50 Death Metal Albums You Need to Hear Before You Die

50 death metal albums you need to hear before you die

Author: Jan Jakobsen

I love making lists, especially long lists with tons of new albums and new information on them. This list will not be an introduction to death metal, nor will any of the essential albums like Altars of Madness, Onward to Golgotha or Leprosy be included. Why not you may ask, well, this is a list for those of you who have already started your putrid journey but are looking to travel further down the bottomless pit. To add some variety, I’ve decided to not only include old school death metal, but you’ll also find technical, progressive, brutal, cavernous death metal and death/black metal on the list.


  1. NihilistNihilist (1987-1989) – Compilation (2005). Legendary Swedish band that later changed name into Entombed and became one of the biggest bands in the genre.
  2. RepugnantEpitome of Darkness – Full length (2006). Hailed as an underground classic for good reason.
  3. KaamosKaamos – Full length (2002). Riffs for days. Different from most of the other bands in the Swedish scene, with the focus on occultism and the fact that they’re not using the trademark buzzsaw guitar tone that Sweden got so famous for.
  4. VampireVampire – Full length (2014). Super strong release, filled with thrashy riffs.
  5. TribulationThe Horror – Full length (2009). Before Tribulation went full prog on our asses they released a straight out furious death metal album. One of the absolute best modern death metal albums.
  6. NecrovationBreed Deadness Blood – Full length (2008). Cavernous death metal done very good.
  7. VenenumVenenum – EP (2011). Old-school inspired grimness.
  8. DrownedIdola Specus – Full length (2014). Even though they’ve been active since 1992, it took them 22 years to finish a full length. Super solid occult death.
  9. Necros ChristosTriune Impurity Rites – Full length (2007). Taking occultism to the next level by adding a series of interludes that adds an atmosphere that reeks of incense and darkness.
  10. Sonne AdamTransformation – Full length (2011). Doomy death metal with super heavy riffs.
  11. Irkallian OracleGrave Ekstasis – Full length (2013). One of the leading bands in the cavernous death metal business.
  12. Grave MiasmaExalted Emanation – EP (2009). Death metal with a black metal vibe. Evil riffing and punishing drums.



  1. Dead CongregationGraves of the Archangels – Full length (2008). Even though it’s a fairly recent release I still consider this one of my all-time favorite albums. Incredibly memorable songwriting. The last track Teeth Into Red is one of the greatest death metal songs of all time.
  2. DemigodSlumber of Sullen Eyes – Full length (1992). Finland pumped out a lot of incredibly strong releases in the early 90’s and this is one of the best.
  3. Adramelech Spring of Recovery – EP (1992). Both this and their first full length Psychostasia are very well done. This one is much more important in terms of developing the Finnish scene though.
  4. ConvulseWorld Without God – Full length (1991). Quite possible the most important Finnish death metal band as World Without God set the bar very high early on.
  5. DepravitySilence of the Centuries – EP (1993). One of many bands from Finland that released one super strong EP but then disappeared from the face of the earth. Shame because they had something good going on.
  6. TimeghoulTumultuous Travelings – Demo (1992). One of the very first bands that took death metal into unknown territories by adding spacey atmosphere.
  7. The ChasmFrom the Lost Years… – Full length (1995). Consistency is key and The Chasm has consistently been releasing strong death metal for almost 20 years.
  8. AmonFeasting the Beast – Demo (1987). Deicide is a household name in the world of death metal, but not as many people know about the demos they released as Amon which is equally as good as Deicides first two full lengths.
  9. NunslaughterGoat – Full length (2003). Although incredibly well known in some circles, Nunslaughter have been pumping out solid releases for over 20 years and Goat is in my opinion their crowning jewel.




  1. CancerDeath Shall Rise – Full length (1991). One of the leading bands in the British death metal scene.
  2. BenedictionTranscend the Rubicon – Full length (1993). Look up the cover and it tells you all about how fucking awesome this release is.
  3. MorgothCursed – Full length (1991). The German version of Death, although not in terms of influence but the comparison comes from the fact that their style is similar to Leprosy by Death.
  4. Skeletal RemainsBeyond the Flesh – Full length (2012). The vocalist is as close to Martin Van Drunen as humanly possible and their music in general is influenced by the mighty Pestilence.
  5. Hail of BulletsOn Divine Winds – Full length (2010). Martin Van Drunen is the vocalist. Do you really need another selling point?
  6. HorrendousEcdysis – Full length (2014). Manages to keep the death whilst venturing well into the melodic death metal realm.
  7. ObliterationBlack Death Horizon – Full length (2013). My favorite album from 2013. Heavy Autopsy influence.
  8. Execration Syndicate of Lethargy – Full length (2008). Debut album by a band that later went down a more progressive path. All three albums are super solid.
  9. MolestedBlod-draum – Full length (1995). One of the first death metal bands from Scandinavia that took a lot of influence from Incantation. The use of Nordic folk instruments works like a charm.
  10. CadaverHallucinating Anxiety – Full length (1990). Supreme riffs all the way.
  11. NidingrGreatest of Deceivers – Full length (2012). Bordering on black metal on a lot of tracks, but well within the death/black realm. Progressive without sacrificing riffs.
  12. Pungent StenchBeen Caught Buttering – Full length (1991). A true underground classic, fucking filthy stuff.
  13. Coffins The other Side of Blasphemy – Full length (2006). Japanese doomy death metal, loaded with super heavy riffing.
  14. Acid WitchWitchtanic Hellucinations – Full length (2008). One of the very few bands that manages to blend in psychedelic influences in a successful way. Unique stuff.
  15. Hooded MenaceEffigies of Evil – Full length (2012). If Candlemass did death/doom metal, this is probably what it would sound like.
  16. RippikouluMusta Seremonia – EP (1993). A band that you either love or you haven’t heard of yet. Finnish band that took heaviness to next level in the early 90’s but then split-up like many other legendary Finnish acts.
  17. CruciamentumConvocation of Crawling Chaos – Demo (2009). Their 2015 full length Charnel Passages featured on a lot of ‘best of 2015’ list, but their two demos and their EP are also highly recommended.
  18. DismaTowards the Megalith – Full length (2011). Some might know them because Incantation legend Craig Pillard does vocals or the fact that they took part in a silly controversy regarding Pillards stupid political views, but the music is insanely good.
  19. CorpsessedThe Dagger & the Chalice – EP (2011). The production is perfection and the riffs are solid as well.
  20. FunebrarumThe Sleep of Morbid Dreams – Full length (2009). They wear their Incantation influence on their sleeves but it works like a fucking charm.
  21. LvcifyreSun Eater – Full length (2014). Awesome death/black metal hailing from England, recently played at the latest edition of legendary underground festival Nidrosian Black Mass.



  1. DegialDeath’s Striking Wings – Full length (2012). The very essence of metal of death. Heavy Altars of Madness influence.
  2. Artificial Brain Labyrinth Constellation – Full length (2014). One of the few modern technical death metal bands that is actually worth your time.
  3. PyrrhonThe Mother of Virtues – Full length (2014). Taking technical death metal to the logical extreme.
  4. CarnageDark Recollections – Full length (1990). Many consider this the pinnacle of Swedish death metal for a damn good reason. Unfortunately, they split up only a year after releasing which stopped them in getting the same fame as Entombed and Dismember.
  5. Chapel of DiseaseSummoning Black Gods – Full length (2013). Merging Morbid Angel together with Dutch death metal seems like a good idea and Chapel of Disease makes it work.
  6. Morbus ChronSweven – Full length (2014). Such a shame that the band split-up after releasing this album. They went from a solid old-school death metal band to a more progressive sound using ambient landscapes.
  7. NecrowretchPutrid Death Sorcery – Full length (2013). This releases captures the very essence of filthy and putrid death metal. The album title basically describes their sound.


  1. TrenchrotNecronomic Warfare – Full length (2014). Trenchrot gets the honor of closing this article. They manage to perfectly blend influences from three of the major death metal scenes in the 90’s. Holland, Florida and Sweden blended together makes one disgusting death metal smoothie.

2 thoughts on “50 Death Metal Albums You Need to Hear Before You Die

  1. “Why not you may ask, well, this is a list for those of you who have already started your putrid journey but are looking to travel further down the bottomless pit.”

    Why not have the title of the article to reflect this then? Right now, it’s ’50 death metal albums you need to hear before you die (besides all the essential death metal albums which you should probably know already given that this article is targeted at those who know their death metal well)

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