The definitive collection of essential death metal albums 100>90
note: though list in numerical order, the numbers do not indicate a hierarchy or from worse to greatest, vice versa. It is signify’s nothing more, than just being a numerical list.
100. Arcturus – “Sideshow Symphonies”, 2005
The notorious and apparent cult band Arcturus meant absolutely nothing to me, if you were to ask my opinion of their earliest releases, but by chance I was exposed to their newer material featuring the vocals of ICX Vortex. This is avant-garde at its finest, very experimental and a space voyage imagination. Some songs are a little ridiculous and come off as annoying more so than enjoyable, but its all easily forgettable. Nothing really death metal about this release, but I am choosing only the essential and significant pieces
099. Dismember – “Indecent and Obscene”, 1993
There is a whole slew of bands who have garnered the “gothenburg” sound, most notably coined by Entombed. If you were initiated by this sound from Bloodbath, just a quick listen to Dismember will familiarize yourself on those muffled and buzz saw riffs. To me the band who perfected this sound, and has the strongest attraction is Dismember, the most pinnacle of their discography being Indecent and Obscene.
098. Suffocation – “Pierced from Within”, 1995
Maligned with some kind of hate machine, comes New
York’s Suffocation, a household death metal name alongside Cannibal Corpse, back in the inception of this genre. Arguably their best full length album. To me their music reached its peak with the release of Catatonia, and haven’t been able to capture the sound or hatred this album delivers. Frank Mullen is the hands down epitome of what a death metal vocalist should sound like, guttural, all the while well enunciated and easy to decipher. If you haven’t heard this album, you are definitely not a death metal fan.
097. Absymal Dawn – “Programmed to Consume”, 2008
A current generation death metal band that comes off with something refreshing and new to the table is a hard commodity these days. So when you hear something like Abysmal Dawn you quickly take notice. It was hard for me to pinpoint their best release, but if narrowed down, Programmed to Consume, takes the cake. Inspired and technical prowess, keeps it interesting.
096. Bloodbath – “Resurrection through Carnage”, 2002
Back when shopping in a record store wasn’t an entirely foreign concept, I would make some shot in the dark purchases. Usually queuing in on label, and any identifiable band members. In the case of Bloodbath, I knew nothing of them, I had no idea that Akerfeldt from Opeth was any part of this project. It was a blind purchase, that opened me up to a whole world of new death metal. Them coining their sound from bands like Carnage, Entombed and as mentioned earlier Dismember. Popularly described as buzz saw guitars in tone. This release in particular marks an incredible leap in the genre, by creating some of the most addicting melodies. To me they took a token genre and just juiced it up. Disappointingly none of their future work could outdo Resurrection through Carnage, the Fathomless Mastery coming the closest still fell short.
095. Cannibal Corpse – “Tomb of the Mutilated”, 1992
Difficult to pinpoint the pinnacle of their discography, Cannibal Corpse is a warhorse in regards to their music of the 90’s. After the polishing of their sound in the 2000’s, they left behind a primitive sound and graduated in the musical elites of the genre. Definitely a wise decision ditching Barnes in favor of Fisher, but it’s undeniable some of their best music was with Barnes at the helm. It’s actually funny I am including Tomb of the Mutilated on this list, considering this was one of my least favorite albums of their discography growing up, but now it definitely is considered the best in my opinion. Harsh angry and definitive of the genre.
094. Carcass – “Necroticism Descanting the Insalubrious”, 1991
Carcass should be called the polar opposite, because that is the best way to describe their music of the past, and their music of the present. What I believe to be the happy medium? Necroticism Descanting The Insalubrious, a mouthful for sure. I consider their earliest work just a gimmick and hardly credible enough to be considered anything enjoyable to sit down and listen to. And their newer material is just too polished, and borderline commercial, that it just isn’t enjoyable. For more of my thoughts on this release CLICK HERE.
093. Cynic – “Focus”, 1993
Experimentation and progressiveness to a genre of metal that relied heavily, on well HEAVY, it would almost seem like a sure fire way to fail. But Cynic ambitiously boldly ventured a soundscape that was very pioneering and ahead of its time, still unparalleled by any current generation band. They definitely laid the foundation for experimental metal bands. Cynic alongside Atheist would fuse together elements of Jazz and other symphonic instrumentation that would surprisingly mesh together rather well. Yes an acquired sound, but once given the chance, you will find one of the most rewarding experiences in music. If the term “sci-fi” had a soundtrack, I am sure it would heavily borrow from Cynic’s music.
092. Deeds of Flesh – “Inbreeding the Anthropophagi”, 1998
It’s hard to decide what Deeds of Flesh album to put on the list, because to me their new material is fucking phenomenal! that being said, I am going to go with the safe route and pick one of their tried and true albums. I want their newer work to get some wear and tear on the tires, before putting it on the list. Even narrowing it down to their earlier work is difficult, they never really put out a “bad” album, but their earlier work doesn’t hold much variety, its like a continuous flow of the same sound. So what album to me, best signifies their sound? Inbreeding The Anthropophagi! A chaotic and unrelenting death metal masterpiece. A good use of samples to signify the subject matter. This is old school death metal at its finest.
091. Immolation – “Close to a World Below”, 2000
Immolation alongside bands like Gorguts, really became staples of the genre. Their sound is unique, they do not go the cookie cutter route. In fact the first releases were well beyond their time, but Close to a World Below came out as their greatest effort, just in time to awaken a stagnant genre. Dark, bombastic drumming and odd time signatures, add some strong lead and solo work, and you have one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. It’s also worth mention the lyrical content, and the rare ability of the vocalists to enunciate and make the vocals very distinguishable in the mix.
090. Hour of Penance – “Sedition”, 2012
A developmental masterpiece, something of groundbreaking in comparison to their other releases. The drumming is inhuman, the solo and lead work is very memorable. It just moves along like a stealth jet. Each track stands on its own, all the while having a fluid transition. For a newer death metal band, I took notice of them quickly. Unfortunately the future work is really disappointing.
Hope you all enjoyed, next post will be going through 90 > 80