Bands/Musicians The Best Death Metal Bands  

Reference
26.7k votes 2.3k voters 54.1k views 160 items

List Rules While similar, black metal and thrash metal bands should not be included on this list of death metal bands. Be sure to only add bands that fall within death metal before all else.

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. 

Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
992 253
Death is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Technical death metal
2
604 236
Morbid Angel is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Heavy metal, Death metal
3
585 244
Obituary is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Heavy metal, Death metal
4
728 354
Cannibal Corpse is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Brutal death metal, Death metal
5
506 256
Carcass is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
D-beat, Goregrind, Melodic death metal
6
406 197
Bolt Thrower is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Doom metal, Heavy metal, Grindcore
7
318 145
Opeth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
marcoanjos1982 added Doom metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal
8
466 237
Deicide is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Heavy metal, Death metal
9
341 167
Entombed is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Death 'n' roll, Heavy metal, Death metal
10
431 224
Nile is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Technical death metal, Brutal death metal, Death metal
11
395 202
Suffocation is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Deathcore, Brutal death metal, Death metal
12
235 106
Vader is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
marcoanjos1982 added Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Death metal
13
335 175
Dying Fetus is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Goregrind, Technical death metal, Heavy metal
14
240 119
Autopsy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
JorgeBizarroAldea added Goregrind, Heavy metal, Grindcore
15
327 178
Sepultura is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Nu metal, Heavy metal, Extreme metal
16
409 236
Behemoth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Technical death metal, Black metal
17
229 115
Immolation is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Technical death metal, Heavy metal, Death metal
18
233 119
Dismember is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Melodic death metal, Heavy metal, Death metal
19
251 132
Decapitated is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Technical death metal, Heavy metal, Death metal
20
197 95
Gorguts is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Technical death metal, Heavy metal, Experimental metal
21
269 145
Gojira is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal
22
248 131
Bloodbath is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Heavy metal, Death metal
23
268 145
At the Gates is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
marcoanjos1982 added Thrash metal, Melodic death metal, Heavy metal
24
183 90
Celtic Frost is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Thrash metal
25
221 119
Cryptopsy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Death Metal Bands
JorgeBizarroAldea added Deathcore, Technical death metal, Heavy metal