The Dual Nature of Melodic Death Metal: Exploration, Evolution, and Overcoming Creative Challenges

I did an interview for Cryptic Rock earlier this month, and I’d like to continue the discussion about our style and melodic death metal in general.

Melodic death metal is a genre with diverse definitions and interpretations, from adding melodies to extreme metal to the stricter Gothenburg scene definition. As a songwriter with nearly 30 years in the genre, I often ask, “what is melodic death metal?” The answer lies in my approach to writing songs, emphasizing exploration and a constant search for new elements to incorporate into our music.

Let’s briefly discuss melodic death metal’s two main interpretations:

  1. A broader definition encompassing bands that incorporate melodies into extreme metal, particularly death metal, such as Paradise Lost and other early ’90s death/doom or gothic metal bands from Northern England.
  2. A narrower definition focusing on the Gothenburg scene in Sweden, with bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, and albums like Carcass’s Heartwork or Amorphis’ Tales from the Thousand Lakes (heavily influenced by Paradise Lost).

By combining these definitions, we can understand the sound of our band, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, since the very beginning, and how it has evolved over time.

For me, the attitude of exploration is essential in writing melodic death metal songs. By remaining open to new ideas and influences, we can create music that evolves with the ever-changing landscape of the genre.

However, this attitude can slow things down and create the feeling that everything has already been done. This challenge is one reason we haven’t released anything new in 10 years.

Despite challenges and slow progress, creating and performing new songs together remains incredibly rewarding. We continue to push forward, exploring new ideas and seeking inspiration within melodic death metal. Our numerous partially-finished demo songs indicate that creativity is not the issue; the challenge may lie in ensuring our music remains fresh and relevant in this new decade. As metal music evolves, so must our music.

Conclusion: Things are slow for us now, but bear with us. We will come up with a new release sooner or later.

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