Death Metal

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Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes.

Building from the musical structure of thrash metal, death metal emerged during the mid 1980s. It was mainly inspired by thrash metal acts like Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost. Along with the band Death and its frontman Chuck Schuldiner (who is often referred to as "the father of death metal"), bands like Possessed and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular record labels like Earache and Roadrunner began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate. Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning a rich variety of subgenres.

Inclusive death metal music subgenres:

  • Brutal death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/brutal-death-metal
  • Melodic death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/melodic-death-metal
  • Swedish death metal, also referred to as Scandinavian death metal, should not be confused with melodeath. This genre is characterized by its focus on raw energy and aggression. The guitars are typically extremely distorted and downtuned, and, in addition to traditional death metal elements, artists within this subgenre also draw on hardcore punk and early thrash metal. While not restricted to Sweden, the genre is called death metal because it was largely popularized by death metal artists from Sweden, such as Carnage, Nihilist, early Entombed, Dismember, Grave, and Unleashed. Seeing that many of the prominent artists within this genre were located in around Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as the Stockholm sound in contrast with the Gothenburg sound. While big in the 1990s, the popularity of this genre waned in the 2000s, as melodeath became more popular, but recently a number of bands based in Eastern Europe, such as Brutally Deceased and Morbider, have taken up the Stockholm sound and are bringing it back onto the scene.
  • Death-grind combines elements from death metal with element of grindcore. From grindcore, the genre inherits song brevity (with the average length being 2:30), emphasis on fast picking and blastbeating as well as the lyrical content (which means that a lot of death-grind deals with gore, pornography or socio-politics). From death metal, it inherits song complexity and focus on performance and technique, although guitar solos are not as common as in other styles of death metal. When Napalm Death started to gravitate towards death metal from pure grindcore, they developed a death-grind sound, and they are probably the most influential band in the death-grind genre. Other death-grind acts are Lock Up, Terrorizer, and Pig Destroyer. On MMA, those death-grind artists and releases that lean more towards grindcore are included under grindcore, while those that lean more towards death metal are included under death metal.
  • Technical/progressive (or tech/prog) death metal See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/technical-death-metal
  • Blackened death metal combines death metal and black metal, of lyrically the focus is typically on Satanism, occultism and anti-religion. Behemoth is considered one of the most influential blackened death metal bands.
  • Death ‘n’ roll See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/death-n-roll


The following subgenres are NOT listed under death metal in the MMA:

  • Grindcore: has its own sugbenre section.
  • Death-thrash: included under thrash metal.
  • Deathcore: included under metalcore.
  • Doom-death: included under doom metal.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_metal

Written by Time Signature.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • Time Signature
  • Dobbie03
  • Vim Fuego
  • Necrotica
  • The T 666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

death metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

DEATH Symbolic Album Cover Symbolic
DEATH
4.46 | 140 ratings
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NILE What Should Not be Unearthed Album Cover What Should Not be Unearthed
NILE
4.62 | 11 ratings
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BOLT THROWER ...For Victory Album Cover ...For Victory
BOLT THROWER
4.48 | 21 ratings
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VADER De Profundis Album Cover De Profundis
VADER
4.57 | 12 ratings
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IMMOLATION Atonement Album Cover Atonement
IMMOLATION
4.80 | 6 ratings
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NILE Annihilation of the Wicked Album Cover Annihilation of the Wicked
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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson Album Cover Crimson
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4.37 | 98 ratings
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NAPALM DEATH Harmony Corruption Album Cover Harmony Corruption
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4.45 | 17 ratings
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CARCASS Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious Album Cover Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
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4.35 | 47 ratings
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DEATH The Sound of Perseverance Album Cover The Sound of Perseverance
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death metal Music Reviews

HATE Tremendum

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Kev Rowland


Hate was formed in Warsaw, Poland, in 1990 by guitarist and vocalist Adam The First Sinner (real name Adam Buszko, now normally abbreviated to ATF Sinner), guitarist Qack and drummer Mittloff. Between 1990 and 1995 they recorded three demo tapes before signing their first record contract. Over the years, they have been through various line-up changes, but the death of bassist Slawek "Mortifier" Arkhangelsky from natural causes while on tour in 2013, and the departure of drummer Stanisław "Hexen" Malanowicz the following year had a major impact, with just AFT Sinner and guitarist Konrad "Destroyer" Ramotowski left. Paweł "Pavulon" Jaroszewicz joined on drums for the 2015 album, ‘Crusade: Zero’ but things were still not right within the band, and ‘Tremendum’ finds just ATF Sinner and Pavulon from the last album, with two session musicians in Paweł "Apeiron" Michałowski on bass and Dominik "Domin" Prykiel on guitars.

Hate have been known for playing a type of blackened death metal that has also found favour with countrymates Behemoth, but for me this album finds them far more solidly within the black metal genre, but with some death influences. It perhaps isn’t surprising that even though they have been through some trauma, that all these guys know what they are about, and this feels like a major release from a major band. The production is superb, capturing a band that are tight and firing hard. Some black metal relies too much on pomp and ceremony, but here the balance is just right, with the reverb allowing the mid to think of black candles and ceremonies, but the guitar and drums are there in the foreground to keep bashing the listener on the head while ATF’s growls are perfectly pitched to work with the music, not against it.

They have been releasing albums for more than twenty years, have had more than that in terms of musicians in their ranks, but let’s hope that this quartet can hit the stage and show everyone that Hate are a force to be reckoned with, as they have come of age with this album.

VIOGRESSION Expound and Exhort

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Expound and Exhort" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Milwaukee, Wisconsin based death metal act Viogression. The album was released through Tombstone Records in 1991. Viogression were a relatively shortlived act who were active in the years 1988 - 1992. In that period they recorded two demos and two full-length studio albums. After Viogression disbanded several of the members went on to form the even more shortlived industrial/thrash metal act Medusa Oblongada.

The music on "Expound and Exhort" is a simple old school style of death metal. You probably won´t find a review of Viogression´s releases without the mention of Obituary as a major influence, and to my ears those mentions are pretty valid. This is brutal to the core and the growling vocals deliver very few lyric lines in an unintelligible manner, which makes them work more like an instrument than vocals usually do.

The vocals are actually one of the highlights on the album, because the instrumental part of the music is predominantly painfully simple, features awkward rhythm changes, lacks groove, and seriously lacks hooks of any kind. Add to that playing which sounds a bit uninspired and a relatively poor and powerless sound production and "Expound and Exhort" doesn´t exactly come off as a quality product. The many short intros and interludes between tracks are also rather ridiculous. I´m not sure if they are meant to be funny or if they are meant to create an eerie atmosphere, but they succeed in being/doing neither. Instead they are hilarious in an amaturish Ed Wood fashion, and it´s safe to say that I´m not impressed by this particular part of the album.

In fact there is very little to be impressed about on "Expound and Exhort", which is through and through an amaturish sounding death metal release. There are moments that catch my attention and when they occur I feel slightly bad that I´m rating "Expound and Exhort" this low, but when it comes down to it, there are not enough of those good quality moments on the album to save it from receiving a 2.5 star (50%) rating.

WITHERING DIVINITY Tragical Endings

Demo · 1994 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Tragical Endings" is the first and only demo cassette tape by US, Franklin, Wisconsin based doom/death metal act Withering Divinity. The demo was independently released in 1994.

The band play a brick heavy doom/death metal style with occasional gothic metal leanings. The vocals are either growling (higher pitched snarling type growling), clean (monotone), or spoken vocals. Whenever the growling vocals appear the music reminds me of German doom/death metal act Dark Millennium. There´s the same raw aggression and desperation about the vocal delivery. The material are relatively well played and quite varied with both heavy riffs, clean guitar parts, and the above mentioned varied vocals.

The demo features a rather lo-fi and distorted sound production, but it goes well with the rawness of the music. Overall "Tragical Endings" is a pretty adventurous doom/death metal release, and while the compositions aren´t without flaws and not all ideas are as well executed as the most successful ones, it´s generally a good quality demo release. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

INCANTATION Onward to Golgotha

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Following in the wake of Morbid Angel came a whole drove of old school death metal bands who were driven to outdeath each other and turn up the brutality and gore to 11 and beyond. While the whole world was taking notice and following suit, the New York City area produced some of the most brutal old school death bands of the early 90s with Suffocation and Mortician ratcheting up the shock value manyfold. Likewise other bands were focusing on the evil as fuck sound and bands like Immolation and INCANTATION were the top dogs in this department. INCANTATION was probably the most evil as fuck of all as heard on their blasphemous debut ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA. This Biblical reference points to the location where Jesus was crucified which shows the early as of yet unseparated aspects of black and death metal and this album very much reflects that fluidity between early black metal Satanism with all the anti-Christianity mixed with the macabre imagery wrapped up in a death metal package as down-tuned riffs churn out walls of distorted sound while blastbeat drum rolls threaten to obliterate any eardrums that stray to close for comfort.

INCANTATION really delivered the goods on ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA. This album is the epitome of morbid, muddy and evil death metal. Everything about this one is scary and sounds like a very bad trip through the blackened tubes to the underworld where any attempt at escape is futile. While the guitar and bass predominantly chug along at frenetic paces all muddied together in a swirl of atmospheric despair, INCANTATION were masters at altering the tempos between the frenetic and super slow creeping style that would become the sounds heard in funeral doom metal as heard from bands such as Esoteric where all is slowed down to a brooding dread that fully allows the terrifying din to unfurl its horrific sonic assault all the while accompanied by the totally unintelligible low-pitched growling vocals of Craig Pillard. The unrelenting hellish soundscapes pummel the senses and leave the listener bereft of any sense of song structure as the riffs whizz by in unpredictable packets of distortion with occasional Morbid Angel type guitar squeals culminating in a lightning fast solo.

While Suffocation clearly won the brutality war as they turned up the extremities like none other, INCANTATION were the dominators of deathened doom where the hellish eddies of sound terrified like no other band of this period. ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA remains a death metal classic for achieving all the aspects that make death metal ever so addicting with the technicality of the musicians impressively wailing away while atmospheric bleakness peaks through at rare moments when the distortion ceases. This remains a highly influential album as it was a clear reference point for bands like Nile on their similarly styled “Seeds Of Vengeance” and newer 21st century tech bands like Portal and Mitochondrion who focus on a bleak and unforgiving atmospheric soundscape punctuated by pummeling riffs and periods of frightening contemplation. Perhaps too muddy for some but that is the aspect i really love about INCANTATION at this stage. The blurring of boundaries between the guitar and bass add a unifying element of gloom that when mixed with the sombre atmospherics deliver the most oppressing extreme metal albums of the early 90s.

MEMORIAM For The Fallen

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"For The Fallen" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Birmingham based death metal act Memoriam. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in March 2017. Memoriam consists of former and present members of Bolt Thrower, Benediction, and Cerebral Fix. The band was formed in 2016 as a tribute to late Bolt Thrower drummer Martin "Kiddie" Kearns. Memoriam released three demos before being signed to Nuclear Blast Records for the release of "For The Fallen".

Listening to the material on the 8 track, 43:36 minutes long album, it´s no surprise that the lineup consists of former (and present) members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, because there are several stylistic similarities to those two acts on "For The Fallen". The music is predominantly mid-to slow paced old school death metal (with the occasional nod towards faster-paced hardcore punk riffs and rhythms like on "Corrupted System") and with Karl Willetts distinct sounding intelligible growling vocals in front (he has a hoarse almost talking type of delivery, which is pretty unique), it´s almost impossible not to think of Bolt Thrower. When that is said Memoriam are not a clone act by any means, and while they don´t have the most distinct or original take on the old school death metal sound, they still manage to deliver a fairly memorable product, that is of a relatively high compositional quality for the genre. Personally I think the best tracks on the album are the most heavy slow ones, which often features an epic feeling. Examples of that are tracks like "War Rages On" and "Last Words". When Memoriam pick up the pace they are generally less interesting.

"For The Fallen" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which further enhances the listening experience, and which is generally a great asset to the album. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Not that there is anything technically challenging being played, but Memoriam are still a tight playing unit, who know how to deliver their parts in the most effectful way. It´s for example an absolute joy listening to the drumming by Andrew Whale. Personally I haven´t heard him play since his days with Bolt Thrower, and he brings an important personal touch to the music with his playing.

So upon conclusion "For The Fallen" is a good quality debut album by Memoriam and finally a sign that the UK death metal scene hasn´t died out completely. It was never the most prolific scene with arguably only a handful of artists deserving being mentioned among the death metal elite (artists like Carcass, Napalm Death, and the two above mentioned acts Bolt Thrower and Benediction being some of them), and it´s always been a bit perculiar to me, why the UK couldn´t produce more quality death metal acts (I guess early Cancer and probably a few more could be mentioned among the artists above too). Memoriam thankfully belong in the better quality end of the scale, and "For The Fallen" deserves a 3.5 star (75%) rating.

death metal movie reviews

NAPALM DEATH Punishment in Capitals

Movie · 2003 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Punishment In Capitals is a 2002 live DVD (also available on CD) by British extreme metal icons Napalm Death, released after their triumphant Enemy Of The Music Business album won back the praise of fans and critics after their experimental string of records in the nineties.

The band play a mixture of every era in their career up to that point, the catchy nineties singles ‘Breed To Breathe,’ and ‘Greed Killing,’ sit side by side with mid era death inspired fare such as ‘Suffer The Children,’ and ‘World Keeps Turning,’ which blends against the band’s early grindcore material era like ‘Scum,’ ‘Lucid Fairy Tale,’ and the famous ‘You Suffer,’ in a set list which also leans heavily on the band’s then newest, and still arguably best album Enemy Of The Music Business.

Standout tracks include an energetic version of ‘Hung,’ as well as ‘Can’t Play Won’t Play,’ and ‘Narcoleptic,’ which was as yet unreleased at the time of recording. With a set-list of this caliber, Punishment In Capitals should be a rewarding viewing experience for most Napalm Death fans and would serve well as an introduction to the band for potential fans as well.

Interestingly, the DVD recording retains all the dead air, waiting out-of-breathe and other non-musical moments in between tracks, presenting you the gig as it actually happened and not inter-cutting the show with outside material to create some false sense of professionalism or excitement. This is a double edged sword as it is commendable but may still irritate viewers raised on slicker, fast paced major label DVD releases.

The production is fairly good in terms of audio recording quality and mix, with simple camera work and editing covering the visual side of things. Although not the most impressive looking DVD ever released, it serves well for Napalm Death to deliver an energetic a sweaty performance. My only major gripe is that for the first half of the show shots of drummer Danny Herrera are very few and far between, but this is remedied later on.

There are a fair amount of extras too, including two bootleg quality recordings in Tokyo from 1996, a six track selection from a Chilean gig in 1997 as well as a hidden Easter Egg (a live-in-a-TV-studio version of ‘If The Truth Be Known,’ accessible by making the image’s eyes glow red my navigating the menu.) In addition to the musical extras there is also a documentary, which while not masterfully crafted is worth at least one watch, covering topics such as Barney’s haircut, the effect of foreign food on the bowels and the charity for which this gig was in aide of.

Overall, Punishment In Capitals is a worthwhile DVD purchase that will give you a good selection of Napalm Death material, both in the concert itself and with a nice selection of extras. Definitely recommended viewing for fans of the band.

ZYKLON Storm Detonation Live

Movie · 2006 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
This DVD captures Norwegian death metal band Zyklon on their 'Aeon,' era tour Live; the tracklisting on the wonderful but slightly short DVD is made up of tracks from the bands excellent first two albums.

The band are on top form and deliver the material fantastically live, They never miss a step, and are ruthlessly professional.

Song's from the band's debut album are much better here with new singer Tony 'SecthDamon,' Ingebrigtsen. Who has a better voice to match the material than Daemon did.

Furthermore the audio and visual quality is great, and apart from a little intro interrupting the first 20 seconds of fan favorite 'Core Solution,' there's very little to complain about whatsoever.

Indeed, with such a brilliant performance, a good production and an excellent track listing, this DVD is a real must-have for any Zyklon fan.

AMON AMARTH Wrath of the Norsemen

Movie · 2006 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Talk about value for money, from a band like Amon Amarth you wouldn’t expect them to be able to afford such a crazily generous and in depth DVD package when some of the bigger bands can’t afford anything even half this good.

The Set comes in a glorious 3 DVD digipak with detailed artwork, a full booklet and an awesome little viking crown that keeps it closed. Then you get Five full concerts (with 22, 16,13, 11 and 9 tracks respectively) and a documentary.

The main feature; a 22 track concert from Cologne in 2005 is an incredible affair with crystal clear sound, Huge guitar tones, amazingly heavy drums and nice clunky bass. The camera work is of a higher quality than even some of the biggest metal bands’ DVDs and again the sound is immense.

Then theres the performance, the band are absolutely electric delivering furious renditions of material from all eras a their career from the massive ‘Amon Amarth,’ and ‘Fate of Norns,’ to catchy closer ‘Death In Fire,’ and the crowd just lap it up.

Vocalist Johan Hegg absolutely commands the stage, engaging the crowd at every opportunity and singing his heart out while the band hammer through their classics like ‘heavy,’ is going out of style.

On top of all that you have a great light show, huge Amon Amath banners, more pyro than a kiss concert and an interlude with about thirty Viking reenactors sword fighting on stage! That feature is worth the money alone, the show is probably one of the best metal concerts on the market and I can’t stress how good the sound and picture are; then on top of all that you get the rest of the set, featuring virtually ever Amon Amarth song ever written, and performances from ‘Waken Open Air festival,’ ‘Summer Breeze Festival,’ and two more indoor concerts in Europe.

If you like Amon Amarth Buy this right now. If you don’t, you will within thirty seconds of watching this.

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