Continuing in the vein of our under-appreciated UK, U.S & German thrash and Swedish death metal features, Worship Metal now casts its critical eye over 6 under-appreciated classics of AMERICAN DEATH METAL and you can forget the big guns of the genre, as we’re focusing on those albums that tend to slip under the radar!
Instead, this feature is here to highlight those American death metal classics which deserve far more love and attention!
Baphomet – The Dead Shall Inherit (1992)
Easily one of the finest death metal releases of the early 90’s, it’s utterly unfathomable that Baphomet‘s The Dead Shall Inherit isn’t as revered as it probably should be.
Rigidly sticking to death metal’s fundamental principles, it’s the incessant chug of mid-tempo devastation which hits the hardest; delivering track after track of guttural brutality while keeping one foot in the murky waters of death/thrash and the other in the even murkier wasteland occupied by the likes of Bolt Thrower and Benediction.
While diversity was hardly Baphomet’s strong point – with the majority of The Dead Shall Inherit maintaining the same sense of structure and pace throughout – the thrill comes from experiencing an album which lurks in early death metal’s darkest corner, waiting patiently but eager to rip you limb from limb.
An East Coast death metal classic and no mistake!
*Baphomet changed their name to Banished in 1992 and 1993’s Deliver Me Unto Pain is also worth checking out!
Disincarnate – Dreams Of The Carrion Kind (1993)
Arriving just as the golden age of death metal was arguably drawing to a close, James Murphy’s (Cancer, Death, Obituary, Testament) Disincarnate were a state of the art shock to the system; enamoured with technical showboating and bringing a level of brutality to technical death metal that had rarely been heard.
After honing his considerable chops with the cream of death/thrash metal, Dreams Of The Carrion Kind was James Murphy’s chance to prove his status as a death metal guitarist capable of steering his own ship instead of setting sail with whoever would offer him safe passage. As it turned out, he was more than ready. Dreams Of The Carrion Kind was – and still is – a masterpiece and deserves to be spoken of with the same reverential tones as early 90’s technical death metal standard bearers such as Suffocation’s Effigy Of The Forgotten, Atheists’ Unquestionable Presence and Death’s Human.
From the exquisite death/doom of “In Sufferance” and the Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) guesting “Monarch Of The Sleeping Marches”, to the pummeling workout’s of “Deadspawn” and “Stench Of Paradise Burning”, the sheer audacity and technical verve on display remains revelatory but never at the extent of an ingenious hook to keep the neck muscles, as well as the brain, engaged!
Infester – To The Depths, In Degradation (1993)
If degradation and wallowing in the unfathomable depths of human existence floats your death metal boat then the deliciously sick, maniacally twisted, utterly perverted and deeply, deeply disturbing To The Depths, In Degradation is the album for you!
Infester‘s one and only full length album, To The Depths, In Degradation can quite rightly be regarded as one of the most truly evil sounding albums in death metal history. Astonishingly barbaric and completely lacking in formulaic structure, the essence of pure bestial vengeance seeps forth from every track, as each ‘song’ suffocates the listener with endless shape-shifting patterns of ambient, hellish noise, punishing doom metal slogs, shuffling grooves, ear-piercing tremolos, clattering percussive blasts and a technical nerve that belies the primitive nature presented throughout much of the album.
Only the likes of Incantation, Immolation and Morpheus Descends (we’ll pick up on these guys in a future article) can rival the dark despair of To The Depths, In Degradation and that should be enough of a recommendation to check this album out….if you haven’t already!
Martyrdoom Productions reissued To the Depths, In Degradation on CD (in January 2017) & LP (in April 2017)….go get a copy!
Killing Addiction – Omega Factor (1993)
Hailing from Florida – always a good sign when talking death metal – Killing Addiction sprang to life way back in 1988 and their debut full length album, Omega Factor, was a lethal killing machine which combined grind, thrash and death metal to thrilling effect.
With the kind of death/thrash riffs that Malevolent Creation used to (and still do) excel at – alongside the kind of intricate solo’s Uncle Chuck introduced into Death’s repertoire circa Spiritual Healing onwards – there was always an enjoyably clean and crisp sound to Killing Addiction’s brand of death metal.
And, while the brutality was clear to hear, so was that all important groove; relentless savagery laced with an old-school energy and catchiness that demanded neck-snapping head movements of the most furious kind!
*Omega Factor was re-issued on March 9th 2018 via Xtreem Music with the original artwork revamped and including Legacies of Terror [Demo ’90] and Necrosphere [7″ EP ’91] as a bonus.
Morta Skuld – Dying Remains (1993)
Wisconsin’s Morta Skuld kinda got lost in the early 90’s barrage of quality death metal bands, despite Dying Remains proving to be a highly atmospheric, incredibly well executed, descent into outstandingly heavy, mid-tempo death metal.
Predominantly playing at an Obituary-esque pace, Morta Skuld’s material trod a fine death/doom line but sudden bursts of thrash-like speed kept it from wallowing in the Peaceville gutter alongside early Anathema, Paradise Lost etc. Ironically, Peaceville Records re-released a fully remastered edition of Dying Remains back in 2013, giving OSDM fans a chance to devour this beast once again.
A saturated genre may have stalled Morta Skuld’s carrer in the early 90’s but with 2017’s Wounds Deeper Than Time proving particularly effective, it seems Morta Skuld’s time may still come!
Oppressor – Solstice Of Oppression (1994)
Perfectly balancing brutality with technical audacity and pioneering verve, Oppressor‘s Solstice Of Oppression remains a mid-90’s milestone of technical death metal without quite receiving the accolades afforded to Death’s Human, Pestilence’s Spheres, Cynic’s Focus and Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence etc.
An accomplishment equal to all the classic albums listed above, Solstice of Oppression carved its own particular niche with ultra low gutturals, unyielding brutality and the melodic, experimental, progressive and jazzy influences expected of a 90’s progressive/technical death metal album.
Once you get over the fact that this band eventually became nu-metal chart-botherers Soil (with Oppressor’s Tim King, Tom Schofield and Adam Zadel recruiting Broken Hope’s Shaun Glass in the late 90’s), you’ll be confronted by an album which defines the very nature of 90’s death metal – a shining example of metal evolving at an alarming rate without forsaking its core principles.
Have we forgotten your favourite American death metal album? Pop it in the comments section below!