The Best DEATH METAL Bands Of All Time As Voted By You
What Is Death Metal?
Death metal is a genre of heavy metal music that typically features growled or screamed vocals, aggressive sounding, loud guitar riffs, lightning-fast drums and fast tempos.
The sound of death metal emerged in the early 1980s as a fusion of hardcore punk and thrash metal, and has since evolved into a distinct style characterized by heavily distorted guitars, complex song structures, and extreme tempos.
The aggressive style of music also gave birth to subgenres including technical death metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, progressive death metal, slam death metal, doomy death metal, Swedish death metal and more.
Many modern death metal bands incorporate elements of grindcore, which is characterized by short, fast, and intense songs. Some death metal bands also incorporate elements of black metal or deathcore, which is a fusion of death metal and hardcore punk.
Despite its dark-sounding name, death metal is often quite technical and virtuosic in its musicianship. Some death metal acts are even known for their intricate playing abilities.
Why Is Death Metal So Popular?
Firstly, death metal is a very aggressive and intense form of music that appeals to people’s darker side. Like many genres, It is world music and embraced by metalheads across the globe.
Secondly, death metal is often quite technical and virtuosic in its musicianship, which makes it a very interesting and enjoyable genre to listen to.
Made up of blast beats and aggressive guitar tone delivered mercilessly fast and coupled with either clean vocals or ominous gutturals that sound like they’re emanating from the deepest pits of hell, is what gives this music its unique sound.
And we can’t forget the insane song and album titles like “Hammer Smashed Face”, “Scream Bloody Gore” and “Left Hand Path” or band names like “WITCH VOMIT”, “CATTLE DECAPITATION” and “THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER”, which just solidify death metal in all it’s brutal glory as pure audio extremism.
Finally, death metal is the perfect genre for headbangers. Plain and simple. Death metal fans are some of the most loyal, not just in metal and rock, but in all forms of music. Death metal fans are passionate, dedicated and unbelievably loyal to their music.
The 13 Best Death Metal Bands Of All Time As Voted By You
Over the last couple of months, we here at Loaded Radio and Loadedradio.com have been tabulating your votes for who you, the death metal fan, think are the top band(s) of the genre.
I’ve been listening to a ton of tech death lately too which is probably what inspired this task. Seriously, I’m in a huge technical death metal phase right now and it’s awesome.
Nonetheless, we have done all the tabulation through on-site voting, incoming emails and on-air requests, so we would like to personally thank every one of you who took the time to vote.
It was a rather lengthy process, but we have now narrowed down the ‘Top 13’ Death Metal bands of all time as voted by you.
You can find them below.
Number 13 – DYING FETUS
DYING FETUS is a band from Baltimore, Maryland that was formed in 1991 and remains one of the most brutal bands out there today.
The band is known for its extremely heavy and aggressive-sounding music, as well as its politically charged lyrics. They have released 7 studio albums to date and have toured extensively throughout the world.
The band’s musical style can be best described as a mix of death metal, grindcore, and deathcore.
The group’s songs are typically short and fast-paced and are known for their extreme heaviness and brutality. The band’s songs frequently concentrate on social and political issues such as war, abortion, and genocide.
This Baltimore, Maryland death metal collective is considered one of the pioneers of the deathcore genre, and remains one of the most popular death metal bands in the world.
Number 12 – AUTOPSY
AUTOPSY formed in San Francisco, California back in 1987.
The band is considered one of the pioneers of what we know as death metal and is known for its extremely heavy and aggressive sound attack whether it be in the studio or onstage.
AUTOPSY has released 5 studio albums to date and has toured extensively throughout the planet.
The band’s musical style can be best described as a mix of death metal, grindcore, and deathcore with songs that are typically short and fast-paced. AUTOPSY are known for their extreme heaviness and brutality and deliver it in spades.
AUTOPSY’s lyrics often deal with social and political issues, such as death, violence, addiction, and insanity.
The band is considered to be one of the most influential death metal bands of all time. We would strongly recommend the band’s 1991 album “Mental Funeral”.
Number 11 – NILE
NILE is an American death metal band from Greenville, South Carolina that has been around since 1993.
The band is regarded as one of the founders of the death metal genre for its extremely loud, aggressive audio furosity.
NILE has released 7 studio albums to date and delivers a music style that can be best described as a mix of death metal, black metal, tech death and deathcore. NILE songs are typically long and slow-paced and are known for their extreme heaviness and brutality.
The band’s lyrics often deal with social and political issues, such as death, violence, religion, and mythology.
NILE is considered one of the most influential death metal bands of all time and has been cited as an influence by many death metal luminaries, including the likes of MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE and DEICIDE.
Number 10 – NAPALM DEATH
The original grindcore band, NAPALM DEATH is a British group that was formed in England in 1981.
Few bands can be considered as one of the pioneers of the death metal (and grindcore) scene and still maintain their importance, integrity and absolute brutality in the way that NAPALM DEATH do.
NAPALM DEATH has released 16 full-length albums, as well as one EP and has conquered stages across the world on numerous massive tours.
The band’s willingness to experiment with their sound has kept them relevant for over three decades, and they are still considered one of the most extreme metal bands in the world.
NAPALM DEATH’s live shows are always a furious assault on the senses, and their fans are some of the most diehard in the scene.
If you’re looking for a death metal band that will test your limits, look no further than NAPALM DEATH. Especially their earlier material.
Number 9 – DEICIDE
DEICIDE is an American extreme metal band that was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1990 that easily remains one of the best death metal bands of the modern era.
The band is fronted by Glen Benton, who is known for his controversial lyrics and outspoken nature.
DEICIDE have had several lineup changes over the years, with the most recent being the addition of guitarist Taylor Nordberg in 2022.
The Tampa, Florida brutality collective is one of those bands known for their aggressive volumes coupled with angry riffs which often include blasphemous lyrics.
DEICIDE has been involved in numerous controversies throughout its career, including allegations of animal cruelty and Satanism.
The band has released 12 studio albums to date and continues to tour extensively, spreading their ferocity wherever they descend.
Number 8 – ENTOMBED
ENTOMBED is a Swedish death metal band that was formed in Stockholm in 1989.
Among the most well-known names in death metal, ENTOMBED are recognized for their thick guitar riffs and bellowing vocals.
The band has undergone numerous lineup changes over the years, with the most recent being the re-addition of drummer Nicke Andersson in 2018.
With 9 studio albums having been released by ENTOMBED thus far, with the band continues to tour to throngs of rabid crowds worldwide. Their 1990 debut album, “Left Hand Path”, is essential death metal listening.
Number 7 – OBITUARY
OBITUARY is an American group that was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1988 and is considered to be one of the best death metal bands of all time.
The band is notable for its extremely intense and aggressive sound, which has helped the death metal style gain massive worldwide popularity. OBITUARY has released 10 studio albums to date and continues to tour extensively.
OBITUARY’s sound can best be described as a mix of death metal, groove metal and thrash metal.
The group, along with the band DEATH, is often credited with creating the “Florida death metal” sound, which is characterized by its fast tempos and brutal riffs.
OBITUARY lyrics often deal with social and political issues, such as death, violence, addiction, and insanity. I cannot speak highly enough of OBITUARY and the incredible amount of influence they carry.
Number 6 – CARCASS
CARCASS is a British death metal band that was formed in Liverpool in 1986.
They are one of the first death metal bands and remain well-known for their excessively loud and aggressive live assault.
CARCASS has released seven full-length studio albums to date – the latest being 2021’s “Torn Arteries” – and has toured internationally extensively.
Their unique sound can best be described as a mix of death metal, grindcore and death doom while remaining being known for their twisted sense of humor and dark lyrics, which often deal with death, violence and disease.
If body-horror was a death metal band, it would be CARCASS.
CARCASS is one of the most influential death metal bands of all time and is credited with helping to develop the entire death metal genre.
Number 5 – SUFFOCATION
SUFFOCATION is an American death metal band that was formed in Yonkers, New York in 1988 and is another act that is revered as one of the best death metal bands in music today.
The band is fronted by Frank Mullen, who along with guitarist Terrance Hobbs, remain the only original members of the group.
SUFFOCATION has released 8 studio albums to date, and continues to be a relentless attack of sheer, brutal death metal with hints of grindcore, death doom and deathcore elements.
If you’re looking for some straight-up, good old American brutality coupled with extreme guttural vocals, check out SUFFOCATION.
Number 4 – BOLT THROWER
BOLT THROWER was a death metal band from Coventry, England that was formed in 1986.
The band was formed in 1986 and their debut record, “Rise of the Underdogs,” came out that year on Vinyl Solution. The group thereafter moved to Earache Records, where they eventually became one of the best-selling acts on the label.
The group has had a succession of members throughout their 30-year career, releasing eight studio albums, three EPs, one live album, three compilation albums and two demos.
On 14 September 2016, the group announced that they were breaking up, following the death of drummer Martin Kearns exactly a year earlier.
The band continues to be a relentless attack of sheer, brutal death metal with hints of grindcore, tech death and deathcore elements.
What makes BOLT THROWER so special is their ability to seamlessly mix death metal with grindcore, creating an incredibly brutal and heavy sound. They have also been known to experiment with deathcore elements on some of their later albums, resulting in a more modern sound while still retaining their classic death metal roots.
Number 3 – MORBID ANGEL
Tampa, Florida’s MORBID ANGEL is one band that you don’t want to mess with.
MORBID ANGEL formed in 1984 and immediately showcased a signature sound that is both dark and brutal, and they aren’t afraid to show it. With albums like “Altars of Madness” and “Blessed Are The Sick”, MORBID ANGEL have cemented their place among death metal’s elite.
Being one of the genre’s most influential bands, MORBID ANGEL helped to develop extreme music with their fast, aggressive sound and dark, Satanic lyrics. The band’s early work is considered some of death metal’s most important and influential.
MORBID ANGEL has recorded 9 studio albums since its formation, and it continues to be a deadly barrage of raw, savage death metal with grindcore undertones.
What makes MORBID ANGEL so special is their ability to create a truly unique death metal sound.
The band’s early albums were heavily influenced by grindcore bands like NAPALM DEATH and CARCASS, and this influence is still evident in their music today. However, MORBID ANGEL has also been known to experiment with deathcore elements on some of their albums.
This is a death metal band that is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. If you’re looking for something dark and brutal, then look no further than MORBID ANGEL.
Number 2 – CANNIBAL CORPSE
CANNIBAL CORPSE is one of the most well-known death metal bands in the world, and they are credited with helping to develop death metal as a whole.
The band was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1988, and have released a total of 15 studio albums to date.
CANNIBAL CORPSE’s form of death metal is characterized by its fast tempos, technical abilities and brutal riffs, coupled with their lyrics often dealing with death, violence, addiction, horror and insanity.
Since its formation in 1988, CANNIBAL CORPSE has had a total of 15 different members. This high turnover rate is because the band’s members often leave to join other death metal bands, or because they simply retire from the music industry. Most notably, the switch from original CORPSE vocalist Chris Barnes, who went on to form SIX FEET UNDER, to George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, the band’s current vocalist, who would carry out the difficult responsibility of replacing a singer and boosting the band’s success with his booming, guttural vocal attack.
CANNIBAL CORPSE has the stunning amount of talent and brutal creativity to produce some of the most revered extreme music out there. With death metal releases like the “Butchered at Birth” album and the “Torture” album, they have set the standard for death metal brutality, and they continue to push the envelope within the death metal scene with each new release.
If you’re looking for something that will make your ears bleed, then look no further than CANNIBAL CORPSE. (We recommend starting out with the classic “Hammer Smashed Face”)
Number 1 – DEATH
DEATH is widely considered to be the pioneers of the death metal genre, and they are rightly credited with helping to develop the death metal sound.
The band was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1983, and they have released a total of 7 death metal albums since their formation. DEATH’s music is characterized by its fast tempos and heavy riffs, and their lyrics often deal with death, violence, addiction, and insanity. The 1987 album “Scream Bloody Gore” is credited by many to be the first death metal record along with “Seven Churches”, the debut album from POSSESSED.
DEATH frontman Chuck Schuldiner helped to create and develop the death metal genre as a whole. Working alongside an almost revolving door of bandmates, Schuldiner remained the one constant member until his untimely death from a brain tumor in 2001 at the age of 34.
Chuck’s legacy lives on however, and he is considered to be one of the most important death metal musicians of all time.
DEATH is the reason this list is here. Seriously though. Listen to “Scream Bloody Gore”. An awesome debut album for not just a band but a whole genre. Just pure, old-school death metal at it’s finest.
Death metal is one of the most misunderstood and maligned genres of music in the world. It’s often seen as brutal, savage, and without talent or creativity. However, death metal is one of the most vital genres in today’s music world, and it should be given a chance by anyone interested in heavier styles of music. Just ask anyone within the death metal scene.
Whether it be melodic death metal, technical death metal, old school death metal or some progressive metal band with crust punk and black metal elements whose second album just speaks to you in a way you just can’t and don’t feel like explaining to anyone, all it takes is one band or one song or one album to send a shiver down your spine and fill you with adrenaline to get you hooked to the beautiful brutality that is death metal.
Some other notable bands who we did want to mention who came very close to being on this list via your votes are THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, MALEVOLENT CREATION, DARK TRANQUILLITY, DEAD CONGREGATION, MISERY INDEX, BLOOD INCANTATION and many more.
The bands on this list are some of the best death metal has to offer, and they represent everything that death metal stands for: brutality, creativity, technical ability, and pure savagery.
Even today’s death metal bands like OUTER HEAVEN, TOMB MOLD, RIVERS OF NIHIL and other bands are crushing ravenous crowds every night, pummeling them into oblivion with their raw, aggressive audio attack.
Simply, if you’re looking for something heavy to listen to, or maybe your usual heavy metal fix just isn’t filling that void inside, then death metal is something you should investigate.
These bands offer a wide variety of death metal sounds, so there’s something for everyone.
And remember, death metal is all about giving in to the dark side and feeling the power of the riff flowing through your veins. Headbang until your neck snaps! \m/