Exhumed’s Matt Harvey is one of the most dedicated death metal freaks out there, which is why he’s the ideal guy to tout the latest and greatest in the scene with his picks for the 10 Best New Death Metal Bands of the Last 10 Years.
This particular period of death metal — a genre that is approaching its 40th anniversary in 2025 (using Possessed’s Seven Churches as the benchmark) — has been one of the best eras in its history. It’s easy to get lost in recommended artist tabs on streaming services or those YouTube sidebar recommendation wormholes, discovering an endless torrent of exciting new death metal, with many artists putting a fresh coat of paint on the old school sound.
At least, that’s what Harvey’s list largely points to, shy on crisp, polished death metal with lots of guitar wankery and overrun with grimy slop! It’s all about the ooze, folks.
All this as Exhumed’s eighth album, To the Dead, drops Oct. 21 on Relapse Records. Get a taste with the music video for the devastating “Drained of Color” directly below and get your copy here.
Note: This list is for bands who released their first full length album in 2013 or later. Well, mostly… It’s okay Matt, rules are meant to be broken!
Exhumed, “Drained of Color”
Head here to listen to and follow Loudwire’s Modern Death Metal (’21-’22) playlist, featuring Exhumed and a lot more. Keep scrolling to see Matt Harvey’s picks!
I am deeply biased in favor of this band as it was formed by my old pal and ex-Exhumed drummer Col Jones (who’s long-since been replaced by the powerhouse death metal machine Chad Gailey of Necrot) and guitarist Colin Tarvin. They still feature ex-Exhumed guitarist Mike Beams as their major contributing songwriter (the man behind some of our best songs from Anatomy Is Destiny and Slaughtercult, such as “The Matter of Splatter” and “Forged in Fire”).
Not only are they unspeakably heavy and brutal, listening to their new album Upon Desolation feels like I’m hanging out with an old friend as he shows me riff after devastating riff he’s been working on.
This sadly defunct band from my hometown of San Jose, Calif., really scratched an itch for me.
Rawer than raw, their simplistic, knuckle-dragging approach to death metal owed more to the genre’s demo days than what people commonly refer to as “OSDM” (Old School Death Metal).
Alternately creaky and cavernous then feral and aggressive, the band sounds constantly on the brink of derailing. Their white-knuckle, intensity-over-dexterity is exactly what I love in a death metal band.
What more can be said about these guys? Seeing them ascend to the upper echelons of the new generation of death metal almost makes me think that there’s some justice in this crazy, mixed up world.
Of all the bands on this list, Necrot are the one that I get the most “evil” vibes from. Sonny is also such an underrated guitarist — even by me at first. When I first heard he was the guitarist of the death metal band my friends were raving about, my initial reaction was, “What does Sonny from Saviours know about death Metal?”
After hearing their Into the Labyrinth demo, I got my answer: He knows A FUCKING LOT.
Touring with these guys was both a pleasure and a bit scary. As much as I love their music and them as people, following them onstage is daunting to say the least!
Another band helmed by an old friend, Ruin are incomparably filthy.
I’ve known Mike “Abominator” Nelson since the Sore For Days demo by Gasp (HIGHLY FUCKING RECOMMENDED LISTENING) and played with him in Gravehill as Exhumed was gathering steam before 2011’s All Guts, No Glory record.
Ruin are the audio equivalent of being chained up and dragged through an open sewer clogged with rotting bodies. I always feel like I need to take a shower after I listen to the band, which is high praise indeed.
I think they tune to Z flat demolished or something — everything is lower than low, fouler than foul and played loosely. If you crave filth, this is the band for you.
Clearly, I’m not an objective source for this list, as I helped record their Bushmeat record.
If you like death metal that pushes, pulls and oozes through frantically flailing sections [Editor’s note: Are you trying to seduce us, Matt?] and also crushes with revolting heaviness [Another editor’s note: It’s working], you can’t go wrong with this band.
Certainly the heirs to luminaries such as Autopsy and Impetigo, there’s something distinctively crude about their musick that is really compelling. The band has a weird sort of late ‘70s grimy film over everything they do and they employ a lot of unique imagery and lyrical content that’s refreshingly, sincerely fucking weird.
Maybe these guys have been around for more than 10 years but… fuggit.
You want gross, oozing riffs? You want disgusting, horrific vocals? You want pummeling, intense drums that shatter your skull like a blood-soaked hammer?
Of course you do! Or you wouldn’t be reading this list. I know this is a no-brainer, but I’m happy to add my voice to the chorus of death metal freaks that proclaim how much this band rules.
Before we poached Noisem’s Sebastian Phillips for the second guitar spot in Exhumed, I watched these boys absolutely destroy every night on the tour we did with them, Obituary and Carcass.
There’s a bristling aggression to their records — it sounds like the band is trying to bash through your speakers to tear into your room and trash the place. There’s a pure punk energy here, a vibe that owes as much to The Stooges and The Ramones as it does to the obvious reference points, Repulsion, early Kreator and Sepultura as well as the early Earache ouvre (including the pure hardcore releases from Heresy, Intense Degree and the like).
I like fast music that doesn’t sacrifice intensity for velocity and that’s exactly what the Noise Boys do.
Speaking of fast music… Galvanizer came on my radar pretty recently and holy fucking shit. This band has got some FUCKING RIFFS.
They blur the death / thrash / grind line in a way that reminds me of Exhumed while sounding nothing like us whatsoever. It’s somewhere between Finnish and Swedish death metal, razor-sharp Thrash and Utopia Banished / Harmony Corruption era Napalm Death. This band will make you wanna smash your furniture and slaughter anyone who gets in your way.
I love aggressive stuff, but I also love stuff that just sounds gross. Cerebral Rot just sound gross.
Again, this may be kind of an obvious pick, but I’ll be damned if their riffs and arrangement choices aren’t just disgusting. And did I mention the vocals? Utterly revolting. What these guys lack in persistent speed, they make up for in pure sliminess.
I saw these guys play a house show in my neck of the woods (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and they tore my face off.
Technically, they might be a grindcore band, but they’re straddling the line between death metal and grind just perfectly…
’89 Napalm Death, specifically the Mentally Murdered EP, had a MASSIVE influence on me and by extension Exhumed and these guys combine the deathly riffs of that EP and Symphonies of Sickness (by that one band… name escapes me at the moment) with the blurry whirlwind tempos of From Enslavement to Obliteration where 45-second songs rip through your ears and brain in rapid, dizzying succession before dropping into an unspeakably catchy mosh section.
It’s like they started their band with the thought, “Let’s just play shit that Matt Harvey is gonna fucking lose his mind over.”
Bands that should also have been on this list, but Loudwire only asked for 10…
Cartilage – Ultra brutal inheritors of the Bay Area gore metal vibe
Laceration – Thrashy, catchy rapid-fire DM madness
Cemetery Filth – OSDM with real fucking hooks and vibe
Oath of Cruelty – Proto-death metal in the Merciless and early Kreator vein, but FASTER
Dreadful Fate – Inheritors of the Merciless vibe with countless evil, hooky riffs
Hooded Menace – I’m not one for doom-anything usually, but FUUUUUUCK, dude — So heavy
Coffins – I’m not sure if I’m adhering to the “past 10 years” thing, but when a band is this heavy, so who fucking cares?
Nauseator – Disbanded but disgusting weirdo death-grind for sleazoid creeps only
Miasmal -Sadly, a defunct Swedish DM band with an amazing rock ‘n’ roll / crust-punk attitude
Cut Up – Early ‘90s Napalm Death meets Slayer meets brilliant leads and the pummeling drumming of Tobias from Vomitory
Mammoth Grinder – Rough and ready, punk-infused, no-fucks-given raw death metal
Fetid – Just gross, fucking disgusting death metal
Witch Vomit – Sickness meets evil = great death metal
Mortal Wound – A little more on the “brutal” side, but raw, powerful and merciless
Molder – Sick Chicago freaks with some of the grossest vocals happening right now
Source by loudwire.com