5. Brutality – When The Sky Turns Black [USA]
Ferociously fucking heavy, Brutality‘s When The Sky Turns Black was the follow-up to their outstanding debut Screams Of Anguish, and found the band branching out into ever more progressive realms.
With some of the finest acoustic interludes ever conceived, Brutality were capable of out-playing their peers on every level, with an uncanny knack for melody and serious style tempering the brutality (obviously) on display throughout. The art of dynamics may not always be a pre-requisite when it comes to death metal but Brutality were masters of the art, resulting in a collection of songs which were varied and consistently impressive.
Hailing from Tampa Bay, Florida meant Brutality had some serious competition to contend with (Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel amongst many others) but when compared to the big guns of 1994, When The Sky Turns Black proved itself to be more than just the equal of Cannibal Corpse‘s The Bleeding and Obituary‘s World Demise etc.
4. Cryptosy – Blasphemy Made Flesh [Canada]
None So Vile will always be Cryptopsy‘s masterpiece but Blasphemy Made Flesh was an undeniably outstanding debut from this most extreme of bands!
Already teetering on the edge of brutal death metal, Blasphemy Made Flesh instantly marked out Cryptopsy’s stall as ultra aggressive and technically gifted madman. 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 really was!
3. Infester – To The Depths, In Degradation [USA]
If degradation and wallowing in the unfathomable depths of human existence floats your death metal boat then the deliciously sick, maniacally twisted, utterly perverted and deeply, deeply disturbing To The Depths, In Degradation is the album for you!
Infester‘s one and only full length album, To The Depths, In Degradation can quite rightly be regarded as one of the most truly evil sounding albums in death metal history. Astonishingly barbaric and completely lacking in formulaic structure, the essence of pure bestial vengeance seeps forth from every track, as each ‘song’ suffocates the listener with endless shape-shifting patterns of ambient, hellish noise, punishing doom metal slogs, shuffling grooves, ear-piercing tremolos, clattering percussive blasts and a technical nerve that belies the primitive nature presented throughout much of the album.
Only the likes of Incantation, Immolation and Morpheus Descends can rival the dark despair of To The Depths, In Degradation and that should be enough of a recommendation to check this album out….if you haven’t already!
2. Bolt Thrower – …For Victory [UK]
The UK’s finest ever proponents of deathly sounds released yet another death metal classic in 1994 with … For Victory.
Beyond reliable, Bolt Thrower remain a death metal institution and by the time …For Victory rolled around they had become a terrifying force of brutal efficiency. The formula may have been overly-familiar but now it was perfected – and while Bolt Thrower‘s remorseless battery was relentless it wasn’t without a sense of dynamics, meaning the bombardment of “”Lest We Forget” landed with an even greater sense of shock and awe.
With Karl Willets’ unmistakable roar leading the charge this was the sound of Bolt Thrower at, arguably, their most lethal. Disagree? One listen to “When Glory Beckons” should change your mind.
One band that never, ever, let us down!
1. Gorement – The Ending Quest [Sweden]
Gorement‘s The Ending Quest is god-tier death metal from a band who sadly failed to follow-up this genre defining moment.
Not many albums earn the accolade of being flawless but The Ending Quest is one such album. From production to song-writing, atmosphere to lyrical content, Gorment were masters of their craft and this devastatingly heavy, yet strangely melancholy exercise in sonic brutality is a unique moment in Swedish death metal history.
The perfect companion piece to Entombed‘s Left Hand Path, Gorement left an indelible mark with their one and only album and its standing as a landmark in the underground Swedish death metal scene remains undiminished.
Honourable mentions (there’s a few of ’em!): Asphyx – Asphyx / Cannibal Corpse – The Bleeding / Desultory – Bitterness / Cianide – A Descent Into Hell / Dissonance – Look To Forget / Edge Of Sanity – Purgatory Afterglow / Fleshcrawl – Impurity / Grave – Soulless / Gutted – Bleed For Us To Live / Hypocrisy – The Fourth Dimension / Merciless – Unbound / Morta Skuld – As Humanity Fades / Napalm Death – Fear, Emptiness, Despair / Obituary – World Demise / Oppressor – Solstice Of Oppression / Pavor – A Pale Debilitating Autumn / Phlebotomized – Immense Intense Suspense….
Check out The Worship Metal Podcast‘s delectable and demonically delicious death metal discussion….