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Best Death Metal Bands

Not to be confused with thrash metal and black metal, though both of which are instrumental in shaping its sound, death metal is one of the most popular subgenres of heavy metal. Known for its distorted guitars, aggressive drumming, and growling and screaming vocals, death metal emerged in the 1980s in Florida and is still one of the best metal genres today. Lyrically, death metal addresses exactly what you'd expect the genre to focus on. Satanism, the occult, religion, politics, mysticism and science fiction have all found their into death metal bands' lyrics. The best death metal bands have cult followings and among heavy metal bands, their fanbases are among the most rabid.

So, what are the best death metal bands? Well, bands like Death, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel are at or near the top of the death metal bands list and deservedly so. They are among the most popular death metal bands and among death metal bands, are generally the most talked about bands within death metal. While many of the death metal bands on here achieved most of their success during the early 1990s, they were never considered mainstream metal bands. The lack of commercial appeal has allowed death metal bands to retain a strong base.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best death metal bands. If you notice someone on this list who is missing, feel free to add any death metal band that should be on this poll. This list answers the questions "who are the best death metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest death metal musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular death metal bands that you might've heard of. (182 items)

Best Death Metal Bands Bands/Musicians
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  1. 1
    + 255
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    Symbolic, Human, Individual Thought Patterns

    ; buy at  
  2. 2
    + 212
    - 80

    Butchered at Birth, Kill, Gallery of Suicide

    ; buy at  
  3. 3
    + 163
    - 55

    Heartwork, Symphonies of Sickness, Swansong

    ; buy at  
  4. 4
    + 140
    - 46

    Blessed Are the Sick, Domination, Altars of Madness

    ; buy at  
  5. 5
    + 138
    - 49

    Cause of Death, Slowly We Rot, World Demise

    ; buy at  
  6. 6
    + 133
    - 48

    Deicide, Once Upon the Cross, Legion

    ; buy at  
  7. 7
    + 121
    - 47

    Human Waste, Effigy of the Forgotten, Pierced From Within

    ; buy at  
  8. 8
    + 125
    - 57

    Black Seeds of Vengeance, Annihilation of the Wicked, Festivals of ...

    ; buy at  
  9. 9
    + 139
    - 66

    The Apostasy, Demigod, Pandemonic Incantations

    ; buy at  
  10. 10
    + 94
    - 39

    Those Once Loyal, ...For Victory, The IVth Crusade

    ; buy at  
  11. 11
    + 89
    - 36

    Inferno, Left Hand Path, Wolverine Blues

    ; buy at  
  12. 12
    + 117
    - 55

    Chaos A.D., Arise, Beneath the Remains

    ; buy at  
  13. 13
    + 93
    - 43

    Nihility, The Negation, Organic Hallucinosis

    ; buy at  
  14. 14
    + 72
    - 29

    added by marcoanjos1982
    Impressions in Blood, Future of the Past, Armageddon: The Best Of

    ; buy at  
  15. 15
    + 93
    - 44

    Breeding Death, Nightmares Made Flesh, Resurrection Through Carnage

    ; buy at  
  16. 16
    + 77
    - 33

    added by marcoanjos1982
    Slaughter of the Soul, The Red in the Sky Is Ours, Gardens of Grief

    ; buy at  
  17. 17
    + 84
    - 38

    Reign Supreme, Infatuation With Malevolence, Destroy the Opposition

    ; buy at  
  18. 18
    + 89
    - 42

    Seven Churches, Agony in Paradise, Beyond the Gates

    ; buy at  
  19. 19
    + 66
    - 26

    Like an Ever Flowing Stream, Death Metal, Massive Killing Capacity

    ; buy at  
  20. 20
    + 50
    - 17

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Mental Funeral, Severed Survival, Retribution for the Dead

    ; buy at  
  21. 21
    + 46
    - 15

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Into the Grave, Dominion VIII, As Rapture Comes

    ; buy at  
  22. 22
    + 55
    - 23

    added by marcoanjos1982
    Epitaph, Onset of Putrefaction, Necrophagist

    ; buy at  
  23. 23
    + 57
    - 25

    Majesty and Decay, Close to a World Below, Stepping on Angels... Before ...

    ; buy at  
  24. 24
    + 48
    - 20

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    None So Vile, Blasphemy Made Flesh, Once Was Not

    ; buy at  
  25. 25
    + 72
    - 40

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Wages of Sin, Doomsday Machine, Stigmata

    ; buy at  
  26. 26
    + 89
    - 54

    From Mars to Sirius, The Way of All Flesh, L'Enfant Sauvage

    ; buy at  
  27. 27
    + 45
    - 21

    Monotheist, To Mega Therion, Morbid Tales

    ; buy at  
  28. 28
    + 67
    - 39

    Northern Hyperblast, In the Arms of Devastation, Serenity in Fire

    ; buy at  
  29. 29
    + 75
    - 46

    Enemy of God, Pleasure to Kill, Phantom Antichrist

    ; buy at  
  30. 30
    + 46
    - 23

    Last One on Earth, The Rack, God Cries

    buy at  
  31. 31
    + 48
    - 25

    added by possumprincess
    Sworn Allegiance, Warrior, Midvinterblot

    ; buy at  
  32. 32
    + 67
    - 42

    Envenomed, Retribution, Eternal

    ; buy at  
  33. 33
    + 47
    - 26

    Black Force Domain, AssassiNation, Bloodshed

    ; buy at  
  34. 34
    + 36
    - 18
    No image

    Mortal Throne of Nazarene, Onward to Golgotha, Diabolical Conquest

    ; buy at  
  35. 35
    + 51
    - 31

    Obscura, The Erosion of Sanity, Considered Dead

    ; buy at  
  36. 36
    + 48
    - 29

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Haunted, Maximum Violence, Warpath

    ; buy at  
  37. 37
    + 56
    - 36

    added by marcoanjos1982
    Blackwater Park, Damnation, Ghost Reveries

    ; buy at  
  38. 38
    + 57
    - 39

    Follow the Reaper, Hatebreeder, Blooddrunk

    ; buy at  
  39. 39
    + 45
    - 30

    The Archaic Abattoir, Strychnine.213, Coronary Reconstruction

    ; buy at  
  40. 40
    + 46
    - 31

    I, Monarch, Conquering the Throne

    ; buy at  
  41. 41
    + 68
    - 52

    Fiction, Projector, Haven

    ; buy at  
  42. 42
    + 39
    - 26
    No image

    From Beyond, The Second Coming, Tyrants of Death

    ; buy at  
  43. 43
    + 56
    - 44

    Clayman, The Jester Race, Come Clarity

    ; buy at  
  44. 44
    + 30
    - 20

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Empire of the Obscene, Revocation, Teratogenesis

    ; buy at  
  45. 45
    + 32
    - 22

    added by marcoanjos1982
    Oracles, Labyrinth, Agony

    ; buy at  
  46. 46
    + 32
    - 23
    No image

    To the Gory End, Death Shall Rise, Black Faith

    ; buy at  
  47. 47
    + 24
    - 16

    Retaliate, Heirs to Thievery, Discordia

    ; buy at  
  48. 48
    + 24
    - 16

    added by JorgeBizarroAldea
    Benighted, Identisick, Psychose

    ; buy at  
  49. 49
    + 34
    - 28
    No image

    Mystic Places of Dawn, Sumerian Daemons, Ophidian Wheel

    ; buy at  
  50. 50
    + 24
    - 18

    Dark Recollections

    ; buy at  
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