The 80s were a great time for Death Metal since it was a part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with bands like Venom, Iron Maiden, and many others.
The genre was not too mainstream yet so underground Death Metal bands were able to get on big record labels like Combat Records and Earache Records and release some of the greatest albums ever. Below I have listed some of the best death metal bands from the 80s.
Death is an American death metal band from Orlando, Florida. They are considered one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal.
Along with Possessed, Death is also responsible for laying down the foundation for what would become the death metal genre.
They started as Mantas in 1983 by guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner. In 1984 they changed their name to Death after Schuldiner left Mantas to form his band, naming it after his previous group.
They released their debut album ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ in 1987 which is widely considered a landmark album in the development of the death metal scene as well as being one of the most influential albums in heavy metal history and is considered by many as one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.
Death then went on to release several more albums including ‘Leprosy’, ‘Human’, ‘Spiritual Healing’, and ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ before Schuldiner’s death in 2001.
Possessed is an American death metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. They were formed in 1983 by Jeff Becerra (guitar), Mike Torrao (bass), and Larry LaLonde (guitar) while they were still in high school.
Soon after their formation they recruited drummer Mike Sus and vocalist/lyricist Glen Benton and started writing songs with Jeff as the main songwriter. The band released two demos in 1985 but soon after that Mike left the band to form a new band named Sacrifice which would, later on, feature Chuck Schuldiner on guitar.
Possessed then recruited drummer Mike Miner and started working on their debut album ‘Seven Churches’ which was released through Metal Blade Records in 1987.
Possessed then released several more albums such as ‘Beyond The Gates’, ‘Beyond Sanity’, and ‘Eyes Of Horror’ before breaking up in 1988. In 2014 Possessed reformed and announced they would be releasing a new album ‘The Eyes Of Horror’ through Century Media Records.
Death Strike is an American death metal band from Los Angeles, California. Death Strike was formed in 1986 by Rob Urbinati (guitar) and Eric Brecht (drums) when they decided to start playing death metal after becoming inspired by the early works of Possessed, Death, and Morbid Angel.
They then recruited bassist Craig Smilowski who knew guitarist Rob from his previous band Siege. They released their debut album ‘Remnants of War’ through Relapse Records in 1987 but soon after that Craig left the band and was replaced by Mike Smail who joined them just in time to record the follow-up ‘Unclean Spirits’ in 1989.
Death Strike then started work on their third album ‘Into The Grave’ when they added Mike Brown as a second guitarist/backing vocalist since they had been getting offers to play live shows around that time.
Shortly after the release of the album bassist Mike Smail left the band and was replaced by Henry Vasquez Jr., guitarist Rob Urbinati also left the band and was replaced by Scott Entwistle, and drummer Eric Brecht left the band as well due to a lack of interest in playing death metal and was replaced by Shaun Glass. Death Strike then released their fourth album ‘Fatal Intervention’ in 1996 before breaking up in 1997.
Death Breath is an American death metal band from Seattle, Washington. They were formed in 2004 by Brian Izzi (guitar) after he had left his previous band Impaled.
They started working on their debut album ‘Sonic Scars’ right away which was released through Relapse Records in 2005. The band has also released a split album with Nuclear Hellfrost entitled ‘The Curse That Is…’ and two more full-length albums called ‘The Evil Shred’ and ‘War Master’. The band is currently working on their fifth full-length album which will be titled “Battlefields Of Asura”.
Deeds Of Flesh:
Deeds Of Flesh are an American technical death metal band from San Jose, California that formed in 1994 when Seth Putnam decided to start a new project after the breakup of his previous band, Cannibal Corpse.
They released their debut album ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’ in 1996 which was followed up by the albums ‘When Legends Become Dust’, ‘Burning The Ballast’, and ‘Portals To Canaan’.
The band has gone through a lot of lineup changes but they are currently working on a new album called ‘Axis Mundi’.
Necrophagia is an American death metal band from New York City that formed in 1983 when guitarist Todd German saw the movie ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and fell in love with it so much that he decided to start writing death metal songs about the movie.
They released their debut album ‘Season Of The Dead’ in 1985 which featured various actors from the movie acting out different scenes from the movie for each song on the album. The band has released several other albums such as ‘Holocausto De La Morte’, ‘Season Of The Dead’, ‘The Divine Art Of Torture’, and ‘WhiteWorm Cathedral’.
Autopsy is a San Francisco-based death metal band that formed in 1986 and released its debut album ‘Severed Survival’ in 1989.
They are best known for exactly imitating the sound of a dead body being cut open on their album ‘Mental Funeral’ (1991). Their music is also known for having an extremely slow pace and a dark gothic atmosphere.
The band has released 7 more albums since then including ‘Acts Of The Unspeakable’, ‘Macabre Eternal’, and ‘Tourniquets Hacksaws & Graves’.