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Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet: Death Metal

by Chuck Eddy

Cheat Sheet: Death Metal


More or less invented and/or exhumed (by a band called Death, naturally) in the sweltering swamps of Florida in the mid-'80s though perhaps anticipated by any number of violently thrashing ensembles in Switzerland, Germany, the north of England and the San Francisco Bay before then death metal takes ugliness to an extreme. Since its inception, it has occasionally got a smidgen more melodic, technical or grindcorelicious, yet it is still primarily comprised of bands named for autopsies, carcasses, obituaries and deicides. They growl like scary monsters (and not so you can make out many lyrics) about toxic garbage, bloody gore, internal bleeding, broken hands, dehydration and all manner of great green gobs of regurgitated monkey guts. And oh yeah: suffocation! Lots and lots of suffocation. Death-metal bands love that! Here are some to know.