As we have discussed before, it is without a doubt that the 1990s were an incredible time for death metal. Especially if you liked an endless stream of albums full of clicky bass drums and cookie-cutter riffs topped off with Wes Benscoter and Dan Seagrave covers. And that's definitely what you got when you purchased one of the seminal death metal compilations of the 1990s. Finally, it should be noted that we are reviewing the cassette versions of all these compilations, for those of you who are gaywads that pride yourself on pointing out that Dr. And The Crippens weren't on the Japan-only double 10" flexi version of Grindcrusher or whatever. I hope you get hit by a meteor.
Please leave comments on your personal highs, lows, and WTFs for the albums, and remind us of what other generic 90s death metal comps we missed.
At Death's Door: A Collection of Brutal Death Metal
I was going to make fun of this one but after looking at the track listing again, it's actually pretty sweet and generally devoid of crap or novelty bands, especially considering it's from 1990, making it the earliest of all these comps.
Highs: Believer! I love this band so much even though they're Jesus freaks. I'd go so far as to say they might be the best thrash band of all time. Seriously. I love both their albums, especially the one that sounds exactly like Earth Crisis. Also, one of the better Deicide songs.
Lows: Malevolent Creation, yuck! I can't think of anything even slightly notable about that band. Well, except for that one song... you know... that one.
WTF: For a good 2 years or so, I thought Deicide were called "Decide." I am pretty sure I said a few times that Decide were the most brutal band ever.
Death Is Just The Beginning Vol I
The only other person at my high school that listened to death metal was this poser named Cam. He let me borrow this tape in 9th grade. It was my first introduction to Nuclear Blast, and as you might guess, I was not impressed. That shouldn't be a surprise considering this is the same label that thought people would pay money for Gorefest and Kataklysm records. If there's one thing we learned from Nuclear Blast bands, it's that Euros shouldn't be allowed to make music.
Highs: Uh... well, I actually really like one of the Righteous Pigs songs on here, which is funny because I can imagine even Wild Rags turning down their demo.
Lows: Master, Defecation, Atrocity, Disharmonic Orchestra... need I go on? Oof. Oh and don't forget Benediction! If you can make it through both sides of this tape, you're a braver man than I am.
WTF: There is someone out there on this planet who considers this the best album ever made. Think about it. There are 6 billion people on this motherfucker, one of them has to think this album tops them all. He probably also has severe head trauma.
Relapse these days is a truly awful label. Not as bad as Earache I guess, but who is. They mostly put out beard metal and hardcore with not an Exit-13 record to be found, it's bullshit. But back in the early 90s, they were pretty sweet because they put out lots of awesome American death metal, such as this comp.
Highs: Suffocation "Human Waste." This completely knocked my dick in the dirt when I first heard it and began my decades-long love affair with wigger slam metal. Also, back then Relapse had the balls to put out weird shit like Candiru and Convulse, which I still like a lot. OK, that's not true, but it was still cool.
Lows: Mortician. Ugh. Disrupt, one of the worst bands ever that just wouldn't quit. General Surgery, the epitome of forgettable death metal.
WTF: At the time, I didn't really get that the whole "corporate" theme was a joke. But I knew Relapse was a huge label because they had color sleeves for their 7"s, so I wasn't surprised that they could afford the building on the cover for their headquarters.
In retrospect, most of the albums in the Earache catalog are complete garbage, although at the time they seemed like the best label ever. This is certainly no exception. For the most part this was fourth-string European bands that were deservedly unknown. However, there are a number of seminal tracks that cannot be dismissed.
Highs: Fucking CHAPEL OF GHOULS, one of the top 3 death metal songs ever written (the other 2 are "The End Complete" and "Hammer Smashed Face"). Unseen Terror, the finest Garfield-based grindcore band ever. This was the first time I heard Nocturnus!!
Lows: There are so many. Godflesh, Sore Throat, Mighty Force... but the worst is probably Cadaver. Jesus Christ that band is terrible. Nothing is worse than generic Euro 90s death metal.
WTF: When I was 14, I thought Lawnmower Deth was a really good band.