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The 15 Albums That Made 1991 The Greatest Year In Death Metal History!

Here lies death metal greatness.....

Morbid Angel – Blessed Are The Sick

Morbid Angel Blessed Are The Sick

Following up Altars Of Madness was always going to be tricky but Morbid Angel cast off the shackles of their genre-defining debut by further establishing themselves as one of the most weirdly unique sounding outfits to emerge from death metal’s first wave.

Morbid Angel operated without limitations, the past having no baring on their own innovation and it left them free to explore new realms. Their blackened souls were further charred via Trey Azagorath and Richard Brunelle’s inhuman riffs, David Vincent’s outstanding (and most importantly audible) vocals and Pete Sandoval’s tireless drumming invention which, when so flawlessly combined, flung the band headfirst into the abyss

With other-worldly song structures creating a singular vision, Morbid Angel’s ability to achieve true heaviness by slowing down (as opposed to many of their peers speeding up in order to reach similar peaks) led to one of the most unique collections of audible nightmares ever conceived and a collection of songs that somehow managed to invoke pure chaos while somehow remaining catchy.

Atheist – Unquestionable Presence

Atheist Unquestionable Presence

The finest progressive death metal album ever conceived? We certainly think so and with Unquestionable Presence, Atheist transformed the death metal landscape in a blitzkrieg of technical bass lines, dissonant and warped riffs unaccustomed to generic structure and an almost improvised feel to Steve Flynn’s commanding drumming.

Led by Kelly Schaefer’s rasp-inflected growl, the primitive nature of death metal was dissolved overnight within a framework of challenging lyricism and even more challenging musicianship. Structured chaos reigned as thrash, death, jazz, fusion and prog rock collided in an esoteric force of will, fuelled by integrity, vision and an unwavering commitment to forge forward into new terrain. While Atheists’ debut, Piece Of Time, had turned heads, Unquestionable Presence blew minds.

Unquestionable Presence remains a landmark record in the history of death metal and it’s more than a little unnerving to think that this pioneering piece of artistry came from the minds of 4 human beings.

Unquestionably unmatched, unparalleled and utterly unique.

Suffocation – Effigy Of The Forgotten

Source // cdn.discogs.com

Source // cdn.discogs.com

Where the fuck did this come from?!

In 1991, Suffocation were beyond brutal, they were another beast entirely and while Effigy Of The Forgotten must have come as quite the shellshock to the uninitiated; the furious technicality on display and multiple layers that rewarded the brave with each subsequent listen bringing into question the very nature of what death metal could achieve….and how extreme it could go!

With the most brutal vocals imaginable, courtesy of Frank Mullen’s pioneering throat savagery, a monumental and groundbreaking performance from Mike Smith on drums and some of the first breakdowns heard in death metal, Effigy Of The Forgotten was a true unknown and changed the face of death metal overnight.

Technical death metal had arrived!


Honourable mentions:
 1991, the greatest year in death metal history, was so full of outstanding releases that we had to leave out the likes of Asphy’x The Rack, Grave’s Into The Grave, Cancer’s Death Shall Rise, Benediction’s The Grand Leveller, Broken Hope’s Swamped In Gore, Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered At Birth, Gorguts’ Considered Dead, Gorefest’s Mindloss, Master’s And On The Seventh Day God Created…..the list goes on and on and on. Apologies if we left your favourite out!

Look out for a follow-up feature that highlights the often forgotten death metal albums of 1991 in the near future!

About Chris Jennings (1469 Articles)
I love Heavy Metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about Metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' Metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

6 Comments on The 15 Albums That Made 1991 The Greatest Year In Death Metal History!

  1. Good list without a doubt. But you need to edit it, becuase you say that Finland is part of Scandinavia, which they aren’t and never have. They’re part of the Northern countries. Scandinavia has always only consisted of Sweden, Norway & Denmark.

    • Chris Jennings // June 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm // Reply

      Geography was never my strong point Tom! Pity they didn’t teach death metal history at school instead!! Now corrected. Thanks for reading and commenting \m/

  2. Donnie Campbell // November 17, 2017 at 2:16 am // Reply

    Great list,Pestilence are such an overlooked Death Metal band and I’m glad you put them on the list.

  3. Should have been a Top 30 and included the following…

    Asphyx – The Rack
    Benediction – The Grand Leveller
    Cancer – Death Shall Rise
    Cannibal Corpse – Butchered At Birth
    Edge Of Sanity – Nothing But Death Remains
    Gorefest – Mindloss
    Gorguts – Considered Dead
    Grave – Into The Grave
    Morgoth – Cursed
    Paradise Lost – Gothic
    Pungent Stench – Been Caught Buttering
    Sentenced – Shadows Of The Past
    Sepultura – Arise
    Therion – Of Darkness…
    Unleashed – Where No Life Dwells

  4. Honestly insane that Butchered at Birth only got an honorable mention. It’s the only album from 91 that goes toe to toe with EotF in terms of pushing brutality. Way ahead of it’s time.

  5. Really nice List my friend. Every comment in this list is very true. The death metal is so powerfull 🔥
    Cheers 🍺

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