Most Influential Death Metal Bands

The Death Metal bands who had the greatest roles to define the genre.
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

They didn't only define death metal itself, but they also defined some sub-genres too. They pretty much single-handedly created technical death metal (or tech-death, for short), and planted the seed for progressive death metal and melodeath (Crystal Mountain, I'm looking at you).

Chuck Schuldiner is a legend and an awesome metal writer. Death metal is not called like that for anything. They defined almost everything we see in any kind of death metal that came after them, along with being one of the first bands of the genre.

2 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

The term death metal came from the Possessed demo Death Metal. Even Chuck Schuldiner was influenced by Possessed and Jeff Becerra.

The original death metal band. They invented the term death metal with their song Death Metal. The band Death did not create the term. The fact that Jeff was shot and still performs in a wheelchair is inspirational in itself.

As much as I like Death, these guys created the genre, so they should be number one.

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".
4 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.

Carcass is definitely one of the most influential bands, leaving a huge impact on my playing style and compositions.

Bill Steer is a gentleman, very humble and down-to-earth.

This band is what every death metal artist should look up to. Not just brutality, it's philosophy in their music.

Carcass, I'd say, are the second most influential death metal band because they basically created melodeath and goregrind. Number one goes to Death, obviously!

Huge influence in grind, death metal, and melodic death metal.

5 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 is the powerhouse of death metal. Every death metal fan knows Scars of the Crucifix or When Satan Rules His World, right? They're one of the few bands that refuse to conform to society (that alone should make them number one). They have very vulgar music and lyrical themes (which I very much enjoy), and they've sold more albums worldwide than every death metal band out there (except Cannibal Corpse). Glen is a monster vocalist, and Steve is one of the most technical drummers I know of.

6 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

Back when they started, they took the whole genre to a new level by being more brutal than every other death metal band. Don't believe me? Listen to Tomb of the Mutilated and compare it to Human by Death, for example.

7 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

"Slowly We Rot" is one of the first death metal albums that discussed politics and social issues.

8 Napalm Death Napalm Death are a British grindcore/death metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent... read more
9 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

An influential act for progressive death metal. Mikael Åkerfeldt's unique vocal style, combining acoustic rhythmic singing and deep death growls, defined the progdeth genre.

I would place them at #1 on the list of influential progressive death metal bands.

What in hell is Opeth doing above Sepultura and Cannibal Corpse?

10 Dark Tranquillity Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg formed in 1989. They are one of the longest-standing bands from the original Gothenburg metal scene.

Pioneers of melodic death metal, the use of keyboards in death metal was first introduced by them.

Potentially the cleanest and most consistent use of vocal growls in the genre.

The Contenders
11 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.

Their debut album "Severed Survival" influenced the style of many Swedish death metal bands such as Entombed and Grave.

With their first album, not only did they release a death metal album in 1989 alongside Morbid Angel and Obituary, but they also helped to craft the death/doom genre with their sound (though "Severed Survival" was more death metal than death/doom).

12 At The Gates At the Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, and a major progenitor of the Gothenburg sound.
13 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.
14 In Flames In Flames is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, formed in 1990.

Currently active members include Anders Fridén (vocalist), Björn Gelotte (guitarist, formerly drummer), Niclas Engelin (guitarist), and Peter Iwers (bassist). Currently, they are without a drummer; their... read more
15 Dying Fetus Dying Fetus is an American death metal band originally from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Formed in 1991, the group is known for their consistently hook-laden song structures, characterized by blast beats, complex riffing, slam riffs and heavy breakdowns.
16 Suffocation Suffocation is an American technical death metal band that was formed in 1988 in Centereach, Long Island, New York, United States.

All modern deathcore tunes and most technical death metal bands are obviously influenced by Suffocation. They should be at the top of this list.

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

These guys paved the way for tech death and have the most creative song structures and technical musicianship in any band.

18 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.
19 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.
20 Pestilence Pestilence is a death metal band from the Netherlands founded in 1986. They are known for incorporating jazz and fusion elements into their music.
21 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.
22 Edge of Sanity Edge of Sanity was a Swedish progressive death metal band that, alongside Opeth, is commonly regarded as being the first to fuse extreme metal styles like death and black metal with progressive rock. Their sound is often described as "Progressive Melodic Death Metal".
23 Immolation
24 Necrophagia
25 Sarcófago Sarcófago was an influential Brazilian extreme metal band. They were fronted by Sepultura's original singer, Wagner Lamounier, and Geraldo Minelli.
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