Death metal is great. Technical death metal is so much better!
To that end, we’ve selected 6 MORE Of The Most Mind-Blowing Old-School Technical Death Metal Albums Ever Recorded…. with more to come!
Presented in order of year of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Pestilence – Testimony Of The Ancients [Netherlands] (1991)
With 1989’s Malleus Maleficarum embracing thrash, 1993’s Spheres cavorting with progressive jazz-fusion and their masterpiece, Consuming Impulse, concentrating on ultra-efficient brutality it’s left to one of the most forward-thinking albums of the period (we’re referring to Testimony Of The Ancients, obviously) to establish Pestilence as all-time cult heroes!
Distancing itself from the norm, Testimony Of The Ancients took the standard approach of 8 full-length tracks (notably, 8 progressive / technical death metal epics) and interjected succinct and atmospheric instrumental interludes, one-by-one alternating power and grace to achieve a formidable and other-worldly aura.
Because of this, Testimony Of The Ancients remains one of the most unique records in death metal’s illustrious history; experimental song structures jostling with obligatory neck-wreckers culminating in an absolutely perfect rendition of all that death metal can be when boundaries are unceremoniously broken.
Also recommended: The aforementioned Spheres is mind-bogglingly effective but less death metal inclined.
Suffocation – Effigy Of The Forgotten [USA] (1991)
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 ground-breaking 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 well and truly arrived!
Atrocity – Todessehnsucht [Germany] (1992)
Todessehnsucht (meaning ‘Longing For Death’ if you do not sprechen sie Deutsch) was the second studio album by German tech death metallers Atrocity and it would prove to be one of the pinnacle releases of the genre!
Technical to the extreme and absurdly progressive, the Glen Benton-esque growls and barks of Alexander Krull were efficiently offset by Atrocity’s onslaught of samples, keyboard interludes, woozy song structures and Chuck Schuldiner influenced flights of progressive fancy.
Determined and distinctive, Atrocity were operating at a ridiculously high level on Todessehnsucht and their own brand of vicious yet vicarious technical death metal remains a joy to behold.
An often overlooked masterpiece!
Demilich – Nespithe [Finland] (1993)
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.
Violent Dirge – Elapse [Poland] (1993)
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)
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!
The next chapter in this series is already in the works! However, that shouldn’t stop you from adding your favourite technical thrash albums to the comments below!
Also check out:
Check out The Worship Metal Podcast‘s delectable and demonically delicious death metal discussion….