Beat logo

Top Death Metal Videos

The Accompanying Soundtrack to the Inexorable End of Life.

By Tom BakerPublished 21 days ago 6 min read

Death. It's what's for dinner (after the long, slow lunch buffet of life). Whether or not you "savor the salt" of your earthly existence, or clench your jaw and raise your fist at the capricious whims of an unjust God, you can't deny that, once upon a time, death metal was poised to go mainstream. Of course, that never happened, despite certain bands courting major label success.

I'm not sure if death metal still exists, or, what it's evolved into since I was a wee maladjusted youngin', and furthermore, I don't care. But, looking back across the span of the decades, I can still appreciate the fact that death metal was played on "Headbanger's Ball" between Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.

Death metal spawned hundreds of bands across the globe, all eager to imitate the success of a few European bands and some bands from the Sunshine State. Virtually all of them were interchangeable, with almost none of them except a handful having anything about them that made them distinct; that really marked them out as "exceptional," insomuch as representing a somewhat creatively "narrow" genre (to be polite).

Here then are Top Five videos from death metal bands that sort of distinguished themselves, rising above the ghetto of their own genre (some simply because they actually were the forerunners of those that followed in their wake).

Napalm Death - "Suffer the Children"

Napalm Death hails from Meriden, West Midlands, England. They released a release called Scum (1987) which was notable for being an album of extreme "grindcore"-style death metal. ("Grindcore" is a style of death metal or subgenre of the subgenre, focused on indecipherable vocals, "speed blast" drum beats, and grinding guitar work, often just moving a barred chord between two positions very quickly while down stroking.) The album focused on lyrics berating the political establishment, corporations, and personal issues. They followed in the wake of their chief inspiration for forming, the anarcho-punk pioneers Crass.

Scum became a cult favorite in the heavy metal/extreme music underground. The band eventually went in a more commercially- accessible direction; at least, as much as they could, considering what they play.

This video is the El Numero Uno CHAMPEEN of death metal videos, mainly because it's the only one I can literally remember watching its debut on MTV back in the day, holmes.

Carcass - "Corporal Jigsore Quandary"

Carcass was (or maybe still is, or will be again) a band that focused on Grey's Anatomy-style textbook descriptions of sickening dismemberment, gore, and rot. Hence the name. Bill Steer from Carcass joined Napalm Death later, and the two bands share some musical similarities, as might be imagined. Carcass recorded the heavily distorted album Symphonies of Sickness in 1990 or thereabouts, an audiocassette (!) I used to own and play repeatedly, even though the low production rendered parts of it unlistenable. It was released on Earache Records (appropriately enough), which was a division of Nuclear Blast which was a division of something which was probably owned by EMI which manufactures nukes but it's all good because CORPORATE ROCK STILL SUCKS.

Anyway, this song is off their album with the rather interesting mouthful of a title: Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991).

Morbid Angel - "God of Emptiness"

As if crust punk politics and blood-spattered goregrind lyrics were not enough, you couldn't very well make a playlist of videos like this without adding a video or two of songs dedicated to His Infernal Majesty, the Dark Prince of Torment, Beelzebub, Lucifuge Rofocale, Mephistopheles (quite a "mouthful in Manhattan", as Robert Deniro observed in Angel Heart), who, along with Great Cthulhu, the Scorn of the Absu, and Abdul Alhazred, inspired the actually rather musically exceptional (at least as far as this genre goes) Morbid Angel, a band that is, was, shall be the reigning champions of spooky, classically-influenced death metal riffs that take it beyond the grind into a whole new, black-hearted territory.

We debated on whether or not to include this video or the video for the song "Blessed Are the Sick (Leading the Rats)" but decided finally on this one because it had better imagery (that faux Egyptian setting that Slayer put to such good use on their video for "Seasons in the Abyss"). (Also one factor was simply because those inestimable little cartoon connoisseurs Beavis and Butthead seemed to like it so much).

Here then is a dude that kind of looks like a young Brad Dourif carrying a cross, jerking around weirdly, developing gray demon skin, and growing wings. All to Morbid Angel's ghastly grooves.

Obituary - "The End Complete"

I was never a huge fan of Obituary, although I did appreciate that they used the same artwork by Michael Whelan that Ballantine books used to put on the covers of their H.P. Lovecraft anthologies. They admitted that their 1989 debut album, Slowly We Rot, didn't feature any actual lyrics that weren't improvised (mainly just death growls), which I suppose kind of makes it an "instrumental effort". That kind of turned me off from them, as, even if the lyrics can't be discerned, you at least like to know the singer is saying something that's as evil as fuck, which will no doubt call forth your Unholy Guardian Angel and possess you with titanic, Satanic powers.

Anyway, from their 1993 album, The End Complete.

Entombed - "Left Hand Path"

We struggled with what video to post for our fifth entry, vacillating between "Left to Rot" by Hypocrisy, and "Soon to Be Dead" by Dismember, deciding against the former because of the poor quality of the YouTube upload (it's ripped from an old VHS anthology I use to own, called "Death Is Just the Beginning"), and the latter (which, incidentally, was also on the same VHS comp) because it was too bloody and offensive to risk posting; although it does feature skinny, ugly metalheads running through the campfires of Hell, and we suppose that is a plus.

Instead, we opted for this one by Entombed, a band we never liked much and one who went on to do a sort of groove-infused heavy rock with death metal vocals, which never really worked I think. But this song is pretty cool and features a death metal rendition of the theme music from Phantasm. So you KNOW it's pure wicked EVIL.

And that, as they say, is a wrap (perhaps one made of plastic, secured tightly around a fresh cadaver with duct tape before being dumped in a shallow grave). We hope you've enjoyed these morbid musical memories of a bygone era of metal mayhem. On a closing note, Anton LaVey once said that he didn't consider heavy metal to be Satanic music at all, no matter what the lyrical content and imagery, as true occult music would be dark, subtle, evocative; not the Slayers and Deicides who pummel their audiences with that "punishing beat" as he so termed it, turning them into zombies.

On the whole, we tend to agree with him. (With just a few exceptions, such as stuff by King Diamond and Danzig.)

So we decided we'd send you away with one last video, something truly evil.

(Remember: Metal never dies. It just gets a new effects pedal.)


Anton Szandor LaVey - "Honolulu Baby"

song reviewsvintageplaylistmetallistbands90s music80s music

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (2)

Sign in to comment
  • ASHLEY SMITH6 days ago

    have seen obiturary and carcass live in the last year

  • Okay, so I'm probably not a death metal fan, lol. Still, it's an interesting article.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.