Death metal has been particularly healthy this year in the world of the Killchain. I’ve heard some storming releases, and to whittle it down to only ten seems unfair to the many great records I heard this year. I’m genuinely sorry to anyone I’ve reviewed that hasn’t made it in, because I’ve been totally into almost everything I’ve been sent! But it has to be done, and this is it!
10. Tormention – Chaotic Delusions: A solid, chunky death metal riff war machine of a record. Who needs to reinvent the wheel when the wheel has rarely sounded this good. Tormention crush and batter you into submission.
9. Kataklysm – Of Ghosts and Gods: Superb guitar harmonies mesh with a bombardment of double kicks, guttural but understandable roars and flesh searing riffs. Kataklysm may be getting a bit more melodic, but ‘Of Ghosts and Gods’ will still destroy a pit at ten feet.
8. Desecresy – Stoic Death: A slow, grinding album of Finnish death supreme, where speed has been traded in for a malevolent drudge through some of the darkest waters. Unholy, crawling chaos.
7. Putrevore – Tentacles of Horror: Probably my favourite of all Rogga Johansson’s releases this year, Putrevore smash you into the ground with pure, gurgling death metal. Viciously sludgy and with a simply awesome guitar tone, Putrevore slay.
6. Austerymn – Sepulcrum Viventium: A killer debut of pure Swedeath worship, the UK’s answer to Dismember pulled out all the stops to create a memorably brutal record with razor sharp song writing and crushing heaviness.
5. Obituary – Inked in Blood: Legends fade over time, but Obituary don’t. Still as strong today as they were when they dropped ‘Slowly We Rot’. Iconic vocal belches pepper an album built on heavy as fuck riffing and an atmosphere of reeking death.
4. Abyssus – Into the Abyss: Out Obituary-ing Obituary is no mean feat, but Greek death metal squad Abyssus manage to create one of the finest Floridian death metal albums never to come out of Morrisound. I love the raw, uncompromisingly 90s feel about it, taking me back to the heady days when death metal was a little bit more simple!
3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: Filling the Bolt Thrower shaped void in my life, Shrapnel Storm has spun more often than I ever thought it could this year. The band just execute a brand of deathly groove that is totally addictive. The rumble of tanks is alive and well
2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: Spiralling tech death metal with oodles of melody and stunning fretwork. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ is one of metal’s finest debuts, and is held off the top spot by one of death metal’s most influential and untouchable bands.
1.Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: Flailing, raging technicality meets the ancient power of the pyramids once again as Nile emerge from their tombs, laying upon us another blueprint of apocalyptic, ancient death. Once again proving that they are the greatest death metal outfit going, ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ is endlessly stunning.