Death metal and keyboards are natural enemies, but sometimes they can come together in interesting ways. I thought this playlist would be easy to compile, but finding real death metal with keyboards is tougher than it seems.
Tampa’s Nocturnus is the obvious first step and I went with “Gridzone” from their highly underrated “Thresholds” album.
But where do you go from there? It very quickly devolves into two camps: cheesy wanking over melodic “death metal” (i.e.: Children of Bodom & pals) and big pads under slow, atmospheric sections. I dabbled with The Gathering, Dan Swano’s excellent Moontower project, Edge of Sanity, God Dethroned and a few others to no avail but everything was either way too melodic or surprisingly keyboard-free.
Luckily, Hypocrisy has always made excellent use keys, so even if “The Final Chapter” falls into the “big pads” camp, it’s such a great tune that it hardly matters. Two down, one to go.
For the final track, I tried to find a band from a third country but ended up with more Swedes, this time Cemetary with “Dead Red” from their twisted first album, “An Evil Shade of Grey”.
Didn’t any bands play more traditional death metal with keyboards? Post your suggestions in the comments!