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09.06.11 Thrash Similar To This?08.14.11 Old School Death Metal Releases
08.12.11 Early Black Metal Albums

Old School Death Metal Releases

A rough chronological list of old school death metal releases between 1984 and 1992.
Death Metal Demo

This is widely considered the first death metal release, containing most of the elements the genre would contain. Raw guitars, pummelling bass, thundering drums and Jeff Beccera's pioneering death growl all came together to bring the underground its most powerful release yet, back in 1984.
2 Death
Death by Metal Demo

Seen by most as the other original death metal release of 1984 this demo also contains most of death metal's future style, including the signature death growl from Kam Lee. The lyrics here are no doubt inspired by a youth filled with zombie b-movies and horror stories, setting them apart from their contemporary, the devil worshipping Possessed.
Seven Churches

1985's Seven Churches is seen by most as the first death metal album despite a large thrash metal influence being present still. It had all the elements that death metal would contain and no doubt inspired countless bands to play in a similar style.
4 Sepultura
Bestial Devastation

Up to this point American and European bands were the main point of interest to metal fans, but all that changed when Bestial Devastation erupted out of Brazil in 1986. It was some of the harshest music of its day and showed that the Brazilians were an extreme bunch, Sarcofago and Holocausto only helped to prove this since they arose around this time too.
Scream Bloody Gore

This is the other contender for the first death metal album since it did away with the thrash metal influence seen on Seven Churches and replaced it with a brutality unheard of in 1987. Death also made sure to eschew the Satanic lyrics and used their own influence from gore movies to make the album stand apart from the rest. Death metal stood on its own two feet after this.
Season of the Dead

Necrophagia had something of a one hit wonder with Season of the Dead, sort of disappearing from the extreme metal eye after its release. An unmistakable death metal feel and seeing release in 1987 put this as one of the very first death metal albums, easily equal in importance to Scream Bloody Gore and Seven Churches.
December Moon

This legendary demo arguably singlehandedly kick-started the Swedish death metal movement back in 1987. Members from Morbid would go on to join/form equally legendary extreme metal bands like Mayhem and Entombed.
8 Nihilist
Premature Autopsy

December Moon may have established death metal in Sweden but it was Premature Autopsy that made this growing scene stand out from the rest thanks to a distinctive buzzsaw guitar tone that would later be used by Entombed and Unleashed.
9Morbid Angel
Altars of Madness

Altars of Madness was one of the many defining 1989 death metal albums, and rightly so since it contained some of the most technical and inspired metal of its day. All the elements established on previous releases between 1984 and 1987 come together almost operatically here. Pete Sandoval's monstrously talented drumming, Trey Azagthoth's classically inspired guitar playing and David Vincent's ghoulish vocals make this one of the most praised and respected death metal albums ever.
Beneath the Remains

Although it could be argued they were a thrash band by this point it seems clear that the Cavalera brothers were taking notice of the growing extreme scene around them and that is reflected brilliantly on this death/thrash album.
Slowly We Rot

Whereas Death and Morbid Angel were exploring the boundaries of technicality Obituary were all about the basics. Thick guitars, doom-laden drums and John Tardy's amazing vomiting-like vocals all come together to create one of metal's most savage albums.
Symphonies of Sickness

Goregrind pioneers Carcass followed up their debut with the brutal Symphonies of Sickness, a full death metal album that still dabbled in grindcore elements.

No one worshipped the devil on their albums as much as Deicide did and that is blatantly obvious on their heretical debut, combining scathing technicality with a demonic obsession not seen since perhaps Bathory's first albums. A timeless classic.
14Cannibal Corpse
Eaten Back to Life

Controversy follows Cannibal Corpse wherever they go, both physically and musically, and that all started with their visceral first offering in 1990. Containing barbaric songs like 'Mangled' and 'Bloody Chunks' this set Cannibal Corpse on the path to become one of the most popular and notorious death metal bands in the world.

Entombed are a well known band in extreme metal, particularly their first two albums. Clandestine is their sophomore effort and the buzzsaw technique is in full force here, surrounding the listener with an almost punk mentality and unabashed power.
Effigy of the Forgotten

Technical death metal had already seen some stellar releases with Death's Human and Carcass' Necroticism but Suffocation's first album was the icing on the cake, blowing fans away with unrivalled aggression.
17Cannibal Corpse
Tomb of the Mutilated

Carrying one of their most well known songs 'Hammer Smashed Face' and Chris Barnes' unmistakeable guttural roar, this is seen by many as the definitive Cannibal Corpse album and a death metal classic.
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