Top Ten Melodic Death Metal Subgenres/StylesFlav This is a list about different styles of Melodic Death Metal. Of course it isn't always possible to draw a perfect line between those styles, but there are differences, which can be described very well. The styles strictly revolve around the sound, but not the lyrical content!
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The Top Ten
I find myself liking technical versions of all metal subgenres, not only death metal. I like a lot 2 bands mentioned by you - Necrophagist and Quo Vadis. It doesn't mean I don't like bands from the other melodeath styles though. Amon Amarth got me into death metal and I still like them, and so on. - Metal_TreasureV 1 Comment
This Old School Style of MDM is that one, which first emerged from Death Metal with not much other influences. Its that classic Gothenburg sound with just e-guitars, bass, drums and harsh vocals, which make heavy but very harmonical swedish melodies with occasional acoustic parts and very few clean vocal parts (if not no cleans at all) that In Flames and Dark Tranquillity pioneered.
At The Gates and Carcass created at the same time a similar, but a bit different style of MDM, you'll find under "Thrashy Melodic Death".
In Flames (1994-2000)
Dark Tranquillity (1993-1997)
Soilwork (1998-2000) - Flav
Progressive Melodic Death Metal is a very interesting genre, which is sometimes a little experimental and features a more complex and "pseudo-classical" composition. Complex rythms, unsusual time signatures and atypical song structures are very common, while not becoming too experimental/avant-garde like creating weird noises and unusual sounds.
Edge Of Sanity
Dan Swanö's Solo Project - Flav
This is a style of Melodic Death Metal focusing on riffs and soloing in the vein of Thrash Metal. It has this typical pounding and sometimes groovy guitar work, but in a very melodic matter. Guitar solos are very present, some bands even play guitar duo battles. Usually it doesn't feature any other instruments besides guitars, bass and drums.
Carcass (1993 - 2013)
At The Gates (1994-2014) - Flav
It's the style of death metal which make a great (sometimes doomy) atmosphere. Its mostly very beautiful in sound, while it doesn't necessarily have to be slow all the time. Bands make prudent/sparsely use of Keys and Symphonical elements, which help building up a certain atmosphere, but don't get in the foreground.
Swallow The Sun
Garden Of Shadows
Amorphis (1994) - Flav
This is a very epic and beautiful style of MDM, lead by many symphonic elements, orchestra sounds and classical instruments, who are in the foreground. The symphonic elements work often together with the guitars and are in great complementary with the guitars. Mostly it has slower and also faster parts, which can be melancholic at times. Neo-classical elements also can be found.
Eternal Tears Of Sorrow
Imperial Circus Dead Decadence
Dark Lunacy - Flav
This sounds paradox, but actually exists. It is a very rare style, which is actually more pure Death Metal, but has some melodies in it. The gutturals are very low, and the riffs are typically way heavier than usual MDM.
Acephalus - Flav
As you can guess, this is Power Metal based MDM, but doesn't necessarily need clean vocals. The feisty guitar riffing and the use of of Keyboards are the decisive factor. It can be similar to Symphonic MDM sometimes, but lacks more of the symphonic elements and has often a somehow "cheerful" atmosphere. The Keyboard-Leads are in complenetary with the guitars, often in solos as well!
Children Of Bodom
Wintersun - Flav
This is a style of MDM, which sounds like harsh and heavy folk music. It often has a very alternative touch to it and sometimes features violins and even uncommon instruments in metal like flutes, bagpipes or trumpets. Folk doesn't necessarily mean Celtic or Viking sound, but often that's the case. It's a term you could also use for oriental influenced music like Hollenthon.
Also Ensiferum if you consider it as Melodic Death Metal,
and Wintersun would fit here as well. - Flav
This is a very catchy, but still very heavy, MDM style. It's a style which adds to the original Melodic Death elements even more melody and variety. Clean vocals are very present (most times cleans and gutturals live in symbiosis and complement eachother). This style is very open for different musical elements and often features classical instruments (like pianos) and also electronic influences (like synths).
Dark Tranquillity (1999-2013)
In Flames (2002, 2006)
I'd also put Mors Principium Est in here, the description "modern style" suits their overall sound better than the other in my opinion. - Flav
This is mostly a fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore. Bands, who play this style, sparsely/rarely use breakdowns (or if not no breakdowns at all). It's more like Melodic Death Metal with a different vocal style, featuring typical metalcore/deathcore-similar gutturals and often also clean vocals.
Heaven Shall Burn
I would also put The Black Dahlia Murder in here. While their instrumental work is undeniably Melodic Death Metal in the heavier style, their unique vocal style often get them confused with Deathcore. - Flav
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