Technical death metal (sometimes called “tech death”) is a subgenre of death metal with particular focus on complex and atypical rhythms, riffs and song structures that began and developed in the early- to mid-1990s.
Technical death metal is also often goes hand to hand with other extreme metal subgenres such as progressive death metal, brutal death metal, technical thrash metal, grindcore, deathcore, avant-garde metal and more. But we concentrate more on pure technical death metal bands.
And if you’re ready to dive into the genre, we prepared a special list of 31 greatest technical death metal bands – check out it below!
And before starting here is a (lengthy) list of honorable mentions – feel free to discover something new:
- !T.O.O.H.! [avant-garde/tech death/folk/prog metal]
- A Loathing Requiem
- Abysmal Dawn
- Abysmal Torment
- Aeon of Horus
- Animosity [technical deathcore/grindcore]
- Atrocity [on first albums]
- Burning the Masses
- Cattle Decapitation [technical death/grind on later albums]
- Cephalic Carnage [avant-garde technical death/grind]
- Cerebral Bore
- Dååth [melodic death/thrash/idustrial metal with tech death elements]
- Deeds of Flesh [technical brutal death metal]
- Defeated Sanity
- Despised Icon [technical deathcore/grindcore]
- Divine Heresy [metalcore with tech death elements]
- Emeth [technical brutal death metal]
- First Fragment
- Gory Blister
- Hate Eternal [death metal with tech death elements]
- Hideous Divinity
- Hiroshima Will Burn [technical deathcore]
- Hour of Penance
- Ignominious Incarceration
- Inanimate Existence
- Internal Suffering
- Irreversible Mechanism
- Job for a Cowboy [on later albums]
- Krisiun [death metal with tech death elements]
- Lykathea Aflame
- Man Must Die
- Monumental Torment
- Neglected Fields
- Odious Mortem
- Quo Vadis
- Pitbulls in the Nursery
- Polluted Inheritance
- Revocation [technical death/thrash]
- Rings of Saturn [technical deathcore]
- Rivers of Nihil
- Sarcófago [on later albums]
- Scrambled Defuncts [technical brutal death metal]
- Severed Savior
- Slaughterbox [technical brutal death/grind]
- Sleep Terror
- Son of Aurelius
- The Boy Will Drown [technical deathcore]
- The Red Chord [progressive death/grind with tech death elements]
- The Red Shore [technical deathcore/death metal]
- The Ritual Aura
- The Zenith Passage
- Theory in Practice
- Trigger the Bloodshed
- Unfathomable Ruination
- Vale of Pnath
- Visceral Bleeding
- Woe of Tyrants
- Wormed [brutal death with tech death elements]
And here’s the actual list:
31. Hieronymus Bosch
Hieronymus Bosch were a technical/progressive death metal band from Moscow, Russia. The band was founded in November 1993 under name Bosch. After releasing 3 studio albums and a lot of successful performances outside of Russia, the band have decided to call it quits in 2010.
Fallujah are an American progressive/technical death metal band from San Francisco, California, formed in 2007. In May 2013 the band independently released the EP “Nomadic” which is known as the first release that solidified Fallujah’s style of “atmospheric death metal” incorporating ambient sequences, clean guitars, and female vocals by Byanca Munoz of the band Whirr.
Demilich were a technical death metal band from Kuopio, Finland, that started in 1990 and initially disbanded in 1995 after their only full-length album, “Nespithe,” was released.
28. Beyond Creation
Beyond Creation were formed in Montreal, Canada in 2005. The band has evolved through the years and created its own style of music.
Anata are a technical death metal band formed in Varberg, Sweden in 1993. The band is named after an Egyptian Goddess of War who protected the people from animal attacks.
Sadist are Italian progressive/technical death metal band formed in 1993. Their debut album “Above the Light” acknowledged as one of the most influential death/thrash metal albums ever recorded, but then the band became much more technical and progressive. Their second album “Tribe” (1996) is still said to be one of the most influential technical death metal efforts.
25. Brain Drill
American technical death metal band Brain Drill were formed in 2005 in Ben Lomond, California. It was originally started by Dylan Ruskin on guitars as a side project.
Auckland, New Zealand-based technical death metal band Ulcerate were formed by guitarist Michael Hoggard and drummer Jamie Saint Merat in 2000. The band explores the darker end of the genre’s spectrum.
Nocturnus, formed in 1986, were among the most technical and atmospheric outfits to rise from the legendary Tampa, Florida death metal scene. By adding synths to their music, they found an essential element to bring a new sound to the young death metal scene and were an huge impact upon the entire genre from this moment on.
22. Fleshgod Apocalypse
Fleshgod Apoclaypse were formed in Rome, Italy in 2007. Originally they started as a technical brutal death metal band with symphonic elements, but later they developed their style up to symphonic death metal and later just to extreme symphonic metal.
21. Decrepit Birth
Decrepit Birth are a Santa Cruz, CA-based technical death metal band. Originally started as a brutal death metal band, they later became much more technical and progressive.
Arsis is an American death metal band from Yorktown, Virginia, formed in 2000. Although remaining as heavy as traditional death metal bands, they also possess complex riffs and solos that are similar to those found in both melodic and technical death metal.
Gorod, formerly known as Gorgasm (not to be confused with the US death metal band) are a technical death metal band from Bordeaux, France, formed in 1997.
Psycroptic are a technical death metal band from Hobart, Australia. They formed in 1999 by brothers Dave (drums) and Joe (guitar) Haley who had previously been involved in a band called Disseminate.
17. Dying Fetus
Dying Fetus are an American death metal band from Annapolis, Maryland, formed in 1991. Originally formed as a brutal death metal/grindcore band, later Dying Fetus evolved to technical brutal death metal group. The band also are one of the forerunner bands to popularize the slam movement in grindcore.
16. Spawn of Possession
Spawn of Possession are a technical death metal band from Sweden. The group rose from the ashes of various constellations in February 1997, and the whole idea of the band was to create innovative technical death metal.
Immolation are a death metal band from Yonkers, New York, formed in 1986 as Rigor Mortis. Started as a death metal act, they have become much more technical with the years.
Origin are an American technical brutal death metal band from Topeka, Kansas. They formed in 1998 by guitarist/vocalists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner.
13. Beneath the Massacre
Beneath the Massacre were formed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2001. Started more as a technical deathcore band, they later moved toward the technical death metal.
German technical progressive death metal band Obscura were founded in 2002 by guitarist/vocalist Steffen Kummerer. The band caused a stir when they – out of nowhere – toured as support for Suffocation on their European tour in 2006 and when they independently released their debut album “Retribution” that same year.
Pestilence are a death metal band from Enschede, The Netherlands founded in 1986. Originally the group started as a thrash metal band, but later they incorporated more jazz and fusion elements into their music and became one of the first technical death metal bands. They released four albums before disbanding in order to pursue other musical directions in 1994, but later reformed in 2008.
10. The Faceless
The Faceless are an American technical death metal band from Encino, California. The group was formed by guitarist Michael Keene and bassist Brandon Giffin in 2003, with the original band name “The Faithless.”
Gorguts were formed in 1989 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. The band has experienced numerous musical transformations since their inception, from death metal to technical death metal and even avant-garde metal.
Suffocation were formed in New York in 1988 and approached this genre in their own style, revolving around heavy, uniquely rhythmic riffs and even deeper growling vocals and breakdowns to create a subgenre of the form often termed “brutal death metal” – and later they became even more technical.
Cryptopsy were formed in Canada in 1986 under the name Necrosis. Their second album “None So Vile” (1996) was the first burst of brilliance in their career. From that point the group reinvented the style, with “None So Vile” will always be considered a death metal classic.
Decapitated were formed in 1996 in Krosno in Southern Poland, when all the members were still attending music school. After their first two demos, the band was considered as genuine contenders of the underground metal community, and eventually signed with Wicked World/Earache Records.
Atheist are a progressive/technical death metal band from Sarasota, Florida, USA and regarded as one of the main developers of Floridian death metal – and the whole technical death metal subgenre. They were founded in 1984 under the name Oblivion; by early 1985, Oblivion changed their name to R.A.V.A.G.E. (Raging Atheists Vowing A Gory End). And in 1987 they changed their moniker to Atheist.
Cynic were formed in Florida, United States in 1987. The band recorded a few thrash metal demos before moving to a highly complex form of jazz-fusion influenced experimental/avant-garde death metal, manifested in their seminal album, 1993’s “Focus,” which for over a decade was the band’s only official release. Cynic disbanded in 1994 due to artistic differences while working on their second album, but regrouped in 2007, changing their style to progressive metal and later to progressive rock.
Nile were formed in their hometown of Greenville, SC, in 1993. Originally started as a death metal band, they later became much more technical. They combine extreme speed and brutality of modern death metal with the ancient styling of Middle Eastern music and call their music “Ithyphallic-metal.”
Necrophagist were formed in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1992. The band’s guitarist/vocalist Muhammed Suiçmez recorded the debut album “Onset of Putrefaction” (1999), which is considered as a tech death classic, alone, since the rest of the band left before the recordings. After the debut a full line-up was assembled again.
One of the most important and influential death metal bands, Death were originally formed in 1983 as a death/thrash band Mantas. But later they reinvented their own death metal and became one of the most progressive and innovative death metal bands. The group ceased to exist in 2001 after the tragic death of the guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner.
Feel free to share more technical death metal bands in the comment section below.