Melodic death metal

Melodic death metal
Melodic death metal
Stylistic origins Death metal, NWOBHM
Cultural origins Early to mid 1990s, Scandinavia (particularly Gothenburg, Sweden) and Liverpool, England
Typical instruments Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums (double kick), keyboard, acoustic guitar, vocals
Mainstream popularity Underground in early–mid 1990s
Increased popularity throughout 2000s
Derivative forms Melodic metalcore
Regional scenes
Scandinavia - United States - United Kingdom
Other topics
Death growlClean vocalsBands

Melodic death metal (also referred to as melodeath or MDM) is a heavy metal music style that combines elements from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) with elements of death metal. The style was developed during the early and mid-1990s, primarily in England and Scandinavia. Scandinavia in particular did much to popularize the style, which soon centered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and spawned a local music scene called Gothenburg metal. This "Gothenburg" style subsequently inspired many bands in the United States, which led to a flourishing movement in that country.


Musical characteristics

Melodic death metal uses components of NWOBHM, in particular the fast riffing and harmonic guitar lines, but also is influenced by the characteristics of death metal like heavily distorted guitars, fast double-bass drum patterns and sometimes blast beats.[1] The vocal style of the genre is a combination of harsh screaming, clean harmonies, and death growls.[2]

Origins (early 1990s)

Credit for the popularity of melodic death metal can be attributed to the mid-90s releases of In Flames, At the Gates, and Dark Tranquillity, which laid the foundation for the Gothenburg metal scene.[2]

Carcass, shown here performing at Gods of Metal festival in Bologna, Italy (2008), helped define the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork.[3]

Another key band in the definition of melodic death metal was the British band Carcass, who started out playing grindcore but morphed into a death metal style and helped pioneer the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork and define melodic death metal as an authentic genre.[3][4]

Late '90s and influence on other genres

In the late '90s, many melodic death metal bands changed their style of playing by adding more melodic elements;[citation needed] more melodic choruses and riffs and making more prominent use of keyboards, and their lyrics, unlike death metal, did not focus on death, violence, gore, horror, or blood for the most part.[5]

The genre is a common element in fusions with other genres of heavy metal such as progressive metal,[citation needed] thrash metal,[citation needed] gothic metal,[citation needed] symphonic metal,[citation needed] groove metal,[citation needed] doom metal,[citation needed] and folk metal.[citation needed] Its influence lead to the diversification of modern metalcore, with melodic metalcore gaining prominence in the 2000's, especially in the United States.

Gothenburg metal

According to Steven Gibb of, many bands that are considered melodic death metal are part of a Swedish death metal movement called "Gothenburg metal" that originated in Gothenburg, Sweden.[6] This movement was born in the Scandinavian death metal scene, based primarily in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Swedish and Finnish bands in the scene used grindcore-based riffs and began incorporating progressive rock flourishes in their music, and in the mid 1990s the Swedish scene moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg, where bands like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork and In Flames added New Wave of British Heavy Metal elements and popularized the Gothenburg style.[6] Stewart Mason of Allmusic states that this "increasingly melodic" style of Swedish death metal combines the post-hardcore aggression and guttural vocals of black metal with melodic and technically proficient guitar lines. Stewart Mason claims the style has become very popular in the United States, using the term "Swedecore" to describe Scandinavian-style metal as played by non-Nordic bands.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Purcell, N. Death Metal music: the passion and politics of a subculture, at 9, McFarland, 2003 (retrieved 3 June 2011)
  2. ^ a b Marsicano, Dan. "What is Melodic Death Metal". Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b "Michael Amott of Arch Enemy and Carcass Joins Dean Guitars". Dean Guitars. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Carcass". Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  5. ^ Metal Hammer February 2008: "Lyrically we were different too...People were surprised that we were a death metal band that wasn't singing about blood, gore and horror movies" It was during this time (___) broke onto the scene, transforming the style.
  6. ^ a b Gibb, Steven. "gothenburg metal, melodic death metal, style flourishes". AllExperts. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  7. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Glass Casket". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Melodic Death Metal — Entstehungsphase: Anfang der 1990er Jahre Herkunftsort: Göteborg Stilistische Vorläufer Death Metal, NWoBHM, teilweise Elemente des Black Metal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Melodic death metal — El Melodic death metal es un subgénero del death metal donde los riffs son más ricos en melodías y armonías …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Melodic death metal — Death mélodique Death mélodique Origines stylistiques Death metal, Heavy metal Origines culturelles Suède, fin des années 1980 Instrument(s) typi …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Melodic death metal — …   Википедия

  • List of melodic death metal bands — Carcass, shown here performing at Gods of Metal festival in Bologna, Italy (2008), helped define the melodic death metal genre with their 1994 album Heartwork.[1] This is a list of melodic death metal bands. Melodic death metal is a …   Wikipedia

  • Melodic black metal — Infobox Music genre name = Melodic black metal color = white bgcolor = #BB0022 stylistic origins = Black metal cultural origins = Early 1990s, Norway instruments = Electric guitar − Bass guitar − Drums − Keyboard popularity = Underground in… …   Wikipedia

  • Melodic Black metal — Black metal symphonique Black metal symphonique Origines stylistiques Black metal, Metal symphonique Origines culturelles …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Melodic black metal — Black metal symphonique Black metal symphonique Origines stylistiques Black metal, Metal symphonique Origines culturelles …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Death-Metal — Vorläufer: Thrash Metal kultureller Ursprung: Mitte der 1980er Jahre in Großbritannien und den USA. Typische Instrumentierung: E Gitarre – E Bass – Schlagzeug …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Death Metal — Entstehungsphase: Mitte der 1980er Jahre Herkunftsort: Großbritannien und USA Stilistische Vorläufer Thrash Metal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.