“Underrated” is a strange word to use in death metal, because there’s not a ton of overrated bands in the genre.

We won’t get too into the depths with this list… there’s a million good death metal albums to randomly stumble across on YouTube. These albums, in our opinion, just deserve to be thought of in a little higher regard. Check ’em out.

One and done… that’s the story of Miasma. In 1992, this Austrian band released the demonic and vicious Changes. Miasma’s sole album is old school death metal at its finest — fat riffs and disgusting production with gutturals straight from the abyss. It’s a somewhat messy exercise in death metal tropes, but it’s got the perfect feel of a bunch of young, greasy longhairs in a basement trying to make the most brutal shit possible.  

Crimson this, Crimson II that, Abraham hit me with a wiffle ball bat. Did y’all forget about about Edge of Sanity’s BEST album? Before Dan Swanö went down the concept album route, he made one of the most incredible death metal albums of the ‘90s with The Spectral Sorrows. It’s pure Swedish death metal supremacy, ripe with that chainsaw guitar tone we can’t get enough of. It’s just phenomenally solid the whole way through.

Let’s get into melodeath territory. How is this band not as big as Insomnium or Amorphis? In Vain’s 2013 album Ænigma has such gigantic hooks, especially when it comes to clean vocal parts. The chorus on “Against the Grain” is a gorgeous serotonin booster with angelic backing vocals, “Hymne Til Havet” has some of the most beautiful Norwegian folk singing you’ll ever hear, and In Vain even throw in some sexy saxophone on the album’s closing track. Stop sleeping on this band!

Here’s some good ol’ fashioned gore. Another hidden gem from the 1990s, MorbiusAlienchrist feels like it exists in liminal space. It’s like a drug-induced spiritual awakening with the most pitter-pattery kick drums in history. It works, though. The playing on Alienchrist switches between tastefully loose and insanely in-the-pocket, especially on tracks like “Ghosts” and “Doomcry.” If you like hearing your death metal bands jam out, listen to Morbius

From one of death metal’s founding bands, Necrophagia’s Season of the Dead deserves way more praise than it gets. It’s both raw as fuck and musically sophisticated, sharing a similar blueprint to Death’s Scream Bloody Gore. It’s important to note that Season of the Dead came out several months before Scream Bloody Gore, and arguably has more interesting instrumentation than King Chuck’s debut. This was seriously ahead of its time.

Kälter never hid their worship of early-era Children of Bodom. Starting off as a Bodom cover band, Kälter ended up filling Alexi Laiho’s neoclassical void when he brought Bodom into their Blooddrunk / RRF era. Spiritual Angel is packed full of gorgeous shredding, killer keyboards and even some indigenous percussion similar to Gojira. If you want to hear the best Children of Bodom album Alexi Laiho never wrote, here it is.

Tech death has been getting its mojo back recently, and if you’re a serious tech death nerd, First Fragment‘s Glorie Éternelle is the album you need. The bass work alone is enough to get your veins throbbing, but beyond the music theory geekery of this record is legitimate brutality. This record has what it takes to bridge the gap between purists and casuals.

If Bloodbath’s Breeding Death EP is comparable to Suffocation’s Human Waste, then Unblessing the Purity is Bloodbath’s Despise the Sun. This EP is just so fucking good, so incredibly brutal and fun to listen to. But most importantly, it captures the very peak of Mikael Akerfeldt’s guttural vocal abilities. Unblessing the Purity is a vulgar display of Swedishness. 

Diskord’s Degenerations is one of those records that makes you think, “Hmmm, I didn’t know death metal did that.” Everything about Degenerations is slightly off-putting, like a Dario Argento movie. It’s uncommon in the best way… the guitar tone is weird, the use of a cowbell is weird, the cross-sections of vocals are weird. The only thing that makes sense here is that Colin Marston mixed and mastered the album. Phenomenal stuff all around. 

I’m just gonna leave this here. I told you once, but I will say it again — you’re a butthole if you hate on this album. It’s a god damn masterpiece and will always be too underrated.

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