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)
  • Vim Fuego
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

death metal top albums

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DEATH Symbolic Album Cover Symbolic
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death metal Music Reviews

POSSESSED Seven Churches

Album · 1985 · Death Metal
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Triceratopsoil
The missing link between thrash and death metal... there are all sorts of elements that fans of those two genres will recognize: riffs that wouldn't be out of place on Death Angel's The Ultraviolence, vocals that are almost growled and certainly heavier than any thrash metal band at the time (barring perhaps Celtic Frost, another genre-defying band), tremolo picking galore, but also Exodus-style guitar dueling solos. Most Primus fans probably have no clue Ler Lalonde used to rip like this. Mostly recommended for fans of early Slayer, Death and Morbid Angel. Also a very consistent album (no filler tracks) with great production value for being a bunch of teenagers in 1985.

Hard to sit still or turn it down once this album starts playing!

BLOOD INCANTATION Hidden History of the Human Race

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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Nightfly
Back in 2016 I was mightily impressed with the debut album from a little known death metal band from the USA called Blood Incantation. On starting this review I decided to start by referring back to my review of said album, Starspawn. While I could have sworn I’d done a review, apparently not, I’d only rated it – 4 stars by the way. Anyway here we are three years down the road and Blood Incantation are back with another dose of cosmic death metal and they’ve just got even better.

Hidden History Of The Human Race is only four tracks long clocking in at a meagre 36 minutes but thankfully every track earns it’s place here. Slave Species Of The Gods opens up and it sounds immense. With its crushing dissonant riffs and organic production fans of Immolation and Morbid Angel should love it. Likewise The Giza Power Plant which follows though adding some light and shade and getting a bit more trippy over its seven minutes. Compared to their debut the sound here is tighter and not quite as dense – less chaotic. That’s not to say I prefer it that way but HHOTHR shows considerable growth with a more progressive approach. Inner Paths (To Outer Space) was the first track I heard from the album and initially I was a bit concerned. It has a slow build starting with a clean sounding cosmic trippy section and took it’s time before anything resembling death metal kicked in. Hearing it in the context of the album though it works and I like it.

Not surprisingly the highlight of the album is the eighteen minute Awakening From The Dream Of Existence To The Multidimensional Nature Of Our Reality (Mirror Of The Soul) which takes up side 2 of my vinyl copy. It’s a mind blowing death metal trip with some of their heaviest riffs but even including a Pink Floyd-ish lull before kicking back in with full force again. The rhythms twist and turn, constantly shifting mirroring the riffs, never staying in the same place too long and it feels like only half its length. It’s a stunning piece of work and perhaps the finest piece of death metal I’ve heard all year.

Just when I was more or less sorted in my mind on my favourite albums of the year along comes another contender. HHOTHR is a staggering achievement and I can’t wait to see where this band goes next. The future of death metal is in safe hands.

DISSEVERED Agonized Wails Of Disseverment

Album · 2016 · Brutal Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Brutal slam death metal and grindcore seem to be the most popular forms of metal for fledgling artists from far flung geographical locations to let off steam. Both are ugly, grimy forms of aggressive caustic metal that allow the most vile and repugnant subject matter to be accompanied by a frenetic distortion frenzy along with indecipherable guttural growls that refer to the grotesque and disturbing. Guess what? It’s everywhere!

DISSEVERED is one of a gazillion newer brutal slam death metal bands out there these days. This band comes from the off-the-radar city of Vientiane, the capital city of the nation of Laos which is situated in between the more popular destinations of Thailand and Vietnam. This group of four members who simply go by Tun (bass), Peter (drums), Ben (guitars) and Tock (vocals) has released one demo, one 4-way split and this so-called album AGONIZED WAILS OF DISSEVERMENT which at 23 1/2 minutes is more like an EP.

Let’s face it. When it comes to the one-dimensional sound of brutal death metal it’s all about the subtleties that distinguish it from other bands. After all, the guitar chugs and growly vocals are almost ubiquitous. DISSEVERED sounds pretty much like a whole legion of newer brutal deathened headbangers. Much like Colombia’s Amputated Genitals, much like the US based Embodied Torment, Estonia’s Baalsebub and neighboring Thailand’s Ecchymosis however this band does offer one distinct element i’ve never heard before in a band of this sort.

What distinguishes DISSEVERED from the multitude of almost identical others is that the drummer seems to use exclusively some sort of bongo or other ethnically derived percussive device. There is no flashy blastbeats or even just regular metal workouts. While the guitars, bass and growls chug away, Peter is simply keeping a primitive beat much like a tabla percussionist would only by accentuating the framework fo the beat instead of adding any fills. For whatever reason this is very effective as it offers a sensualness to the caustic orotundity of the aggression. It also has a tinny sound that punctuates the din quite effectively. I enjoyed this album a lot but when all is said and done it’s not anything to get wildly excited about either.

АЯСЫН САЛХИ Coffin Town Under The Moon

Album · 2004 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Аясын Салхи or AYASIIN SALKHI is an early metal band from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city and has been active since 1984 which makes them one of the nation’s pioneers of bringing metal to the land where nomads and traditional throat singing music is still the dominant art form. The band name means “Fair Wind” in English. As one of Mongolia’s first heavy metal bands in the 1980s, AYASIIN SALKHI suffered the backlash from the conservative nation’s Soviet regime at a time when such music was considered a threat to the power structures which disapproved of any Western influences infiltrating into their so-called communist paradise.

AYASIIN SALKHI started off as a typical 80s heavy metal band and was quite a sensation in its native land but changed its sound to death metal starting around 1997. Despite the band’s existence for over 3 decades, due to the unsupportive nature of the Mongolian music scene, this band had to take a DIY approach and therefore has released very little of its music. The demo “We Go In Different Directions” emerged all the way back in 1985 and two live albums, “Hurricane” appeared in 1987 followed by “Super Stainless Steel” in 1992. No real studio album ever came out with AYASIIN SALKHI playing its early heavy metal style and the only album to date has been the full-length COFFIN TOWN UNDER THE MOON which didn’t see a release until 2004.

Given all the time of the band’s existence it’s hard to tell when this album was recorded. COFFIN TOWN UNDER THE MOON, despite its year of release sounds more like an old school death metal album from the early 90s in the vein of Obituary, Morbid Angel or Death however it sounds very raw and undeveloped which gives the album a rather generic feel. The four musicians guitarist Jimmy Peach, bassist Battulga, drummer Gearge Proven and vocalist Andy “Mainer” Teesh go through the motions quite proficiently but unfortunately are too preoccupied to nail down the old school death metal sound so convincingly that it fails to really add any creative stamp to the band’s signature sound.

You can expect the usual blastbeats, pummeling guitar and bass riffs and deathened growly vocals but the tracks all whiz by without distinguishing themselves from each other which in the end makes the entire experience a bit forgettable. While i’m sure this music was a god sent miracle for a metal starved culture that was outside of the loop for so long, ultimately this comes off as a competent but unremarkable release and unlike many metal bands from more exotic parts of the world, COFFIN TOWN UNDER THE MOON doesn’t take advantage of any ethnic sounds or homegrown influences to help it stand out from the massive crowds that had already come and gone in the Western world. While remarkable for the geographical region that it emerged, in the end COFFIN TOWN UNDER THE MOON is a decent old school death metal release but not much more. Hopefully these guys will stick around and create something more unique.

DEMONIC RESURRECTION Demonstealer

Album · 2000 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
DEMONIC RESURRECTION has been one of India’s main acts that has introduced the world to the Indian metal scene. The band formed in 2000 in Mumbai and has had several lineup changes over the years and started out but have become an interesting force of blackened death metal with symphonic touches. Having been influenced by the more Gothic end of the metal spectrum with bands like Theatre of Tragedy, The Gathering and Lacuna Coil as the main bands of inspiration, DEMONIC RESURRECTION started out as a group of teenagers with lead vocalist and guitarist The Demonstealer proving to be the only constant member.

Metal was a fairly new thing for India at the turn of the millennium and DEMONIC RESURRECTION quickly recorded and released this debut album DEMONSTEALER in the same year of 2000 however after its release the band quickly dissolved leaving Demonstealer, the band leader to start from scratch. This album has all but been forgotten and could be rightfully considered a demo despite an official release because of the amateurish qualities of not only performances but production and lackluster songwriting skills. In addition to Demonstealer on vocals and guitars, this early lineup consisted of Count Varathora (bass), Yash Pathak (drums) and female vocalist and keyboardist Nikita Shah.

This first release has seen four different album covers in both CD-R and cassette forms. It’s apparent from a single listen of DEMONSTEALER that this band was not even remotely ready for primetime. The compositions tend to be inspired by a mix of second wave black metal as well as the aforementioned Gothic metal acts. The rather similar sounding tracks derive the basic compositional fortitude from bands like Darkthrone, Emperor and Dimmu Borgir with heavily distorted guitar riffs and raspy vocals by Demonstealer with the beauty and beast charm of Nikita whose Gothic feminine charm is given equal billing. The guitars are rather low in the mix and the simplistic atmospheres are often more audible than the metal aspects. The drumming while getting the job done is also of an unimpressive quality with attempted blastbeats merely dishing out a steady rhythmic drive.

There’s really not much to say about this debut other than that it’s not that great. While it offers a few glimpses into the more developed sounds of the future, this debut album simply sounds like a bunch of teens awkwardly imitating its idols and not doing a very good job at it. Of course there is always a learning process involved and DEMONIC RESURRECTION was clearly in the midst of it on this earliest of recordings. It would take five more years and a new lineup for the band to really gain any traction but this is where it all started and is best avoided unless you are a rabid fan and must seek out the childish origins of this present day popular Indian metal band. Personally i don’t find any tracks stand out on this one. They are all very simplistic and sound pretty much the same.

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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