Five For Friday: Death Metal 2023

Season’s greetings, Decibel readers!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And no, I’m not talking about Christmas!

It’s that magical time where I get to exploit a glaring loophole in being the new-releases columnist at Decibel by mouthing off about my personal choices for the best albums of the year. This week’s edition focuses on death metal. Those of you looking for black metal can report back next week. (As for doom metal, just check out Tribunal and you’re pretty much covered.)

Yet again, it was a great year for death metal. Though let’s face it, the sheer volume of new releases guarantees that every year will be a good year for death metal as long as there’s a demanding audience ready for more. Additionally, the plethora of material also means that some essential albums go missing from Decibel‘s Top 40 list, as it would take a list of 200 or so to account for the very best albums across all styles. Therefore, the list below includes four albums that were not included in this year’s list, which may satisfy some of you who cried: “What!? No Dying Fetus!?” For example.

Oh, and I included Obituary as well. They made it onto the Top 40 list, but who cares. You can never go wrong with including Obituary.


Disguised Malignance – Entering the Gateways

God damn, this record is so heavy. But the Finnish band isn’t simply stringing together triggered drum samples and slapping some chords on top. Disguised Malignance operates with the highest standards of death metal craftsmanship, making every arrangement exciting and engaging for the listener. Entering the Gateways simply produces endless moments that make you go “Hell yea!” and make lots of ugly facial expressions and declarative hand motions. One of the most promising death metal bands out there, and especially since they have Prosthetic Records in their corner.

Stream: Apple Music

ENTERING THE GATEWAYS by Disguised Malignance

Dying Fetus – Make Them Beg For Death

Perhaps the most “fun” album on this list. As I’ve said elsewhere, a Dying Fetus album operates like a classic slasher-flick franchise. The band continues to function much like it has since 2012’s Reign Supreme: crunchy but clear guitars, punchy rhythms, and those subterranean gutturals that make it clear who you’re listening to. Break out the popcorn.

Stream: Apple Music

Make Them Beg For Death by Dying Fetus

Majesties – Vast Reaches Unclaimed

Yes, yes, I know, this isn’t “death metal” in the same sense as the other albums here. And I suppose I could have contorted things enough to put this on the black metal list next week. But you know what? I think it makes more sense to have it here. This is essentially original-logo In Flames and The Gallery-era Dark Tranquility channeled through the spirit of Obsequiae and Inexorum, and it absolutely rules. Each listen brings new riffs to discover, delivered in the shiny gleam that will be familiar to Obsequiae fans. Return to the realm behind space.

Stream: Apple Music

Vast Reaches Unclaimed by Majesties

Obituary – Dying of Everything

Call me crazy, but I actually think John Tardy’s vocals have gotten better with age. Or perhaps he’s just honed and perfected his attack over time to where it just sounds natural and effortless. And perhaps that’s a fitting metaphor for Obituary in general, effortlessly producing groovy, no-frills death metal with every new release.

Stream: Apple Music

Dying of Everything by Obituary

Plague Bearer – Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation

As alphabetical luck would have it, we come to my favorite death metal album of the year. Here’s what I said about this album back in March: “Have you ever wished Drawn and Quartered had a sharper, more black-metal inspired sound? And have you ever wished they would talk a little less about dying from diseases and more about chopping angels’ heads off. Well, I agree!” Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation accomplishes what few albums still can in 2023: it revives many of the tropes of death metal and black metal, and manages to make them sound fresh, thrilling and terrifying again. If that sounds exciting to you, listen to this album right now, and check out my interview with the band to learn more.

Stream: Apple Music

Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation by Plague Bearer

The post Five For Friday: Death Metal 2023 appeared first on Decibel Magazine.

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