The Melodic Death Metal Thread

First Post January 17, 2020 01:36 AM

At The Gates - "Slaughter Of The Soul" (1995)

I've been revisiting this little beauty this morning. Despite the fact that melodeath isn't exactly my cup of tea, this album has always managed to transcend that obstacle & sits amongst the best examples of that subgenre that I've ever come across. The crispness of the production, the precision of the performances, the spite in the vocal delivery & the urgency in the overall sound are big drawcards for me. I do find that some of the more melodic chorus sections take me further out of my comfort zone a little more than I'd like which is why I can't score it higher.

4/5

February 18, 2020 07:41 AM

Carcass - "Heartwork" (1993)

This album has traditionally always been my favourite melodic death metal record but my recent revisit to At the Gates' "Slaughter Of The Soul" has forced me to question that. So what was the result? Wwwwwweeeeeellllllll…. it was very fucking close but I think I'm gonna have to go with "Slaughter Of The Soul" in a photo finish.

4/5

December 03, 2021 08:12 PM

For this weekend's top ten list I thought I'd have a crack at my Top Ten Melodic Death Metal Releases of All Time. See what you think:


01. At The Gates – “Slaughter Of The Soul” (1995)

02. Carcass – “Heartwork” (1993)

03. Dark Tranquillity – “The Gallery” (1995)

04. Amorphis – “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” (1994)

05. Merciless – “Unbound” (1994)

06. Sentenced – “North From Here” (1993)

07. In Mourning – “The Weight Of Oceans” (2012)

08. The Breathing Process - “Odyssey (un)Dead” (2010)

09. Edge Of Sanity – “Crimson” (1996)

10. Be’lakor – “Of Breath & Bone” (2012)


https://metal.academy/lists/single/147


December 04, 2021 05:52 AM

Here's mine, limited to one per artist

1. Veiled in Scarlet - Atonement (2018)

2. In Flames - Come Clarity (2006)

3. Insomnium - Above the Weeping World (2006)

4. Dark Tranquillity - Construct (2013)

5. Before the Dawn - Rise of the Phoenix (2012)

6. Edge of Sanity - Crimson (1996)

7. Carcass - Heartwork (1993)

8. Wintersun - Wintersun (2004)

9. Dark Lunacy - The Diarist (2006)

10. Be'Lakor - Coherence (2021)

April 18, 2022 12:59 AM

My updated top ten list:


01. At The Gates – “Slaughter Of The Soul” (1995)

02. Carcass – “Heartwork” (1993)

03. Dark Tranquillity – “The Gallery” (1995)

04. Amorphis – “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” (1994)

05. Merciless – “Unbound” (1994)

06. Sentenced – “North From Here” (1993)

07. In Mourning – “The Weight Of Oceans” (2012)

08. The Breathing Process - “Odyssey (un)Dead” (2010)

09. The Chasm - "The Spell Of Retribution" (2004)

10. Edge Of Sanity – “Crimson” (1996)


https://metal.academy/lists/single/147

April 18, 2022 01:12 AM


The Chasm - "The Spell Of Retribution" (2004)

This weekend's revisit to Mexican death metallers The Chasm's 2004 sixth full-length has seen my previous position waning a little as I've found that (despite the incredible cult following the band seems to have garnered from the underground scene over the years) "The Spell Of Retribution" is simply a little too melodic for my higher scores these days. It's a record that's generally tagged as Death Metal on other sites but I have to say that there's really very little in the way of your classic death metal sound included here. Instead I'd suggest that a much more accurate tag is Blackened Melodic Death Metal as there's way more Swedish melodeath & Dissection/Rotting Christ style melodic black metal evident in their sound than there is Death or Morbid Angel. There's also an enormous amount of complexity in the song structures that often hints at Technical Death Metal as well as a noticeable thrashiness to some of the riffs themselves. It's all very well done but I can't escape the feeling that I'm a little outside of my comfort zone a lot of the time with tracks like "Retribution of the Lost Years (I, The Pastfinder III)" & "Remains of the Covenant" pushing me a touch further in the accessibility stakes than I'd like so I subsequently find "The Spell Of Retribution" to be a bit of a step down from The Chasm's stronger efforts like 2000's "Procession to the Infraworld" even though it's generally an enjoyable listen.

3.5/5

July 21, 2022 07:39 AM

In Flames - "The Jester Race" (1996)

If the style of death metal I like most is a full-bodied & complex Barossa Valley red wine then "The Jester Race" is a simple, sweet-fruited & light-bodied Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with a floral bouquet. There's no denying that it's a well composed & executed metal record but it's simply far too light-weight for my taste, particularly the rocky drumming which has very little to do with death metal. I can feel my manhood shrinking with every repeat listen so I've been left with little alternative other than to place this album back into the "not-for-me" box where it's resided ever since I first encountered it back at the time of release.

For fans of Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates & Soilwork.

3/5

March 18, 2023 04:34 AM

Amorphis - "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" (1994)

It’s been many years since I’ve revisited the highly regarded 1994 sophomore album from Finland’s Amorphis. “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” was a very big record in my household back in the day but I recall it being a much more important release for my younger brother Ben than it was for myself. I certainly rmember finding it to be a very creative & inventive effort (particularly melodically) however I don’t think I was the target audience Amorphis had in mind when they wrote it, despite my being quite fond of their earlier work which was closer to your classic death metal model. If I had to guess at what score I’d end up awarding it though I would have been pretty confident of it being a 4/5 so I went into this re-evaluation exercise with the expectation of a rewarding outcome.

“Tales From The Thousand Lakes” kicks off with a beautifully executed darkwave piece by the name of “Thousand Lakes” which I really enjoy & it sets the scene nicely for what’s to come. The more melodic end of death metal has been something that I’ve had a rocky relationship with over the years though & it took me a few tracks to find my feet once the metal material kicked off to tell you the truth. I had no trouble recalling just about every note of the album once I got my teeth into it as the hooks entrenched themselves in me from a relatively young age but I think I’d forgotten that I didn’t buy into Amorphis as much as the metalheads around me did, at least not at that point in their evolution. Thankfully things start to really get cracking as we approach the middle of the record with the one-two punch of “First Doom” & album highlight “Black Winter Day” which saw my attention being fully engaged for the first time but despite the fact that there’s only one track of the ten on the tracklisting that I don’t get much out of (ironically one of the more popular tracks in the folky “The Castaway”) I’d be lying if I said that I ever find myself kneeling at the altar of Amorphis’ here.

So why is that? I certainly admire the record from a creative point of view as it sounded so unlike anything else that was around at the time & seems to succeed in most of its more expansive musical endeavours. I think it’s that some of those endeavours take Amorphis into more accessible territories that have me hesitating to jump on the train as it’s moving slowly out from the station though. You see, while “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” is generally tagged as melodic death metal, there are a lot more elements at play here. The doom/death metal sound of Paradise Lost is the most obvious point of reference & I really enjoy the more crushing doom sections. There are a few crunchy Swedish death metal moments too which can’t be a bad thing but there are also some less imposing influences on display. I really enjoy the clean vocals & think they add greatly to the infectiousness of Amorphis’ sound here. The prog rock influences are generally refreshing too but are a little hit & miss in their execution, particularly in the use of keyboards which can bounce from being a masterstroke to being a touch underwhelming in fairly quick time. Perhaps unsurprisingly though, the incorporation of folk melodies in several of the songs is something that I find a little difficult to stomach as folk metal has never been my bag. Tomi Koivusaari’s death growls aren’t particularly interesting either. In fact, I’m tempted to suggest that they sound pretty generic which perhaps goes a fair way to explaining why I enjoy the clean vocals so much.

Amorphis would go on to move away from death metal entirely over the next couple of records by focusing their attention on a more progressive sound. Their 1996 third album “Elegy” would be somewhat of a transition album in that regard but I’ve always remembered it as being a step up from “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” from a creative point of view. Perhaps that’s simply a case of misguided nostalgia & I might make a point of revisiting that album some time soon so as to see how it compares but there can be no doubt that its predecessor was a resounding success in its own right. It’s perhaps a touch too melodic for my taste but “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” certainly compares very well with other prominent melodeath releases & would still make my all-time top ten for the subgenre overall at this point.

3.5/5


And here's my updated Top Ten Melodic Death Metal Releases of All Time list:


01. At The Gates – “Slaughter Of The Soul” (1995)

02. Carcass – “Heartwork” (1993)

03. Dark Tranquillity – “The Gallery” (1995)

04. Merciless – “Unbound” (1994)

05. Sentenced – “North From Here” (1993)

06. In Mourning – “The Weight Of Oceans” (2012)

07. The Breathing Process - “Odyssey (un)Dead” (2010)

08. Amorphis - "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" (1994)

09. The Chasm - "The Spell Of Retribution" (2004)

10. Edge Of Sanity – “Crimson” (1996)


https://metal.academy/lists/single/147

March 18, 2023 11:24 AM

Good review, Daniel! Amorphis is known as one of the most well-praised metal bands around, and I've been trying to get back into the melodeath zone lately, so I knew I had to give it some listening and a review. It's actually my second attempt at reviewing this album. The first time was a few years ago and I couldn't appreciate it enough, and a few more years prior, I tried listening to some songs from there, but they weren't for me at that time. But now, I finally get the glorious beauty of this atmospheric masterpiece I can recommend for many metalheads out there. I guess the moral here is, if the first listen doesn't work out for you, give it some time then try again. Let it grow and glow! Thank you, Daniel, for that indirect reminder for me to test out something so essential for my (and most metal fans') collection.

April 18, 2023 02:49 AM

In Flames - "Clayman" (2000)

I haven't heard Swedish melodeath gods In Flames' fifth album since around 2009 so I thought I'd fill this gap in my understanding of the band's back catalogue with an informed rating. This release is known as the band's last full-length before steering away from death metal altogether but I've always struggled with the concept of In Flames being labeled as death metal to begin with to tell you the truth as this stuff is just so unintimidating & easy-listening compared to my own concept of what the genre represents. The album gets off to a strong-ish start with the two best tracks kicking off proceedings but things descend fairly quickly from there with only the pretty decent title track showing any sign of resurrection. At their worst, In Flames sound oh so commercial to my ears. They're certainly a talented bunch but I need a bit more grunt in my death metal. I'd no doubt take In Flames most celebrated release "The Jester Race" over "Clayman" but there's not a lot in it as neither are really my cup of tea. If you're a die-hard At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity & Soilwork fan then you may get a lot more out of "Clayman" than I have although the first two of those bands always did this stuff sssoooo much better in my opinion.

3/5

June 14, 2023 03:31 PM