Multiple underground music scenes, such as punk, use their music to articulate how they feel about social and political issues. Death metal not only does that, but the lyrics can have topics such as slasher film horror, science fiction, religion, and mythology. Accompanied by aggressive drumming, key and tempo changes, and deep, sometimes growling vocals; death metal is anything but boring.
The genre started around the mid-1980s, with bands Venom, Slayer, Celtic Frost, and Kreator being the inspirations for its creation. Those bands are defined as thrash metal, which is what death metal evolved from.
The first wave bands were Possessed, Death, Morbid Angel, Necrophagia, Autopsy, and Obituary.
There are many theories about who created the genre, with the most popular theory being Possessed’s 1984 demo Death Metal, which would later appear on their debut album, Seven Churches. The band’s vocalist/bassist, Jeff Becerra, made the term for an English assignment in 1983. Other possible origins are a magazine called Death Metal, the name was also used for a compilation released by Noise Records, and Death by Metal, which is a demo released in 1984 by Death.
The genre’s three most important record labels are Earache Records, Roadrunner Records, and Relativity Records.
Deathmetal’s peak was from 1992-1993, with bands Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse having mild commercial success. The genre never went mainstream, remaining underground.
In this relatively small music scene, it is essential to have different types of representation. When going to deathmetal shows, I am always disappointed by the small number of women and non-binary people in the crowd and on the stage. Below are four female-fronted band recommendations that you will hopefully fall in love with, and inspire you to join the scene.
This Swedish death metal band formed in 1995, is considered a supergroup because the members were previously in other popular metal bands. The original lead singer, Johan Liiva, was replaced by Angela Gossow in 2000.
In 2014, Angela Gossow stepped down from her position to focus on motherhood and become the band’s manager. She recommended Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist to replace her, who is still a member.
Arch Enemy has released 10 albums so far, with their latest, called Deceivers, being released on July 29th, 2022
Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, the band was formed in 2010 by all women. Even though they have had a lot of lineup changes, the positions are still filled by women. The one constant member is the guitarist, Prika Amaral.
Nervosa has released one EP and four studio albums, with their latest release being Perpetual Chaos (2021).
Abnormality is from Boston, Massachusetts, formed in 2005. The original lineup were all from various metal bands before the formation. Although they went through a few lineup changes, the frontwoman Mallika Sundaramurthy, had been there since the beginning.
They have released a total of three studio albums and two EPs, the latest release being Sociopathic Constructs in 2019.
Butcher Babies was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2010. The band has not one, but two frontwomen, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey.
They have released three studio albums and two EPs. In January 2019, the band posted on their Instagram about a fourth studio album, but the title and release date are still unknown. Their latest release is a single called Bottom of the Bottom (2020).