A cold swimming pool presents a challenge. Do you dip in a toe, and prolong the agony? I suggest instead holding your breath and jumping straight in, so that when you get over the shivers you’ll be ready to rip.
Exploring death metal is the same way. This genre rewards those who immerse themselves in it and figure out its nuances so that they can derive its purpose. Death metal is after all an intensely artistic movement that carefully rejects the world around it. To get into it, you need to leave the world behind and go to planet death metal.
Luckily, planet death metal is not far away. Since the genre birthed itself in the years 1983-1986, it has undergone many mutations, but no real changes since about 1996. That leaves 13 years, 17 years ago, as the vital time period. This means that death metal is now relatively cheap to acquire.
To immerse yourself in death metal, buy yourself a starter collection. This list of classics ought to do it:
- Formative Generation: 1983-1986 ($60)
- Slayer – Show No Mercy ($6)
- Slayer – Hell Awaits ($7)
- Slayer – Reign in Blood ($6)
- Slayer – South of Heaven ($6)
- Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales/Emperor’s Return ($7)
- Bathory – Blood Fire Death ($7)
- Sepultura – Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation ($4)
- Possessed – Seven Churches ($9)
- Morbid Angel – Abominations of Desolation ($8)
- Classic Years: 1987-1992 ($39)
This isn’t a complete collection, but it gives you everything you need to get immersed in this vital genre. There’s a lot more to explore, including the next generation of death metal and the many niches of metal’s evolution.
However, for less money than it takes to fill up a Suburban, you can have yourself the beginnings of a death metal collection. You could buy six nu-metal or metalcore albums for these prices, or you could simply score some real music and do yourself a favor.