Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Underrated Death Metal Albums Pt. 1 of 2

This is the series I hinted at last week. I went through my collection and pulled ten albums from the five major subgenres in metal: power, doom, black, thrash, and death metal. Each of these albums does not receive the attention that I feel they deserve. Some of them may be fairly well-known in underground metal circles, but I tried to avoid even that. These are albums that I love that I do not think enough people have heard. Some of these have been mentioned before on my blog. If you like the descriptions, please check these bands out. It has always been my goal on this blog to turn people on to new metal music.

I want to start with death metal, because this is the genre that I first thought of.

Every bit as melodic and brutal as Amon Amarth, Apophis's lyrical focus is mostly on Egyptian themes, on this album anyway. They are not too narrow. This album features some amazing riffwork, incredible solos, and catchy songs. The only problem, and it is a very small problem, is that the vocals are pretty much the same all the way through. But, these vocals really match the music. This album by the German band is the first death metal album I heard that the thought came to me that other people should be listening to this band.

Chile's Thornafire take old-school death metal influences like Death, Incantation, Immolation, and Morbid Angel, and put a modern spin on them. Twisted and murky riffs abound throughout the album. This is one dark and forbidding-sounding death metal album. It's true occult death metal in the vein of the early masters listed above. Their follow-up was not quite as good, but this was one incredible album.

Cenotaph may have been one of the first melodic death metal bands, playing stuff in Mexico that bands like At the Gates would play later on. However, on this album, the band has streamlined their approach. This is just a purely angry and aggressive album with some of the most psychotic-sounding vocals I have ever heard. The word "rabid" comes to mind most frequently upon hearing these vocals. The music is incredibly infectious, but those vocals steal the show.

Somehow lost in the Swedish death metal scene is the band that is probably the most consistent. Grave, Dismember, and Entombed have all released some subpar albums, but Vomitory never has. Continually brutal and unrelenting, this is the band's best album in my opinion. It features some truly brutal and dark moments, but retains the ability to keep listeners coming back for more time after time. Yes, it features the typical guitar sound for the scene.

France has produced some truly great metal albums, with groups like Deathspell Omega, Gojira, and more. Yyrkoon is another example of a quirky band from the country. The band started out as a thrash metal band, but then by this album was completely death metal. This is one of the catchier death metal albums I have heard and it is a concept album about H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator.


  1. You had me at "underrated death metal albums". You could have named it "Kelly's to-buy list".

    Vomitory is a band I've heard and been impressed by, but their name has turned me off in the past. I guess I can handle gory-gross, but vomit-gross is a bit different. It doesn't seem to bother me as much as it used to, so I may give them another chance. The other ones I have never listened to.

  2. I just picked up Heliopolis yesterday, and all I can say is THANK YOU!!! I haven't been this impressed by an initial listen to an album since I bought Still Life.

  3. Excellent. It always makes me feel good to turn someone on to a new band. Glad you enjoyed them as much as I did.

  4. I really did. Also, from what I've heard of them Vomitory strike me as being very similar to bands like Kataklysm and Vader that are consistently real solid but don't deviate too much from their set formula.