The Top 10 Death Metal Albums Of The Last 10 Years
Weeks ago a loyal reader asked us to get him hip to the hottest sounds in modern death metal. Here at the Toilet ov Hell, we are nothing if not service-y. These are the 10 best death metal bands released between 2008 and 2018.
Death metal is experiencing a second renaissance. How in the world could we possibly narrow down all of these great new records to just 10 future classics? To complete this Herculean task, we asked each of our Toilet ov Hell writers to submit their 10 favorite death metal records from the last 10 years. Each time a record appeared on a list it was given one point. The records with the most overlap between lists got the most points and therefore included on this prestigious list. The bottom seven records all tied with three points each. There were clear winners for the top three death metal albums. Take a look and marvel at our exquisite death metal taste.
=3. Spectral Voice
Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing 
Joe Thrashnkill: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing is the first full-length from Colorado caverns-via-cosmos death metal crew Spectral Voice. Featuring 3 out of 4 members of their top-10-death-metal-ablums-of-the-decade colleagues Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice comes with a pedigree of perfectionist death metal lifers. Where their sister band engages in intergalactic decimation, Spectral Voice is content to thoroughly, meticulously burrow through to the hollow center of our own planet. Death metal with a doom pacing is their business, and business is extremely slow. In just five tracks, Spectral Voice stretches out their riffs until the sinews snap. Eroded Corridors is a must listen for death metal fans that like it at a low BPM.
On Strange Loops 
Spear: Death metal albums that are as brainy as they are beefy are a rare breed indeed, and few are as brainy or beefy as On Strange Loops. This is an album that explores the concept of infinite recursion through both its lyrics and songwriting, doing so without feeling redundant or excessively repetitious. Leon Macey sets a nigh-inhuman pace on the drums and guitar, their ferocity matched by Rayner Coss’ roaring vocals and offset by graceful leads. It’s both progressive and brutal, and it sounds nothing like any of the bands that occupy either of those particular death metal subgenres. The beauty of this is that you can listen to it as casually or intensely as you like; whether you’re looking for a deep musical experience or some prime headbanging material, this album has you covered. There has been a lot of good death metal put out the past decade, but nothing has captivated me quite like On Strange Loops. As far as I’m concerned, this is about as close to perfect as it gets.
Leif Bearikson: Ecdysis, the process of shedding old skin, was the perfect title for the sophomore effort from Philly / South Carolina based Horrendous. Contained within it is nary a trace of the straight swedeath worship group that had released 2012’s The Chills. Instead Ecdysis tamps down the chainsaws, gives us the likes of a sprawling epic (“The Stranger”), a somber, death metal ballad equivalent (“Titan”), and a straight up 80’s cock rock instrumental (“When the Walls Fell”), and that’s not to mention the incredible production job done by the band’s own Damian Herring. Taken together it all adds up to the most important step taken by one of death metal’s finest current acts, and one of the best death metal albums to grace us in the past decade.
=3. Blood Incantation
Rolderathis: With Starspawn, Blood Incantation combine the primordial and progressive realms of death metal; it’s an album as hideous as a billion-logo long sleeve while incorporating pensive melody and winding song structures. This complexity, paired with the pristine analog production, gives songs like the “Vitrification of Blood” duology a real sense of movement (through tempos and emotions) often lacking in the genre. The band’s balance of extremity and nuanced songwriting binds Starspawn to memory; from the dissonant riff motif tying the “Vitrification…” tracks together, to the Deathly calm of “Meticulous Soul Devourment,” not a moment of the album’s 35 minutes is wasted.
=3. Artificial Brain
Labyrinth Constellation 
W: I’ve already said so, so much about Artificial Brain‘s earth-shattering debut, Labyrinth Constellation, and yet, reflecting on this record and the way it seemed to reshape the landscape of death metal, it doesn’t seem that I could ever say enough. When the Toilet ov Hell Community voted Labyrinth Constellation the best album of 2014, naysayers scoffed at our fixation on the emergent wave of weird death. Four years removed, some of those scoffers were right; the general consensus is that dissonant metal death has burnt itself out in a race to the bottom to be stranger, uglier, skronkier. And yet, Labyrinth Constellation has staying power, sounding as fresh and unique, and, well, alien as it did when it spearheaded the dissodeath resurgence. It could be the pairing of Will Smith‘s inhuman gurgles with Dan Gargiulo‘s bafflingly catchy balance of heavy and melodic riffs. It could be the otherworldly atmosphere conjured by the rhythm section’s cosmic groove. Or it could be the fact that all of the above combined to make a compelling album front to back, full of dynamic tonal shifts (“Labyrinth Constellation”‘s fury leads into the grim loneliness of “Hormone’s Echo”) and mesmerizing musicianship (the eerie, syncopated outro of “Absorbing Black Ignition” is an absolute triumph). Whatever the case, this is a great album full of great songs all full of great musicianship, packaged with an instantly memorable aesthetic and unifying cover art. Even if dissodeath is dead again, Labyrinth Constellation lives on as one of the most important records of the last ten years. Gorguts cracked the door open, but Artificial Brain tore a hole through the fabric of the universe, and there is no going back
Black Death Horizon 
Lacertilian: While not as critically praised and universally vaunted as their countrymen Execration‘s 2014 opus Morbid Dimensions, with Black Death Horizon, Obliteration penned an album with which the entire modern Norwegian death metal scene could be spearheaded. This album is the archetype for an entire scene. You simply could not pick a more complete representation of the sound emanating from the region in the modern era. Black Death Horizon perfectly encapsulates the murk-minded Autopsian lunacy, primal Hell Awaits-era Slayer-esque thrash urgency, wild soloing, and manic vocals, all while harbouring a hefty hallucinogenic haze. A truly borderline psychotic invocation of death metal’s primordial urges. To thrash. To shred. To scream. To pound. To kill.
=3. Suffering Hour
In Passing Ascension 
Lacertilian: Anyone who is surprised to see this album appear here simply mustn’t have heard it. That’s the only viable excuse for such ignorance. Suffering Hour‘s debut In Passing Ascension was #1 on both mine and Dubya’s 2017 AotY lists, ranked the TovH #1 of 2017 via indisputable scientific rigour, and the band’s lone guitarist Josh Raiken made the finals of our Most Innovative Modern Guitarist tournament solely on the back of his riffs contained within this incredible record. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s an excerpt from what Dubya had to say in his 2017 round-up, and what Sepulcrustacean had to say in his comprehensive review.
W: No single album this year captured metal’s potential like In passing Ascension. From its perplexing skronk to its brain-catching melodies, every note, every drum stroke, every growl on this record is deeply convincing, resonating with the listener on a primal, subconscious level, calling out to something deeper, more meaningful, more powerful. It’s heroic, terrifying, and catchy all at once, and once it grips you, it never lets go.
Sepulcrustacean: An ominous and surreal listen, Suffering Hour’s debut achieves the difficult task of making a complete stylistic shift and rejuvenating a style that has become empty and stagnant of late. Rather than attempting to inject external adornments and garnishing to a familiar model, they’ve sidestepped the novelty trap that plagues much of metal by simply altering the fundamental perspective with which this style can be approached. It is of course premature to state that dissonant death has been reborn, but what’s more important is that we have a new vision and voice that stands towering and tyrannical over the scattered corpses that comprise an increasingly large portion of recent death metal.
=3. The Chasm
Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm 
Sepulcrustacean: It’s no secret that I view The Chasm as death metal’s most forward thinking act, having tread a shrouded path of mysticism and introspection since the early 90’s. Yet it’s not often a band reaches into their career and does not merely become a tribute to themselves but rather, summarizes and builds upon familiar strengths and idiosyncrasies. After the classic heavy/power/thrash leanings of The Spell of Retribution, Mexico’s finest returned to their death metal roots yet simultaneously used them as a springboard to explore strange astral realms. Using a hybrid of Morbid Angel style juxtaposed riff-pairs embedded within overarching narrative structures, The Chasm gradually flesh out long and unfurling themes with over 30 years of metal history forged into a single coherent voice. Riffs borne as much from the sepulchral heart of death metal as they are its more melodic predecessors create chaptered journeys into realms as personal as the are mystical. Elaborate counterpoint interplay between Daniel Corchado and Julio Viterbo, dancing amongst powerfully evocative melodies and almost Rock In Opposition/avant-prog-esque chords, fleshes out towering compositions with a wide palette of phrasings and technique that give them a range of tonal colour rarely heard in death metal. Backing them up, drummer Julio Viterbo gives the performance of a lifetime, matching both of them fill-for-riff in a versatile blast-free performance as tasteful as it is surprisingly powerful. Yet in spite of the impressive musicianship and epic scope, it never truly feels overwhelming, a testament to Daniel’s eye for studiously rigorous composition and enforcing a supernatural order upon the bristling arsenal of riffing at his command. For those who seek the greatest revelations that can only be found in the funereal mysticism of death metal, Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm stands as perhaps its greatest achievement to date.
#2. Dead Congregation
Graves Of The Archangels 
Karhu: Graves of The Archangels hit me from out of nowhere. Carrying the claustrophobic dirge mentality of the caverncore, but with such fervor and clarity that set them apart for years to come. Their meticulously dynamic songwriting reaches for every known corner of death metal, yet refused to stay in any. The aformentioned atmosphere of caverncore is never the focal point, it’s the result of their craft, their old school sound, while refusing the revivalist tropes, borrowing brutality and locution from BDM – but contending not to remain. Unorthodox death metal from orthodox premises. Graves of The Archangels remains a religious experience.
Colored Sands 
Richter: Though I don’t revisit Colored Sands as often as I should, I owe this album a pretty bulky debt of gratitude. It was the first skronky death metal album I ever bought, and it scrambled my brain. (A scrambled brain is the minimum requirement for the enjoyment of skronk.) Truth be told, I prefer my skronk a little skankier than the crisp, mechanistic precision on display here, but — but — Colored Sands exhibits a cohesion and depth of vision that have escaped most of the bands who were inspired by it. There’s a ghostliness to modern Gorguts that is all the more precious because it is all too rare. (My CD skips and I want my money back so I can buy the digital instead.)
Lacertilian: This album is my real Dad.