In the same way that punk mutated into hardcore around the turn of the 80s, heavy metal metamorphosed into death metal, one of rock’s most extreme but equally popular subgenres. uDiscover strikes some doom-laden, down-tuned chords and lets out a blood-curdling, Lovecraftian growl in tribute to the Top 10 death metal bands known to rock.
Though technically one of thrash metal’s “Big Four” alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, Slayer’s mighty third album Reign In Blood (1986) has been cited as an influence by all self-respecting death metal outfits.
Tragically, Florida death metallers Death’s leader Chuck Shuldiner died in 2001, but his band’s 1987 debut Scream Bloody Gore is regularly cited as the first true death metal album.
Big on guttural vocals and squalling, atonal guitar solos, occult-inclined Florida quartet Morbid Angel’s titanic 1989 debut, Altars Of Madness, has frequently been imitated but never bettered.
Originally furious thrash metallers, Californian quartet Autopsy adopted a slower doom-metal style with their second album, 1991’s Metal Funeral, which has remained ominously influential.
Released by Roadrunner in 1989, Florida quintet Obituary’s debut album, Slowly We Rot, was one of the death metal highlights of the year and it’s still one of the genre’s most colossal titles.
Proving that death metal wasn’t solely a North American preserve, UK outfit Napalm Death’s legendary ’87 debut, Scum, proved influential throughout the global metal community.
Liverpool death metallers Carcass were dissatisfied with the primitive production values of their oppressive 1988 debut, Reek Of Putrefaction, but BBC Radio One DJ John Peel publicly professed his love of the record.
Buffalo, New York quintet Cannibal Corpse are reputedly the world’s biggest-selling death metal outfit with sales of over two million units. Their 1991 debut, Butchered At Birth, certainly proved they were (and still are) one of the genre’s most monolithic bands.
Though surely a death metal act par excellence, this Swedish outfit’s fine debut, Orchid, included acoustic guitars, piano and clean vocals, and tested the genre’s parameters.
Satanic Florida death metal outfit Deicide are no strangers to bans and lawsuits, but their second album, 1992’s Legion, remains a death metal classic.
Which death metal bands have we left out? Let us know below and start the debate!