A Melodic Death Metal
/ Alternative Metal
quintet formed in Gothenburg, Sweden.
To date the band has released 11 studio albums; Lunar Strain
in 1994, The Jester Race
in 1996, Whoracle
in 1997, Colony
in 1999, Clayman
in 2000, Reroute to Remain
in 2002, Soundtrack to Your Escape
in 2004, Come Clarity
in 2006, A Sense of Purpose
in 2008, Sounds of a Playground Fading
in 2011, and most recently, Siren Charms
in 2014. The band emerged with a very traditional Melodic Death Metal
sound, combining elements of Folk Metal
into their songs, and focusing largely on melodic instrumentation. The sound was described as 'Gothenburg metal', and the band's sophomore album, The Jester Race
, is considered to be a classic album in the genre of melodeath, and by some to be one of the best metal albums in recent years.
Despite this, the band felt like they were playing the same style too often around halfway through their career, and changed their style starting with their 2002 release Reroute to Remain
, which caused dispute between many fans.
The new sound departed from much of their old sound, which involved high-pitched screams in replacement of the low death growls, the addition of melodic vocals, less raw production, and a more commercially acceptable tone among other elements. Some fans, however, liked the change in sound, citing it to be 'a step in a new direction', and some even like the old and the new sound.
To date, the band has sold over 3 million records worldwide.Members:
- Anders Friden: lead singer, growler, and screamer. He also writes the lyrics.
- Bjorn Gelotte: one of the band's two guitarists (served as the drummer from 1995-1998).
- Niclas Engelin: the other guitarist; replaced band founder Jesper Stromblad in 2010.
- Peter Iwers: the bassist.
- Daniel Svensson: the drummer.
Tropes of a Playground Fading:
- Alternative Metal: Their later albums contain this sound along with their usual melodeath, though Sounds of a Playground Fading and Siren Charms are straight alt-metal.
- Awesome McCoolname: The name of the band.
- Badass Beard: Anders in his later years.
- Careful With That Axe: Very frequently used in their later music. For example, "Evil In A Closet" and, to a lesser extent, "Cloud Connected."
- Darker and Edgier: Whoracle, which is easily the band's darkest and most brutal album.
- Dream Team: They have worked with Pendulum for their album Immersion.
- Eldritch Abomination: The lyrics of Lunar Strain seem to focus on one of these, particularly in Behind Space: "Call me by my astral name / Breeding fear through wordless tongue"
- Fan Community Nickname: Jesterheads.
- Genre-Busting: While their early albums were more straightforward in terms of sound, the later works feature a lot of elements from different rock subgenres.
- Important Haircut: Anders recently cut off his dreadlocks, after growing them out for 9 years.
- Lighter and Softer: The song 'Metaphor' on Reroute to Remain and the title track on Come Clarity are softer than most of their usual work. The same could be said for their whole Reroute to Remain and afterwards records, compared to their previous material, although some songs, such as "Take This Life", "Scream" and "Trigger" are just as heavy as their older material. The album Siren Charms in particular is rather sedate compared to even their most recent material.
- Melodic Death Metal: Their music primarily features this style.
- Unlike many metal bands who change their sound, nobody actually knows why they did. The band doesn't even acknowledge that their fanbase is so divided, acting as though their music never changed.
- Metal Scream: Anders can pull off rather epic Type 3's.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Older songs an 8-9, later songs a 7-8. "Take This Life", the opening track for Come Clarity, is a very hard 9 bordering on 10 (same for "Morphing Into Primal" from Whoracle), while "Scream", a song from the same album, is a solid 10.
- New Sound Album: Reroute to Remain is the album that arguably solidified their "new" sound. However, Colony and Clayman showed the band gradually developing it.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Later works featured a fusion of Melodic Death Metal, Alternative Metal and Nu Metal.
- Nu Metal: Has flirted with this on their later material, with "Leeches", "Trigger" and "The Quiet Place" being particularly good examples.
- Signature Style: Early on, harmonized guitar shredding a la Iron Maiden combined with ferocious chainsaw riffs typical of Death Metal. Nowadays the band has incorporated Electronic Music elements into their songwriting, along with Linkin Park-style power riffs, while keeping the dual guitar noodling that made them famous. Also, Anders Friden has one of the most easily recognizable screaming voices in modern metal. Of the three big melodeath bands, they were the most melodic and accessible.
- Trope Codifier: For the more melodic and upbeat end of melodeath as performed by them and Unearth, Sonic Syndicate, Scar Symmetry, Children of Bodom, MyGrain, Gorod, Soilwork and Blood Stain Child.
- Vocal Evolution: From tradition death growls on the first four albums to a more screamy style from Clayman onward. Not to mention the gradual implementation of clean singing starting with Colony and solidifying with Reroute To Remain.
- X Meets Y: Ceremonial Oath meets Iron Maiden, with Korn and Linkin Park thrown in as well later.