Posts Tagged ‘Melodic death metal’

Abeyance - Portraits of Mankind

The debut from Italian melodeath quartet Abeyance was released late last year through Sliptrick Records, and is the culmination of two years work to create something personal and unique to them. ‘Portraits of Mankind’ is out now.

The opening title track has plenty of really nice riffs, and has good grasp on the balance between melodies and aggression. I really like the propulsive catchiness of ‘In Falsehood Dominion’, which also has a touch of the epic about it in certain sections. This feels like quite an old school melodeath record, like early In Flames or Dark Tranquillity rather than newer influences. There’s no clean vocals which is a strange bonus I thought afterwards, and everything seem concentrated on creating simple yet effective metal music. ‘Mine are Sorrow and Redemption’ has a nice piano accompaniment which provides a pleasant addition, and that same instrument returns in the final track intro with aplomb.

The chunky riffing that opens ‘Innerscape’ feel very Amon Amarth-esque, but lacking a little of that band’s grandeur. Closing with the epic fury of ‘Secretly I Joined Dark Horizons’, Abeyance have hit upon a pretty good old school melodeath style that feels quite different in the shiny modern metal world. ‘Portraits of Mankind’ is for those of us that need just a little less melodic in our melodeath, and Abeyance know the score.

ABEYANCE Portraits Of Mankind

Gorebringer - A Craving for Flesh

British melodeath up-and-comers Gorebringer have just released their debut full length ‘A Craving for Flesh’ through Gate of the Silver Key Records, and it looks to add them to the pantheon of excellent bands to come shredding from these shores in recent years. Are you ready for riffs? ARE YOU?!

The galloping fury of ‘The Fog’ hits immediately after a creepy intro, with floods of blastbeats powering a score of awesome melodic leads. They are brutal and gory, but cannot help themselves injecting every song with a selection of absolutely killer melodies. It is probably the best album In Flames haven’t released since ‘Reroute to Remain’. There’s an overwhelming Black Dahlia Murder influence, as well as the more obvious At the Gates ones, and the writhing frenzy of ‘Bloodsoaked Chapel’ is superb. At a meaty 41 minutes too, nothing overstays its welcome or doesn’t have time to properly develop.

If there isn’t anything for you in ‘A Craving fro Flesh’, then you just don’t like metal. Gorebringer fall over themselves to hit you with every riff in the book, the musicianship is tight and excellent, the brutality is front and centre, and you don’t get any of those ‘clean vocals’ sections. Fuck, this rules. Pay them money immediately.

Dutch death/thrashers Insurrection’s new full length, ‘Circles of Despair’, is coming out at the end of August through Big Bad Wolf/Headbangers Records, and it is one of those records that attempts to be both unbelievably technical and yet loaded with melody and catchy songs. A tough game to play, let’s see if they can manage it.

Opening track ‘Enigma Machine’ is a good start; a sinewy beast rippling with piles of prime melodeath riffing that brings to mind the likes of Omnium Gatherum or Himsa while also gathering some death metal chops underneath. The likes of ‘Non Existent Fall’ and the particularly savage ‘Comrades in White’ marry the brutality to an innate sense of melody and both are excellent examples of what Insurrection do so well. But it isn’t all just galloping In Flames-isms, and there’s no clean vocal sections either. The musicianship is super tight, and there’s no mindless interludey nonsense, (‘Spiralling Down’ is more of an intro to the closing track, so I’m not counting it), just straightforward, thrashy death metal with plenty of melody flowing underneath.

Making a record that sounds like 2006 all over again isn’t necessarily a good thing, but Insurrection carry it off very well, giving us prime cuts of top melodeath. A glorious collection of sharp, precise guitarwork and killer songwriting makes ‘Circles of Despair’ one of the finer records you’ll hear this year.

Heidra - The Blackening Tide

Heidra hail from Denmark, and ‘The Blackening Tide’ is their second album, coming four years after their debut ‘Awaiting Dawn’. Musically, the band bring us a majestic, sweeping form of pagan melodeath, and the album is out now through Time to Kill Records.

From the moment ‘Dawn’ rises from the pagan shore you’re immediately engulfed in a grandiose, multilayered epic story. The opener in particular is blessed with a seriously fist pumping chorus, and you can believe that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The galloping twin guitars of ‘The Price in Blood’ are excellent, and the clean vocals are powerful without ever being grating. ‘The Blackening Tide’ is full of great solos, enhancing these striding battle anthems that capture a world of silver swords, ancient kings and corrupted realms. There’s also a liberal sprinkling of piano and other orchestral elements that speak to the influences of more power metal fayre like Hammerfall or Sonata Arctica as well. None is more epic than ‘Rain of Embers’, although the duelling guitars of ‘Corrupted Shores’ push it close.

If there was ever to be any doubt that Europe produces the best bands with the flair for classically influenced heavy metal, then Heidra’s latest should put that to bed. A great example of thunderous melodic power/death, where symphonics meet galloping In Flames-isms to create a record that the ancient guitar gods would smile about. Cool shit


Texas death metal newcomers Abolishment of Flesh have certainly struck out at this world with fury and vengeance, with their debut full length ‘The Inhuman Condition’ due out in April on Unholy Anarchy Records. This is a record for fans of The Black Dahlia Murder and the like.

A cacophonous blasting monster emerges immediately, as ‘Inhuman Anatomy’ harnesses the savage energy of Suffocation and Dying Fetus to devastating effect. There’s no slam here though, it is all just hurricane force death metal with moments of immense groove thrown in too. ‘Reborn Abomination’ is more of the same, though you get a more Black Dahlia Murder vibe in this one. This is where Abolishment of Flesh begin to flex their more melodic muscle, with some excellent riffing coming through the blasting madness. The likes of ‘Weeping for the Decayed’ and the brutal ‘Mass Execution’ show how even the overwrought ‘modern death metal’ sound can be twisted into interesting new forms.

Surely Abolishment of Flesh will break through the sea of modern death metal bands and get recognition for what is a stunning debut full length. ‘The Inhuman Condition’ is chock full of killer riffs, and more great songs than some bands manage in a career. If they can get themselves to enough ears, you could be looking at the next big thing. Breaking through will be the challenge, but this is a record to impress.


Canada’s North Hammer are a one man project focusing on bringing us tales of mighty Vikings and northern battles through folk inspired melodic death metal. ‘Stormcaller’ is their debut record, and it is due out in just a few weeks on March 16th. If you like some epic, charging Amon Amarthisms, you’re going to have a field day with ‘Stormcaller’.

Opener ‘Avatar’ is exactly that; massive chugging riffs with killer melodies and throaty roars launch from their longboats, ready to cleanse the heathen lands in blood. North Hammer clearly know exactly which side their bread is buttered on, and make no apologies for the huge riffs that rain blows down upon us mere mortals. The anthemic ‘Magic Mead’ is reminiscient of Ensiferum at their most singalong, and the clattering swords of ‘Tip of the Spear’ makes for a fine battle hymn. The acoustic shades of the drizzly ‘Black Forest Rain’ is washed away by the glorious ‘Spellbinder’, weaving epic leads into a galloping brute of a track.

North Hammer hit all the right notes with ‘Stormcaller’, a strong and swift record full of great tracks and it leaves you invigorating and ready for anything. A record for axe swinging, mead swilling and blood spilling, ‘Stormcaller’ is one of the most fun and fist pumping records you’ll hear this year.

Impavidus - Eradication of Mankind

I reviewed Impavidus’s demo recently here on the blog, and they’ve returned with a new four track EP called ‘Eradication of Mankind’. This continues their journey creating some of the more interesting melodeath to come out of this country for a while. It is out on the 29th March via Bandcamp.

Gloomy, blasting opener ‘Reprisal’ pulls no punches immediately, with haunting clean vocals twisting around the chunky riffing. The raspy screams of vocalist Michelle Adamson works well with the ragged melodies and chunky groove. There’s a more overt death metal influence on ‘Eradication of Mankind’, but I can’t say I’m overly convinced on the use of the clean vocals on ‘Lies’, which treads the fine line between extremity and commercial metal a bit too closely for me.

The fantastic ‘Void’ rescues that for me, with some delightfully galloping melodeath riffing and earworm melodies proving to be a hit, and closing with the almost sultry menace of ‘XII’ really puts a stamp on that Impavidus ‘sound’. They don’t sound like anyone else, and while ‘Eradication of Mankind’ has the odd stumble, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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With an album cover like that, you’d expect that North Carolina’s Undrask are going to be either ludicrously tech death or power metal. Well, ‘Battle Through Time’ follows on the heels of their critically acclaimed debut EP, so this full length has a lot of questions about it already. Thankfully, this is a band that can deliever when required.

Opener ‘No Graves for the Dead’ is an excellent slab of early 90s style melodic death metal that soars with killer melodies and an infectious gallop. If you wish that In Flames would go back to the days of ‘The Jester Race’ or ‘Whoracle’, then this record is for you. The likes of the stunning ‘Conscripted’ and the spiralling glory of ‘Black Ocean’ is magnificently old school Gothenburg worship. Remember about 10 years ago when everyone wanted to sound like this and it became stale and terrible? Well, this is the culmination of that wasted potential, for ‘Battle Through Time’ is glorious.

The likes of ‘Longhammer’ bring to mind the ramapaging, fists to the sky approach of Amon Amarth, and this blend of modern and classic melodeath keeps Undrask interesting. The bass forward rumble of ‘Final Right’ is great, and tour de force closer ‘Battle Through Time’ combines the kind of guitarwork and ferocity that we’ve been waiting for since ‘Clayman’. I keep being surprised by bands coming out with excellently formed, mature debut records, but Undrask’s could be a highlight for my 2017 already. Melodic death metal should always be in this rude health, and with Undrask and Necrocosm, it has found a new home in North Carolina.

Far Beyond - A Frozen Flame of Ice

I first came across Far Beyond a few years ago when I was scourng YouTube for some new record ideas, and came across their ‘An Angel’s Requiem’ record from 2005. I loved what I heard, and managed to find a CD copy of it for dirt cheap online. Since then, it has grown to become one of my unsung favourite records, so when I heard that we were finally getting a follow up, I was very excited. ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is out now on Aeterna Records.

Opener ‘Evernight – Part I’ is an eleven minute plus epic, a free flowing masterpiece of melodic death riffs, symphonic elements and electronic additions. Imagine getting that new Wintersun without waiting until Jari finally finishes ‘Time II’. That’s the space that Far Beyond occupy; with a vast tapestry of melodeath riffery and gleaming symphonies enhancing each step. The soloing is enough to satisfy all guitar heroes, some of the melodies would make power metal bands jealous and it is all set in this beautifully clear production.

The gloriously soaring title track is a personal highlight, but it is difficult to get through this record in just one sitting. It is a record that hits with the shine and the technical chops first time round, then on repeated listens allows you to unlock its full potential. The snowy, fantastical vibe set off by the album art is personified beautifully in the tinkling start to ‘Last Farewell’, before a cold riff kicks in the blizzard. Far Beyond have really excelled themselves here to make ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ into one of 2016’s best records.

A tour de force of uber melodic, guitar widdling death metal with progressive moments, savage black metal rasps and symphonic support, ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is a true melting pot of metal’s most infectious traits. I challenge anyone not to be empowered by listening to this.

Plying that long deepened furrow of classic Swedish melodic death metal, Portuguese warriors Karnak Seti have returned with their first record in five years, ‘The Distance That Made Us Cold’. Their previous record ‘In Harmonic Entropy’ was well received, and the band have clearly been polishing their Dark Tranquillity and In Flames records in that five year period to create 11 razor sharp tracks of thoroughly modern metal. Particularly ‘Come Clarity’ if that album art is anything to go by…

Opener ‘The Bliss of Living’ is a chugging behemoth that owes as much to Soilwork as it does to modern American beasts like Unearth. The riffs are thick, powerful and dynamic in their execution. Instantly you are drawn to headbanging, as waves of brutality smash against you. Melodic death metal is a genre that was abused a lot in the past few years, with every band out there coming acorss as mere clones of the greats. But Karnak Seti have an energy about them that empowers tracks like ‘Desolation of Soul and Flesh’ with an innate sense of melody and catchiness. And when a band has energy and enthusiam for their chosen genre, even the stalest can become must-hear.

The Haunted is another major influence here too, with Karnak Seti coming across as a band that is more concerned about heaviness than speed. That they achieve with aplomb, with each track full of great ideas. My only criticism really is that there’s no short, sharp thrashers, with almost all tracks well into four mins. That being said, when you have a band that can blend deft touches of the light and the heavy together effortlessly, who gives a fuck how long the songs are? Karnak Seti are now Killchain approved! Riff til death!