Technical death metal (sometimes called tech-death, progressive death metal)[1] is a musical subgenre of death metal that focuses on complex rhythms, riffs and song structures.

Technical experimentation in death metal began in the late 1980s and early 1990s by bands such as Death, Atheist and Cynic.[2] In 1990, Nocturnus released their debut album, The Key, which was followed by Sarcófago's third album, The Laws of Scourge, featuring a change in their musical style from black metal/thrash metal to technical death metal. Atheist's second album, Unquestionable Presence; Pestilence's third album, Testimony of the Ancients; and Death's fourth album, Human, were all released the very next year. Human and later Death albums have proven especially influential on later '90s technical death metal bands.[2] In 1991, New York's grindcore-influenced Suffocation released their debut album Effigy of the Forgotten, which focused on pairing speed and brutality with a "sophisticated" sense of songwriting. The album subsequently became groundbreaking in the genre.[3] Swedish band Edge of Sanity would move on to a more progressive and melodic style with their albums The Spectral Sorrows and Purgatory Afterglow, but when the band released the one song 40-minute album Crimson in 1996 and the 43-minute/9-part sequel Crimson II in 2003, they left an impact on later progressive/technical death metal bands. Another Swedish band Opeth are a highly important band to this subgenre with albums such as My Arms, Your Hearse, Still Life, and Blackwater Park all combining death metal with progressive rock.

List of technical death metal bandsEdit

Band Country Formed Notes
Aeon Sweden 1999 [4]
Allegaeon U.S. 2008 [5]
Anata Sweden 1993 [6]
Arsis U.S. 2000 [2][7]
Atheist U.S. 1984 [2]
Augury Canada 2001 [8]
Becoming the Archetype U.S. 1999 [9]
Beneath the Massacre Canada 2004 [10][11]
Between the Buried and Me U.S. 2000 [12]
Brain Drill U.S. 2005 [8][13][14][15]
Burning the Masses U.S. 2005 [16]
Cephalic Carnage U.S. 1992 [17]
Coprofago Chile 1993 [18]
Cryptopsy Canada 1992 [2][19][20][21]
Cynic U.S. 1987 [2]
Death U.S. 1983 [2][22]
Decapitated Poland 1996 [23]
Decrepit Birth U.S. 2001 [24]
Despised Icon Canada 2002 [25][26]
Dying Fetus U.S. 1991 [27]
Extol Norway 1994 [28]
The Faceless U.S. 2004 [29]
Gojira France 1996 [30]
Gorguts Canada 1989 [2][31]
In Battle Sweden 1996 [32]
Into the Moat U.S. 2001 [33]
Knights of the Abyss U.S. 2005 [34]
Man Must Die United Kingdom 2002 [35]
Meshuggah Sweden 1987 [36]
Necrophagist Germany 1992 [2][37]
Neuraxis Canada 1994 [2][38]
Nile U.S. 1993 [39]
Nocturnus U.S. 1988 [40]
Obscura Germany 2002 [8]
Odious Mortem U.S. 1998 [41]
Opeth Sweden 1990 [42]
Origin U.S. 1997 [43]
Pestilence Netherlands 1986 [44]
Psycroptic Australia 1999 [45][46][47]
The Red Chord U.S. 1999 [48]
Revocation U.S. 2006 [49]
Rings of Saturn U.S. 2009 [50]
Spawn of Possession Sweden 1997 [51]
Suffocation U.S. 1989 [3]
Trigger the Bloodshed United Kingdom 2006 [52]


  1. Simms, Kelley. Obscura Interview.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Freeman, Phil. The Man-Machine Will Rock You: The Existential Paradox of Technical Death Metal. The High Hat.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rivadavia, Eduardo. Effigy of the Forgotten. Allmusic.
  4. Chad Bowar Aeon Rise to Dominate at
  5. {{cite web |title=Album Review: ALLEGAEON Elements of the Infinite |url= |publisher=Metal Injection
  6. Bowar, Chad. The Conductor's Departure review.
  7. Harris, Chris. Arsis May Cancel Tour after Trailer Wreck.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Marsicano, Don. Augury – 'Fragmentary Evidence'.
  9. Bowar, Chad. Becoming The Archetype - I Am Review (Web). The New York Times Company.
  10. Harris, Chris and Wiederhorn, Jon. Metal File: Satyricon, Trivium, Heaven Shall Burn, Brutal Truth & More News That Rules.
  11. Rivadavia, Eduardo. Beneath the Massacre. Allmusic.
  12. Donnelly, Dave. The Parallax II: Future Sequence - Between the Buried and Me. Allmusic.
  13. Harris, Chris and Widerhorn, Jon. Brain Drill Raise The Death-Metal Bar; Plus Iron Maiden, Walls of Jericho & More News That Rules, In Metal File.
  14. Bowar, Chad. February 2008 Best Heavy Metal CDs.
  15. Jurek, Thom. Apocalyptic Feasting review. Allmusic.
  16. Henderson, Alex. Mind Control - Burning the Masses. Allmusic.
  17. Adrien Begrand. Cephalic Carnage Xenosapien. PopMatters.
  18. Rivadavia, Eduardo. Coprofago. Allmusic.
  19. Harris, Chris. Cryptopsy Drummer Dismisses Sell-Out Claims; Plus Sepultura & More News That Rules, In Metal File.
  20. Robinson, Iann. Metal File: Hard & Heavy News On Judas Priest, Vader, Fireball Ministry, Children of Bodom, Cryptopsy & More.
  21. Harris, Chris and Wiederhorn, Jon. 36 Crazyfists Pounding Away on Next Album; Plus Anthrax, Ipsissimus & More News That Rules, In Metal File.
  22. Pratt, Greg. Symbolic review. Revolver.
  23. NME. Decapitated. NME.
  24. Henderson, Alex. Polarity - Decrepit Birth. Allmusic.
  25. Despised Icon. RevolverBlips.
  26. Despised Icon review. Allmusic.
  27. Dying Fetus Descend into Depravity Review – Review of Descend into Depravity by Dying Fetus. (2010-06-14).
  28. Born, R. Extol. MusicMight.
  29. Bowar, Chad. Meshuggah Tour Dates.
  30. Lissa Brennan, With French death-metal pioneers Gojira, the lyrics matter as much as the blastbeats,, October 15, 2009
  31. Bowar, Chad. Top 5 Most Underrated Death Metal Albums from Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn.
  32. Henderson, Alex. Kingdom of Fear review. Allmusic.
  33. Falzon, Denise. The Campaign review. Exclaim!.
  34. Henderson, Alex. The Culling of Wolves review. Allmusic.
  35. Ogle, Ryan. No Tolerance for Imperfection (Relapse).
  36. Chad Bowar. Top 10 Heavy Metal CDs of 2005.
  37. York, William. Epitaph review. Allmusic.
  38. Bowar, Chad. The Thin Line Between review.
  39. Harris, Chris and Wiederhorn, Jon. Metal File: In This Moment, Behemoth, Nile & More News That Rules.
  40. Sharpe-Young, Garry. Nocturnus. MusicMight.
  41. Bowar, Chad. Cryptic Implosion review.
  42. Sharp-Young, Gary and Yura. Opeth. Allmusic.
  43. Bowar, Chad. Antithesis review.
  44. Freeman, Phil. Resurrection Macabre review. Allmusic.
  45. Unknown. PSYCROPTIC: Orangevale Footage Available – Apr. 12, 2009.
  46. Rivadavia, Eduardo. Psycroptic. Allmusic.
  47. Henderson, Alex. Ob(servant) review. Allmusic.
  48. Freeman, Phil. Fed Through the Teeth Machine – The Red Chord. Allmusic.
  49. Hartmann, Graham 'Gruhamed'. No. 45: Revocation, 'Dismantle the Dictator' – Top 21st Century Metal Songs. Loudwire.
  50. Jurek, Thom. Rings of Saturn biography. Allmusic.
  51. Rivadavia, Eduardo. Incurso - Spawn of Possession. Allmusic.
  52. Dan Marsicano, "(...) technical death metal ala Suffocation and Nile", Trigger The Bloodshed – 'The Great Depression' at

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