Greatest Death Metal Guitarists

The greatest Death metal guitarists of all time. They are absolutely the masters.

The Top Ten

1 Chuck Schuldiner (Death) Chuck Schuldiner (Death) Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck more.


Voice of the Soul, and it's enough. Maybe he's not as technically good as the others, but his solos are emotional, and that's more important!

One of the greatest Death Metal composers ever, both as a guitarist and as a vocalist.
Just listen to The Sound of Perseverance to check out some of his finest solos. - Nord666


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2 Trey Azagtoth (Morbid Angel)

Trey Azagtoth is ridiculously good. His technical skill is truly amazing, and his signature insane soloing and Pete's maddening drumming is what gives Morbid Angel its sound. Moreover, by being one of the first to bring atonality into soloing, he influenced all of death metal. A true innovator.

His talent cannot be matched. He is a multi instrumentalist and no one can play a guitar so brutally and technical as well. - Nord666

Trey is the most talented guitarist and more talented then Chuck Schuldiner... I love his guitar solos... Yeah Morbid Angel rocks my world!

Very impressed with Azagthoth's guitar work. His soloing gives that madness feeling of death metal and that is why he is my all time favorite.

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3 Muhammed Suicmez (Necrophagist) Muhammed Suicmez (Necrophagist) Muhammed Suiçmez was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, to Turkish immigrants. He is the frontman and guitarist of the German technical death metal band Necrophagist.

He's awfully technical and brutal. You can't compare Necrophagist's sound to any other band. It's unique. - Nord666

One of the most amazing guitarists ever. His guitar playing is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard in my whole life.

Personally, Muhammed One of my guitar heroes. I mean, even if you don't like metal you still gotta admit he's a fire breather

He's maybe the most repetitive guita - Sabbath

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4 Bill Steer (Carcass, Napalm Death) Bill Steer (Carcass, Napalm Death) Bill Steer is a British guitar player, and co-founder of the extreme metal band Carcass. He is considered a pioneer and an essential contributor to grindcore and death metal due to his involvement in Napalm Death and Carcass, two of the most important bands of those genres.

Very talented Guitarist, he started the whole Melodic Death Metal guitar playing. - GREYBOYY

He's the grindcore craftsman. - Nord666

Bill steer is the master guitarist of grindcore and death metal besides schuldiner of course

Legendary technical death metal guitarist

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5 Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath for three albums up until 2012. more.

I think Mikael is my 2nd favorite death metal guitar player but still is amazing along with chuck, nergal, trey, karl sanders, jack owen, and bill steer.

Mikael is one of the greatest guitar players and songwriters in modern metal. Still Life is possibly the best composition I've ever heard.

Burden, blackwater park, the grand conjuration and more great guitar riffs and solos

Is death metal all about growling like animals? NO.

Mikael can clarify the reason behind the 'no'.

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6 Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.

Not the fastest guitar player but the most technical guitar player he is. Look how he use the whammy bar and licks just amazing

Hey guy below me, how is cob not death metal, then what are they? black metal haha no, they're melodic DEATH METAL

CoB isn't death metal

He is the best

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7 Jack Owen (Cannibal Corpse)

Jack owen makes the most catchy riffs and complex riffs look easy. His soloing is creative and tippy sounding he is the reason why the bleeding is cannibal corpses best selling album to date. S hogan

skilled death metal guitarist brutal riffs and stuff I love the style of playing

Amazing textured lead! CC is nothing without Owen and Barnes

Sorry on the comment above I meant trrippy

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8 Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation)

His chording is dense and complex. His leads are breath-taking. In a field loaded with talent, even Terrance stands out. Not only is he fast, but the scales and note patterns he uses are highly advanced. He constructs amazing solos, showing impeccable taste and precision. There seems to be a quasi-jazz sensibility and musicianship brewing beneath maelstrom of death metal. He must be ranked at least in the top 5.

Terrance Hobbs has single-handedly spawned subgenres of death metal, his songwriting is so layered, labyrinthian, unpredictable, deft and as heavy as it gets, bringing savage beauty with masterful precision, his songs take on lives of their own. Hobbs is number one. He discovered the ultimate balance between brutality and technicality and his compositions are superior to the other prospects.

He doesn't exist: I just cannot understand how a human can bring such a poetry out of brutality. Fast, precise, complex... You never want him to stop though he takes you so far beyond belief.

U Hobbs is just brutal

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9 Karl Sanders (Nile) Karl Sanders (Nile) Karl Sanders is an American musician, most widely known as the founding member of the American ancient Egyptian-themed technical death metal band Nile.

There are some clowns higher on this list than Karl which is just plain ridiculous

His technical skill and harmonization with Dallas is just amazing. Highly underrated.

Karl is a beast that's all I can say really

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10 John Gallagher (Dying Fetus) John Gallagher (Dying Fetus)


The Contenders

11 James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Cancer, Disincarnate)

Top 5 forever! Only because there is no one else on the planet that could of come up with the awesome solos he did on Obituary's Cause of Death album. I find that album just a little more mysterious and creepier because of this mans solos! Kudos to James!

Absolutely amazing shredder. His record for death metal bands is perfect. Great tones and great chops. I consider him the Chris Poland if death metal.

An awesome guitarist. Played for two most awesome death metal bands (Death and Obituary).
What more I can say, he is a beast! - Nord666

The original death metal lead guitar

12 Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) Andreas Kisser (Sepultura)

For the sake of Beneath and Arise...

13 Nergal (Behemoth) Nergal (Behemoth) Adam Nergal Darski (born Adam Michał Darski; 10 June 1977 in Gdynia), is a Polish musician and television personality, best known for being the frontman for the black/death metal band Behemoth. more.

The greatest guitarist of all time should at least in top 5 position its not fair

What the hell? He should be in a better position! People don't listen to music or what?!

Love this guitar god

How is Nergal not in the top 10

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14 Mitch Harris (Napalm Death, Meathook Seed, Righteous Pig, Defecation) Mitch Harris (Napalm Death, Meathook Seed, Righteous Pig, Defecation) Mitch Harris is an American guitarist, born in Queens, New York, then moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, but currently living in Birmingham, England.

Groove, speed and good taste!

Hardcore guitarist...

15 Antti Kokko (Kalmah)

He is one of the most skilled guitarists I've ever seen. His solos are so perfect, melodic and emotional. He's way better than Alexi because his solos are more perfected and mature.

This man can make meaningful and long solos with no mistake. He's amazingly skilled, just listen to the solo on hades, heroes to us, they will return, evil in you, swampwar, wings of blackening and many more.

He is so underrated! his playing is really awesome! - nooreldeen

His solos are way more melodic and are always on point, he's amazing.

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16 Baz Thompson (Bolt Thrower)
17 Kelly Shaefer (Atheist)

He is a god

18 Eric Hoffman (Deicide)

Ridiculously underrated. Heck - his brother is better than some high up on this list and Eric has the full package

Homage for satan solo was epic

Homage for Satan was with Ralph Santolla and Jack Owen (which is already on the list)

19 Trevor Peres (Obituary)

He even looks dead. Has the heaviest tone and his riffs just make your eyes bleed. Truly one of the masters of heavy groove.

20 Michael Amott (Carnage, Carcass) Michael Amott (Carnage, Carcass) Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.

Perfect ruff and solo, wrong place - Rhapsody

At least top 10 he's good not as good as kirk hammet or kerry king or slash but he is good and I like arch enemy there good on we will rise I like alexi too though

He should be the first one

not bad

21 Pat O'Brien (Cannibal Corpse) Pat O'Brien (Cannibal Corpse)

He is technically amazing, just watch him play frantic disembowelment, he is also dedicated to his instrument and even toured with slayer when gary holt left to tour with exodus

This guys rhythms are harder than most guitarists solo's. I have yet to see this guy play less than perfect. Just listen to Frantic Disembowelment.

Pat with rob barret gods of all death metal guitarists

Chuck is my favorite guitarist, but this guy is way too low. - kk2001

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22 Robert Vigna (Immolation)
23 Patrick Mameli (Pestilence)

Very creative and emotional playing.

24 Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel)
25 Jari Mäenpää (Ensiferum, Wintersun) Jari Mäenpää (Ensiferum, Wintersun) Jari Mäenpää (born 23 December 1977) is a Finnish heavy metal multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the founder of metal band Wintersun for which he records all instruments. Before forming Wintersun, Mäenpää was best known for his role in the folk metal band Ensiferum.

He's a badass - AnimeDude892

How is he not on here? He should be in the top five!

26 Vogg (Decapitated)

This man or-rather brutal metal beast-is a no contest for the top 5. If you watch his live performances or have the good fortune to witness Decapitated, you will know why. It's not just that he writes and executes some of the most innovative, classic, and technical death metal riffs and solos in existence. It's that when he performs them live, he does so with utmost ease and stage presence, even opting to improvise on his own songs at times. Who else in technical death metal does that?!

Should be in top 5!

Deadly fast and clear. Innovative riffs and sofisticated solos.

For me the best! riff machine!

27 Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed)

Most tech grind core ever also has more ability at writing memorable riffs than slayer overkill and morbid angel combined deserves top two with luc lemay from gorguts

28 Christian Muenzner

Insanely great and innovative guitarist whose latest release Beyond the Walls of Sleep is an incredible instrumental gem. Listen to Alkaloid, Spawn of Possession, Obscura and Necrophagists's Epitaph to see his incredible and extremely enjoyable shredding prowess. Speaking of Necrophagist, Muhammed ranks at about the same level as Christian but I find Muenzner a bit more enjoyable and you cannot choose them both.

Really great guitarist especially considering he had a condition that impaired his fingering

Just one of the best guitarist in the world

Best technical/progressive guitarist in the world.

29 Lucas Mann (Rings of Saturn)
30 Brendon Small - Dethklok Brendon Small - Dethklok Brendon Small is an American producer, writer, animator, stand-up comedian, voice actor, and musician.

Dethklok is great either way you put it. All you have to do to

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31 Dave Suzuki (Vital Remains)

His solo is most technically and brutal too, he's technique what can I say anymore that no one doubt about his solo..
Additionally : his voice is GREAT and BEAST too!

Icons of evil is full of great guitar melodies

32 Ralph Santolla (Obituary, Deicide, Iced Earth)
33 Nicke Andersson (Nihilist, Entombed)

Unique playing style, I must admit. He technically uses to mix garage rock elements into the traditional death metal sound.
Check out Left Hand Path. - Nord666

34 Michael Carlisle - Mortification

One of the best rhythm players of all time! M/

Awesome, underrated guitarist! He may not be the greater lead player ever but his rythms are deadly! M/

35 Jesse Pintado (Terrorizer)
36 Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström (Bloodbath)
37 Matt Harvey (Exhumed)
38 Dallas Toler-Wade (Nile)
39 Paul Masvidal (Cynic, Death)

Damn, he is so underrated

Pablo is simply a GENIUS!

Focus was a great album. You can apprecite this guy's varied influences

40 Ville Friman (Insomnium)
41 Ryan Knight (Arsis, The Black Dahlia Murder)

This guy is amazing I don't see how he isn't higher on the list he puts great riffs and solos out on every song also he know when and where to add a solo some death metal groups and melo death guitarist suck at that

42 Fredrik Akesson (Opeth, Arch Enemy)
43 Dino Cazares (Fear Factory, Divine Heresy)
44 Jesper Stromblad (In Flames)

Just listen to Artfacts Of The Black Rain

45 Kerry King (Slayer) Kerry King (Slayer) Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Not death metal you maggot - Odinest

46 Dylan Ruskin

Seriously? You found 50 dudes better than him? - Xenosapien

47 Dan Swano Dan Swano Dan-Erland Swanö is a Swedish musician who is currently the vocalist, guitarist, ex-bassist and ex-drummer for the band Nightingale, lately vocalist, keyboardist and drummer for the band Witherscape, as well as the Owner of Unisound but he achieved fame as the vocalist and songwriter of progressive more.
48 Bob Vigna (Immolation)
49 Luc Lemay Luc Lemay
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Related Lists

Best Melodic Death Metal Guitarists Top 10 Technical Death Metal Guitarists Top 10 Progressive Death Metal Guitarists Best Metal Guitarists Greatest Thrash Metal Lead-Guitarists

List Stats

1,000 votes
49 listings
6 years, 228 days old

Top Remixes (8)

1. Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
2. Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
3. Nergal (Behemoth)
1. Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
2. Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
3. Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom)
1. Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
2. Muhammed Suicmez (Necrophagist)
3. Trey Azagtoth (Morbid Angel)

View All 8

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