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20 Early 90s Technical Death Metal Albums You NEED to Hear!

Polluted Inheritance – Ecocide [Netherlands] (1992)

Polluted Inheritance – Ecocide (1992, CD) - Discogs

Largely forgotten and sorely underrated, Dutch death metal masters Polluted Inheritance arrived fully formed in 1992 with a debut album that could stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Death’s Human!

That’s quite the statement but Ecocide is quite the album.

With comprehensible growls (although, admittedly, not always great lyrics) backed up by sterling musicians navigating their way through complex, yet catchy, structures, this album is easily the equal of any album presenting itself as technical death metal in the early 90’s.

A blisteringly fast lesson in aggression, speed, progression, dynamics and fantastically crafted death metal, Ecocide demands to be heard!

Demilich – Nespithe [Finland] (1993)

<br />Demilich - Nespithe

A true oddity and an album that sounds like no other, Demilich‘s Nespithe took the world completely by surprise when its cavernous compositions and Antti Boman’s ultra, ultra low gutturals instantly marked them out as technical death metal innovators!

The sounds that emanated from these crazy Finns were otherworldly; tentacled and slimy like a Lovecraftian nightmare made audibly flesh with bass lines and riffs slithering amongst each other without ever actually making contact. The result was an altogether alien experience that shouldn’t have worked but somehow came together to deliver one of the most unique moments in death metal history.

Surrealistic and as bewildering as it was on release, Nespithe may be the only album released by Demilich but it sure as hell left an indelible mark on the technical death metal landscape.

Gorguts – The Erosion Of Sanity [Canada] (1993)

Gorguts – The Erosion Of Sanity (2018, CD) - Discogs

In hindsight, Gorguts‘ debut album, Considered Dead, was a rather meat n’ potatoes death metal release. In comparison though, their sophomore release, The Erosion Of Sanity, was the first true indication of the colossal avant-garde genius that would arrive later in the decade via 1998’s bewildering Obscura. But, for now, they were a band bravely forging their own path with the progressively-minded, technically-savvy, The Erosion Of Sanity

Both tenacious and terrifying, Gorguts mastermind Luc Lemay was already unleashing unsettling rhythms on an unsuspecting death metal audience with just his second release, and the intricate, powerful riffing of “Condemned to Obscurity” still has the ability to promote shock and awe to this very day.

With Luc Lemay already utilising his now trademarked anguished roar to full effect, it was left to The Erosion Of Sanity‘s intricate interplay (with pinched harmonics and unexpected time shifts aplenty) to do the talking. Suffice to say, we were all listening with gratefully open – yet brutally savaged – ears!

Death – Individual Thought Patterns [USA] (1993)

DEATH "Individual Thought Patterns" 2xCD - Evil Greed

Individual Thought Patterns was the fifth studio album from Chuck Schuldiner and his hired hands and, on this occasion, Death were a veritable supergroup whose individual parts formed a considerable, world-beathing, whole.

With Chuck surround by guitarist Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel) and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus / Autopsy), Death were a formidable death metal force whose intricate ensemble resulted in one of the most creative forces in death metal.

With highly technical guitars, Steve DiGiorigio’s one-of-a-kind bass lines (which operated in another dimension and were more like a third guitar as opposed to traditional bass) and the kind of full-force drumming which comes as standard from the veritable powerhouse that is Gene Hoglan, tracks such as “Overactive Imagination” and all-time classic “The Philosopher” proved particularly potent.

With Individual Thought PatternsDeath fully cemented their status as both pioneers and leaders of the genre.

Section Brain – Hospital Of Death [Czechia] (1993)

Section Brain – Hospital Of Death (1993, CD) - Discogs

Despite a strong Sepultura vibe circa Beneath The Remains, Czechia’s Section Brain are seemingly known only to those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure metal. Which is a crying shame as their one and only album, 1993’s Hospital Of Death, is a certifiable technical death/thrash cult classic! 

At only 5 tracks (we’re ignoring the pointless 30 second intro and the odd 7 seconds of “Ja Mamm”), Section Brain were pushing the boundaries of acceptability when it came to classifying this as a full length album….but when “No Anarchy” drops, you’ll care not a jot! Deceptively simple at first encounter, this epic quickly expands into a track with a multitude of tones and flavours; an adage which relates to the entirety of the album.

With so many riffs on this thing, Section Brain probably could of saved a few and released a follow-up but, alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead, revel in Hospital of Death’s obscurity, soak up its intricacy and tell everyone you know to check out this underrated gem of early 90’s technical death/thrash. 

Violent Dirge – Elapse [Poland] (1993)

Elapse | VIOLENT DIRGE | Pagan Records

These Polish deviants were as technically audacious and brutally aggressive as they come and Violent Dirge‘s debut album, Elapse, remains uniformly impressive and informed by raw technical death metal riffing, erratic solos, jazzy bass-lines and dirty vocals.

With songs that resisted the urge to out-widdle their peers and instead concentrated on displaying their prowess via a terrifying jolt of good old fashioned death metal, Elapse remains a masterclass in balancing audacity and aggression and, it should be said, the bass playing on this beast truly has to be heard to be believed!

A forgotten masterpiece from a truly talented band.

Cryptopsy – Blasphemy Made Flesh [Canada] (1994)

CRYPTOPSY - Blasphemy Made Flesh LP (Black vinyl) – Hammerheart Records

None So Vile will always be Cryptopsy‘s masterpiece but, as it came out in 1996, it’s excluded from this particular list….so you get their outstanding debut, Blasphemy Made Flesh, instead. You lucky bastards, you!

Already teetering on the edge of brutal death metal, Blasphemy Made Flesh instantly marked out Cryptopsy’s stall as ultra aggressive, technically gifted madmen – with Lord Worm’s vocals and Flo Mounier’s drumming already tailor made to impress, this devastating double act carried much of Blasphemy Made Flesh‘s considerable weight.

A relentless barrage of inhuman noises, percussive cacophony, sinister groove and brutality incarnate awaits the uninitiated, while those in the know fully understand what a devastatingly effective and impressive debut this album was!

Dissonance – Look To Forget [Slovakia] (1994)

Dissonance – Look To Forget (1994, CD) - Discogs

Pissing about with time signatures is one thing, but being able to hone such dexterous tomfoolery into brutal yet consistently interesting songs is another thing entirely; and a ridiculously difficult balancing act to master. Which is where Slovakia’s Dissonance come in.

Astoundingly savage and mesmerisingly complex they may have been, but Dissonance were savvy enough to conjure magic from their madness. Weird when they wanted to be – check out the spoken word outro to “Invisible” – and heavy as sin when it suited (the more mid-tempo barrage of “Candid Condolence” will rupture your bowels), Dissonance‘s genius lay in their ever-increasing bouts of sonic savagery laced with subtle melody.

Whatever you do, do NOT forget Dissonance‘s astonishing debut!

Honourable mention: While we’re on the very niche subject of Slovakian technical death metal, we’d be remiss not to mention Systems (1995), the outstanding demo from Mordum.

Oppressor – Solstice Of Oppression [USA] (1994)

Oppressor - Solstice Of Oppression | Releases | Discogs

Perfectly balancing brutality with technical audacity and pioneering verve, Oppressor‘s Solstice Of Oppression remains an early to mid 90’s milestone of technical death metal without ever receiving the accolades afforded to Death’s Human, Cynic’s Focus and Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence etc.

An accomplishment easily 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 tech death – a shining example of metal evolving at an alarming rate without forsaking its core principles!

Pavor – A Pale Debilitating Autumn [Germany] (1994)

Pavor – A Pale Debilitating Autumn (1994, CD) - Discogs

Released just as ‘old-school death metal’ was reaching its nadir, Pavor‘s A Pale Debilitating Autumn should be revered as one of the most – if not the most – astoundingly complex death metal releases of the early to mid 90’s!

Show-off’s from the get-go, Pavor appeared obsessed with challenging death metal fans with their stunning musical dexterity matched by such supremely tight and concise songs. While their ‘contemporaries’ were attempting to meld a jazz-fusion-esque aesthetic to their death metal template (such as Pestilence with the otherworldly Spheres and Atheist with Unquestionable Presence), Pavor were still very much a straight-up death metal band; just one with more skill and ideas than most!

An album of such astounding brutality and complexity, even if Pavor had released A Pale Debilitating Autumn at the turn of the new century, they’d still have turned heads with such a forward-thinking, ground-breaking release. We can’t possibly praise it anymore than that now, can we?!

About Chris Jennings (1905 Articles)
I love 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/

2 Comments on 20 Early 90s Technical Death Metal Albums You NEED to Hear!

  1. Paraxism from Finland released the 3 song EP .xism Excursion in 96. Defiantly worth a listen.

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