I have to admit that this year's death metal list is not quite as good as previous years. I still enjoy many of the releases this year but I'd be hard pushed to say that many of the albums here will get many plays from me in the future. The only thing I will say that old school death metal definitely came to the fore again even more so than last year. The thing with death metal is that bands keep going doing their thing whilst mostly ignoring any prevailing trends. Anyway here is my top 50 list in reverse order.
50. Chaos Inception - Collision With Oblivion
A regular death metal album of the type that I like but don't love. It's clean death metal and not too brutal and pretty catchy.
49. Gory Blister - Graveyard of Angels
Clean technical death metal merchants return but once again they've dumbed down the technicality which is not a good move in my opinion. Makes the list almost by default but I really expected more from this band.
48. Necrocest - Prenatal Massacre
UK brutal goredeath troop aping Cannibal Corpse. Decent and very sick.
47. Paganizer - Scandinavian Warmachine
One of the first batch of old school death metal machines. Good stuff but there are better.
46. Demonical - Hellsworn
This one is demonic indeed. Another old school death troop this time with extremely killer guitar sound. Songs not that special but that production is wicked as hell.
45. Graveyard - One With the Dead
Yep it's old school death. Again not that memorable song wise but the whole thing has a fair deal going for it.
44. Jungle Rot - What Horrors Await.
Massive sounding old school death rock very much in the Six Feet Under vein. Huge production on this beast. Catchy too!
43. Suffocation - Blood Oath
Actually a touch disappointing to be perfectly honest but it still has a lot of quality from this seminal and much loved death metal pioneer. Solid but not earth shattering.
42. Mass Infection - The Age of Recreation
Catchy standard death metal with hints of melody here and there. Just a cool death metal album.
41. Derelict - Unspoken Words
Somewhat melodic thrashy death with some influence from Death in the riffs. Reasonably enjoyable stuff.
40. Daath - The Concealers
Heavy as hell death metal with punishing aggro production. I tire a touch of the songs as I recall but still the band is very brutal and yet groovy.
39. Punish - Raptus
Clean heavy death/black mix. Lots and lots of riffs in this band so it never gets too boring.
38. Rise - Pentagramnation
Great standard death metal release. Very catchy and groovy with some melody as well.
37. Dying Fetus - Descend Into Depravity
Brutal technical death metal from scene stalwarts. Fast as a bullet and pretty sick stuff. Could do with a little more memorability but these guys know what death metal is all about.
36. Murder Therapy - Symmetry of Delirium
A new band mixing fast technical death metal with Meshuggah styled chugging. The Mesh parts are not my cup of tea but the main riff sections are outstandingly aggressive and brutal with a monstrous production.
35. Arterial Pressure - Shadow's Embrace
Imagine a thrashy version of Death's Leprosy album and you have Arterial Pressure. Pretty cool though imperfect.
34. Tardy Brothers - Bloodline
This sounds like a masterpiece compared to Obituary's disk from this year. I prefer this by miles. Cooler tunes, great roars and killer solos.
33. Revolting - Dreadful Pleasures
Yet another old school death machine. Good production and catchy riffs.
32. Revocation - Existence Is Futile
Technical death/trash with pristine sound. I was actually hoping for a lot more from this release and even at position 32 I am slightly disappointed. When it's good though it reaches excellence but something is not quite right with this release.
31. The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate
I'm no deathcore fan but TBDM is more thrashy melodic death on this release. The guitar riffs are great and have lots of melody and the vocals don't annoy that much.
30. Reciprocal - st
Pretty brutal technical death metal with a savage production. Unrelenting badness.
29. Centaurus A - Side Effects Expected
Long awaited technical death album finally surfaces and while it is very good it's still not as spectacular as I was hoping. These guys are great players though no doubt.
28. Skyfire - Esoteric
I think I love everything Skyfire have ever done. They are my favourite melodic death band of recent times so I was anticipating this release impatiently. So finally I am a little bit disappointed in this release. A band like Skyfire would expect to place higher than 28 in my list knowing my love for them. This is a good solid melodic death album with cool riffs but not something to get over excited about in the end.
27. Dark Age - Acedia
This is a slight surprise. A very good melodic death release with clean vocals as well and a stellar production.
26. Septycal Gorge - Erase The Insignificant
Italian brutal, slammy tech death. Production is a touch murky for my taste but the riffs rule. Twisted and mental and very much for the deranged death metal fan.
25. Vader - Necropolis
Deserves it's place on production alone almost. Sounds like a ton of bricks slamming on your head. Steamrollering riffage and the great vokills of Piotr. The Polish deliver the ultimate deathkill.
24. Disinfect - Screams of Pleasure
Regular brutal death but very well played and executed. Solid beating is what these guys deliver in a pinpoint crisp production.
23. Pathology - Age of Onset
Pathological and clinical death metal. Well played and very clinical execution. A touch monotonous but still a very brutal album and decent production as well.
22. Ignominious Incarceration - Of Winter Born
UK melodic tech death with some breakdowns but mainly a top class melodic tech death band. Great production too and very tight riffing to sink your teeth into.
21. Debauchery - Rockers and War
Part death and part rock but still with death metal vocals but just a whole lot of fun in my eyes. I enjoy both dimensions of the band.
20. Blood Red Throne - Souls Of Damnation
Mostly top class death metal with the odd black metal blast. The band is very professional sounding with a pristine production. Chunky and fast riffage with memorable tunes.
19. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Oracles
Symphonic technical brutal death from Italy. It reminds me of last year's Posthumous Blasphemer album in scope. The sound is think and very crisp with layer upon layer of music. Interesting expansive epic death metal.
18. Never - Back to the Front
Thrashy melodic death metal very much aping Arch Enemy with a few Death riffs mixed in. The solos and production are also very epic. There is not much difference between this and the Decadence album. If you like one you'll like the other.
17. Man Must Die - No Tolerance For Imperfection
A huge leap in quality for this Scottish band this time. The drum work on this album is the best I've heard all year. The riffing ain't shabby either!
16. Decadence - Chargepoint
Only recently heard this but it deserves it's position and could be higher with further plays. Melodic thrashy death somewhere between Arch Enemy and Death. The guitar work and solos are so polished and melodic that on that basis alone they make the list.
15. God Dethroned - Passiondale
After a couple of mediocre releases they returned to form in a big way this time with this concept album about World War One. Very interesting musical passages in this album.
14. Cerebrum - Spectrum Extravagance
One of the year's best tech death releases. Nice production and ever changing riffs. Good stuff.
13. Parallaxis - Psychotronic Poetry
A Death influenced band that never speeds up at all. The riffing and grooving is very impressive. The dual vocal style is ok but the guttural cricket churps are a bit lame in my opinion.
12. Gorod - Process of a New Decline
A step down from the brilliant leading Vision but still one of the best tech death bands in the world today.
11. Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave
Raging hard like they were at the start of their career. The songs are as vicious as ever and the older they get the angrier they get. Napalm are also the only band who mixes punk and hardcore within the death metal framework and makes it sound damn good. Long live Napalm Death!
10. Scar Symmetry - Dark Matter Dimensions
This band is very loosely termed death metal but heck they still make it in as this is hands down a great record. The melodic vocals are top class and very catchy whilst the music stays true to their previous efforts. Great band and a great album after the loss of their charismatic singer.
9. Angel of Disease - Hypercube
Death worship band delivers a great effort here. Melodic riffs ala Chuck aplenty. Production could have been better and the vocals are a touch annoying but it can be overlooked.
8. Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague
The Corpse continues delivering the killing death metal. Perhaps featuring a slightly less catchy style than the Kill album. Still a great production as always and Corpsegrinder does the business on the mic.
7. Requiem - Infiltrate Obliterate Dominate
A big surprise with this band delivering a great death metal album. The playing is top notch as is the production. The music is simple but executed with great precision. Top class death metal!
6. Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre
I wasn't sure about the Pestilence at first. Like many people, I was expecting more technical music but having put those expectations aside, I found a top notch death metal album with a massive sound. A number of the songs are very catchy indeed in their repetition of simple pounding riffs and bestial roars from Mameli. This album grew on me loads and hence it's high placing in the top ten.
5. Insidious Decrepancy - Extirpating Omniscient Certitude
A one man slamming tech death machine that goes by the name of Insidious Decrepancy! The riffs on this beast of a record are very damn groovy and catchy indeed. Even though a drum machine is utilised, the sound is very acceptable and real drums are not missed. The production has room for improvement but the mix between mosh slams and tech blasts is perfect on this record.
4. Obscura - Cosmogenesis
The Necrophagist spin off band finally released their slab of crazy technical death metal and it wasn't disappointing in the least. It had a whole host of crazy riffage and a polished sound. In the absence of the kings of tech death, Necrophagist, Obscura took the bull by the horns and delivered the goods.
3. Bone Gnawer - Feast of Flesh
The year's best old school death metal album by a mile and it had stiff competition! Rogga Jonnson and Massacre Legend Kam Lee really outdid themselves on this release. Rogga is the king of old scool death and he really pulled out all the stops this time. The songs are simplistic as hell but both the production and catchiness is through the roof. I hope they make another Bone Gnawer record although I know they have already made The Grotesquery album which I haven't heard yet.
2. Mindwork - Into The Swirl
Out of the Czech Republic comes the world's best Cynic worship band. They really deliver a great sounding record. There are also some Death riffs but a lot of Cynic vibe by and large. The underground in death metal is where some of the best music resides and this proves it.
1. Dismal Lapse - Eon Fragmentation
This is a major surprise for me. My favourite death metal album of the year is by Dismal Lapse and I sure as hell wasn't expecting something this good that's for sure. The technical aspect has increased tremendously since their reasonable EP from 2008 and the production values have shot through the roof. Everything about this release is awesome. I love the aggression on the vocals and the superbly sharp clinical guitar riffs. A juggernaut of a record in a slightly pedestrian year for death metal.