DEATH METAL SPECIAL
(appeared on ktmROCKS Magazine Issue 14, 2006)
By: Mahendra Rai, Sunil Dev Pant, Umes Shrestha (with references from some Internet websites)
PART 3: 12 essential albums for all serious listeners of Death Metal
SIX CLASSIC DEATH METAL ALBUMS:
Sepultura – Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation (1986)
This is arguably THE first Death Metal album (or Proto Death Metal, if you will), although it does contain lots of Speed/Thrash metal elements in it. We see the use of (semi) growled vocals, speedy riffs, familiar ‘evil’ lyrics and the use of blast beats for the very first time by any band (ref. Antichrist). These Brazilians fuse together the speed and ferocity of Thrash Metal with the chaos and nihilism of Black Metal (mainly Sodom, Venom, Celtic Frost) coupled with growled vocals to create a powerful Metal concoction.
Morbid Angel – Blessed Are the Sick (1991)
Blessed….., along with its predecessor Altars of Madness, throws away the last vestige of thrash/speed metal out of Death Metal, making it an exclusive genre in itself. Musical complexity and creativity coupled with the individual band members’ mastery of their instrument makes this album a true masterpiece and an inspiration for countless bands to follow.
Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)
The most plagiarized album in the history of Death Metal. You can hear so much of this album in today’s Brutal Death Metal that you’d think EoF was a blue print for the heavier side of Death Metal. Combining speed and ferocity of Death Metal with the percussive intensity and breakdowns of NY hardcore, Suffocation took Death Metal to new heights. Deep Guttural growls and percussive/low end rhythm section made Suffocation the most brutal band ever to come out of the US and without a doubt the most influential.
Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth (1991)
Gory lyrics, fast dissonant music, inarticulate grunts, chaotic songwriting and one of the sickest cover artwork all come together to make this album a masterpiece. This albums has none of the traits of the new Cannibal Corpse like over-production, formulaic songwriting, unoriginal lyrics, talentless-but-still-over-hyped-singer, and overly mainstream packaging. This one is for the real Death Metal fan, not mall-metal kids.
Unleashed – Where No Life Dwells (1991)
Nihilistic Death Metal from Sweden with a heavy emphasis on mid-paced machine gun type rhythmic explosions. WNLD is Unleashed at its finest – brilliant songwriting, imaginative lyrics and in-your-face delivery.
Sinister - Diabolical Summoning (1993)
Percussive Dutch Death Metal featuring deep guttural grunts, complex songwriting, odd time signatures and doublebass laden drums. A painfully underrated album of grandiloquent brilliance.
SIX MODERN DEATH METAL ALBUMS:
Defiled – Erupted Wrath (1999)
Unusual and weird Death Metal from Japan. Defiled pushes the envelope of creativity with their own brand of one-of-a-kind Death Metal delivered in a typical Japanese style – sick and twisted. Unusual phrases and chord combinations, off-time signature, crazy drumming and progressive bass pattern all make for a unique musical experience.
Origin – Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas (2002)
III raises the bar on extremity with a brilliant display of technicality, some of the fastest drums in metal , lots of complex guitar works, sick dual vocal attack and very well written songs. Truely a superior musical effort and certainly one of the finest to come out of the US in recent times.
Cenotaph – Pseudo Verminal Cadaverium (2003)
One of the best albums ever to surface from the putrid swamp of the Goregrind genre. Extremely heavy riffing, fast paced songwriting and a constant change in tempo and time-signature make this an above average album in the otherwise unidirectional style of most Goregrind bands. Cenotaph is considered a legend in the underground circle even though a lot of “fans” of Brutal Death Metal are unfamiliar with this band.
Necrophagist – Epitaph (2004)
Technical, Brutal and semi-melodic all at the same time. The album contains lots and lots of arpeggios, sweeps and off-time signatures. Epitaph has managed to push the boundaries of technicality, speed and precise instrumentation. This album is something Malmsteen would have done if he was into Brutal Death Metal
Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked (2005)
Intricate Death metal with Egyptian/middle-Eastern vibe, very mature songwriting, lots of tempo changes, a couple of epic songs and brutal in-your-face delivery. Individual band members’ mastery of their respective instruments is brilliantly displayed in each and every song on this album.
Vomit Remnants – Supreme Vehemence (2005)
Supreme Vehemence is a compilation of two albums “Supreme Entity” and “Indefensible Vehemence” which contains 14 tracks of Hyper Groove Brutality. A fine assortment of Slam/groove orientated Death Metal with a lot of NYDM influences. Songs constantly change tempo from blasting to mid-paced to sludgy. Exceptionally controlled drums make this album very special indeed.
This list is NOT for beginners of death metal. The list is mainly for serious listeners of death metal. It is unlikely that a lot of death metal newbies are going to like bands like Defiled, Cenotaph and Origin.
Sunil Pant (Anthrovore, Ugrakarma)