10 Underrated Death Metal Records Of The 2000's
This is an idea brought to me by Dan when thinking of things to write about for this site. Forgotten or overlooked death metal gems from 2000-10. If you're like me, you often think the year 2000 was just a little bit ago instead of 2 decades, so I'm in the wayback machine scouring my memories and CD collection to give light to some overlooked bands and releases.
The decade saw the usual big dogs continue to do their thing. Cannibal Corpse kept rolling strong. Morbid Angel did two albums, but then faded a bit. Deicide lost the Hoffman brothers. Suffocation came back from a 4 year hiatus, at the first Maryland Deathfest. I also believe this was Devourment's last show, but they reformed a few years later. Dying Fetus continued gaining fans. Technical death metal gained a lot of traction, spearheaded by Necrophagist and their 2004 release Epitaph which is basically just that for the band as they haven't done much since.
It also saw deathcore gain popularity. The Summer Slaughter Tour started up and blended that genre with death metal bands. It still continues to do so. Say what you will about it, but it did give many bands a chance to play to larger audiences.
Through all of this, there were a lot of great releases that these days I don't hear much about or some that didn't get much play back then, but definitely deserved it. Here's a small list of bands within the genre that need attention. I know I'm going to miss your favorite, so before you get your undies in a bunch, shoot us a message to try to get it added here!
I'm presenting these in alphabetical order:
Aletheian - Dying Vine (2005)
Aletheian were a localish band to me (Lebanon, PA) that I had the fortune of seeing live and playing shows with. There is a strong Cynic/Death influence here. This band was ahead of the curve of everyone wanting to be Cynic. Live, they were a force to be reckoned with. The album didn't do their live energy justice, but it is still incredible. I still say, with proper touring and the right label push, this band would have been a far bigger name in the world of metal.
Colonize The Rotting - Composting The Masticated (2010)
Here we have one of my favorite Sevared Releases. This album is, in a word, BRUTAL. It encompasses all the genre of brutal death metal should be. Drummer (and vocalist!) Alex Colon also did some time in Flesh Consumed. I think this band was sort of his baby. This album showed a good deal of promise for Californian brutality. Unfortunately, was struck by a car in 2016 and passed. Only 6 songs, but 35 minutes in length, this riff salad is a great memory of the man.
Dead For Days - Creating Murderous Domain (2004)
Chicago's Dead for Days got a decent bit of spins from me around this time. Coming out on United Guttural Records, this album fit in perfectly with the roster. Classic New York Death Metal (NYDM) styling with less groove and more technical riffing. Blast beats galore. Vocals from the gutter. Brutality that goes for the throat. It is a pummeling album. The band lasted as long as this piece is about, 2000-2010, and released two albums. I feel this is the stronger of the two, especially the two opening tracks. They were always my favorites.
Down From The Wound - Agony Through Rituals Of Self Purification (2007)
Ah, another Sevared Records release. One of my favorites. Hailing from the Philippines, Down From The Wound takes a slammy approach to brutal death metal. This is their first full length and it is a monstrous slab of heavy. Unbelievably think production. It's not clean in the slightest, murky would be a word, but that doesn't hamper the sound. If anything, it adds to it and is perfect for the genre. If you're familiar with the genre, you may think this band sounds like they're from Southeast Asia and you'd be right. That area just has a certain sound and they all do brutal death metal right. Think a lot of love of Disgorge and pingy snares. Agony... is a chaotic monster rolling along as if it could come off the rails at any second and when you think it just might, they drop it down and slam you over the head.
Embryonic Depravity - Constrained By The Miscarriage On Conquest (2009)
Around this time I was admittedly a forum nerd, perusing SMN News way too much. Thankfully, it did show me a lot of new bands and this is one of them. I believe it was their singer, posted there. Being released on Permeated Records, this would unfortunately become the UK band's only release. Did this reinvent the wheel of brutal death metal? Fuck no, but it certainly made one hell of an awesome wheel! Face smashing brutality, hyper blasting drums, technicality, and mosh pit inducing grooves. I always felt this album would have fit in PERFECTLY with Unique Leader Record's roster of the early 2000's. The energy is what carries this album for me. It goes to 11.
Inhuman Dissiliency - Accumulation Of Eviscerated Remnants (2006)
Another band I was lucky enough to live near. This band embodied all that was right with slam. Not the Juggalo stylings of death metal the subgenre has become now. ID took what Devourment laid down before them and went full tilt on the gore and brutality. These tracks are from their split with Digested Flesh. ID never did a full length. 2 demos and 3 splits and then they disappeared. Even with a drum machine, they were menacing live. Gurgling and vomiting putrescence at each turn. I really wish the band would release all material on one compiled album so the current generation can enjoy it.
Mortal Decay - Forensic (2002)
Many will say that Mortal Decay are not an overlooked band. I will argue that this band should be as big as the heavy hitters of the genre! Their demos and first two full lengths are legendary in my opinion and Forensic is what I would call their crowning achievement. I love everything about the release. Hartman and Joe Gordon's riff interplay. John Paoline's unique vocals that are all over the place like a mad man. Antony Ipri's insane drumming. All of this is anchored by Ron Steinhauer's bass low end. Forensic is, simply put, unique. It's brutality with an eerie melodic undertone on a lot of the riffing. I can't sing Forensic's praises enough. Unique Leader Records had a big winner with this one. If you like brutal death metal at all and don't own this album, you're fucking up. Big time.
Saprogenic - Ichneumonid (2006)
While many would say their debut, Wet Sound Of Flesh On Concrete, is their best, I tend to favor this. Really though, you can't go wrong with either release from the Michigan quintet. Ichneumonid is like a punch in the face straight out of the sewers. It's a rotten, beefy, pile of mess that somehow doesn't get lost in production. In fact, this production is GREAT for the style! Matti Way-esque (ala Disgorge) vocals growl at you while the drums roll over you like a tank and the monster riffs finish off your already lifeless body. "Rotten Flesh Filter" is my favorite song of theirs. That opening riff is so damn memorable.
Sepsism - To Prevail In Disgust (2003)
While California's Sepsism certainly have a cult following, I would be remiss to leave this album off this list. It could be looked at as a blueprint for what would come from Cali brutal death metal after it. Their demos and album leading up to this are all great, but a precursor to the band firing on all cylinders for To Prevail in Disgust. One foot firmly in the roots of old school death metal, the other foot is leading towards a more modern sound for the genre. It's a perfect blend. I do wish it had a better guitar tone going for it, but that doesn't ruin the album. Full throttle brutality doesn't need to be crystal clear. This is one band that certainly shouldn't be forgotten. It's a shame they don't get brought up much when talking about the greats of the genre.
Splatterhouse - The House That Dead Built (2002)
In the 00's, Razorback Records was running shit, bringing us awesome releases from Ghoul, Frightmare, Lord Gore, Bird Flesh, Coffins, and many more. In that mix was Portland's own Splatterhouse. They're a Razorback name I don't see get nearly enough mention. At the top, you could easily say they're just a Carcass clone. You would be fair in saying that, but there's so much more here. They cover it all, gore, grind, death, melody. Sure, Exhumed and Impaled rightfully got a lot of acclaim, but Splatterhouse are vomiting up their reasoning to be included in those talks. Along with the death grinding Carcass stylings, they also throw in a good bit of thrash influence.
Some strong honorable mentions worth checking out:
Aversion To Life - Ritualized Murder (2006)
Commit Suicide - Human Larvae (2002).
Flesh Consumed - ...Mutilate, Eviscerate, Decapitate...(2008).
Indwelling - And My Eye Shall Weep (2003)
Orchidectomy - A Prelate's Attrition (2008)
Scrambled Defuncts - Hackled In Gore (2005).
Screaming Afterbirth - Puke Pile (2002).
Upheaval - Testimony Of The Atrocities (2001).