Powered Death Metal

Since the dawn of the millennium, there has been a style in death metal gaining in popularity that, up until now, has eluded classification. The sound of which I speak arguably originated with, and was popularized by, a band whose genre has been debated since their inception: Children of Bodom. Admittedly, the vein of which these bands play in could superficially be called “melodic death metal” in that it is certainly melodic and containing death metal elements, but not in the same ways that their Gothenburg counterparts do. To be sure, this small niche of melodic death metal is a minute and anal classification, but one with enough bands playing in the style that I felt it worth creating its own taxonomy for.

A term of my own invention, powered death metal refers to the wave of melodic death metal acts that came after the initial Gothenburg scene, mostly from Finland. A portmanteau of power metal and death metal, the sound is a subset of melodic death metal, but with even greater power metal tendencies. This form of death metal has most of the hallmark traits of Swedish melodic death metal but with even catchier and more accessible song structues. The leads and solos are almost pure power metal in essence, with dueling guitars and keyboards and a flair for bravado. The percussion is also less blast-beat oriented, opting for more of the traditional power metal driving feel of constant, double-time 16th notes. Keyboards are very prominent as accents, ambiance, and full-on lead instruments, with heavy use of a synthesized harpsichord effect  in earlier releases.  The vocals, while still harsh, are of a higher, slightly cleaner delivery more akin to black metal than death metal. It is also common to hear the usage of “gang” shouted vocals in certain song sections.

Notable bands who practice this sound include:

  • Children of Bodom
  • Kalmah
  • Norther
  • Eternal Tears of Sorrow

It is unknown if, like the Swedish creating the Gothenburg sound, these bands from Finland all played in the same music scene and converged on a similar style, or simply mimicked Children of Bodom after their rise in popularity. The latter seems likely, as Children of Bodom has some of the earliest releases of the genre.

It should be noted that the term is powered death metal and not power death metal. When describing a subset of a genre, it is audibly and grammatically more pleasing to use adjectives to modify the original genre name rather than nouns (as in melodic metalcore, or progressive power metal). Power/death metal is simply a pairing of two disparate genres used to describe a sound generically rather than a unique genre and/or movement unto itself.

You heard it here first, folks: “powered death metal” was coined on the Seeking No Peace blog in 2010! :p


~ by Dux on February 9, 2010.

4 Responses to “Powered Death Metal”

  1. Claiming to coin a term, really? More like power death metal. Your argument is invalid

  2. I’m not claiming to coin it; I did coin it. No one else has used the term before.

    And my argument can’t be invalid because I’m not arguing anything. I’m creating the description and succinct name for a style of death metal, the process of which involves no hypothesis or supposition.

  3. Lulz,…fail….[movie reference]…gay…black people….Michelle Obama…[Matt Calwell’s blog link]…faggots! UFO,…Clinton…sasquatch.!!!!!

  4. Damn son, at least spell my name write. Colwell.

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