Top 10 Best Extreme Metal Bands of All Time

Extreme metal is a broad umbrella, covering the heaviest and most intense corners of the metal universe. Death, black, thrash, doom - they're all here, and they've all got their champions. The sound can be harsh, the lyrics brutal, and the pace unrelenting. But it's a style with depth, intricacy, and a raw, unfiltered emotional power that you simply don't find in other types of music. So, which bands can truly be called the best of the best?

That's where you come in. Everyone has their favorites. The ones that stood out from the pack, who pushed the envelope, and who pushed you to the edge of your seat. Maybe they had a guitarist who shredded like no other, a drummer who seemed to have a few extra arms, or a vocalist whose scream could raise the dead. Whatever the reason, those bands struck a chord in your heart, and their music has been ringing in your ears ever since.

This is your chance to champion those bands, to give them the recognition they deserve for their contribution to the genre of extreme metal. From pioneers who laid the groundwork to the boundary-pushers of today, we want to know: Who are the best extreme metal bands of all time?
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

The greatest band of all time. Every album brings something new. They are easily one of the most influential bands in metal, and Chuck is easily one of the most influential figures in metal. The Sound of Perseverance is personally my favorite album of all time because it combines technicality and heaviness and has the most beautiful instrumental song ever. What's not to love? Chuck is my inspiration/idol and is inspiring me to be a vocalist one day.

Death is an amazing band! The true founders of death metal. What is sad is that he had that epic high-pitched scream vocal, but now all the rest are low-pitched vocals. I'm going to make a band that has the vocal so we can bring original death metal back! Plus, Rest In Peace Chuck Schuldiner.

2 Slayer Slayer was an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax... read more

Slayer was voted the heaviest metal band, so by default, it counts.

Slayer is way better than Death.

3 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
4 Venom Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell and Black Metal—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.

Chuck Schuldiner says they created death metal. Tom Araya says their sound was heavily influenced by Venom. And everyone knows they were the first wave of black metal. Venom basically was the start of every extreme metal band! So underrated! They should be #2, not Cannibal Corpse. But Death deserves the #1 spot.

Venom was the first extreme metal band, so they should be number 1.

Without them, there wouldn't be extreme metal.

5 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

There are differences between death metal and extreme metal. Death, Cannibal Corpse, and Nile are death metal bands. And thrash metal is so much different from extreme metal. You know what extreme metal is when you listen to Meshuggah. They are the gods of extreme metal and will always be the best out there. Respect Meshuggah, people. Meshuggah is just amazing!

Meshuggah is just on a whole new level...

6 Bathory Bathory was a Swedish Black/Viking Metal band formed in 1983 by Quorthon and Jonas Åkerlund. Bathory's first 4 albums layed the blueprint for Scandinavian Black Metal. Quorthon is often credited with creating the "shrieking" vocal style of Black Metal. Their 5th album, Hammerheart (1990) displayed... read more

Under the Sign of the Black Mark was highly influential and just pure black metal. Should be up higher, replacing Metallica.

7 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

Not my favorite, but their music & album covers are very, very extreme.

But if you want bands where the band members are the most extreme, Mayhem & Gorgoroth win with having animal heads on stakes at concerts, behind church burnings, murder, suicide. I mean, they're pretty extreme.

Slayer & Venom also are very extreme lyrically, but nothing compared to Cannibal Corpse. I mean, just reading the titles of their songs is extreme. The album covers are extreme. I mean, they're just extreme.

8 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/Thrash Metal band formed in 1981. The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman"... read more

Why don't people do research?

Extreme metal is not a subgenre but a group of metal subgenres which includes thrash, death, black, speed, and doom metal. Metallica is (was) thrash metal, and even if it is not extreme to the ear, it is still thrash.

Technically speaking, thrash metal is a subgenre of extreme metal. While most hate to admit it (including myself), Metallica is technically an extreme metal band.

Metallica is extreme metal and Slipknot is not? What's wrong with you all?

9 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.

The only real extreme metal band on this list.

By far the most extreme band, bar none.

They are the definition of extreme.

10 Lamb of God Lamb of God is an American heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia. Formed in 1994, the group consists of vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler.
The Contenders
11 Celtic Frost Celtic Frost was a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their strong influence on the development of extreme metal. Formed in 1981 as Hellhammer, the band became Celtic Frost in 1984 and was active until 1993.

They helped create extreme metal.

12 Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave... read more

Megadeth is a thrash metal band.
Thrash metal is an extreme metal genre.

13 Kreator Kreator is a German thrash metal band from Essen. Their style of music is similar to that of their compatriots Destruction, Sodom and Tankard; along with those three bands, Kreator has been referred to as one of the "big four" of Teutonic thrash metal, and they are often credited with helping pioneer... read more
14 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.

Goregrind and melodic death metal, and even death metal bands owe this band much. Bands like Exhumed were influenced by these guys.

Honestly, I've personally always liked this band over Cannibal Corpse.

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.

The best extreme metal band ever!

This band should be way higher.

16 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.

Alexi Laiho and Chuck Schuldiner are the 2 greatest extreme metal guitarists.

17 Brain Drill Brain Drill is an American technical death metal band formed in 2005 from Ben Lomond, California. They are signed to Metal Blade Records and released their full-length debut album entitled Apocalyptic Feasting on February 5, 2008. In support of their debut, disagreements were engaged and members began... read more
18 Sodom Sodom is a German thrash metal band from Gelsenkirchen, formed in 1981. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist vocalist Tom Angelripper as the only constant member.

Highly underrated, especially in the thrash community.

19 Mayhem Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene. The band is also known for the infamous events surrounding them including the 1991 suicide of vocalist Dead (in which former guitarist Euronymous took pictures of Dead's... read more

The exploded head of the ex-vocalist as album cover and band members murdering each other, literally can't get any more extreme.

20 Coroner Coroner is a Swiss thrash metal band from Zürich, formed in the early 80s. They have been called "the Rush of thrash metal" for their increasingly complex style of progressive rock-infused thrash. They garnered relatively little attention outside Europe .
21 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.

I think after The Satanist they ought to be at least top 10. I can't really think of another contemporary extreme metal band (besides Napalm Death, if you include grindcore) that has released anything nearly as good or well produced.

22 Slipknot Slipknot is an American metal band formed in Des Moines, Iowa in 1996. The band is best known as one of the pioneers of the New Wave of American Alternative Metal during the late 1990s - 2000s and are distinguishable by the band's clothing choices, consisting of black/red jumpsuits and horror inspired... read more

Man, listen to Iowa, it's as extreme as it gets.

23 Immortal Immortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1990 by frontman and guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta and former guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta.
24 Strapping Young Lad Strapping Young Lad was a Canadian extreme metal band formed by Devin Townsend in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1994. The band started as a one-man studio project; Townsend played most of the instruments on the 1995 debut album, Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing. By 1997, he had recruited permanent members;... read more

These guys know how to make good music.

25 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".

Because the kids don't know what there talking about plain and simple.

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