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March of Death

The metalcore and deathcore roots of my late teens and early twenties casually led me into death metal years ago. Over the last ten years or so I have gradually become more and more partial to the subgenre, but last year marked a deeper dive, and incidentally, a deeper love. I decided to use this month, hereby declared the March of Death, as an opportunity to thoroughly scour the death metal world for artists and albums beloved by the metal community. Because RateYourMusic is much easier and more accurate to use for this task than Sputnik, I turned to its DM chart to as a guide to listen to and rate every album ranked in the top 100 (and then some, based on recs and big names) that I hadn't rated previously. This list isn't a ranking at all, but I will include my ratings for each album and speak on the albums that evoked the most feelings in me, for better or worse. ***DISCLAIMER***: Obviously this list is going to be missing some big names, but that's because I am already familiar with the more well-known artists and because that was not the point of this project. Also, many of these I had heard at least one time, but just never rated them for one reason or another. The rankings jump around a bit, so I guess just look for bands/albums that you care about. List starts at the beginning of March, will group albums by common artist as they appear for the sake of relevant continuity... or something.
Dark Recollections

RYM Rank: #85
(1990) 5/5
I heard this before March, but didn't rate it until this month because I was too busy playing it to death. I'm not surprised that Carnage members had their hand in Dismember, Entombed, Carcass, Arch Enemy, etc. But I am surprised that this album is better than anything from any of those bands (yeah, sit down and breathe). This is the perfect blend of everything I love about early dm and holds its own with Death, Pestilence, Gorguts, etc.
Gore Metal

RYM Rank: #396
(1998) 3.5/5
See Slaughtercult.

RYM Rank: #258
(2000) 4/5
This was not in the top 100, but some users thought I'd like it and I was initially just looking for more dm before this list idea came to be. Gore Metal was great, but this really scratched that deathgrind itch.
Breeding the Spawn

RYM Rank: #349
(1993) 4/5
We have all heard Pierced and Effigy, but that's all I had heard. I was less impressed with their other offerings compared to their classics, but there were still plenty of riffs to ride. Will be returning to this one sooner than later.
Souls to Deny

RYM Rank: #634
(2004) 3.5/5
See above.
50Edge of Sanity

RYM Rank: # 11
(1996) 2/5
Wow. Let's take every bad element about dm and turn it up to 11, shall we? I get why this is loved, but I basically hated it. I may check out their earlier stuff because Purgatory Afterglow at least had some grit, but I won't be returning to this.
49Edge of Sanity
Crimson II

RYM Rank: #65
(2003) 3/5
Much better than Crimson, but that was an easy enough task when you have 17 years to get your shit together.
48Edge of Sanity
Purgatory Afterglow

RYM Rank: #83
(1994) 3/5
Still not great, but had its moments.
Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

RYM Rank: #16
(1991) 3.5/5
This sounded like a less good version of Heartwork, which makes sense, and was definitely a pre-cursor to that sound as I would soon find out.
Symphonies of Sickness

RYM Rank: #90
(1989) 4/5
Ah, yes. That's what I'm fucking talking about. Goodbye, catchy leads. Hello, brutal riffs. This falls much more in line with my kind of dm and kicks the pants off Heartwork and Necrotism. By far my favorite Carcass and well on its way to a 4.5/5.
45Dark (CZE)
Sex 'n' Death

RYM Rank: #???
(1992) 4/5
This was a 'Weekly Album' in a metal server I'm in and it blindsided me. Czech dm from 1992? Might be the best early 90's dm you haven't heard.
The Nocturnal Silence

RYM Rank: #42
(1993) 4.5/5
This swept me off my feet. Probably what I returned to the most behind Carnage and they share a similar sound. Again, just a gnarly slab of early 90's dm that should be encased in diamond and shipped off to space in hopes of it being our first (documented) contact with extraterrestrials.
43Children of Bodom
Follow the Reaper

RYM Rank: #345
(2000) 3.5/5
Never heard this band properly, but this was a really good time. A bit cheesy for my taste, but the constant wonky keys kept me entertained. New album hype from other users dragged me into this and I don't regret it.
Slumber of Sullen Eyes

RYM Rank: #46
(1992) 4.5/5
This was another surprise. I'd heard the name, but had no idea what I'd been missing. A lot of this sounds so contemporary that I had a hard time believing it came out in '92. It has that tone I dig, dank riff after dank riff for 40+ min, and the vocalist wouldn't sound out of place on a modern deathcore record, yet fits perfectly here.
Cause of Death

RYM Rank: #39
(1990) 4/5
I knew I'd run into Obituary at some point, but I'm surprised it took so long. Very solid, mid-tempo dm that does everything right. I felt a small lack of standout tracks and moments, but I have a feeling this album and the band will grow on me if given the time.
Slowly We Rot

RYM Rank: #97
(1989) 3.5/5
Good when its fast, but the downtempo stuff bogs down an otherwise great album because it isn't anything to write home about.
Annihilation of the Wicked

RYM Rank #45
(2005) 3/5
See Below.
In Their Darkened Shrines

RYM Rank: #51
(2002) 3.5/5
Man, I really couldn't get into these guys too much more than just mild enjoyment. They are just super fast and that's about it. I enjoyed this album slightly more than Annihilation and it has Unas Slayer of the Gods which rips, but that's about it. More dynamic tracks like Unas would do them some favors, imo.
Tales from the Thousand Lakes

RYM Rank: #52
(1994) 2/5
This is barely a 2. Another perfect shit storm of things I hate. There is what I can only describe as flute keyboards in one song and they close the album with a cover of Light My Fire by the Doors. Seriously. No surprise that some people love this, but fuck this album.

RYM Rank: #76
(1996) 2.5/5
Hey! They scaled back on everything lame about Tales From the Thousand Lakes!!! Still doesn't elevate this to anything above average for me. I'll skip this band for eternity.
Above the Weeping World

RYM Rank: #57
(2006) 4/5
Finally some good melodeath. I've always considered all melodeath other than Jester Race to be a 3-3.5 subgenre. Lots of decent bands, but nothing has stood out for me. Insomnium (and a band to be named later) changed that. This is the perfect balance of graceful and brutal.
34Dark Tranquillity
The Gallery

RYM Rank: #43
(1995) 4/5
Finally some good melodeath [2]. It only took one night to make me question my lukewarm feelings on melodeath. And while my interest still wavers, this album and Above the Weeping World have my respect.
33Dark Tranquillity

RYM Rank: #107
(2005) 3.5/5
More of the same, but with less to love.
32Dark Tranquillity

RYM Rank: #92
(2007) 3.5/5
More of the same, but with less to love. [2, basically]
Slightly preferred this to Character.
31Bolt Thrower
Those Once Loyal

RYM Rank: #17
(2005) 3.5/5
I know Bolt Thrower has a dedicated fanbase, but I liken them to Amon Amarth. You know what to expect from the band and, usually, they do not evolve or stray from their path. This is solid, but lacks passion.
30Bolt Thrower
...For Victory

RYM Rank: #36
(1994) 3/5
See above. ...For Victory is just a worse example of the problems on Those One Loyal. I'll stick to Realm of Chaos, thanks.
Last One on Earth

RYM Rank: #58
(1992) 3.5/5
Aphyx floats seemingly unnoticed in a sea of solid death metal bands. That's no so bad. This is another album on this list that just hits the sweet spot of somehow having more replay value than it does memorable moments.
The Rack

RYM Rank: #78
(1991) 3.5/5
I slightly prefer this to Last One on Earth, but they are very similar in terms of quality.

RYM Rank: #73
(2008) 2.5/5
I'm going to try not to rip this too hard because I know it has an audience. Thing is, that audience sucks. Do you like symphonic, shapiro-tier (read: bogus) epicness mixed with the heavier side of a poor man's Opeth? This is for you.
From Mars to Sirius

RYM Rank: #15
(2005) 3.5/5
Honestly, Gojira isn't new to me. I put this album off for most of this project because nothing else they have done that I've heard (two other albums) have done much for me. Aside from a few lame lyrical patches and an air of we-are-transcendent, this basically owned as far as Gojira goes.
25The Chasm
Procession to the Infraworld

RYM Rank: #59
(2000) 3.5/5
Having not heard The Chasm previously, I was surprised to see 4 of their albums in the top 100. All for albums on this list lay close to one another in the back half of the chart emphasizing a rare consistency in quality for the sub genre. This album will be the grower.
24The Chasm
Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm

RYM Rank: # 64
(2009) 4/5
See above. This album connected immediately, but I was not expecting such long musical breaks. Was a pleasant surprise. This is progressive in a Death way, and melodic in a Cynic way.
23The Chasm
Deathcult for Eternity: The Triumph

RYM Rank: #72
(1998) 3.5/5
Closer to Procession than Farseeing, this also felt like a fairly standard, but solid affair for dm in its time.
22The Chasm
The Spell of Retribution

RYM Rank: #77
(2004) 4/5
More like Farseeing than Procession, this is a 00's throwback to the prog explorations of early 90's dm. A glistening mirror image of one of the most important movements in death metal.
21Brutal Truth
Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses

RYM Rank: #79
(1992) 4.5/5
Ohboyohboyohboyohboy!!!! Extreme Conditions is by most accounts grind, but it landed in the deathgrind era nicely and the dm tags are warranted. This sets the bar so high for the deathgrind and grind I will be looking for in the future. Just a relentlessly wicked album.
Blod Draum

RYM Rank: #81
(1994) 4/5
This was nasty. Brutal low vocals with breakneck instrumentation combine to thump the living fuck out of the listener. This album is a four-wheeling ride in a truckbed, through a quarry.
19Amon Amarth
With Oden on Our Side

RYM Rank: #88
(2006) 3.5/5
Amon Amarth is another band that feels just above average most of the time. With Oden on Our Side is a fine example of that. I knew what I was in for before I pressed play. And we all do when it come to Amon Amarth, but this album is a bit better than the rest.
Words That Go Unspoken...

RYM Rank: #89
(2005) 3.5/5
I'm still mad about this album. Yet, the score is still very positive. If it weren't for the goofy clean vocals I might just love this. Unfortunately, I can't pardon Akercocke for their poor choices here as I know thy haven't learned much since 2005. It's working though, so what do I know?
De Profundis

RYM Rank: #82
(1995) 3/5
De Profundis, more like De Profinedis. That's all I've got. Next, please.
16In Flames

In Flames - Whoracle (1997)
RYM Rank: 71
Ehhhhhhhhhhh, it was solid, but still not in the league of Jester Race or Subterranean.
15In Flames

RYM Rank: #99
(1999) 3.5/5
Ehhhhhhhhhhh, it was solid, but still not in the league of Jester Race Subterranean.[2]
The Key

RYM Rank: #69
(1990) 3.5/5
Vektor better look out. They have some competition in the spaceship-themed artwork that I didn't know about. Album was pretty good but too cheesy for my taste at times.
13The Monolith Deathcult

RYM Rank: #30
(2008) 3.5/5
I was warned this was all over the place. That's true. But it is mostly successful in its execution throughout.
Stone's Reach

RYM Rank: #74
(2009) 2.5/5
This was similar to Septicflesh in that the band did a lot of things I didn't like with little return. I didn't much like the other album I heard from them either ((Of Breath and Bone)there's only room for one 'Of _______ and Bone' in my heart.

RYM Rank: #95
(1993) 3/5
Listen, there are a lot of bands that play around with this style (see entire year of 1993 in dm) but this one doesn't hit the mark. I'm already not a huuuuge Atheist fan, but this is nowhere near their finest work.

RYM Rank: #87
(2004) 3/5
Held off listening to this one too, but it decent enough. I need to get more accustomed to the cheese (haha I won't) before I can fully appreciate Jari's megamind.

RYM Rank: # 98
(1996) 3.5/5
Don't have much to say about this one. It was great. Will jam again soon.
Indecent & Obscene

RYM Rank: #100
(1993) 3.5/5
Good by association, maybe? Maybe.
The Ending Quest

RYM Rank: #101
(1994) 4.5/5
Gorement lay just outside the top 100 for no good reason. The Ending Quest curated an almost perfect delicate dance of death/doom that I haven't heard often from anyone else. Too bad we don't have more content from them. I can't stop playing this.
6Malevolent Creation

RYM Rank: #102
(1992) 3/5
Appropriately unheralded, but still good if you want to throw someone else in rotation.
World Without God

RYM Rank: #106
(1991) 4/5
This album was in and out before I knew what hit me, but I've been back for more every day. Memorable riffs, great vocals, little compromise; a gem from 1991.
Order and Punishment

RYM Rank: #108
(2005) 3.5/5
I don't want to call this the System of a Down of Death Metal, but !T.O.O.H.! aren't giving me much of a choice. This album is a lot of fun and supplies an ever-changing carnival ride throughout its run time.
Into the Grave

RYM Rank: #103
(1991) 4/5
This is that good good. Outer Heaven meets Torture Rack 28 years ago. Grave is obviously a huge influence to all of the modern OSDM bands that have been seeing success lately but they may be the least talked about as well.
2Dragged Into Sunlight
Hatred For Mankind

RYM Rank: #93
(2009) 4/5
This is another album I've heard before, but I forgot how fucking nasty it is. Sure, there are several bands similar in style, but nobody is this terrifying. Plus, I'm a sucker for serial killers and samples so, what can I say? This does it for me.
1The Crown
Deathrace King

RYM Rank: #111
(2000) 3.5/5
So, I thought this was going to be a bit too thrashy for my blood at first, but by the end I was pretty much sold. Songs like Rebel Angel and Total Satan are too much fun to deny.
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