Fan poll: 5 most brutal bands of all time | Revolver

Fan poll: 5 most brutal bands of all time

Blood, vomit and humanure
Cannibal Corpse 2023 press 1600x900, Alex Morgan
Cannibal Corpse
photograph by Alex Morgan

Metal is the most brutal genre of music, but within that world, what's the most brutal band? That's the question we posed to our readers, and the response ranged from gory death-metal pioneers and unrelentingly heavy grindcore vets, to total joke answers that we snickered at but didn't count, like Weezer, Abba and Nickelback (a different type of brutal).

Below are the top five brutalist vote-getters, ranked accordingly.

5. Napalm Death

Basically any of the classic grindcore bands could've made sense here, but the genre's source material feels like right choice. Since pioneering the most extreme form of punk-metal in the world with 1987's Scum, Napalm Death have, despite countless lineup changes, maintained their status as one of heavy music's most reliably ear-shredding acts. They're not as lyrically revolting as some of the other bands on this list, but Napalm Death's imagery and sound are synonymous with overwhelming sonic intensity.

4. G.G. Allin

Musically, G.G. Allin's eclectic psycho-punk sound isn't very brutal compared to the extreme-metal bands on this list, but everything else about the deceased shock-rock icon is the epitome of brutal. His violently misanthropic behavior earned him a reputation for throwing feces into the crowd, beating the shit out of audience members, performing dangerous acts of self-mutilation, and bingeing on drugs, which ended up killing him in 1993. A lot of musicians preach the "live fast, die young" motto, but Allin lived it to the nth degree. And yes, it was a brutal lifestyle.

3. Dying Fetus

The band is called Dying Fetus, for god's sake. These Baltimore savages have been at the forefront of brutal death metal for the last three decades, and they're known for their oppressively heavy sound that marries the skull-cracking riffage of old-school death metal with the chuggy grooves of Nineties hardcore. For that reason, they're cited as a major influence on deathcore, but still remain well-respected among message-board metalheads because of how undeniably heavy they've remained throughout the years.

2. Cattle Decapitation

The name Cattle Decapitation raises eyebrows, while their album covers (especially 2004's Humanure) might bring up your lunch. These violent vegans specialize in songs that imagine humans suffering the same horrific ends that animals are put through in factory farms, and the specificity of their lyrics might make you put that burger down for good. Over the years, the band's sound has drifted from punkier, grindier sonics to an even bigger death-metal attack, so they're arguably heavier now than ever before.

1. Cannibal Corpse

Every aspect of Cannibal Corpse is brutal. Their name is gnarly. Their album covers are so repulsive that they've been banned from stores and often get flagged on sites like Instagram for being too gory. Their song titles are heinous ("I Cum Blood," "Meathook Sodomy," "Entrails Ripped From a Virgin's Cunt") and their lyrics are appropriately puke-inducing. And then there's their sound.

From their early albums with OG vocalist Chris Barnes to the prolific discography they've amassed with windmill-headbanging guru George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher on the mic, the band have consistently churned out some of the heaviest songs in extreme metal, and have never dared to go through a soft, melodic, "experimental" phase. Nope, all brutal, all the time — and No. 1 here.