Or, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Review the Underrated Death Metal Albums."
Ok, so I've been digging and playing a lot of stuff recently, and rather than drag things out I'm just going to throw a pile of what I think are underrated death metal albums out there all at once. I've bypassed a few of these out of concern that they might be better known than I think they are, but in the end I guess that's ok. If somebody is introduced to something new and interesting, then it will be fine if several of my selections here are familiar to other readers. I'll attach more *s to the ones that stand out to me as something special, but don't interpret getting just one * as meaning the album is bad. If I thought it were bad, it wouldn't be on this list at all. Also, I haven't added an album by The Chasm because I can't decide on which one to choose, so even though they're not on the list, definitely check them out if you get the chance.
This is really a fantastic Swedish death metal record, and it's one that just doesn't get enough attention. Unfortunately for Gorement, despite the fact that they formed in 1989, the same year as Swedish death greats Entombed, it was not until 1994 that they finally released their lone full-length album. Had it come just a few years earlier, this record would stand proudly beside Left Hand Path, Into The Grave, and Like An Ever Flowing Stream as a great pillar of Swedish death metal, but instead it has been relegated to relative obscurity.
(Special thanks to METALLATTORNEY for this one.) Apophis are a brilliant German death metal band with an Egyptian theme. Before you start screaming "Nile!" I should point out that Apophis came first, and in my opinion they are better. I should note, though, that they don't dive full-bore into the Egyptian instrumentation and everything, so in ways they are related to ancient Egyptian metal the same way Amon Amarth are to Viking metal.
This was released relatively recently, in 2006. Repugnant are a Swedish group who pull influences from throughout the long tradition of Swedish death metal, and they combine those influences with a thrashy approach that makes this feel simultaneously "old school" and totally fresh. I deeply hope they get signed again so they can release a new album before the magic totally fades.
Finland's Demigod released this debut album in 1992. It's a small step removed from the classic Swedish albums from just a year or two before, and the influence of those records is quite evident here. Still, this is a product of a time when that sound was still fresh, and the overall sound of the record is excellent.
A somewhat forgotten death metal group from Pennsylvania, Rottrevore released a couple EPs but just one full-length, in 1993. This is good, brutal American death metal from before the flood of Suffocation clones totally clogged the arteries of that particular sub-genre.
Surprisingly, for a band with such a horrible name, Vomitory have been one of the more consistently strong death metal groups in Sweden for years. It's my opinion that 2002's Blood Rapture is their strongest outing so far, but honestly they have 7 albums out and I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them.
1990's Dark Recollections could almost be considered the first Dismember album. Dismember had temporarily disbanded, and three of the members took up residence in Carnage, with Michael Amott on guitars. Amott left for Carcass after this release, and Dismember reformed, permanently laying Carnage to rest. With that bit of background, though, you can pretty much guess what this sounds like.
This Dutch group has been around since 1987, and this was their sophomore release. Slower, grinding riffs and a few fairly long songs give this a slightly doomy feel, and the raspy vocals remind me of early Malevolent Creation. I somehow suspect that this will be one of the releases more people know, so I'll leave it at that.
Ok, this is one definitely leans in a doom direction. It's also one of the few death metal groups to have a woman in a central founding role in Jill McEntee (wife of Incantation's John McEntee, who has taken over guitar duties). Festering Earth was their only album, released in 2003. It's slow, heavy, and kind of groovy sounding.
It's hard to dig into the death metal vaults without overloading on Swedes, so here is yet another offering from the land to the north. Released in 1992, this is a good, solid entry that does pretty much what you would expect a good death metal album from early '90s Sweden to do. There's nothing wrong with that.
Some others to look at if you just feel like digging:
Screams of Anguish*
Plunge Into Oblivion*