From melodic to brutal, death metal has always been one of the heaviest and most extreme forms of metal around. Utilising double pedals, blast beat style of drumming, ludicrously fast, down tuned guitars and death growls, pig squeals or screamed, comically know as Cookie Monster, vocals. Also famed for having possession of the most disturbing and gore filled lyric themes and album artwork, it is the musical equivalent t of a b-movie gore-porn horror.
1) Job For A Cowboy – Probably the first death metal band I ever heard, so wherever it is nostalgic value or not, I still believe these guys are one of the best death metal bands around. Originally a deathcore group the band style took a drastic turn when they released their first Ep Doom and debut album Genesis which weaned them off the breakdowns in favour of more death metal guitar riffs and bridges to give them a distinct sound. Job For A Cowboy now hammer home a guttural and dynamically heavy sound that sees fast grinding riffs transform into to slow neck ripping bridges.
2) Hour Of Penance – Rome, home of romance, fine food, beautiful architecture… Oh Yeah, and brutal death metal band Hour Of Penance. The band relentlessly pummels you with their hammering drums, technical metal influenced guitars and powerful lyrics that steer away from an all out gore-fest in favour of more anti-religious themes which is handy when the head of the catholic faith lives just moments away. The throaty low growls compliment the fast paced guitar work and hyper stroppy pedal weighty drumming, honestly it’s like a kid having sugar induced temper tantrum, but it does cement the band together incredibly well.
3) Amon Amarth – Viking themed melodic death metal band Amon Amarth take a slightly folk stance to their music with their songs telling the stories of Nordic mythology and Viking pursuits, a breath of fresh air from all the over top obscenity of some modern death metal bands. The band is often confused with the black and folk metal subgenre of Viking metal; however the bands instruments scream death metal with heavy, aggressive music accompanied by the unique growls of vocalist, Johan Hegg.
4) Nile – Death metal and the Middle East are two things that rarely get put together, unless you’re Nile. The band utilises sweeping ancient Middle Eastern instrumentals to be placed alongside some of the most crushing guitar work in metal. Honestly listeners should be warned these guys don’t fuck about, I’m talking drop-A tuning. That’s right. Drop-A tuning, any lower and they’d find the brown note! However, unlike some other death metal bands though, it is this heavy for a reason as it brings out the sheer complexity and speed of their music.
5) Acrania – One of the more modern death metal bands. I know modern death metal it is so commonly filled with obscene gore-porn filled lyrics, incoherent vocals and over the top blast beats but bear with me. Acrania bring a unique brutality that brings meaning along with it. Politically enraged and connected the band brings some of the most hate filled mind changing lyrics that make listeners engage with the slam heavy death metal.
Other bands to look out for:
Children of Bodom, Vader, Decapitated, Kalmah, Parasite Inc, Suffocation, Wretched, Bolt Thrower, Ingested, Arch Enemy, Blood Red Throne, Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass, At The Gates, The Black Dahlia Murder, Fallujah, Obscura, Cannibal Corpse