Melodic Death Metal

  • The Unguided – Fragile Immortality (2014)


    Formed by three ex-members of Sonic Syndicate, The Unguided takes some elements from said band and delivers a high-octane release filled with melodic riffs and excellent vocal melodies. The Sjunnesson brothers (Rich and Roger) lead this band with their superb songwriting skills and eye for catchiness. Delivering 11 explosive tracks, “Fragile Immortality” is one of the first standout releases of 2014.

    Opening with the bombastic synths of “Inception”, the band sets a very dynamic and futuristic tone with the first song. The approach of growls/clean lead vocals is very similar to bands like Solution .45 and Scar Symmetry, allowing the music to be quite expansive and engaging. Richard Sjunnesson handles the harsh vocals and sounds like a ‘heavier’ version of Alexi from Children of Bodom. The clean leads are quite intoxicating, provided by Roland Johansson, and they leave other vocalists way behind on the awesomeness curve.

  • Hanging Garden – I Was a Soldier (2013)


    Originally started as a Death/Doom outfit, Hanging Garden has been slowly drifting apart from this category into more Melodic Death/Doom territories like their fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun and Insomnium. After the release of “At Every Door” earlier this year, the band gives us a little taste of what is to come in the future with their EP “I Was a Soldier”. Featuring three tracks (with the digital bonus song), this release continues were their previous full-length left off with a good dose of crushing melancholic music.

    Starting on a high note, “Winter to Summer Adverse” delivers punishing riffs, demoralizing vocals and a very cool atmospheric keyboard highlights. While this track sounds a lot like Swallow the Sun, the band does a great job in keeping their style evolving and creating a bleak atmosphere. The clean vocals certainly add an extra layer of awesomeness to this track. The EP’s title track continues the flow with more atmospheric passages and engaging vocals.

  • Dawn of Tears – Act III: The Dying Eve (2013)


    With an eerie resemblance to Dark Lunacy and Eluveitie (sans the folk stuff), today we have Dawn of Tears and their excellent release “Act III: The Dying Eve”. Being huge fans of Melodic Death/Gothic Metal, this Spanish band blew us away since the first time we listened to this release. Mixing heavy guitars with tons of melodic/headbanging interludes and some female vocals and keyboards, they manage to deliver super catchy tracks that will have all fans of Dark Lunacy, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, etc. craving for more.

    The album immediately starts on a high note with the high-octane “A Curse Herritage”. This track immediately shows great energy from this promising band. The incursion of female vocals is quite enjoyable, giving the music a completely different dimension. The album’s first single, “Present of Guilt”, is another mega-catchy melody that features an excellent chorus section and brilliant guitar work. With some cool atmospheric components, this song’s vocals reminded us of Eluveitie. Stepping up their game, “Lament of Madeleine” delivers a powerful opening that nicely turns mysterious in a very Eternal Tears of Sorrow way.

  • Carcass – Surgical Steel (2013)


    Having waited since 1996 for this, we are quite impressed on how Carcass manages to bring back their best sound from the “Heartwork” and “Necroticism” and give it a certain modern kick. While fans of the band’s early material (“Reek of Putrefaction” and “Symphonies of Sickness”) will keep on hating for the band’s more ‘mellow’ music, anybody that got over this on the course of the last 20 years should definitely enjoy “Surgical Steel”. Jeff Walker and Billy Steer manage to keep the Carcass legacy intact with this excellent album.

    The opener “1985” gives us a 70 second window into the riffing onslaught that this release will unleash upon the listeners. As “Thrasher’s Abattoir” blasts away, we are immediately immersed into the Carcass sound that we all love: Melodic/Thrash-y Death Metal at its finest. With the band being a huge catalyst for bands back in the 90’s to try new things and re-define the genre, they manage to capture that timeless sound and packaged with an up-to-date production and mixing.

  • Dichotomy – Paradigms (2013)


    Hailing from Ireland, today we have a killer Melodic/Technical Death Metal band that leaves aside (most) of the Core influences and manages to sound more like Death and Carcass than all the other Technical DM bands these days. Delivering eight pummeling tracks, “Paradigms” is a very impressive debut full-length than if it wasn’t for the subpar vocals, it would be one of the best Tech-DM releases of 2013.

    Opening with the mellow instrumental track “Empyrean”, the band immediately gets down to business with the hectic “The Sentient Oppressed”. The guitar work is fast and precise with a crushing melodic vibe that nicely picks up the pace and complements the vocals. While not the best combination of growls and screams, the band does a decent job in delivering fast and brutal sections like on the devastating “All – Seeing Eye”.

  • Arceye – At First Light (2013)


    Any album that has more than one wolf in the cover has the potential of being amazingly great or total shit. Luckily for us, “At First Light” is one hell of an interesting release spawning from the UK. Arceye delivers in their sophomore full-length album ten tracks of very intriguing Thrash infused Death Metal with hearty melodic elements. If you like dynamic music that keeps you guessing from start to finish, this is one release you don’t want to miss.

    The band starts pounding away with a very catchy melodic passage at the opening of the album title track. As the guitar solos appear we immediately see a 180 degree switch into old-school Thrash Metal in the vein of Kreator and similar bands. Tracks like “The Storm” have that cool modern Death Metal vibe with a retro flair to them, making the band quite versatile while retaining their own signature style.

  • Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods (2013)


    Everybody’s favorite Metal Vikings return with yet another epic release with “Deceiver of the Gods”. Doing what they do best, catchy melodic tunes, the band delivers 10 tracks of signature Amon Amarth music that are prefect for a good dosage of beer drinking and headbanging. Mixing in some traditional Heavy Metal elements with their already well defined style, the band manages to release a very powerful and refined album that just adds to their amazing legacy.

    Without wasting any time, the album title track delivers excellent melodic riffing that only Amon Amarth can produce. Johan Hegg’s powerful vocals lead the way and they are as brutal as ever. The melodic passages are top notch, an early indicator of how epic this release will be. “As Loke Falls” has all the ingredients for a typical anthem: catchy chorus section, pummeling riffs, violent vocals, and an overall melodic vibe that is quite amazing.

  • Agathodaimon – In Darkness (2013)


    Arriving today from Massacre records we have Agathodaimon and the follow up to their controversial 2009 release “Phoenix”. Going from Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal to Blacked Gothic Metal left a lot of people puzzled by their odd transformation. With “In Darkness” the band starts solidifying their very unique style, making it a bit more cohesive but still quite unexpected. In our opinion, their brave evolution is quite engaging and made us really enjoy this new release.

    The album blasts open with “In Darkness (We Shall Be Reborn)”, a 6-minte epic that reminds us a lot of Graveworm and their very bombastic Symphonic/Gothic Black Metal. The band delivers powerful riffs and killer atmospheric keyboards in a very punishing manner. The vocals change between growls, shrieks, and clean singing very convincingly giving the music enough depth. “I’ve Risen” and “Favourite Sin” for the most part sound like Dimmu Borgir, and this is a great thing in our opinion. The clean vocals really add to the music and make it more interesting and less linear.

  • Kalmah – Seventh Symphony (2013)


    If you ever wondered what Children of Bodom would sound if they had continued perfecting their sound instead of going on a tangent and producing several crappy records before 2013, you would be listening to Kalmah’s latest release “Seventh Symphony”. This Finnish outfit delivers eight tracks of awesome Melodic Death Metal filled with guitar and keyboard acrobatics and a killer sense of melody.

    Blasting away with the album’s title track, we get a throwback powerful Melodic Death Metal sound with some CoB and Wintersun magic thrown into the mix. The band’s sound is quite powerful and diverse, yet it feels quite familiar thanks to the killer guitar work and magical keyboards. Recently appointed keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen adds more dynamic keys to the band’s already intricate sound. While we were bigger fans of the band’s darker beginnings, we are all up for their current dynamic sound.

  • September Murder - He Who Invokes Decadence (2013)


    Germany has always been one of the best countries for Metal music to flourish over the years, with a huge scene and tons of quality bands emerging every year. Today we have September Murder and their sophomore release “He Who Invokes Decadence”. Delivering eight tracks of high quality Melodic/Progressive Death Metal, this band is ready for prime time and they have a very convincing case with this impressive release.

    The album’s opening statement is “Under Severed Skies”, an excellent track that combines heavy intricate guitar work and crushing growls. The band is in no hurry of blasting you away, opting to deliver precise blows of hyper-fast sections surrounded by excellent melodic passages. The band’s old-school Death Metal influences are clear, but they manage to clean them up with incise guitar and bass guitar work in killer tracks like “Two Culprits, One Oath” and Death-esque “Among Vultures”.


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