Seven Avant-Garde LPs Testing the Boundaries of Death Metal 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Can you believe death metal is almost 40 years old? For a musical style that often displays a willful, even perverse immaturity, that’s pretty amazing. But it’s true. The Bay Area band Possessed are often credited with inventing the style on their 1984 Death Metal demo tape (not to be confused with Mantas’ Death By Metal, which was also released in 1984 by a band who would later change their name to Death).

In the last 36 years, death metal has metastasized to encompass dozens of sub-subgenres and niche styles. The foundations—meaty, face-punching riffs, blasting drumbeats—remain pretty much mandatory; but beyond that, it’s anything goes. It can sound like four people who stole some instruments and wrote some riffs last week, or like the product of musos who’ve spent a decade practicing sweep picking in 11/8 time. And often, the weirder death metal gets, and the farther afield it wanders from its guttural, grimy origins, the more interesting it is. The seven albums below run the gamut from so-called “technical death metal” to stuff that’s, well, only technically death metal. Some of them feature traditional “Cookie Monster” vocals, while others are entirely instrumental; some will make you want to pump your fist and bang your head, while others will make you want to sleep with the lights on. But all of it will reinforce the idea that metal is far from monochromatic: in fact, it’s often bafflingly weird. And that rules.