Greatest Death Metal Guitarists

The greatest Death metal guitarists of all time. They are absolutely the masters.
The Top Ten
1 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 as the "Godfather of Death Metal". Schuldiner died in December 13, 2001 of brain cancer, his death subsequently leading to the disbandment of Death, but has remained influential among many aspiring metal artists. He was also known for his polite and life loving attitude and openly condemned stereotypes of metal musicians being harmful and evil.

Worthy of the top position. Insanely talented guitar player and arguably the greatest guitar player of all time. Not just in death metal.

I grew up listening to Rob Halford singing his balls off, thinking "Jesus, this guy has the best voice I've heard in metal! " That changed when I heard Death cover "Painkiller". Chuck has the best scream in the history of music on that song.

Definitely agree and this man is surely missed by millions because of the raw emotion you feel and sense of purpose and meaning when he played. Very well rounded guitarist and frontman. Still miss you Chuck!

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.

2 Trey Azagthoth (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.

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

In terms of technical skills this guy is probably one of the greatest of all time. Awesome musician as well, you can listen to Morbid Angel.

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

3 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.

When listening to Necrophagist the best way I can describe it is neoclassical progressive technical death metal. That's how special Muhammed songwriting is. There's no one else that sounds like Necrophagist completely. Keep in mind that Muhammed IS Necrophagist, since he wrote every single instrument.

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.

This guy is known as "The Sweep Picker". If you don't know how great he is at guitar, remember that he is number 3 with only 2 albums!

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

4 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.

One of the most creative and influential players in the genre. Extremely good player deserving of a top 5 spot.

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

He's the grindcore craftsman.

Fantastic guitar player.. never get bored of listening to his work with Carcass

5 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. He also has a side project with Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson known as Storm Corrosion. They released their self titled debut in 2012. Akerfeldt also performed lead vocals on Katatonia's sophomore album "Brave Murder Day". He is best friends with their regular lead singer, Jonas Renkse.

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.

Another guitar player who can be argued as the greatest of all time. Amazing composer was well.

Is death metal all about growling like animals? NO.

Mikael can clarify the reason behind the 'no'.

6 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

7 Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho (April 8th 1979 - December 29th 2020) was 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. He was also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band, and Kylähullut.

Alexi blows heads off with some of the epic solos, he deserves to be on the top. Some of these kick-ass numbers

Punch me I bleed

Angels don't kill

In your face

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

Definitely Alexi L. is the guitarist and composer. AGREE with all your comments.

How is this even a debate non of the other guys here can compete with him?

8 Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation)

Often overlooked and underappreciated, Terrance spawned technical death metal as we know it. And not just that, he's never sacrificed creativity for the sake of pure technique. His style of writing doesn't rely solely on mindless sweep picking and going as fast as possible, Hobbs utilizes complex and unorthodox structures, layered riffing, frequent tempo and signature changes, uncommon scales and so on. There's the certain sophistication in it, that most death metal players lack.

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.

9 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.

A master of the evil arts of shred. Karl has the ability to take any melody and weave it into an astonishingly evil sound. He has a level of mastery almost unparalleled by any other. He himself has forged quite a path in the world of technical death metal.

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

Karl and Pat O'brien deserve top 2.

Amazing vocals and guitar playing, along with the harmonisation with Dallas.

10 John Gallagher (Dying Fetus) John Gallagher is an American singer and musician mostly known as the the lead guitarist and vocalist of the band Dying Fetus.

Gallagher's writing can combines sheer brutality with technical playing that defines Dying Fetus

The Contenders
11 Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) Andreas Rudolf Kisser is a Brazilian musician, songwriter and producer. He is most known for being the lead guitarist for the metal band Sepultura. He has been featured on every Sepultura release since their second album, Schizophrenia.

For the sake of Beneath and Arise...

12 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.

Heavy and interesting riffs and licks. He is a great guitarist with lots of energy.

Groove, speed and good taste!

13 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. Darski was born Adam Michał Darski in Gdynia, Poland, raised Catholic, and started playing guitar at age eight. He goes by the stage name Nergal (naming himself after a Babylonian deity), and he is the founder, lyricist, main composer, frontman and manager of the band Behemoth, which he started when he was still a teenager. He also plays lead, rhythm and acoustic guitar.

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

Should be in the top 5. One of the best guitar players in all of rock music.

Love this guitar god

Why is nergal so low

14 Baz Thompson (Bolt Thrower)
15 James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Cancer, Disincarnate)

Technical, tasteful, dynamic, and memorable. James is an incredible player and person. His lead playing is brutally beautiful.

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!

16 Kelly Shaefer (Atheist)
17 Antti Kokko (Kalmah)

He is extremely good but I still feel he shouldn't be in the top 10 because Kalmah is not an old school dm band that has influenced dm in a great way, however in the world of the melodeath kalmah stand out as the kings and Antti is the one the most skilled death metal guitarists today. Kalmah keeps put putting new and different stuff from time to time and keep on progressing instead of sounding ridiculously same like amon amarth.

Alexi mainstream laiho at no.6? He has no maturity in his playing at all, his music is like cute melodies for 10 year old kids. Antti Kokko is a way better composer than him but still I don't feel he should be in the top 10. But in the melodic death metal world Antti is the most skilled.

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.

18 Pat O'Brien (Cannibal Corpse) Pat O'Brien is the lead guitarist for the death metal band Cannibal Corpse, as well as a former member for the heavy metal band Nevermore, and a former touring musician with the thrash metal band Slayer.

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.

Simply the best death metal lead guitarist of his generation. He can play anything. Literally anything. Pat is one of a kind!

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

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

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 Eric Hoffman (Deicide)

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

21 Patrick Mameli (Pestilence)

Very creative and emotional playing.

22 Robert Vigna (Immolation)
23 Vogg (Decapitated)

Should be at least number 3!, don't get me wrong many guitarists here with amazing skills and feeling and all of them have their own styles but vogg has always been my guitar hero, he managed to contribute a lot to the scene at a early age when decapitated released Winds of Creation in 2000 when vogg was 17 years old. he then went onto making his music much more technical but without taking away the feel and soul. He has gone through so much in his life but still manages to be on top making great music. He is a real Riff machine!

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?!

Deadly fast and clear. Innovative riffs and sofisticated solos.

Should be in top 5!

24 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.

Fantastic memorable leads! Michael is an incredible songwriter and driving force. He chooses to have the sweeter sounding leads, and let's his mastery shine through in all the right moments. He is one of the greatest players in death metal history.

25 Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel)

Should be much higher. Ridiculously talented guitar player worthy of a top 3 spot on this list.

Fantastic player. Technically Masterful, has taste in his writing, never overplays, and always has air in his leads

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