I know, I know. You’re very busy. You don’t have the time to listen to huge, sprawling albums by the likes of Midnight Odyssey or Schammasch, (your loss), but I’m sure you’ll have time for some short, sharp and bloody death metal in your day? Of course you do!
The below releases all last between 10 and 20 minutes, enough to get in a quick dose of brutality before you have to do whatever it is you have to do after that. Press play, bang the old head, and before you even know it, it’s over.
So, I present to you ten bands who have all released stonkingly good EPs that are both brief and very, very good, to give you that hit of death metal carnage.
Aborted – Termination Redux
Here’s a band from Belgium that need little introduction for the discerning death metal fan. Clocking in at 15 minutes, this has short and brutal songs that are guaranteed to get the blood pumping. In addition to the new tracks, there’s a re-worked, re-recorded version of The Holocaust Incarnate off their 2001 album ‘Engineering the Dead’. About halfway through this song they unleash the mother of all riffs, and if that doesn’t get you moving I suspect that you’re already dead.
Cryptopsy – The Book of Suffering – Tome 1
Canadian death metal at its best. Like Aborted, Cryptopsy probably need little introduction to fans of the style. If you haven’t encountered them before though, you’ve been missing out, so this brutal 17 minute EP is the perfect place to start. On this release the band are breaking in a new singer, and what an impressive growl he has! Boasting a bright, depraved energy, these songs show a revitalised band at the top of their game. Definitely make sure you check this out.
Demonical – Black Flesh Redemption
From Sweden? Playing death metal? This must be Swedish death metal! Yeah! Ohh, I’m a sucker for some of this, and Demonical play it darker than most. I know some people get a bit tired with the Swedish style, but when those chainsaw guitars get all revved up and rawkus, it’s hard to dislike. With heavy grooves and dark melodies aplenty, this is 17 minutes of satisfying song-based carnage, just waiting to explode out of the speakers. You need only press play…
Dominhate – Emissaries of Morning
Here we have some dark and sinister death metal. This Italian band’s latest EP is relentlessly brutal with a mysterious occult vibe that goes along with the music like a barely-mentioned undertone. Dominhate are both old-school and timeless, resulting in songs that wouldn’t feel out of place anywhere really, until they start smashing heads in, of course. At 19 minutes in length this release nudges the top-end of our self-imposed 20 minute limit, but it’s well worth it for their pleasing brand of blasting brutality.
Earth Rot – Chthonian Virtues
Earth Rot are a death metal band from Australia that have really impressed me with their latest EP ‘Chthonian Virtues’. At only 16 minutes in length, it’s like a burst of adrenaline that leaves you hungry for more after the initial rush. This is the kind of stuff that makes most other bands seem stale by comparison. Their aggressively confident swagger recalls Entombed at the height of their ‘Wolverine Blues’-era power, mixed with a more brutal form of bludgeoning. It’s high energy stuff, and definitely with 16 minutes of your time. Phew.
Goholor – In Saeculis Obscuris
Hailing from Slovakia, this is a little-known band that specialise in muscular death metal with a pinch of the blackened arts added in for good measure. 4 tracks, 16 minutes; Goholor have thoroughly impressed me with this release and have left me hungry for more. Deep growls and scathing screams guide the listener through the well-written tracks, and the blackened edge they have marks them as something slightly different from the rest of the bands on this list. As with all of the bands here I heartily recommend them, but this release will always have that special something extra that speaks of the dark arts.
Godless – Centuries of Decadence
Godless are a band from India that currently don’t have that high of a profile, but, if there was any justice in the world, ‘Centuries of Decadence’ would change all that. We only get four songs, (lasting a mere 18 minutes), but what we do get is soooo good. They play modern, aggressive death metal that strikes just the right balance between the traditional elements of the style and the newer, more modern ones, and should appeal to pretty much anyone who’s a fan of the genre. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
Ripping Death – Tales of the Ripper
Ripping Death worship at the grimy altar of the old-school, and spend this brief 13 minutes proving that they have what it takes to compete with the more modern bands out there. Savage riffs and blistering solos fly out all over the place, with riotous, catchy hooks and lots of memorability. If you like your death metal from the earlier times of the genre, then Ripping Death offer an authentic take on the style, morbid auras and all.
Spawned from Hate – Accelerated Butchery
This virulent and infectious EP from UK death dealers Spawned from Hate has a USDM 90s feel to it, and boasts some particularly satisfying ultra-deep growls among their list of selling points. This is a timeless style that the band play, and although it’s definitely an older sound that they have, it’s played with a modern energy that just won’t quit. It’s raw, evil and has what it takes to grab your attention before hacking you to death with a rusty cleaver. Or something. I dunno – just go listen to it. A word of advice? Get your neck muscles loosened up beforehand.
Vulture Wings – Funeral Grounds
We end this list with some more old-school death metal, courtesy of Brazilian group Vulture Wings. It’s a gory proposition that chugs and rumbles through 19 minutes with ease, battering and bruising as it goes along. An authentically old-school recording simply adds to its charms, and the largely mid-paced assault emphasises groovy riffs and steamroller power. It’s fitting to end on such a relatively new and unheard of group, I feel, as this is just one of many underground death metal bands doing the rounds these days that you should take the time out to hear. But hey, that’s the entire point of this article, right?
So there you have it. Ten great releases, all suitable for those situations when you don’t have much time to spare, but you need, (NEED!), that dose of brutality in your life. And, if you have got a bit longer to spare, why not just stick them all on one after the other? Now there’s a good playlist for you.