Carcass and Benediction are back with a vengeance, while Venom Prison are (quite rightly) grabbing the headlines as the standard bearers of 21st century UKDM. Take a walk down Blighty’s dingy alleyways though and you’ll find a slew of emerging acts whose DNA is fused with old school death metal and who are bringing a whole new level of carnage to their convulsing nation.
Here’s Rushonrock’s pick of the bands bringing death to the British underground.
Londoners Decrepid may have been around since 2008, but they’ve only just released their third album, Endless Sea Of Graves – and it’s been worth the five-year wait.
The quintet blend Floridian grooves with acidic Eurodeath, coughing up barbed earworms like Armoured Apocalypse and Plagued By Mortality in the process… and deftly channel that unnerving, late 80s vibe that often gets flattened by sheer brutality.
2015’s thrashier Osseous Empire album should also be on your radar…
Newcastle quintet Live Burial (pictured above) have been charging around the underground since 2012, but it was this year’s opus, Unending Futility, released on Transcending Obscurity Records, where the band really hit their sinister stride.
The follow-up to 2016 debut Forced Back To Life, their second album was a masterclass in suppurating, infectious old school death metal, spearheaded by Jamie Brown’s ungodly Schuldiner/van Drunen rasp and powered by devilishly catchy riffery (check out Rotting On The Rope for exhibit A).
And the Tynesiders have spent lockdown working on their third full-length, which promises even more deathly delights.
Featuring Live Burial prog-head Lee Anderson on bass, this North East outfit describe their complex, melodic take on DM as ‘epic death’ – and it’s a pretty accurate way of describing records like 2019’s stunning Sentinel and its predecessor, Allure Of The Fallen… though don’t expect symphony orchestras and bombastic synths.
Formed in 2012, the band have evolved considerably since the old school Swedeath sounds of their 2014 debut, Descent Into Putridity.
Nowadays, the quartet’s progressive tendencies blend with blastbeats and searing, NWOBHM-influenced leads, taking the core elements of 90s melodic DM and re-tuning them for the 21st century.
It’s a potent combination.
Transcending Obscurity signed these Glaswegians on the back of one, three-track demo – and it’s easy to see why the label was smitten. The band’s grisly, sledgehammering old school DM makes a lasting impression – and any fan of Entombed, Carnage or Autopsy would surely be salivating at the likes of Life Devoured and Apocalypse of Gore.
Debut mini-album, Septic Funeral, is set to drop very soon – and from what we’ve heard so far, it’s going to slay…
Early Death, Carcass, grimy hardcore and liberal spatters of bloody gristle are at the heart of Repulsive Vision, a Cumbrian outfit who made waves with their 2017 debut, Look Past The Gore And See The Art.
Awash with caustic riffery, that album was impressive enough.
But new opus Necrovictology, released this summer via Danish label Emanzipation Productions, saw the quartet raise the bar even further – and its 13 tracks should help the band reach new heights.
Fun fact: Repulsive Vision’s drummer Gary Young is a founding member of Newcastle NWOBHM outfit Avenger, who also feature former Repulsive Vision vocalist Danny McEwan on bass.
Creating mutant, experimental DM that sounds like nothing else on the planet, North Easterners Plague Rider have been twisting minds and gouging out ear eardrums since 2011.
Take a trip into 2018’s Rhizome or 2015’s Paroxysm and you’ll quickly lose all sense of reality, while being simultaneously awe-struck by the quartet’s supreme musicianship.
This is technical death metal from an alternate universe.
You have been warned…
Leeds prog deathsters Cryptic Shift inhabit a similar sonic landscape to US sci-fi obsessives Blood Incantation – and the band’s extraterrestrial riffery and contorted rhythms helped 2020’s Visitations from Enceladus to gain plenty of column inches in the mainstream metal press.
A technical tour de force which harks back to Floridian legends Atheist and Cynic, debut full-length Visitations… was the culmination of nine years of musical mutation, which included 2016’s impressive Beyond The Celestial Realms EP and a clutch of singles and splits.
Want 25-minute long songs, jazzy bass runs and DM that will take you to the edge of the Milky Way? Take a trip with the Shift…
Slimelord do what they say on the tin: putrid, Autopsy via Obituary-style death doom with divebomb leads, wrapped in a cloak of virulent ectoplasm. In other words, they’re utterly brilliant, as anyone who has seen the Leeds lads live will attest.
Featuring members of Cryptic Shift, Slimelord only crawled out of their hometown’s sewers in 2019, but they’re already forging a reputation as one of the most exciting bands in the UKDM underground.
Their debut EP, The Delta Death Sirens (now available on cassette via Seed Of Doom records) is a must listen if you like your death metal crawling with maggots and oozing pus.
Londoners Atvm have been hard at work recording their debut full-length during the summer.
But for now, we’ll have to make do with Out Of Chaotic Waters, a raw, Chuck Schuldiner-inspired attack that was released back in 2015. Its six tracks are chock full of searing melodic riffery and there’s a black metal feel to the likes of Revelation too.
Since then, they’ve been joined by lead vocalist Harry Bray – and are promising a proggier take on DM when their album finally lands.
This Sunderland quintet dredge their music straight from the abyss and inject it with demonic adrenaline, creating eerie, blackened spasms like Towards Infinite Chasms and Black Flame Serpent.
Born from the ashes of Dawn Of Chaos, the band are one of the more established acts on our list, having released two full-lengths via Profound Lore – 2017’s Temple Of The Abyss and last year’s Annihilism.
And if you wany to delve deep into Vacivus, their first two EPs on Goatprayer Records – Rite of Ascension and Nuclear Chaos – are well worth checking out too.
Words by Rich Holmes.