From its creation in the mid 1980’s, death metal was slowly rising in popularity. Taking the formula for thrash metal and increasing its extremity and in many cases its technicality, death metal is to this day one of metal’s most popular sub genres. One of the best years for the genre was 1991, a year where many now classic albums were released. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this year, Anthony decided to point out his ten favorite death metal albums of 1991, with six honorable mentions due to the year just having so many. Also check out his list on the Top Ten Thrash Albums of 1986.
Unleashed – Where No Life Dwells
1991 saw many quality releases from Sweden, with Unleashed’s debut being no exception. While a lot of death metal bands were focusing on horror and gore themed lyrics, Unleashed went more for themes like ancient battles and Norse mythology. With catchy low tuned riffs, distinct vocals and drums that remind you of viking battles, this is the band’s finest hour.
Convulse – World Without God
Like Sweden, Finland also had many great players in the genre. Here on their debut, Convulse brings a heavy, dark and punky take on the genre. 25 years later and this album is still one of Finland’s best metal records and has some of the most memorable riffs out there.
Asphyx – The Rack
After leaving pioneering death metal band Pestilence, vocalist Martin Van Drunen would go on to join Asphyx. This record was the world’s first real taste of the band’s doomy, raw, primitive style which the band dubs “Death the brutal way”.
Atheist – Unquestionable Presence
Florida’s Atheist helped pioneer tech-death on their 1989 debut album, Piece of Time. On this sophomore release, the band pushed the genre’s limits even further by adding in influences from Latin music as well as jazz fusion like song structures. This release still remains the best Atheist album to date.
Grave – Into The Grave
Another helping from Sweden, Grave’s debut is one of the scene’s most iconic albums. Bringing on a simple yet brutal approach, this album has influenced countless others, including the Chicago band Mordatorium.
Immolation – Dawn of Possession
Hailing from Yonkers, New York comes yet another iconic debut album. Immolation brings us one of the bleakest and most haunting death metal albums of all time. While the band would find their sound more on their later albums, this album is still one of their best and shows a different side to them.
Carcass – Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious
Carcass spent the 1980’s playing death metal influenced grindcore. Here on their third album, Carcass decided to go in a more death metal direction. The album featured more technicality as well as melodic riff age that foreshadows the style change that would be later seen on the next album, Heartwork. The album remains one of their best and is a good bridge between the grindcore and melodeath eras of Carcass.
Dismember – Like an Ever flowing Stream
While Sweden has spawned many great death metal releases, none of them have ever come close to topping Dismember’s debut. This record took a style that acts such as Carnage, Entombed, and Merciless started and perfected it. Well written lyrics, distinct vocals, great buzz saw guitar tone, and a very fitting use of melody all pave this album. Everything one could want from a Swedish death metal album is all here.
Morbid Angel – Blessed are the Sick
This sophomore effort is known for creating the band’s signature sound. The album is slow paced, though contains some very fast riffs and has overtones from goth and classical music. This style would follow the band on most later releases.
Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten
Released the same year as their killer EP, Human Waste, this album is a landmark release for death metal. At the time the scene was dominated by the likes of band’s like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Obituary. With Frank Mullen’s deep vocals, Mike Smith’s intense drumming and influences ranging from jazz fusion to grind core, this release brought new elements to the genre’s table and is considered one of the first releases in the tech-death sub genre.
Autopsy – Mental Funeral
Bolt Thrower – War Master
Death – Human
Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth
Entombed – Clandestine
Malevolent Creation – Ten Commandments