creating artwork for several bands including Dissection and Emperor. In 1996, three members—Goatspell, Necrolord, and Offensor—got back together and recorded two songs for the release of a compilation album, which was later re-released as a split album with At the Gates EP Gardens of Grief.

<i>Fuck Me Jesus</i> album by Marduk

Fuck Me Jesus is the first demo by Swedish then-death metal band Marduk. It was recorded and mixed at Gorysound Studios, and released in June 1991.

Death 'n' roll is the subgenre of death metal music that incorporates hard rock-inspired elements to the overall sound. The achieved effect is that of death metal's trademark combination of growled vocals and highly distorted detuned guitar riffing with elements reminiscent of 1970s hard rock and heavy metal. Notable examples include Entombed, Gorefest, Carcass and Six Feet Under.

<i>Seven Churches</i> (album) 1985 studio album by Possessed

Seven Churches is the debut album by American death metal band Possessed. The title of the album refers to the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation. "The Exorcist" begins with producer Randy Burns' version of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, arranged and performed as it was in the 1973 horror film of the same name. About.com ranked the album first in its list of "10 Essential Death Metal albums".

Repugnant was a Swedish death metal band from Stockholm active from 1998 to 2004. According to Swedish Death Metal author Daniel Ekeroth, "Their amazingly old school-sounding death metal is something you must hear to believe." The band has been pointed out as one of the first revivalists of the Swedish death metal movement, along with Kaamos. Vocalist and guitarist Mary Goore recruited a new lineup of Repugnant to perform at the Hell's Pleasure festival in 2010.

References

Footnotes

  1. Ekeroth, p. 18.
  2. Hoare, p. 29.
  3. Ekeroth, p. 27.
  4. Ekeroth, chapter 3, "The Birth of Swedish Death Metal", pp. 54–86.
  5. York, William. "Resurrection Through Carnage - Bloodbath". AllMusic . Rovi Corporation . Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  6. Ekeroth, p. 274.
  7. 1 2 Mason, Stewart. "Glass Casket". AllMusic . Rovi Corporation . Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  8. Works cited[edit] Purcell, Natalie J. (2003). Death Metal Music: The Passion and Politics of a Subculture. McFarland. ISBN   978-0-7864-1585-4. Ekeroth, Daniel (2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points. ISBN   978-0-9796163-1-0. Olivier "Zoltar" Badin, "In the Embrace of Evil: Swedish Death Metal New Blood", Terrorizer #182, April 2009, pp. 32–34. James Hoare, "Left Hand Pathfinders", Terrorizer #182, April 2009, pp. 28–29. Perlah, Jeff. "Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage: Playing Heavy, having Fun." Modern Drummer 10 2004: 96,100, 102, 104, 106. Freeborn, Robert. "A SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY OF SCANDINAVIAN HEAVY METAL MUSIC." Notes - Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 66.4 (2010): 840-50.
  9. Marsicano, Dan. "What is Melodic Death Metal". About.com . Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  10. Ekeroth, p. 276.

Works cited