Melodic death metal can be described as a recipe for success. You have the intensity and brutality from death metal and then you just add some melodic guitar work and people will like it. In Flames and Dark Tranquillity were two bands that started everything with their melodic death metal music, and many bands are following their path. Only in Sweden there are numerous of melodic death metal bands. Hypocrisy, Amon Amarth, Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Edge of Sanity is just a couple of Sweden’s arsenal of melodic metal bands. But what about melodic death/black metal? Does it sound equally as good as melodic death metal? The difference is not that big actually, just a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a metal album on the internet that I wanted to buy. I wasn’t so amazed when I heard the music; the only difference was that there were more blast-beats and tremolo pickings in this music hybrid. The album is called Blood From Stone and it is the only album from a band called The Moaning. The Moaning was formed in 1994 in Sweden and they are labelled as melodic death/black metal. Unfortunately the band broke up and the only released one album in 1996.
The music from Blood From Stone is nothing spectacular or undeniably boring. You get your day-to-day portion of melodies and heaviness. The vocal style is sharp screaming, if you have heard the vocalist from the thrash metal band Kreator then you will know this vocalist sounds like. Quite pissed off and angry, there are some minor flaws during some songs though. In the song Mirror Of The Soul you will notice that the vocals slightly fades from screaming to clean and weak vocals. This rarely occurs but it sounds a bit odd when you hear it. The guitars are the only instruments that shine in this album. Here you get a slew of various riffs, there are of course fast picked tremolo riffs, power chords, and other types of catchy riffs. Most of them are melodic but also heavy and aggressive. Everybody knows that bassists are often hidden behind all the other instruments, but the bassist in this band has a few moments alone when you can actually hear the bass. The drums deliver a good variety of drum patterns. Most patterns are catchy and pretty harmless, there are still good doses of blast-beats, mid-paced patterns and double bass rattling in this album.
And then there are ups and downs, both good and bad stuff is present in this album. The good news is that the album material has a pretty violent intensity level which makes this album to sound fresh. And it doesn’t get so intense that you will hate it. The fusion of death and black metal elements is very good. You have the blast-beat action and sharp vocals mixed with the heaviness and aggressive tremolo riffs from death metal. And we also have the melodies. The guitars play with quite high-pitched tunes so almost every riff and solo gives the songs a slightly chilling atmosphere. Like the morning mist is covering frostbitten grass. Bad things are unavoidable, Blood From Stone works like a ‘’light-weight’’ drug. You will get high on it when you hear it but after a while you get bored and you start to look for some heavier stuff. The main reasons why Blood From Stone isn’t that perfect would be the vocals, no variety at all, everything is screaming and more screaming. There is also a small repetitive factor among the songs. The only songs that really stand out because of their song structure are Mirror Of The Souls and Dying Infernal Ambers. Mirror Of The Soul has some classic galloping riffs that are typical to Iron Maiden’s type of riffs. Dying Infernal Ambers is just a song with a much slower pace than the other songs.
So do we have the answer to the question? There is no true answer; melodic death metal sounds almost the same as melodic death/black metal. If we look at them both we will see that the differences are slim, both sides uses the same types of riffs, drum patterns, vocals, lyrics you name it. The only difference is that one band will have a more successful formula then the other. And it is also up to the listener as well who decides which one is the better one. People who like melodic death metal will probably enjoy this, and if you are interesting in these types of hybrid bands I suggest that you check out album.
+ Great intensity
+ Great melodies
+ The album material has this chilly atmosphere
+ Excellent guitar performance
- Slightly repetitive
- One-dimensional vocals
- This was the band’s only album
-- Mirror Of The Soul
-- Of Darkness I Breed
-- Blood From Stone
The rating balances between a 3/5 and a 3.5/5, but the final score will be a 3.5/5 for now.