10 best death-metal and deathcore albums of 2023 so far | Revolver

10 best death-metal and deathcore albums of 2023 so far

From Frozen Soul to Ov Sulfur
Frozen soul 2022 live 1600x900, Gray Muncy
Frozen Soul
photograph by Gray Muncy

If you encounter someone who thinks deathcore and death-metal are in a stale period, then they're just outright wrong. Death-metal bands like Frozen Soul and Sanguisugabogg are reinvigorating the genre with new energy and younger fans, and deathcore is in the midst of a major resurgence thanks to groups like Brand of Sacrifice and Ov Sulfur.

There's more sonic and aesthetic variety in these worlds than ever before, and the slew of great releases from the first half of 2023 demonstrate why. Below, are the 10 best deathcore and death-metal albums of the year — so far. 

The Acacia Strain - Step Into the Light

The Acacia Strain have two decades worth of chugging mosh material behind them, and they still know how to pull off a surprise. Step Into the Light — the evil twin to the doomy, three-songs-in-38-minutes Failure Will Follow — is 23 minutes of the fastest, most barreling songs they've ever written. Frontman Vincent Bennett goes toe-to-toe with Sunami's Josef Alfonso ("Sinkhole") and Chamber's Jacob Lilly ("Chain"), and otherwise dominates these sub-three-minute bursts of unholy heaviness. It's some of their best yet. 

Brand of Sacrifice - Between Death and Dreams

Between Death and Dreams feels like a glimpse into deathcore's future. Brand of Sacrifice reached the apex of their anime-inspired deathcore symphonies with 2021's Lifeblood, so the Canuck crew try some new moves on this short yet sweet four-songer. The dancey electronics and skittering breakbeats of its title-track are invigorating. The fat synth squelches of "Blinded" sound like deathcore car-chase music. The glitchy vocals in "Dynasty" sound like Born of Osiris being sucked into the matrix. And "Exodus" is just...fucking epic. 

Creeping Death - Boundless Domain

Texas' death-metal scene is making national waves right now, and Creeping Death are at its forefront. The Denton destroyers came fully into their own on this year's Boundless Domain, perfecting their fusion of knuckle-grinding death-metal, tattered thrash and bludgeoning hardcore. From the cave-dwelling atmosphere of its savage title-track and the shouty gang vocals of "The Common Breed," to the great Corpsegrinder feature on "Intestinal Wrap" and powerful production by Killswitch Engaspage's Adam Dutkiewicz, Boundless Domain is as well-crafted as it is world-ending.

Frozen Soul - Glacial Domination

Frozen Soul positioned them at the forefront of death metal's new wave with their 2021 LP, Crypt of IceGlacial Domination assures they'll stay there. The Texas band sound like every riff they play is literally encased in frozen-solid blocks of ice, adding a bulldozing weight to their burly attack that punches them a cut above other modern Bolt Thrower worshippers. Plus, the production from Trivium's Matt Heafy adds the right amount of sheen to buff up their sound out, without making it overly glossy. Grab your ice picks. 

Kruelty - Untopia

"Evil" is an adjective that gets overused in extreme-metal spaces, but there's no better way to describe the wickedly crushing sound of Kruelty. The Tokyo band earned global recognition for the earth-shattering death-doom of their 2020 album, A Dying Truth, but they only got faster and heavier on their hotly-anticipated follow-up, Untopia, which packs metallic hardcore mosh parts into their sound without surrendering the grim death-metal riffage and ghastly vocal gargles. The result? Absolutely fucking pulverizing. 

Obituary - Dying of Everything

Florida death-metal OGs Obituary have been doing the thing for nearly 40 years now, but within the first five seconds of Dying of Everything opener "Barely Alive," John Tardy's swamp-monster howl reassures any skeptical listener that they've still got the juice. The band's first LP in six years has all the tenets of a great Obituary album: pulverizing grooves, buzzsaw riffage, bog-beast atmosphere and Tardy's maniacal vocals. It doesn't hurt that "The Wrong Time" is one of the catchiest bangers in their whole repertoire.

Ov Sulfur - Burden ov Faith

Ricky Hoover's old band Suffokate were integral to deathcore's late-2000s wave, and now he's back on the genre's frontlines with Ov Sulfur. Featuring guest spots from members of Slaughter to Prevail, Left to Suffer and Bodysnatcher — not to mention ex-Killswitch crooner Howard Jones — Burden ov Faith doubles as a great introduction to Ov Sulfur and a celebration of this moment in deathcore. Gothic, blasphemous and tear-jerkingly emotional songs like "Earthen" and "Stained in Rot" are top-tier, and the album contains the best use of clean vocals in a deathcore record since Whitechapel's The Valley.

Psycho-Frame - Remote God Seeker

Thanks to bands like Lorna Shore and Brand of Sacrifice, deathcore is sounding grander and more ornate than ever — and Psycho-Frame are sick of it. "No symphonies, no push pits, no whisper vox, no gimmicks" is the Florida crew's combative mission statement, and Remote God Seeker delivers on their promise to bring back the "actually scary" sounds of Myspace-era deathcore. Outrageously heavy and disgustingly raw, these songs will make you want to dig out your Suicide Silence Cleansing tank-top and crowdkill some scene kids. 

Sanguisugabogg - Homicidal Ecstasy

With a name like Sanguisugabogg and an album cover as heinously NSFW as Homicidal Ecstasy's is, the music better sound like the death-metal equivalent of an alien snuff film. Fortunately, it does! Following their equally gurgling, wonderfully repulsive 2021 LP, Tortured Whole, these Ohio maniacs got even more stupidly grotesque on Homicidal Ecstasy, a relentlessly heavy death-metal assault that harkens back to the genre's gleefully offensive, gory, and obnoxious days of yore. Bang your head until you start losing brain cells. 

To the Grave - Director's Cuts

Australian deathcore just hits different. To the Grave have been making their mark on the scene for a while with their decimating sound and refreshing socio-political lyrics about climate change and animal abuse, but Director's Cuts is their masterwork. With speckles of orchestral flourishes and roomy production, the album sounds modern without feeling like it's chasing trends. For 11 songs straight, To the Grave hold the listener hostage with foreboding riffage and Dane Evans' versatile highs and lows, which all culminate with its majestic nine-minute closer, "Die, Rise."