Top 10 Best Death Metal Bands

The Top Ten
1 Death Death was an American death metal band formed in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band's... read more

If you don't have Death in the top 3, you're insane. Even if they aren't your personal favorite death metal band, they are one of the greatest of all time. They might not have created the genre, but they basically created all of its subgenres and popularized it to people who would have never heard it otherwise.

They also had lyrics with actual meaning, unlike a lot of the bands that followed.

Chuck is pretty much my biggest idol ever. I almost cried when I learned of his death. Just think about the possibilities had he still been alive. I bet Control Denied would've been only one of many epic side projects and experiments.

Also, I consider his voice to be in a whole category by itself. To be honest, I'm having a hard time enjoying growls. Chuck's delivery is more of a scream, and it's hard to appreciate generic Death Metal vocals after hearing Chuck's insane vocal sound. You know what? I bet that throat bled, which almost makes it all the more impressive and beautiful, poetic even. That's true "art."

2 Cannibal Corpse Cannibal Corpse is a American death metal band from Buffalo, New York, formed in 1988. The band is known for their graphic album covers, explicitly violent lyrics and song titles like "I C** Blood" The group got into mainstream after performing the song "Hammer Smashed Face" in the 1994 film Ace Ventura:... read more

I've got to say that they've been going strong for many, many years. It doesn't matter how popular they are. They have great grooves and the most hardcore lyrics out there, still pushing the limits.

Chaos Horrific is going to be a fire album, and Corpsegrinder is my favorite death vocalist right now.

Even if you don't like their music, you've got to understand that their hatedom is awful.

"We don't sing about politics. We don't sing about religion. All our songs are short stories that, if anyone would so choose, they could convert into a horror movie. Really, that's all it is. We like gruesome, scary movies, and we want the lyrics to be like that. Yeah, it's about killing people, but it's not promoting it at all. Basically, these are fictional stories, and that's it. And anyone who gets upset about it is ridiculous." - George Fisher, lead vocalist

3 Morbid Angel Morbid Angel is an American death metal band based in Tampa, Florida. UK music magazine Terrorizer ranked Morbid Angel's 1989 debut Altars of Madness first in its list "Top 40 greatest death metal albums".

It doesn't matter that Death or Possessed would be considered the first-ever death metal band. Their rank should not be bumped up due to that. What matters is how good the band is, and Morbid Angel wins for me.

Morbid Angel should be at least #2. They have made this genre. Actually, Death was the first true death metal band, but MA's contribution cannot be ignored.

Morbid Angel is so much better than Children Of Bodom. They're not bad, but Morbid, along with Death, brought Death Metal to its highest level, not Cannibal Corpse.

4 Opeth Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1990 by David Isberg, who invited Mikael Akerfeldt into the band as a bassist. Isberg ended up leaving the band, which lead to Mikael becoming the band's vocalist, guitarist, principal songwriter, and driving force. Along with... read more

Although an undeniably great band, they're not death metal in the purest form, especially if you take into consideration their 21st-century album releases. Overall, they were an extreme prog metal band akin to Edge of Sanity.

If you only judge their first three records, then they fit into the Death/Black Metal category.

Orchid: Prog Metal/Melo Black/Dark Folk
Morningrise: Prog Death/Prog Rock/Dark Folk
My Arms, Your Hearse: Prog Black/Prog Rock - It's probably their darkest, atmospheric, and second least accessible album after Orchid
Still Life: Prog Metal. Deliverance: Prog Death

Prog metal is common in every one of their albums.

5 Carcass Carcass are a British extreme metal band from Liverpool, who formed in 1985 and disbanded in 1995. A reformation was enacted in 2007 without one of its original members, drummer Ken Owen, due to health reasons.

One of the most versatile Death metal bands. Jeff Walker's vocals are truly among the best in the business, and Bill Steer can pull off some amazing riffs and solos. Everybody in this band is a great musician, and they really put their skills to good use. Carcass can be brutal, melodic, and very technical at the same time.

This band was on the forefront of both grindcore and melodic death metal - and that is truly an accomplishment. Also, they are not dumb jackasses like some others and are actually cool people.

Genre classics (chronologically):
- Vomited Anal Tract
- Exhume to Consume
- Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment
- Corporal Jigsore Quandary
- Incarnated Solvent Abuse
- Buried Dreams
- Heartwork
- Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody
- Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System

All of their albums are very distinct and different from each other, yet it's easy to tell it's still Carcass. Classic Carcass.

6 Amon Amarth Amon Amarth is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Tumba, formed in 1992. The band takes its name from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom.

I am not a death metal fan, yet I ironically find myself enjoying this band quite recently. I like their balance between aggression and melody, and their vocalist's growls are actually quite natural for the band's content, which is a pretty good thing. That, and the fact that this band is accessible enough, is a bonus point too.

They're overall a kickass band I could go back to.

Any band that can create beautiful, sweeping melodies followed by powerful grinding riffs like Amon Amarth deserves to be in the top five. The atmosphere created by the tales of Norse gods and Viking warriors is unparalleled. Easily my favorite band!

7 Nile Nile is an American technical death metal band from Greenville, South Carolina, United States, formed in 1993. Their music and lyrics are inspired by Ancient Egyptian/Near Eastern mysticism, history, religion, and ancient art, as well as the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade form one of the best guitar duos of all music genres. Combined with Kollias' inconceivable drumming technique and speed, as well as their interest and unquestionable knowledge in Egyptian lore and mythology, Nile is one of the greatest metal bands of all time and quite frankly the best death metal act. Their live performances and their studio recordings are some of the best I've ever seen in terms of quality, musically as well as overall performances.

8 Obituary Obituary is an American death metal band formed in October 1984 in Tampa, Florida, United States, under the name Executioner, then changed the name's spelling to Xecutioner before eventually changing their name to Obituary in 1988. The band comprises vocalist John Tardy, drummer Donald Tardy, guitarist... read more

There are very few death metal bands whose sound a non-death metal fanatic could distinguish from the herd within seconds. Obituary is one of them.

They may be a one-trick pony, but it's a darn good trick.

Also, they sound better live than they do on their records, which is really saying something in this age of live mediocrity.

Finally, unlike most death metal bands, Obituary makes music that is hooky, catchy, approachable, and focuses on solid grooves instead of speed and technicality for the sake of speed and technicality.

9 Children of Bodom Children Of Bodom was a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the final lineup consisted of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wirman, Henkka Seppälä, Jaska Raatikainen and Daniel Freyberg.

I absolutely love this band. I first fell in love with them when I came across some Clone Hero charts for Hatecrew Deathroll, and I loved the whole album after giving it a listen. I then moved on to Follow The Reaper and Hatebreeder. Every album is a gem but in a different way. None of them are quite like one another, although there is a similar sound between FTR and HB.

I also love the first album. I would say that their first four are definitely my tops. Overall, great sound and I loved every bit of what they produced in the 23 years of running. RIP Alexi, and rock on to all of you. Have a great day.

10 Suffocation Suffocation is an American technical death metal band that was formed in 1988 in Centereach, Long Island, New York, United States.

All opinions aside, Suffocation essentially created "technical death metal" with their EP "Human Waste" and debut album "Effigy of the Forgotten," in 1990 and 1991, respectively. It's absolutely absurd that Children of Bodom or Amon Amarth could possibly be in the top 10, but not Suffocation.

The correct top 10 list should include: Death, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Nile, and Deicide. Any top 10 without them is incorrect.

Let's be honest, Suffocation and CC are kings of brutal death metal. No top 10 is correct without Death, Possessed, Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass (kings of grindcore/goregrind), Deicide, Suffocation, Nile, Obituary, and of course, last but not least, a tie between Cryptopsy and Morbid Angel.

The Contenders
11 Deicide Deicide is an American death metal band formed in 1987 by bassist and vocalist Glen Benton and drummer Steve Asheim. They are known for their blasphemous and satanic lyrics which have resulted in bans, lawsuits and criticisms from religious groups and the public. Frontman Glen Benton is also known for... read more

Deicide holds the record for having the second and third best-selling death metal albums. Deicide, along with bands like Death and Morbid Angel, is very definitive in terms of their genre. Glen Benton is really a death metal legend and has the most brutal and fast vocals in death metal. I don't get how these overrated melodic bands like In Flames, Children of Bodom, and Amon Amarth are above the legendary Deicide and Morbid Angel.

In my opinion, Deicide made one of the best death metal sounds. Unlike Nile or Cannibal Corpse, even if their songs are brutal as hell, they don't get boring due to the excessive amount of machine-gun blast beats. They have a unique sound of their own and have been around for a very long while. Also, their lyrical content is amazing. I can't believe someone actually voted Children of Bodom higher than them, Carcass, or Behemoth. We're surrounded by scene boys?

12 Behemoth Behemoth is a Polish blackened death metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground.

Even though Behemoth is not originally a death metal band, they have a great atmosphere in their music and also have death metal influence in their songs. Also, their lyrics are very dark and morbid, powerful, and strong.

Behemoth is one of the best bands I've ever heard. I admit I put Amon Amarth above them, but these guys don't mess around. 50% history, 50% Satan, 100% brutal. I saw them once, and it was equivalent to warfare. I rate this band 10/10.

Why so low? The lyrics, combined with the attention to detail of the riffs, overall atmosphere - come on! Behemoth is just so much better than Children of Bodom. Behemoth is black metal, not death metal, but whatever.

13 Possessed Possessed is an American thrash/death metal band, originally formed in 1983 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, they are routinely called the first band in the death metal genre. Possessed is the sometimes credited with being the first... read more

My mom managed these totally deranged kids back in the '80s, and they were definitely pioneers of Death Metal. They're still around, but Jeff, the singer, is the only original member. Mike Torrao was Possessed, and if it wasn't for him, there would be no music and no Possessed.

Seven Churches was released two years after Scream Bloody Gore. They coined the term death metal. It should be #2, in my opinion.

They either need to be #1 or tied with Death for #1. They coined the phrase "death metal" with the song of the same name.

14 Cattle Decapitation Cattle Decapitation is an American Deathgrind band from San Diego, California formed in 1996. Cattle Decapitation's songs protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals, the abuse of the environment and touch subjects such as misanthropy and genocide of the human race. Much of their music is based... read more

I mean, come on. The music by Cattle Decapitation is utterly amazing. They blend the intensity of grindcore and the brutality of death metal, then add in melody (as of late)! One thing that keeps people away from this band is their lyrics, but those people are utterly mistaken. If everyone thought like them, The Anthropocene Extinction wouldn't be a reality.

And of course, there is Travis Ryan, delivering his controlled burps and nasty gutturals into the mic, along with nasty shrieks and melodic screams. Their guitars and bass deliver an awesome sonic attack of technicality and brutality, and their drummer blast beats his way to stardom. Long live the kings of metal!

15 Gojira Gojira is a progressive metal band from Bayonne, France. The band was known as Godzilla until 2001. Gojira is composed of Joe Duplantier on vocals and rhythm guitar, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian Andreu on lead guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass.

Out of all the death metal bands I'm hearing these days, Gojira gives me that brutal death feeling. Gojira is fresh, super heavy, and the best for me!

Proves that French people can still be awesome... Gojira has awesome music with a lot of subtleties that are lost in most death metal. Listen to the songs Esoteric Surgery, Flying Whales, or Wolf Down the Earth.

Gojira is thriving in the metal industry today. Have you listened to the L'Enfant Sauvage album? Stuff like that gives hope for the future of metal in this pop-corrupted industry.

16 Necrophagist Necrophagist is a German technical death metal band, founded and fronted by guitarist and vocalist Muhammed Suiçmez.

How is Necrophagist so low? This band's intricate riffs and beats are technically (pun intended) the best I have ever heard. The vocals are nice, the instrumentals are amazing, and no band has ever done or been able to do what they did. We do need that new album, though...

Necrophagist is amazing! I wish they would release new material a little faster, but you can't rush perfection!

My latest discovery, Necrophagist, is one of the coolest tech-death bands I've heard. Easily one of my new favorites.

17 Entombed Entombed is a Swedish heavy metal band formed in 1987 under the name of Nihilist. Entombed began their career as an early pioneer of Scandinavian death metal which initially differed from its American counterpart by its distinct "buzzsaw" guitar tone.

17?! Seriously?! These guys literally INVENTED the iconic Swedish Death Metal sound. They at least need to be in the top 5, or in the very least, top 10.

Why are Entombed not in the top 5? They practically invented Swedish death metal, first as Nihilist, then as Entombed. There is something so unique, raw, and brutal about their style of death metal. Listen to Left Hand Path and Clandestine... you'll see why.

"Left Hand Path" is to Death Metal what The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is to pop music. This iconic band should definitely be top 5.

18 Bloodbath Bloodbath is a Swedish death metal supergroup from Stockholm, formed in 1998. The band has released four full-length albums, two EPs and two DVDs depicting their performances at Wacken Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air.

I've listened to death metal for years, and believe me, this band is a monster. I have never heard such brutality and witnessed such talent. In my opinion, they dominate this genre. Mikael mutilated, Peter devoured, and Nick grinded. They are the perfect death metal band - not growling unrecognizably like brutal death metal bands, and not growling too weakly. This is and always will be my favorite band.

Death metal supergroup! What's not to like? These guys can duplicate any school of the genre. They manage to bring out the best parts of all the classic scenes, whether it's Florida or Sweden. Their latest (last?) album, "Fathomless Mastery," is possibly the greatest death metal album to date.

19 Bolt Thrower Bolt Thrower are a British death metal band from Coventry, England. They formed in 1986 and released their first album with Vinyl Solution in 1988. The band then shifted to a new record label, Earache Records, soon becoming one of the best selling bands on that label.

This band had an incredibly unique sound and approach to death metal, both musically and lyrically, yet they don't have a lot of influence, which is quite sad. They are also one of the few bands that never released a bad album.

My two favorites from this band are Realm of Chaos and Those Once Loyal.

I think that Bolt Thrower produces some of the best death metal, and all of their albums are very consistent.

Have you heard Killchain? What a riff. Bolt Thrower should be in the top ten just for the album Those Once Loyal. Awesome stuff.

20 Sepultura Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte. Their first album, Morbid Visions presented a proto-black metal sound with Wagner Lamounier of Sarcófago. Sepultura's sound varies by the album, from thrash metal, groove metal, and even death metal.

Lyrically, they aren't death metal at all. Death metal has themes about murder, dead bodies, necrophilia, and just about anything morbid. But vocally, during the Max Cavalera era, they sounded like death metal.

I'm not so sure about now, though, because I've personally never listened to it. I love the Cavalera era too much.

Sepultura practically created death metal. Max Cavalera has one of the best death growls there is and is a pioneer of the vocal style. Beneath the Remains and Arise are two of the greatest death metal albums ever.

21 Autopsy Autopsy is a death metal band, founded in 1987 in the United States by Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler. They disbanded in 1995, but reunited in 2009.

23? Easily top 10 worthy. They're probably the only old-school death metal band that is still making quality music today. Severed Survival and Mental Funeral are two of the greatest death metal albums of all time, and they're still pumping out classics with Macabre Eternal, The Headless Ritual, and Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves.

Easily top 10 material. Enjoy the riffs and vocals very much.

Why are these guys so low? They literally made one of the heaviest albums of 1988! Severed Survival, which is an absolute banger of an album!

22 Atheist Atheist is a progressive/technical death metal band from Florida, founded in 1984 by drummer Steve Flynn and singer/guitarist Kelly Shaefer.

Atheist is cool, but they are barely death metal. In my eyes, they are more of a thrash metal band with some death metal elements thrown in.

One of the most technical bands ever. Unquestionable Presence is easily one of the best death metal albums of all time.

These guys deserve the top 20 at least. I can't believe they're ranked so low here.

23 Vader Vader is a Polish death metal band from Olsztyn. Formed in 1983, the group was founded by then-bassist Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek and guitarist Zbigniew "Vika" Wróblewski. Starting as a heavy metal group, Vader eventually went to thrash, speed, and then in the late 1980s became a death metal band. The... read more

I would vote Opeth for this rank for sure, but after seeing Vader so low on the list - it's a shame that such a band is not in the top 5, or at least the top 10. They are probably the only group in existence with the ability to make a Slayer song sound even more brutal.

Most of their songs are masterpieces of brutality and perfection.

Vader should be on every "top x death metal bands" list. Piotr's vocals are so unique. If you think you have heard a fast song, listen to "Decapitated Saints" off the "Morbid Reich" album.

I'm ashamed that as of the moment I'm typing this, they are in the thirties. This band should be no lower than 9.

So it is written.

24 Meshuggah Meshuggah is a Swedish progressive metal band from Umeå, formed in 1987. They are often considered the fathers or founders of the djent metal sub genre due to their use of downtuned guitars. They are also known for their song “Bleed”, which is known for its extremely complicated instrumentation,... read more

Meshuggah should be number one on this list because they take jazz music and put it in their own deathly way, which sounds really good!

They're legends. I can't believe they're so low on this list.

Can't believe they're not on here already.

25 Cryptopsy Cryptopsy is a Canadian technical death metal band from Montreal, Quebec, formed in 1988. The band has sold over 300,000 records.

Come on, COB and In Flames aren't even death metal! Cryptopsy is insanely technical and brutal, but catchy at the same time. They deserve the top spot.

Hey, you! Listen to Cryptopsy! Why is Children of Bodom so high? They are good, but not that good.

Deserve to be in the top ten. Why? Three words: None So Vile.

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