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Melodic Death Metal

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Melodic death metal, occasionally called "Melodeath", is a notable subgenre of Death Metal that is characterised by harmonized, Iron Maiden-styled guitar melodies and a generally higher-pitched growl, though low-pitched ones are occasionally used. Depending on the band, they may even incorporate clean singing into the mix.


From one 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, while several bands from Finland (Children of Bodom, Norther, and Kalmah) created a flashier, more bombastic style that borrowed heavily from power metal and helped influence both that genre and a host of other, newer melodic death acts.

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:

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, DevilDriver, 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: 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).
  • Metal Scream: While many bands use Type 2 like in traditional death metal, Type 1 and Type 3 are also very common.
  • 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, Dismember, Arsis and The Black Dahlia Murder have songs that are around this range). The most melodic bands, especially those that use frequent clean vocals, go down to a solid 7 (Sonic Syndicate, Soilwork, Dead By April, 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 frequently exhibit another variant of the trope, alternating between low growls and high screams.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Quite possibly the most romantic form of music since the 1800's.
  • Trope Codifier: In Flames for melodic, lead-driven melodeath, At the Gates and Carcass for thrashy, aggressive melodeath, Dark Tranquillity for gothic/electronic-inflected melodeath, Soilwork for poppy, rock-influenced melodeath, Neuraxis and Anata for technical melodeath, Children of Bodom for power metal-inflected melodeath, and Ensiferum for the folk-tinged variant.
  • Trope Makers: 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, as well as Sentenced. Children of Bodom, Norther, and Kalmah all share roughly equal responsibility for the more bombastic and power metal-tinged variant that came along later.

Alternative Title(s): Melodeath


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