The classics are all well and good but there’s a shit ton of obscure DEATH METAL out there that demands to be heard! To that end, we’ve selected 10 obscure old-school death metal albums you NEED to hear.
This is Part 1…..there’s plenty more to come!
Desecrator – Subconscious Release (1991) [UK]
Dan Seagrave cover art, a raw and aggressive sound, technicality matched by brutality; Desecrator’s Subconscious Release should have been huge! Instead, this cult item is merely a footnote in death metal history but it deserves to be held in considerable high regard for delivering a focused lesson in classic death metal violence.
Following a similar path travelled by Death (Leprosy-era) and Sweden’s Dismember, Desecrator’s groove heavy onslaught revelled in muscular, lengthy and, above all, catchy songwriting.
While a slight sense of repetition sneaks in when absorbing Subconscious Release in its entirety, the same accusation can be made of many a death metal album that bludgeoned the listener with ostensibly the same sound – Deicide being one of them – and nobody gave two shits!
Jumpin’ Jesus – The Art Of Crucifying (1991) [Germany]
Jumpin’ what now?! Jumpin’ fuckin’ Jesus that’s who! And no, we’re not talking about the great bearded one fannying around on a pogo stick, this is Jumpin’ Jesus from Germany…..and they kicked ass!
Despite saddling themselves with a god-awful (pun intended) band name, Jumpin’ Jesus played some seriously skilled and brutally complex death metal. With a sound that wasn’t too far removed from that coming out of Florida’s Morrisound Studios there was enough (typically German) eccentricity to stand Jumpin’ Jesus out from the pack.
Unafraid to throw some curveballs into the mix and simply be plain fuckin’ weird at times, it’s the freakish time signatures and odd noises that made The Art Of Crucifying so intriguing. Highly technical and with a distinct dual guitar attack, Mike Gage and Oliver Ulrich were a seriously unhinged pairing who unleashed a torrent of incredibly wild riffs and solos on this, Jumpin’ Jesus’ only album.
Masacre – Reqviem (1991) [Columbia]
When you open your album with the kind of acoustic folk whimsy expected from Simon and Garfunkel, you’d be forgiven for thinking Columbia’s Masacre weren’t up to the task but Reqviem is actually an extremely dark, violence-fuelled mix of predominantly mid-tempo death metal played by a band who are still flying the flag for death nearly 30 years after originally forming!
With doom metal casting its spell over many of Reqviem‘s slow, relentlessly heavy riffs, the overall atmosphere of intolerable pain is palpable. Of course, Masacre still unleashed blasts of typically ferocious death metal fervour – particularly on the feral “Escoria” – with Trapeador’s vocals careening from inhuman growls to an unhinged banshee wail but it’s on the epic likes of “Cortejo Fúnebre” that Masacre were at their finest; combining grinding fury with doom metal’s often languid pace and skin-crawling atmospherics.
So what if the guitar tone was shite, the compositions on Reqviem were excellent; uniformly abrasive and adept enough to make up for any shortcomings.
Impaler – Charnel Deity (1992) [UK]
Another band with just the one full-length album to their name, Impaler’s primitive blast of down-tuned riffing was ‘just’ another album in a sea of quality death metal releases in 1992; making the fact it sunk virtually without trace not particularly surprising.
That aside, Charnel Deity had much to offer including a deathly thrash attack that was second to none, oodles of shred, demonic vokills and a penchant for short sharp songs that were over and done with way before they outstayed their welcome. Not groundbreaking but efficient, effective and ebullient nonetheless!
Charnel Deity was simply old-school brutal UK death metal done right and belongs in the collection of anyone who digs the early albums of Death, Pestilence & Possessed.
Paralysis – Patrons Of The Dark (1992) [USA]
The howling winds of unholy death metal greet those who venture into the abstract darkness of Paralysis‘ one and only album.
Lurching into death/doom territory, Patrons Of The Dark (and weren’t they just!) also added a grind element to deliver a sound that was fundamentally abhorrent, while maintaining sledgehammer grooves accompanied by the lower than low vocals of one Ben Falgoust (Soilent Green / Goatwhore).
Home to a cavalcade of horrifyingly catchy rhythms, this work of primeval filth appears to be shrouded in some Lovecraftian hell-mist, ready to unleash its ‘monsters’ on an unsuspecting world at any given moment.
Brutal, guttural, sinister: Patrons Of The Dark was the work of some seriously deranged human beings and remains as caustic as ever!