The history of Death Metal

Death Metal is in my opinion one of the most creative subgenre in the Heavy Metal History and it’s the logical continuation of Thrash Metal.

How was Death Metal born ? Who invented it ? Where was it created ? 

So many questions come to mind when we talk about this topic. You will have a clearer idea about Death Metal after reading this article !

Let's go !

What's Death Metal ?

First of all how do we recognize Death Metal ?

The characteristics of this subgenre of Heavy Metal are mainly residing in the speed and intensity of the Drums 🥁

You can also recognize the riffs of a death metal band when you hear it. But the main particularity is the distinct vocal style who could wake up a dead man 💀


This extreme Metal subgenre find its roots during the 1980s. Death Metal is strongly inspired by Trash Metal and Black Metal.

How Death Metal was born ?

Bands like Slayer and Venom were great source of inspiration. The first Death Metal band began to adapt and play their own version of « Heavy Metal ».

Death Metal was born from a process that spanned several years. When you listen to the first Death Metal band known to be « Death » and « Possessed » you can sill hear the Trash Metal music vibe, specially if you listen closely to the guitars and the drums.

Since the beginning, the lyrics of Death Metal were very visually gory and morbid and the tempos were greatly intense and fast.

death metal band

The Metal music as developed a very large if not the largest panel of the music industrie since the beginning of it’s history.

During the 80s the revolution that came up in Great Britain made the Heavy Metal music more popular than ever with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

With bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest who have carried and defined standards concerning the identity of the Metal music and all that revolves around.

We can always look back to the roots of a genre to find it’s inspirations and creators like we just did with Heavy Metal and Black Sabbath.

The debate around Possesed and Death

But for the roots of Black Metal there are two ways to see where did it start.

We can say that Death Metal find it’s origin from the First Wave of Black Metal which took part in Norhtern European countries like Sweden and Norway which is still considered by a lot of people as the hometown of Death Metal.

The USA are more belived to be to the country of birth of Death Metal, because tof the american Death Metal band « Possesed »

The band released a demo in 1994 called Death Metal. This is where the name « Death Metal » comes from.

german death metal band


The Swedish Death Metal scene included « Nihilist » later known as « Entombed », there was also « Karnage », « Unleashed » and « Grave ».

In the USA, « Canibal Corps » was the first death metal band that settle the Western expansion scene.

Death Metal until up this point was genually about extrem violence or horrors movies.

You understand it, there isn’t a clear answer to the question : who invented Death Metal ?

This question is still debated within the metalheads commununauty. Some people will say that  Possesed « Seven Churches » is the first death metal album and some will say that Death  « Scream Bloody Gore » was the album that created Death Metal.

But regardless of all of this, we all have one thing in common : our love and passion for Death Metal.

In fact I believe that the whole debate aound who created it is childish. No one really gives a fuck about who started all of this. The more Death Metal bands there is, the happier we are !

The only thing that we have to remember is that both bands Possessed and Death contributed to the rise of Death Metal in their own way.

Their musics has served as a blueprint for the future of the genre. The death metal bands that were born after took their inspirations from them.

Within the metalheads communauty, it is often says that Chuck Schuldiner deserve the title of God Father of Death Metal for his contribution to the development of the genre.

Death Metal had actually influenced in turn Black Metal, which saw in Death Metal a great source of inspiration particularly in the visual idendity aspect and the lyrics.

Among all the Heavy Metal subgenres, Black Metal, Trash Metal and Death Metal are the ones that will always be bond together.

 The association of these three sub-genres will evetually form other sub-genres like blackened death Metal (with bands like Necrophobic and Behemoth) or crossovers thrash metal (with bands like Toxic Holocaust)

The growth of the Death Metal scene

 Possessed and Death aren’t they only bands that served the development of the Death Metal scene.

Morbid Angel, Obituary and Autopsy have also contributed to help the growth of Death Metal.

The genre has found sucess with people for the gloom of the everyday life.

Of course Death Metal don’t escape the misconception that it’s a satanic music.

death metal john hegg perform on stage

It’s true that the lyrics are very violent and talked about horific act, like torture and rape. Death Metal also have a shown on stage a satanic going in the sens of the misconceptions and playing the artistic side of it.

However the music genre doesn’t lock itself in it.

The topics covered in reality much broader than that. It is in fact very hard to find two Death Metal band with the lyriccal aproach.

Morbid Angel for exemple is known for it’s extrem anti-Christian lyrical position and Death are known for the meta physical lyrics.

With all that being said. We can assume that Death Metal isn’t a simple and accessible musical genre. It is in fact much more deeper than what the common people think.

death metal fans walking in the streets

Death Metal inspiration aren’t only known to come out of the Metal music.

Many Death Metal bands were influenced by bands like The Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin.

Death Metal had really been developed in the US and in Sweden. These two country are the two places that released the best death metal bands and it’s still the case today.

The Swedish death metal scene had been emerging since the late of 1980s with bands like Dismember and Carnage.

The creativity of the Death Metal artists brought the birthof sub genres of Death Metal. The Melodeath is a perfect exemple of that (a more melodic death metal music)


Despite the emergence of famous Death Metal bands , the sub genre was still inaccessible for the majority of people.

Death Metal remained underground due to its limited audience, there were even cracks and big rivalries in the death metal world.

The 90s were a great decade for Death Metal.  They were a lot and Death Metal emerging on the underground scene. Many sub-genres of Death Metal have been created at this moment but i twill be impossible to list them all.

If you want to learn more about the actual Death Metal scene, we strongly recommend you to take a look 🧐 at Kronos Mortus News.

They post regularly Death Metal / Black Metal exclusif content !