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5 Old-School Death Metal Albums It’s Impossible to Live Without (Part 2)

We. Can. Not. Live. Without. These. Albums!

These 5 releases are absolute death metal perfection and albums we simply can’t live without. 

And remember, this is just Part 2…. there’s loads more in this series to come! 

Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any sort of ranking….

Autopsy – Severed Survival (1989) [USA]


The thickest, most putrid sound of death imaginable was at the very core of Autopsy’s debut masterpiece, the incomprehensibly evil sounding Severed Survival.

Wallowing in the kind of muddy riffs that submerge the senses, Severed Survival bucked the prevailing death metal trends of playing faster and playing harder and instead upped the brutality by slowing….things….right….down.

In turn, Autopsy did hit harder, announcing themselves as the go-to death metal band for those who sought variation to go along with their gore. There was still speed when speed was required of course, but the impact was greater due to the lumbering riffs that often preceded furious bursts of noise.

When death metal was at its freshest and during its most enticing and exciting period, Autopsy dragged the genre back down in the gutter, to writhe in the decaying mass of human existence. Which is exactly where it belonged!


Carcass – Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (1991) [UK]


Dumping grindcore in favour of a (slightly) more accessible death metal sound, Carcass truly proved their mettle on Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious, culminating in their finest hour and one of the defining moments in UK death metal history.

Managing to be both a prime slab of mutilated old-school death/grind and a pioneer of tech/progressive death metal, Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious blew fans and critics away on its release in 1991 and continues to be revered as a defining moment in death metal history (UK or otherwise).

With a new guitarist in the formidable shape of Mike Amott (Arch Enemy) adding layers to their sound, Carcass as a unit were obviously improving at a formidable rate with across-the-board performances proving exemplary and arguably never bettered. Each track was a mind-blowing cacophony of tempo-changes, melodic guitar leads, brutal riffing and Jeff Walker’s instantly recognisable growls culminated in an extreme metal masterpiece for the ages.


Death – Leprosy (1988) [USA]

Emerging at a time when death metal was still barely in nappies, Leprosy was the next logical step after the neanderthal bludgeoning of Scream Bloody Gore had laid waste to thrash back in 1987.

Notably progressive when compared to Death‘s solid debut, the late, great, Chuck Schuldiner upped the ante in every department on this sophomore effort and with a vast improvement in songwriting, Death were already leaving their peers in the dust.

Leprosy‘s 8 tracks of sublime brutality arguably defined the genre before it had even begun and is, quite simply, an album whose importance to death metal cannot ever be underestimated.

We can’t live without it, can you?


Dismember – Like An Everflowing Stream (1991) [Sweden]

Alongside Entombed’s Left Hand Path, Dismember’s Like An Everflowing Stream is one of the most crucial documents of the pioneering Swedish death metal scene.

Often replicated in a fruitless attempt to invoke the same response this primitive beast induced back in 1991, legions of bands are still trying to capture its magic to this very day.

Featuring obligatory down-tuned, ultra-distorted guitar and bass riffs – ably backed by Matti Karki’s feral barks, inhuman gurgles and animalistic roars – Like An Everflowing Stream is the sound of Scandinavian death metal perfected and each and every song on this all-time classic still slays, ably grinding its way into your sub-conscience with each serrated buzzsaw riff.

Essential….and impossible to live without!


Obituary – Cause Of Death (1990) [USA]

As opposed to playing at lightning speed, Obituary were one of the few bands to slow down and still maintain death metal’s recognisable ferocity.

John Tardy’s vocals dominated as he belched, growled and summoned a legion of agonised sounds from his larynx to provide Obituary with their most unique feature. Not that the music on this old-school epic is anything but punishing, the arrival of guitar-legend James Murphy (for this one release only) perpetrated its own rewards as the band launched into a series of slowly decaying anthems.

“Chopped In Half” and “Find The Arise” bring the speed and “Dying” and the title-track often slow to a zombified crawl, the perfect juxtaposition of Obituary’s sound; one which embraces no light and a whole lot of shade.

Completely devoid of hope, Cause Of Death is a hauntingly bleak record which retains its ability to appal and enthral in equal measure.

Also in this series:

5 Old-School Death Metal Albums it’s Impossible to Live Without (Part 1)

About Chris Jennings (1952 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/

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