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Dying Fetus have been at the forefront of the brutal death metal genre for well over two decades now.
Helmed by blood-gurgling vocalist-guitarist John Gallagher, the Maryland crew have a formidable track record of amazingly heavy albums, including their monstrously awesome 2023 LP, Make Them Beg for Death.
But Gallagher isn't just one of the finest players in the brutal death metal idiom, he's also a bona fide expert who has an acute ear for music of the grossest, nastiest order.
We had him pick what he believes are the 10 most brutal death-metal albums of all time. From "barbaric" torture metal to music that was "almost too intense" the first time he heard it, see all of Gallagher's picks below.
This record has always stuck out to me. When I listen to slam and get in that mood for something groovy and heavy, I come here.
I think Matti Way is one of the best vocalists to do this style. Really catchy riffs and memorable songs. I would love to see this band live.
But yeah, this release just stands out as one of the most brutal and has a lot of impact.
This is a band that has stuck out in the underground with relentless, barbaric intensity. Their former drummer [Chad Wells] was actually going to try out for Dying Fetus, but it just didn't materialize.
But he's one of the fastest, sickest drummers I've ever seen. And with these guys, basically every song is about torture.
The best death metal artwork — ever. It helped influence us. I mean, they were killing babies on this cover. I thought that was one of the most intense subjects you could touch, so I was like, "these guys are just filthy."
To me, this was just a filthy record. Like, there's no melody here. No Iron Maiden influence. Just heavy downbeats.
And sure, you can get faster than this album. You can tune your guitars lower. But, at the time, you just couldn't get any more devastating than this.
The vocals are so gurgly. Everything about the music is very ignorant, but ignorant in a good way. They're trying to push the envelope as far as it can go.
Love the vocals. There are other bands like this, but these guys are just super brutal and they know how to find that line.
Anything past this would just be noise. I like how the vocals are sick and deep without being pitch-shifted.
This band is one of the most brutal I've heard. They use very dissonant chords. Lots of progressive jazz and blues infused into death metal, making it really interesting and advanced.
Also, super deep vocals. They're one of the leaders in technical brutality.
One of the bands that have been waving the brutal technical death-metal flag for decades. I feel like they would be so much bigger if they toured more.
They just do everything you're supposed to do to leave the listener satisfied. Love the drumming, the way it pops, and it almost sounds like a woodpecker.
They have many good albums, but this is my favorite.
They're the pioneers of slam. Their guitarist Chris Pervelis basically coined the term back in the day. No one else was claiming it before them.
So yeah, these guys influenced thousands of bands. But this release is their best in my opinion. They were always trying to make the most brutal music, and I think they succeeded on this record.
Mortician are one of the bands that really brought in the element of horror movies through samples in their song intros. Also, I love the way they implemented drum machines to just make shit completely ridiculous.
There was definitely a time when I'm sure they were the lowest tuning band in the scene. And their album covers are always really sick and over the top.
Will Rahmer is also kind of a crazy guy — in a scary way. It has a fun vibe to it as well.
One of the first bands to really deliver intense, barbaric music in that New York scene. These guys and Suffocation went to the same high school together!
Their vocalist definitely influenced me with how deep and long he held his growls. The way the drums were syncopated with the guitar riffs.
I think this band and record really represents the New York scene in its early days. Definitely a forefather band.
Suffocation are undeniably one of the first all-out brutal bands. Frank Mullen on vocals was also a big influence on me. My shirt for this record was even signed by Frank when I went to see them live.
This record was almost too brutal for me when I heard it the first time. It was the 90s and, ya know, I was still listening to stuff that had some melodies to it. It was almost too intense.
The solid-state head they used delivered a real pummeling sound.