Death Metal?

Invader

Ancient Mariner
Until now, I have almost completely ignored the death metal genre, but I have recently started having an interest in it.  So, can someone suggest some good, easily obtainable (read: not too underground) death metal bands?  Preferably a bit on the lighter side, but anything goes really.  I could of course just start exploring at random, but it's a big genre and I would prefer to have a bit of a nudge in the right direction. :)
 

Raven

Ancient Mariner
To get into Death Metal, I suggest you break yourself in gently.  Melodic Death metal is probably the best route to take before jumping into the Floridian or Finnish scenes...try some early In Flames (Lunar Strain -> Whoracle) or Dark Tranquillity (The Gallery, Damage Done, Character esp.) initially.  In Flames have a certain fetish for Maiden-esque melodies (like the majority of the Gothenburg scene), and Lunar Strain combines these melodies with folk passages and other such cool devices.

Also, Opeth are an undeniably good band for getting into Death metal, particularly due to Mikael Akerfeldt's wonderful vocals.  Blackwater Park has a combination of good production, great riffs, and a variety of different passages that help to get you more used to more Death Metal sounding metal (wtf? :huh:)

Anyway, you could try the three bands mentioned above, and see what you think.  If you feel like jumping into some rawer DM, the main early bands would be Death, Morbid Angel and Possessed.  This era of DM is very much akin to thrash metal, in the same way that the early Black Metal bands relied on Bathory and Venom for their inspiration, producing a thrashier feel.

To summarise, if you want some good, melodic, well-produced Death Metal, I would suggest the following albums;
Dark Tranquillity - The Gallery, Damage Done
In Flames - Lunar Strain, The Jester Race, Subterranean [EP]
Opeth - Still Life, Blackwater Park
Death - The Sound of Perseverance, Individual Thought Patterns

These aren't really representative of what Death Metal in its purest form sounds like, but they're very good albums with elements found frequently in DM.  I would start with these before trying the likes of Cryptopsy, Nile or Obituary (none of which I particularly like, but oh well).
 

Shadow

Deluxe Edition
Staff member
The first death metal band I got into was Carcass, who began as grindcore with medical textbook lyrics but went for a more melodic sound on their last few records. I'd recommed Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (1991) and Heartwork (1993).

My current favourite death metal band is Death, who were one of the most influential bands in the genre before their career was cut short by the death of mainman Chuck Schuldiner in 2001. They started out as rather straight-forward death metal but later evolved into a more progressive sound, best showcased on their last album, The Sound of Perseverance (1998), which is my favourite. Apart from that, I'd recommed Spiritual Healing (1990) and Individual Thought Patterns (1993).

In a similarly technical but much more jazzy vein, Atheist were a really good band. They released a total of three albums; the first two - Piece of Time (1989) and Unquestionable Presence (1991) - are the best in my opinion.
 

Raven

Ancient Mariner
Shadow said:
The first death metal band I got into was Carcass, who began as grindcore with medical textbook lyrics but went for a more melodic sound on their last few records. I'd recommed Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (1991) and Heartwork (1993).

My current favourite death metal band is Death, who were one of the most influential bands in the genre before their career was cut short by the death of mainman Chuck Schuldiner in 2001. They started out as rather straight-forward death metal but later evolved into a more progressive sound, best showcased on their last album, The Sound of Perseverance (1998), which is my favourite. Apart from that, I'd recommed Spiritual Healing (1990) and Individual Thought Patterns (1993).

In a similarly technical but much more jazzy vein, Atheist were a really good band. They released a total of three albums; the first two - Piece of Time (1989) and Unquestionable Presence (1991) - are the best in my opinion.

I was teetering on the edge of including Carcass and Atheist. :p
 

SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
I'm not a very big fan of death metal because I don't like growling / gutteral / Cookie Monster vocals. However, even I like Dark Tranquility and Opeth; the instrumental work from both of those bands is great.

My point being: if even I can dig DT and Opeth, then anyone can. Start there.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Gorefest! The Fest is back! One of the biggest names in European death metal.

Sublime drums and the vocalist is a hell of a grunter!
Definitely do not ignore "False", the great live(!)album "The Eindhoven Insanity", "Erase"  and their latest "Rise To Ruin"

New tracks:
http://www.myspace.com/gorefestofficial

Older tracks (videos)!

Erase (1994)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toAFwLvwums

Get A Life (1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X19xFWbQNdU

Reality When You Die (live @ Dynamo festival - 1993)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdODeet-NKo

Confessions Of A Serial Killer (live @ Dynamo festival - 1993)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpvAIok2Rpw

For The Masses (2004)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWuBT19H0Zk

and a very old one: Decomposed (1991)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOIs8Aiyvjs
 

Dr Cox

Invader
Obituary's Anthology cd is a good place to start dipping into death metal, the early Morbid Angel albums are well worth a listen as well. Most people will say Death are the best death metal band you can listen to, all their albums are good. Opeth's albums are great as well, bit more mellow in places than the other acts i've listed.
 

supersonic

Invader
Id say Raven's recommendations are good. I would only add Amon Amarth to the melodic Death Metal bands. Atheist might be a little too much to start with though. I would also reccomend the French band Gojira, Its not fully death metal,(They combine some Thrash, death and Progressive elements), but you can check it out.
Its funny but Ive listened to Opeth albums so many times but I never seem to like them. Personally I find them quite boring. To each his own anyway  :)
I don't know too much about the 80's death metal though.
My only experience with anything resembling brutal death metal is Nile , Behemoth and Vader. Nile can get a little boring after a while though. (But their instrumental interludes are really good.)
 

Raven

Ancient Mariner
supersonic said:
Id say Raven's recommendations are good. I would only add Amon Amarth to the melodic Death Metal bands. Atheist might be a little too much to start with though. I would also reccomend the French band Gojira, Its not fully death metal,(They combine some Thrash, death and Progressive elements), but you can check it out.
Its funny but Ive listened to Opeth albums so many times but I never seem to like them. Personally I find them quite boring. To each his own anyway  :)
I don't know too much about the 80's death metal though.
My only experience with anything resembling brutal death metal is Nile , Behemoth and Vader. Nile can get a little boring after a while though. (But their instrumental interludes are really good.)

Amon Amarth are indeed very good, and probably heavier than many other Melodic Death Metal bands I could name (particularly their earlier stuff).  Not too fond of Gojira, and I understand perfectly what you say about Opeth...they extend their riffs for far too long (I still love 'em, though).  I don't listen to particularly brutal DM, but Nile are one of the better modern bands for Brutal Technical DM.

Atheist are awesome, however difficult it is to get into them.  End of. :p
 

Kynisk Sokol

Ancient Mariner
Anyways, it's time to mention the usual Stockholm death metal groups. For those unfamiliar, the scene got it's kick start with Entombed's 1990 debut album, Left Hand Path, embracing the trademark "chainsaw guitar" sound that's associated with Sunlight Studios and producer Thomas Skogsberg. After a second album, Clandestine, the group took a detour into a much more palatable, blusier sound known as "death n' roll". Wolverine Blues gave the death metal community a severe shock, and the usual cries of "sell-out". Entombed still carry on down the aforementioned path today, but for those looking for an entry into the Stockholm scene, Left Hand Path is an obvious, but just as excellent choice. Also worth nothing is a compilation of their demo tapes when they were known as Nihilist from 1987 to 1989, simply titled Nihilist. For those curious about the name change, the band had increasing differences with bassist Johnny Hedlund. Rather than simply forcing him out, the band took a non-confrontational approach and simply broke up Nihilist, reforming a few days later (without Johnny) as Entombed. Hedlund would go on to form Unleashed, another excellent death metal group.

Other close compatriots to Entombed are Dismember (ex-Entombed drummer Nicke Andersson designed Dismember's logo and played most of the leadwork on their debut album), whose 1991 debut, Like an Everflowing Stream is one of the best examples of the genre. Unlike Entombed, Dismember has stuck firmly to their original sound to this day. Nothing after the debut stands up it, to be honest. A common flaw with this scene is that many of the groups had a habit of making some excellent works and spiralling off into a slew faceless imitations.

The aforementioned Unleashed stood apart from the scene with the use of Viking imagery and lyrics (one of the first to use them as well), as opposed to the usual death/gore/horror fare. Across the Open Sea, Shadows in the Deep and Where no Life Dwells are all fine examples of the genre.

I'm sure many of you know of Therion and their brand of symphonic metal. The general consensus of Therion is that they evolved to something better in their career and that their early death metal works are the immature results of a group struggling to find their (well, really just Christofer Johnsson's) creative voice. I'd like to disregard that thought and recommend Beyond Sanctorum as truly epic, fantastic death metal. And, to indulge in a cliche, it's a surprise to know that it's the same band.

These releases should be fairly easy to obtain. If you're hungry for more, look into God Macabre, Unanimated, Necrophobic, Afflicted and Darkified.

Now, some viddies.

Dismember - Dreaming in Red A "death ballad".
Entombed - Left Hand Path
Unleashed - The One Insane



Oh, and Six Feet Under are loltastic.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner

Kynisk Sokol

Ancient Mariner
Forostar said:
If we're gonna go Sweden, or more importantly Gothenburg, let's not ignore At the f**k'n Gates, uhh I mean:

At The Gates, a legendary band and an important influence for bands like e.g. In Flames.

Most memorable track "Blinded By Fear"  -->
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRViek2t8TA   (fantastic track!!)

other vids:

"The Burning Darkness" -->
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG1qui9jeSw

"Terminal Spirit Disease" ->
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slph4EVFGSw

Don't forget the video for Kingdom Gone, taken from their fantastic debut album, The Red in the Sky is Ours. Another great group in their vein is Eucharist, who oddly enough, featured Daniel Erlandsson on drums, the younger brother of Adrian Erlandsson, who was At the Gates' drummmer.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Thanks, couldn't find that one so quickly. I'm still crossing my fingers for a ATG reunion. 
My favourite album is "Terminal Spirit Disease" and my favourite track "Forever Blind".
 

Albie

Keeping an open eye on the Weeping Angels.
I have to admit, I lost faith in metal sub-genres a long time back. In fact, it could be pinpointed to the time when Thrash came about. At the end of the day, Thrash was just a more raw and aggressive sounding NWOBHM - it was the next stage in Metal's evolution. Bands like Helloween were lumped into the same category as, say, a band like Death (believe me, both bands where initially classed as Thrash) on the premise that their music was faster and more aggressive than their peers. This seemed a bit odd - in saying that, so was classing Venom and Tygers of Pan Tang in the same genre. So why do we have to have so much emphasis on genres these days? It does seem to me to be getting a little out of hand when we get a band with just a slight adjustment from an existing genre and all of a sudden we get something like Melo-death's first cousin once removed from black hardcore metal - or something like that. It would be so much easier on us all if it was just simply tagged Heavy Metal and we just got on with liking band x and not liking band y purely based on personal taste.

Or is this just a too much of a simplistic view.

In saying that - Carcass is an excellent band and anything up to (and including) Heartwork is worthy of a listen and....
Black Dragon said:
this track reminds me a lot of Xentrix.
 

Raven

Ancient Mariner
Forostar said:
Thanks, couldn't find that one so quickly. I'm still crossing my fingers for a ATG reunion. 
My favourite album is "Terminal Spirit Disease" and my favourite track "Forever Blind".

Probably about as likely as the 10,000+ rumours a year of Carcass reforming.  I wouldn't mind seeing them if they reformed...I'm not a 'The Haunted' man, but I quite like AtG, although I only have Slaughter of the Soul (traded a Nightwish CD for it...a good deal, I think :lol:)
 

Shadow

Deluxe Edition
Staff member
Raven said:
Probably about as likely as the 10,000+ rumours a year of Carcass reforming...

In the news today:

Former Carcass guitarist Mike Amott (currently in Arch Enemy) has revealed that the legendary U.K. death metal band may reunite for a tour.

In an exclusive interview with Sweden's Close-Up magazine, Amott said that he and guitarist/vocalist Bill Steer secretly met in Halmstad, Sweden last year to rehearse old Carcass material. A couple of months later, they were joined by vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker for another practice session. Arch Enemy's Daniel Erlandsson was handling the drum duties at these rehearsals.

"It sounded really good and it was a lot of fun," said Amott. "We rehearsed pretty much the entire 'Heartwork' album [1993]."

The original plan was for Carcass to play several festival shows this summer, but that fell through.

"I hope we can do some reunion shows at a later date," explained Amott. "It would be a lot of fun and I'd love to play the songs live again. Unfortunately, it can't happen until 18 months from now, at the earliest, because Arch Enemy has a totally full schedule. It's different for the other guys who don't work as actively on their music careers."

Have you discussed writing new songs?

"To write something new seems unnecessary. People still only want to hear the old stuff," said Amott.

Read more at Blabbermouth...

Most likely it'll come to nothing, but one can always hope. I'd go see them for sure.
 

Kynisk Sokol

Ancient Mariner
Shadow said:
In the news today:

Read more at Blabbermouth...

Most likely it'll come to nothing, but one can always hope. I'd go see them for sure.

When Amott mentions "old stuff", I hope he's referring to the pre-Heartwork material.

Raven said:
I'm not a 'The Haunted' man, but I quite like AtG, although I only have Slaughter of the Soul (traded a Nightwish CD for it...a good deal, I think :lol:)

That's akin to trading AIDS for HIV. Oh, and The Haunted continued on the Slaughter of the Soul sound, so that's pretty much a dead end.

Some more videos:
Dismember - Soon to be Dead
Entombed - Stranger Aeons
Finnish death metal tribute.
 
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