Melodic Death Metal
aka: Melo Death
Melodic death metal
, occasionally called "Melodeath", is a notable subgenre of Death Metal
that is characterised by Iron Maiden
-styled guitar melodies and a generally higher-pitched growl, though low-pitched ones are occasionally used.
Depending on your perspective, melodeath was created by the British band Carcass; however, it's unclear whether they were truly the first. Whatever your stance, everyone can agree that the style was popularised by three bands from Gothenburg, Sweden: In Flames, At the Gates, and Dark Tranquillity. The success of these three bands resulted in a number of mainly Scandinavian bands that took on the style.
Melodeath is seen as a less underground style than standard Death Metal
; its lyrics generally do not focus on gore, although there are exceptions (Dismember is one of them). Melodeath was also a huge influence on many Metalcore
bands. When fused together, they become Melodic Metalcore
Bands classified as melodic death metal include:
- The Absence
- Abysmal Dawn (From Ashes only)
- Aeternam (Fuses melodic death with Middle Eastern folk)
- The Agonist (A female-fronted example like Arch Enemy, though they tend to mix it up with clean vocals. Crosses over with deathcore and Progressive Metal.)
- Amusingly, the lead singer of The Agonist is now the lead singer for Arch Enemy - and they've replaced her with a singer who originally seemed to be focused mainly on clean singing, but has proven to be just as capable a growler.
- Allegaeon (Mixed with Tech Death)
- All That Remains (Originally; they later mixed this with metalcore)
- Amon Amarth
- Amorphis (They have gradually morphed into some form of "Progressive Folk Metal", although melodeath elements can still be heard from time to time. One of the early users of clean vocals that made it work, along with Dark Tranquillity.)
- Arch-Enemy (Notable for - eventually - having a female singer doing growling vocals.)
- Arsis (Also qualifies as Tech Death)
- At The Gates (Trope Codifier)
- Barren Earth (Formed from members of several other Melodeath bands. Fuses Melodeath with Progressive Metal.)
- The first track off of their first full-length release includes a flute solo.
- Before the Dawn (Melodeath with Goth Metal influences)
- The Black Dahlia Murder (They are often considered a deathcore band due to their fanbase and a couple of their very early releases, but have little in common music-wise with the genre and are a lot closer to At the Gates than they are to Suicide Silence; as of Everblack, they've begun including elements of brutal death into their sound.)
- Bloodshot Dawn (along with tech)
- Blood Stain Child (Fused melodeath with Trance.)
- Carcass (Later; possibly the Trope Maker.)
- Children of Bodom (Fused melodeath with Power Metal.)
- Dark Lunacy (Heavy Symphonic influences. Early releases feature violins prominently.)
- Dark Tranquillity (Trope Codifier)
- Dead By April (Possibly the only metal band that fuses melodeath (or any metal for that matter) with Boy Band-styled pop)
- DevilDriver (also Groove Metal; depending on the album, they might lean more heavily towards melodeath or groove, though The Last Kind Words is the closest they come to a straight melodic death album)
- Disarmonia Mundi
- Dismember (often associated more closely with other bands from the Stockholm death metal scene such as Entombed, Unleashed, and Grave)
- Dissection (On Reinkaos.)
- Edge of Sanity (also Progressive Metal / Progressive Death Metal, especially on the Crimson albums)
- Eluveitie (Fused melodeath with Celtic metal.)
- Enfold Darkness (mixed with melodic black metal)
- Ensiferum (Mixed with Power Metal, Folk Metal and Viking Metal.)
- Eternal Tears of Sorrow (another melodeath/gothic fusion)
- Ex Deo (Side project of Maurizio Iacono from Kataklysm, with themes based on Roman history. Later releases mixed with Symphonic Black Metal.)
- Exhumed (On Necrocracy, though they've flirted with this before)
- Exist Trace (mostly their earlier releases)
- Exmortus (along with Death/Thrash and a bunch of other genres)
- Fleshgod Apocalypse (Agony onward) Also Technical Death Metal
- Garden of Shadows (notable in that they were Sean Beasley's band prior to his joining Dying Fetus)
- God Dethroned (later albums; earlier material was Blackened Death Metal)
- God Forbid (A melodeath/metalcore crossover, with a strong thrash influence to boot.)
- Gorod (along with tech and prog)
- The Haunted (With a strong influence from both Thrash Metal and Groove Metal.)
- Heaven Shall Burn
- Hypocrisy (Since 1994; arguably the weirdest of the lot, and also one of the heavier bands in the genre.)
- In Flames (Trope Codifier) (they leaned toward Alternative Metal/Nu Metal in their later albums, but still kept many elements of this genre)
- Inferi (mixed with tech)
- Insomnium (Also contains strong influence from Progressive Death Metal and Doom Metal.)
- Intestine Baalism
- Into Eternity (Mixed with Progressive Death Metal)
- Kalmah (Later works also fall under death/thrash)
- Kataklysm (their latest stuff, and borderline at that)
- Kokuyasou (also Symphonic Metal, Black Metal and Gothic Metal with brutal and slam death influences, and that's putting it lightly)
- Mercenary (Mixed with Power Metal and, to a certain degree, Progressive Metal.)
- Mayan (Mixed with Symphonic Metal; Mark Jansen's side project)
- Moonspell (The Antidote onward, fused with Gothic Metal)
- Mors Principium Est
- myGRAIN (Later works involve elements of Power Metal and metalcore)
- Neuraxis (along with Technical Death Metal)
- Oathean (Mixed with Melodic Black Metal and Korean Folk music.)
- Omnium Gatherum (Latest release experiments with Progressive influences. Very strong ties with Insomnium, to the point both sharing a considerable portion of their fan bases and being known as Insomnium Gatherum.)
- Paths Of Possession (notable for featuring George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher from Cannibal Corpse.)
- Persefone (Earlier works were Progressive Metal done in melodeath form. Latest album (2013) expands to Progressive Death Metal.)
- Quo Vadis (Mixed with Tech Death)
- Raintime (Mixes Melodeath with Power Metal.)
- Revocation (Along with Tech Death, Death/Thrash, and far too many other genres to list)
- Scar Symmetry (Another melodeath/power metal fusion. There's a bit of Progressive Metal, too)
- Skeletonwitch (Mixed with Thrash and Black)
- Shadows Fall (only their first two albums (if you count their actual first album as an album); they have since shifted to a fusion of Thrash Metal and Metalcore.)
- The Showdown (Mixes with Metalcore, Groove Metal, and Southern Rock)
- Silent Descent (Another trance-fusion melodeath band alongside Blood Stain Child.)
- Skyfire (A very experimental example)
- Soilwork (mixed with Alternative Metal, though their first few albums were straight melodeath)
- Sonic Syndicate (Though it's sometimes debated whether SS is melodic death metal or metalcore. Or both.)
- Solution .45 (Another group formed by members of other bands, includes ex-Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Älvestam. Some progressive elements.)
- Soul Embraced
- Soul Remnants (As of Black and Blood, also a particularly heavy example)
- Suidakra (Originally Black Metal; Mixed with Celtic Metal)
- Swallow the Sun (Mixed with Doom Metal.)
- System Divide
- Vale of Pnath (Mixed with Tech Death)
- Wings In Motion
- Wintersun (also Progressive Metal / Progressive Death Metal)
This genre exhibits the following trope examples:
- An Aesop: Melodic Death seems to have lyrics of this, more often than not.
- Darker and Edgier: Hypocrisy, Arsis, Eyeconoclast, Heaven Shall Burn, Fleshgod Apocalypse (as of Agony), and The Black Dahlia Murder are this to other bands in the genre thanks to a greater death metal slant.
- Genre-Busting/Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: It's not uncommon for a Melodeath band to invent their own sound by drawing inspiration from a wide array of stylistic influences, ranging from other extreme metal subgenres such as Thrash Metal and Black Metal, to more musically varied styles such as Progressive Metal or Power Metal and even non-metal genres, such as Classical Music, Folk Music, Electronic Music and even Country Music.
- Lighter and Softer: This to Death Metal. But not always...
- Lyrical Dissonance: Gorn lyrics are rarer than in standard Death Metal, or even Tech Death. The lyrics often range from society/political stances (e.g. Soilwork, Carcass) to fantasy (e.g. In Flames, Dark Tranquillity) and horror (e.g. Dismember, The Black Dahlia Murder).
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a standard 8 (e.g. Amorphis) to a hard 9 (e.g. In Flames, At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity), but can hit a 10 and sometimes get very close to 11 (Hypocrisy and Dismember have done this, and The Black Dahlia Murder often reaches this level as well). Some bands go down to a hard 7 (Sonic Syndicate, Soilwork, modern In Flames)
- Soprano and Gravel: The Agonist, Deadlock, System Divide, and Fleshgod Apocalypse are a few known bands that make fair use of clean vocals. Bands without any cleans will make more frequent use of low growls and high screams.
- The Scrappy: Starting to slowly become this due to the more accessible, commercial sound than what is prevalent in standard Death Metal.
- Beginning to be averted within the scene, as most Melodeath fans are now incredibly pissed off by the sheer number of In Flames and Sonic Syndicate worshippers that claim to play straight-up melodeath but, lyrically and musically, have a lot more in common with, say, Bullet For My Valentine and Bring Me The Horizon than the very bands they idolize, which has caused a huge portion of the subgenre to effectively stagnate. In addition to this, fans also dislike them for managing to creep into tours led by more-respected acts and for pandering to a Misaimed Fandom of Wangst-y teenagers. This is why many melodeath bands have since begun shifting back to the Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly stylings the genre was once known for, by basing their sound around more traditional Death Metal (examples include Hypocrisy, TBDM, Arsis, Eyeconoclast) or straight-up inventing their own sound from pre-existing influences (Blood Stain Child, Deadlock, DevilDriver).
- Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Quite possibly the most romantic form of music since the 1800's.
- Trope Maker: Some would say Carcass, others would cite one of the three Scandinavian Trope Codifiers, but it's not exactly known. Eucharist is another common name that gets thrown around when the "who came first" question is posed.
- Trope Codifier: In Flames for melodic, solo-driven melodeath, At The Gates for brutal, thrash/groove-influenced melodeath, and Dark Tranquillity for Gothic/baroque pop-styled melodeath...at least if you don't consider these bands as co-Trope Makers along with Carcass. For modern fans, it's either Children of Bodom, Sonic Syndicate, or DevilDriver.