This is my countdown of the best Death albums. Death is one of my favorite bands and one of my biggest musical influences. The band created everything from primal 80’s death metal to instrumentally impressive progressive metal. I’ve played and covered many of their songs. I’ve already done a list of the best Death songs, so I figure I’ll follow it up with this: a list of the best Death albums from best to worst.
Small disclaimer: Of course, there is no worst Death album. In fact they’re all awesome!
About the author
- Stefan Nordström
- Musician, songwriter, content creator, digital freelancer
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Bands: Desolator, Soliloquium, Ending Quest, Ashes of Life, Trees of Daymare, The Ashen Tree
- Social: Instagram | YouTube
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
Death albums ranked from best to worst
Enough presentation and background, here’s my ranking of the best Death albums!
7. “Spiritual Healing” (1990)
“Spiritual Healing” is often mentioned as the most underrated Death album. I agree that it’s a quality disc, but it’s still my least favorite. The style is somewhere between thrashy “Leprosy” and progressive “Human”, without really competing with either of them in terms of songwriting. My favorite song from “Spiritual Healing” is the thrashy, catchy opening track “Living Monstrosity”.
6. The Sound of Perseverance (1998)
Rightfully criticized for its instrumental indulgence, but I can’t deny that it’s a great record. Songs like “Spirit Crusher” and “Flesh and the Power It Holds” have been staples in my playlist for years. Chuck’s hoarse vocals may not be at their best, but some of the riffs and hooks are still downright fantastic. There is also a new emotional tone in the guitar playing, culminating in instrumental “Voice of the Soul”.
5. “Leprosy” (1988)
The opening track is an immortal Death classic, and there’s more value on the disc as well. Not as raw as the debut “Scream Bloody Gore, but it features some very cool death/thrash moves typical for the time period. Chuck’s vocals are in top form on “Leprosy” and the songs are highly headbangable.
4. “Scream Bloody Gore” (1987)
“Scream Bloody Gore” set a lot of standards for death metal. It’s also one hell of a brutal and animalistic album from a young band. The songs are extremely primal and simple, but the hooks are very well-written. I’ve had each of the songs on my head at least once. “Zombie Ritual” and “Evil Dead” are the most famous tracks, but I favour “Baptized in Blood”, “Beyond the Unholy Grave” and the title track. Check out my collaboration cover of “Baptized in Blood” below.
3. “Individual Thought Patterns” (1993)
An album both technical and catchy at the same time, “Individual Thoughts Patterns” features Death classics like “Trapped in a Corner”, “The Philosopher” and “Overactive Imagination”. The guitarwork is ridicilously good, both in terms of riffs and leads. It’s also hard to ignore a rhythm section consisting of Gene Hoglan and Steve DiGiorgio.
2. “Human” (1991)
“Human” features the rhythm section from progressive death giants Cynic and takes the technical side of Death to a new level. It’s really as much of a progressive metal album as it is a death metal album. “Human” is filled with punishing riffs and creative rhythms. This is topped off by big, catchy hooks. I love all the tracks, but my favorites are probably “Suicide Machine”, “Lack of Comprehension” and “Flattening of Emotions”.
1. “Symbolic” (1995)
“Symbolic” features many of Death’s most classic songs and it’s still my favorite. The sound on the album is Death at its most accessible. There’s a strong progressive metal and melodic death metal influence. It also features some of Chuck’s best and most passionate lyric writing. All nine songs are fantastic, only the closing track “Perennial Quest” show some signs of slowing down. “Crystal Mountain” is the big hit from the album, but you can’t really go wrong anywhere on “Symbolic”.
If you like Death, you might like my bands
None of my bands sound a lot like Death, but the band has definitely been a big influence during my musical evolution. My two main projects are the old school death metal band Desolator and the progressive death/doom metal band Soliloquium. Check them out on your favorite music platform by following the links below. The best way to support me as a musician and content creator is to buy digital downloads or merch from Bandcamp.