Among the many extreme subgenres of heavy metal, one that is hugely popular is death metal. Borrowing heavily from early thrash metal, death metal came into its own in the mid 80s. This space showcases a list of the best death metal bands.
Death metal stemmed from augmented music structures used in thrash metal and early doom metal. Thrash metal bands that emerged in the early 80s had a significant impact on the death metal sound. The death metal genre came into raging prominence in the mid eighties and had a profound effect on extreme metal fans from around the globe. Truly death metal arrived with a bang, and spawned a number of metal subgenres in the late 80s. Celtic Frost, Kreator, Venom and Slayer are considered key in influencing the growth of death metal genre. The band Venom infused element of thrash metal and death metal in the early years and are considered by many as the band that paved the sound for extreme genres.
History and Origin of Death Metal
Some of the pioneering bands that were key influences in spreading the roots of death metal genre include Death, Possessed, Post Mortem and Obituary.
In the late 80s a wave of bands came in with a brutal sound interspersed with melodic riffing. Deicide and Carcass introduced an innovative brutal sound that became hugely popular in the late 80s and early 90s. Bands such as Morbid Angel and Autopsy added new lyrical dimension to death metal. By the late 80s death metal had spread its wings. Although the death metal scene broke into prominence in the United States, with bands from Florida creating an impact, a number of Scandinavian bands took death metal to the next level.
Swedish bands reigned supreme in the extreme metal genre in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. Bands such as God Macabre, Unleashed, Dismember and Entombed pioneered the Scandinavian death metal sound. Towards the end of the 80s and early 90s a number of bands from Sweden crafted what came to be known as melodic death metal. Bands such as Dark Tranquility, Amon Amarth, At the Gates, and In Flames influenced a new wave of melodic death metal bands in the 90. The melodic sound introduced by bands from Sweden was recognized as ‘Gothenburg Metal’. As subgenres of death metal came into being, many bands were categorized in more than one category. Here is a list of death metal subgenres that have become popular over the years.
Vocal style and lyrical themes in Death Metal
The vocal style in death metal varies among bands. However, majority of death metal bands are associated with death growls. Types of vocal delivery associated with this genre may include harsh vocals, unclear vocals, growls, roars, grunts, death grunts and growled screams, and sometimes may also be called Cookie Monster. Some bands in the death metal genre use high pitched vocals. While lyrical themes in death metal bands vary, a significant number of death metal bands showcase through lyrics various topics such as horror, Satanism, nature, mysticism, occult, religion, and may also express elaborate details on aspects such as torture, rape, cannibalism, mutilation, necrophilia and murder.
Death Metal Record Labels
As death metal grew in popularity globally through the mid 80s and 90s, many extreme genre record labels sprung up and started signing upcoming acts. Earache records, Roadrunner Records, Century Media and Nuclear Blast were responsible for signing a number of extreme genre bands that included a large number of death metal bands.
Aside from death metal this list includes subgenres such as goregrind, melodic death metal, death core, technical death metal, death-doom, progressive death metal, deathgrind, and blackened death metal.
100 Greatest Death Metal Bands
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