Carcass, shown here performing at Gods of Metal festival in Bologna, Italy (2008), helped develop the melodic death metal genre with their 1993 album Heartwork.
The origin and popularity of melodic death metal can be attributed to the bands At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquillity, with their early 1990s music releases that defined the genre and laid the foundation for the Gothenburg metal scene, as well as the British band Carcass, who started out playing grindcore but morphed into a death metal style and helped pioneer the genre with their 1993 album Heartwork.Notable first albums which are able to see as melodic death metal, were the second album of finnish Sentenced, North from here, and Dark Tranquillity´s first album, Skydancer. they were released in 1993.
Since the late 1990s, melodic death metal bands have added more melodic choruses and riffs and have used keyboards more prominently than other death metal bands; their lyrics, unlike those of death metal, did not focus on death, violence, gore, horror, or blood for the most part. Its influence lead to the diversification of modern metalcore, with melodic metalcore gaining prominence in the 2000s, especially in the United States. Stewart Mason of Allmusic stated that the "increasingly melodic" style of Swedish death metal combines the post-hardcore aggression and guttural vocals of black metal with melodic and technically proficient guitar lines. Stewart Mason claims that the style has become very popular in the United States, using the term "Swedecore" to describe Scandinavian-style metal as played by non-Nordic bands. The American melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder, formed in 2001, is an example of this, gaining considerable prominence with 5 albums charting on the Billboard 200.
^Metal Hammer February 2008: "Lyrically we were different too...People were surprised that we were a death metal band that wasn't singing about blood, gore and horror movies" It was during this time (___) broke onto the scene, transforming the style.