Death is a legendary band with an impressive discography filled with good songs, so it’s a hard task to rank the 20 best Death songs. I like all the eras, but my special poison is the mid-period from “Human” to “Symbolic”. These are my top 20 best Death songs. Let’s start the countdown!
Disclaimer: I’m going to be a bit of a bitch and post my cover versions of said Death songs, if they are on the list.
About the author
I’m Stefan Nordström, an aspiring musician and content creator. This is one of the ways I promote Desolator, my old school death metal band. If you’re searching for new music in the style, it would be awesome if you listened to my stuff on:
20. “Spirit Crusher” (The Sound of Perseverance, 1998)
One of the first song I heard by the band and the first Death song to get stuck in my head. At that point I didn’t know about the magic of the rest of the discography.
19. “Scream Bloody Gore” (Scream Bloody Gore, 1987)
The title track is probably the song that best embodies Death’s primitive debut. Below is the brutalized cover version from my death metal band Ending Quest.
18. “Defensive Personalities” (Spiritual Healing, 1990)
The riffing in this one is extremely catchy and showed signs of the technical territory the band was heading next.
17. “Flesh and the Power it Holds” (The Sound of Perseverance, 1998)
“The Sound of Perseverance” is an album bloated with ideas and technicality, but in the end there are some really good tracks on there. I love the intro riff on this one, and it’s overall chock-filled with interesting guitar parts.
16. “Mentally Blind” (Individual Thought Patterns, 1993)
The combination of melody and vocals on the chorus of this is instantly memorable. There’s also some amazing rhythm section work in this one.
15. “Sacred Serenity” (Symbolic, 1995)
One of the weaker songs on “Symbolic”, but still a great one. Sweet mix of simple grooves and advanced lead guitars.
14. “The Philosopher” (Individual Thought Patterns, 1993)
Truly one of the signature Death songs, featuring a main riff that’s impossible to ignore. Gene Hoglan’s wacky drumming is the icing on the already delicious cake.
13. “Living Monstrosity” (Spiritual Healing, 1990)
Catchy, thrashy song from my least favorite Death album. It has hooks and a late 80’s vibe that’s irresistable for me.
12. “Lack of Comprehension” (Human, 1991)
Blazing technicality drives this classic Death song where the Cynic members really come into play.
11. “Zero Tolerance” (Symbolic, 1995)
The main theme in this one is another Death riff that’s impossible to forget.
Death full-length studio discography
- Scream Bloody Gore, 1987
- Leprosy, 1988
- Spiritual Healing, 1990
- Human, 1991
- Individual Thought Patterns, 1993
- Symbolic, 1995
- The Sound of Perseverance, 1998
10. “Empty Words” (Symbolic, 1995)
One of the first Death songs I liked with that irresistable mix of simple, memorable riffs and blazing technical prowess.
9. “Leprosy” (Leprosy, 1988)
I could have chosen a bunch of tracks from “Scream Bloody Gore” or “Leprosy” here, but the title track from “Leprosy” is one of the ultimate proto-death metal tunes. It’s catchy, trashy and set a high standard for death metal to come.
8. “Symbolic” (Symbolic, 1995)
The title track from “Symbolic” has a lot of geniously simple signature riffs mixed in with the more complex parts. It’s a good introduction to the lighter, more progressive Death sound on the “Symbolic” record.
7. “Suicide Machine” (Human, 1991)
Death is not a band that you associate with crippling heaviness, but “Suicide Machine” sure brings it before it explodes in a fast technical death metal assault.
6. “Overactive Imagination” (Individual Thought Patterns, 1993)
Flashy technicality combined with catchy songwriting, like most awesome Death songs. Not as popular as the hits from the album, but I find myself liking it more than most of them.
5. “1,000 Eyes” (Symbolic, 1995)
A rhythmically complex, melodic song with emotional melodies. Another song that perfectly combines technicality and memorable songwriting.
4. “Flattening of Emotions” (Human, 1991)
Similar to “Suicide Machine” in the way that it sounds more heavy and punishing than Death usually does.
3. “Without Judgement” (Symbolic, 1995)
Filled with action-packaged riffage and progressive breaks. Below is my YouTube of this awesome song.
2. “Crystal Mountain” (Symbolic, 1995)
One of the band’s most famous songs, and also one of their best. Catchy, melodic and filled with quality lead guitar sections.
1. “Trapped in a Corner” (Individual Thought Patterns, 1993)
This song has about 15 riffs that I would describe as “signature riffs”, as well as a chorus that is as technically marvelous as it is catchy. Legendary song!