Melodic Death Metal

Equilibrium – Rekreatur Review

Equilibrium – Rekreatur Review

Equilibrium hit the world right in the face when Sagas was released a couple years ago and they really became a folk metal (pagan metal, viking metal, whatever the fuck you want to call it) sensation. And sensational is really how many people experienced that record. It was like a cross between Finntroll, Ensiferum, Turisas and Rhapsody of Fire: unceasingly melodic, over-the-top, ridiculously happy and engaging as hell. In 2010, now, this elite German act is returning with a follow-up to what is already considered to be a classic in the genre, with their third record entitled Rekreatur. How could it possibly live up to all the expectations?

Arise – The Reckoning Review

Arise – The Reckoning Review

Arise was a little late on the uptake on the first go around of the Gothenburg sound, forming in 1996, but really getting their first demo out there in 1998 and getting signed about the time that all the death metal elitists I knew were already writing off the sound as “done”. However, unlike most of the bands from that era, they are still alive and kicking and putting out music of the style that was popular at the time. There’s some confusion about this record, which according to some sources came out last year, but it’s being promoted right now by Regain with a release date of the 22nd of March (which means it’s out now). It has, indeed, been a few years since Arise put out their last album, but even with the departure of two members, they don’t seem to have lost any steam.

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence is a death metal band that hails from New London, Wisconsin and has been around as long as this Angry Metal Guy has been into death metal. They started out in the late 90s, released a record in 98, an EP again in 2002 and then went silent, though they’ve been playing shows around Wisconsin and Illinois consistently. Like so many bands, they’ve suffered from issues surrounding labels, studios and band members, but somehow the core of this group has managed to stick together and stick it out. Sometimes stubbornness is really the best friend of a musician. Eternal Silence has shown that years of patience and hard work can pay off.

Kalmah – 12 Gauge Review

Kalmah – 12 Gauge Review

It’s hard to imagine a modern metal without Finnish bands, isn’t it? These guys have been pushing the scene forward for quite a while after having burst onto it with such a forceful manner a decade (or more) ago. One of the bands that has been sadly overlooked in this process has been Kalmah. These guys, while popular, have often taken a back seat to bands like Ensiferum and Children of Bodom in the international scene. This is a shame, because at least The Black Waltz put everything that Children of Bodom ever put out to shame and they make some of the later Ensiferum stuff look pretty weak, as well. While For the Revolution was a pretty big letdown for many fans, Kalmah has returned in 2010 with a scorcher called 12 Gauge.

Aeternam – Disciples of the Unseen Review

Aeternam – Disciples of the Unseen Review

Egyptian metal is apparently a genre now! I didn’t have any clue! I just thought it was kind of a thing that Nile did. And then it was Nile and Behemoth. And then it was Nile, Behemoth and SepticFlesh. And now it’s Nile, Behemoth, SepticFlesh and Aeternam! I think that counts as a genre! So, that’s pretty cool in and of itself. Oh, and it turns out that Aeternam is pretty cool themselves, leading to a generally all around happy feeling for a few fleeting moments before the general irritants that keep me so angry all the time come crashing back in.

Eluveitie – Everything Remains (As It Never Was) Review

Eluveitie – Everything Remains (As It Never Was) Review

While not the first folk metal band to take the world by storm, Eluveitie has always been a bit of a unique thing in the folk metal scene. Really, the band has tremendous success when compared to other bands in the genre. After being picked up by Nuclear Blast, they’ve had three albums, big American tours (something that has only started recently for the genre) and become very well known and well loved among folk metal enthusiasts and just regular metal enthusiasts alike. Everything Remains (As it Never Was) is the band’s big third record from Nuclear Blast (5th total) and it is set to make a big metal splash.

Arsis – Starve for the Devil Review

Arsis – Starve for the Devil Review

In the new wave of technical, fast, melodic death metal bands that have been coming out in the last few years Arsis has stood alone with its professional blending of melodic death, technical death and thrash. Basically an instant success story from their first CD A Celebration of Guilt, the band has gone through a lot of line-up changes and has been out there pretty much consistently since their break in 2004. Starve for the Devil follows on the heals of 2008’s We Are the Nightmare and there are a lot of expectations to be met and surpassed with this new album.

Be’lakor – Stone’s Reach Review

Be’lakor – Stone’s Reach Review

Be’lakor is an Australian melodic death metal band that has been getting some serious attention in the underground despite the fact that much melodic death metal has pretty much been declared by the scene to be dead on arrival. I’d been reading about them for some time so I just wrote them a message on MySpace and the guys were cool enough to send me a copy to review. And I can see why they’re so eager to get their music out to the masses, it’s a bit like ear heroin.

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

I remember the first time I heard Scar Symmetry very clearly. I was checking out some stuff on MySpace when I saw that they were going to be playing the House of Metal festival and I was blown away. Not blown away with how good they are, though talented one cannot deny they are, but how sickly sweet their melodic stuff is. I sat their and listened to it with my mouth agape thinking “really? Does this pass for death metal these days? How are these guys not a Top 40 band?” The answer to that is actually quite obvious: instead of dropping the death metal vocals, these guys have blended death metal vocals in with what I think is probably the most pop sensible writing I’ve ever heard in a metal band.

Insomnium – Across the Dark

Insomnium – Across the Dark

Insomnium is one of those bands that rides on the border of melodic death metal and progressive rock, straddling the fence between good, solid heavy music and the proggy stuff that all the sadboy metal guys listen to. Those guys who secretly love The Cure and Depeche Mode and end up making stuff that sounds like newer Katatonia, Anathema or Amorphis. This isn’t really a critique, but it lets you know right off the bat where these Finnish melodic metallers are standing in reference to the never ending “is melody metal” war that seems to be going on these days.