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03.01.11 Old School Death Metal

Old School Death Metal

During the years 1983-1995, a movement of "underground" (not on a major label, not sold in stores) death metal arose. It combined the best of morbid heavy metal, speed metal and thrash, and the powerful hardcore punk of bands like The Exploited, Discharge, GBH and Amebix. Inspired by founders Bathory, Hellhammer and Slayer, this genre grew to include some of the most intense music created by human beings.
Reign in Blood

Although their vocals were based in the speed metal (Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Nuclear Assault) camp, Slayer's guitar playing and drums were pure death metal.
2 Hellhammer
Apocalyptic Raids

This early EP defined much of what made death metal intense while keeping a more morbid and laid back mood.
The Return

Along with Slayer, Bathory created most of the technique death metal bands would later use, although in a hybrid black metal/death metal format.
Divus de Mortuus

Although only a demo, this four-song tape provided the blueprint for death metal that used both intense vocals and ragged, primitive riffing.
Seven Churches

Combining the powerful riffs of Death Strike with the chaotic intensity of Slayer and dark mood of Hellhammer, Possessed made music that still scares the hell out of people.
6Death Strike
Fuckin' Death

An early hardcore/metal hybrid, this CD represented an attempt at death metal.
Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation

Inheriting the style of Slayer in a more extreme fashion, early Sepultura made epic occult songs of high intensity.
Final Holocaust

Fast complex riffs and high-speed drums made this band a favorite of late 1980s metalheads who appreciated the technique that others would finalize.
9Morbid Angel
Abominations of Desolation

Only a year after Possessed, this nearly fully-fledged death metal album emerged with epic Lovecraftian themes, intensely sculptured solos and complex riffing.

One of the few technical albums that also pummels the listener into submission, "Legion" is a testament to occult majesty and the power of high intensity riffing.
Cause of Death

From the slower side of death metal, this brooding album created an unmatched atmosphere, aided by Disincarnate stringsman James Murphy's leads.
Onward to Golgotha

Like a flood roaring from hell, this down-tuned subterranean masterpiece shuddered out of forbidden lands to hit death metal fans with new complexity in songwriting.
13Morpheus Descends
Ritual of Infinity

Using simple riffs in complex arrangements, Morpheus Descends created a mood of conflict and uncertainty that makes for great death metal.
Effigy of the Forgotten

Taking the percussive muted strumming of speed metal to an exponential level, Suffocation crafted an album of intensity and absurdity that confused listeners at the time, who were unsure if it was music or not.
Here in After

Stitching together a labyrinthine narrative of alien riffs, Immolation made an album that sounded like it came from another world.
Beyond Sanctorum

Maintaining an otherworldly mood, this album expanded the range of death metal to include epic songs of varied mood.
The Nocturnal Silence

One of the first deathmetal albums to embrace a mid-paced up-beat melodic sound, this Swedish death metal gained wide appeal.
Unquestionable Presence

An album that would be at home in multiple genres, "Unquestionable Presence" merged jazz-fusion technique with metal's structured composition to make a contemplative yet raging work of technical death metal.
19 Dismember
Like an Ever-Flowing Stream

Swedish bands combined high-sustain blistering distortion with melodic songwriting, yet lost none of the blasting power of death metal. Dismember summoned the beast with this beautiful yet searing masterpiece.
The Karelian Isthmus

Slowing down the pace and using melody to center each song, Amorphis created a new audience for death metal at the same time making songs that sounded like battle.
21At the Gates
The Red in the Sky is Ours

Technical death metal that uses longer melodies and a violin, this At the Gates album redefined how death metal bands thought about song structure, melody and drumming.

Like symbols from an unknown alphabet, this cryptic music burps along to a guttural vocal while bending lead rhythm guitar into spidery riffs.

A masterpiece of doomy death metal, Asphyx's self-titled album combined basic riffs with a deepening mood.
The Erosion of Sanity

Combining technicality with a poetic sense of mood, Gorguts laid out a style of nocturnal death metal that expanded as their technical prowess grew.
Dark Recollections

A thunderous decent into insanity, this Swedish death metal album merged melody with gritty distortion and dark, subterranean songs.
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