Under the Radar: 18 of the Underground’s Finest Death Metal Bands

Though there remains some metal fans who assert that underground bands only fly under the radar because they’re simply not good enough, the truth is that many of the acts stalking the dingy corners of Bandcamp or opening all-dayers with the thankless early afternoon slot are brimming with fresh ideas that they’re eager to unleash upon the scene. These bands are the lifeblood of a healthy music scene, dedicating their free time to the music they love and playing it to a potentially small but nevertheless devoted audience. Some will find their ways onto bigger labels and more prestigious stages, but many won’t get there regardless of their talent, and often that’s down to little else than luck and the inconvenient fact that life gets in the way, especially when you’re living in a capitalist hellscape.

So in our own small way, we’d like to pay homage to some of those bands by keeping the Under The Radar series going, this time focusing on the grimy riffs, throat-shredding growls and gargantuan grooves of the death metal underground. Though there are countless others who likely deserve a place on this list, the following are some awesome death metal projects we believe deserve more attention. Enjoy, and let us know who we missed!


Blending the grit and groove of early Swedish death metal with the more labyrinthine insanity of modern cosmically-minded bands like Blood Incantation, Outer Heaven and Tomb Mold, San Fernando Valley group Greenwitch (pronounced like the London borough Greenwich – i.e. “gren-ich”) channel the cosmos by forging metal so devastating that it simply has to be from a dimension beyond our own, rather than employing cheesy sound effects or superfluous synths. Their latest EP CosmoSteelBloodTrinity blends grand sci-fi stories with themes that resonate in our society, with tracks that take on oppression and inequality, whilst ‘From The Nothing’ takes a deliberate dig at TERFs and predatory priests.


The sound spewed forth by this Chilean horde is one of sheer brutality, but crucially not one of monotony. The band’s sound is ever shifting, striving for new forms of extremity and seldom coming up short in its search. There’s shades of everything from doom to grind to be found amongst the noise here, but the band’s feet are planted firmly in OSDM for the most part, with churning grooves that seem to dig deeper and deeper into your psyche as they go. This is dense, chaotic and ridiculously fun stuff.

Altered Dead

Half a decade on from their self-titled debut, British Columbia duo Altered Dead dropped the gloriously grotesque Returned To Life back in January, and it’s an absolute must for fans of OSDM. The riffs pummel and churn enough for any metal fan to fill their boots but the guitars also take on a vaguely hallucinatory tone, swirling menacingly like tentacles bursting forth from the abyss as the drums mercilessly keep the chaos charging ever onwards.

Hand Of Kalliach

One for those who like their death metal on the melodic side, you may also need a fondness for folk metal to truly vibe with what Scottish husband-and-wife duo Hand Of Kalliach offer up. The Celtic folk overtones are prominent at times, but the band’s sound is anything but rustic in tone, with a thoroughly unique and progressive sound that makes use of dual, effects-ridden vocals that dance across the top of the music. Their songs are often found surging forwards, propelled by hefty basslines and some relentless melodies that occasionally morph into something more complex.


New Jersey’s Hath emerged in 2015 with debut EP Hive, a release so good it warranted a reissue last year via Willowtip Records, but it is 2019’s Of Rot And Ruin that earns the band their place here. With a progressive bent and at times a gritty blackened edge, the record is a phenomenal showcase of everything death metal can be – a grand album with one epic track after another. The band’s dramatic, sweeping compositions make the record a tough one to digest in a single sitting, but the relentlessly infectious songwriting will keep you coming back regardless.

World Eaters

With a name that’ll no doubt be familiar to Warhammer 40k enthusiasts, one-man Canadian project World Eaters instantly calls to mind UK legends Bolt Thrower and when you’re up against those kinds of references right out of the gate the odds are definitely stacked against you. Nevertheless, World Eaters deserves to be rated on its own merits and there are plenty. The project boasts a tough but infectious sound with heaps of muscular riffs and some deep, rotten vocals that never lose their grit even as the project takes brief diversions into sinister blackened sections.


At times in the past this duo’s output has been laborious enough to warrant “death-doom” descriptors, but brand new release Fossilized seems to surge with a renewed energy, going from the throat from the off and keeping that energy up throughout. The band’s music, favouring an approach that puts unbridled viciousness and vitriol ahead of grooves or tech-death wizardry (though both do appear), is filthy enough on its own but the zombie-like vocals absolutely drench everything in the stench of rotting flesh.


Few manage to stuff so much atmosphere into their death metal as France’s Barús. The band’s tone is akin to sludge but their gut-churning riffs are on par with anyone in the death metal game, and come paired with ominous atmospheres that seem to ensnare you during the band’s more ambient moments only to betray you the minute the pummelling riffs come bounding back into earshot. The cleaner vocals that occasionally replace the guttural screams, be they boisterous yells or threatening whispers, are also a real stroke of genius. 2018’s Drowned is a hidden gem that you simply need to make time for.

Voracious Scourge

Louisiana’s Voracious Scourge may have an impressive lineup including the likes of Mike Smith (ex-Suffocation), Tony Choy (ex-Cynic/Atheist/Pestilence) and Aad Kloosterwaard (Sinister) but it still feels like 2020’s In Death didn’t quite garner the attention it warranted. It’s a ruthless effort walking a fine line between technical prowess and a more straightforward thrashy approach, as such offering the best of both in equal measure. It’s brutal as all hell but certainly isn’t averse to hints of something more melodious, each track displaying the sort of exciting songwriting you’d expect from such an experienced ensemble of musicians.


The instant we pressed play on Neyquam’s recently released Morbid Devourment EP we were beaming from ear to ear with the sort of devilish grin that only arises when stumbling across something that hits all the right spots. The band’s obscenely heavy grinding death metal may come from Southern Arizona but it seems inspired by the New York school, bringing to mind the pummelling approach of Incantation in particular. The EP is the first of two Transylvanian Recordings releases to be mentioned on this list but honestly it feels like half of the label’s roster could be featured here.


Forming a death metal band without a guitarist seems on the surface to be like trying to drive a car without wheels, but in reality this Italian outfit have stumbled onto something quite extraordinary. By putting the emphasis on the abyssal depths that bass and percussion can reach, the band boast a style that’s not only unique but also phenomenally heavy, with drawn-out riffs that reverberate over the primal drumming to build a cavernous atmosphere. It’s also a fittingly earthy tone to adopt for their debut full-length Supercontinent, which as the name implies has a prehistoric, geologic focus.


This Californian outfit’s debut album To Crown All Befoulment is an absolutely monstrous proposition, every inch of it oozing in thick black tar that bubbles and boils over both the churning death metal riffs that sit on the record’s surface and the biting black metal backdrop that seems to underpin each track. Dearth achieve that rare feat of concocting metal that feels actively hostile at every turn, delivering each movement with such acidic bile that you’ll be quivering by the end.

Garden Of Eyes

We have, on one or two (or maybe dozens of) occasions mentioned that we’re big fans of cosmic horror video game Bloodborne, so suffice to say that guttural death metal set in the grimy, Lovecraftian streets of Yharnam is an instant yes from us. Garden Of Eyes, one of many projects from Jørgen Sven Kirby (aka Nattskog), makes use of some exceedingly grimy production, with recent EP Boomhammer featuring the musician’s best songs under the moniker yet. The two tracks on display here are brimming with Swedish-style groove, relentless churning riffs and some technical flourishes that truly tap into the eldritch horror of the project’s inspirations, whilst the serrated guitars imitate the trick weapons each track is named after.

Ophidian Memory

A bedroom project from one Blake Lamoureux, Ophidian Memory is the sort of hidden gem Bandcamp is filled with, all of them just waiting to be found. Released just last week, the Iowa-bred project’s self-titled debut is an exciting release brimming with ideas, from infectious melodeath enhanced by clean vocals to fierce blackened death that pummels mercilessly. It’s also a testament to why the growing accessibility of recording music at home can only be a good thing for the underground – as hard as it can be to market these kinds of releases without the finances, it can only be a positive that more people are able to see their vision through by recording and releasing music for people around the world to hear.

Savage Realm

Death metal doesn’t come much more ruthless than this. UK outfit Savage Realm are, much to our dismay, yet to follow up their 2016 debut Nocturnal Savagery (what gives, folks?). We’ll let them off the hook though because this delightfully raw EP would be a tough act to follow, its primal reimagining of the Finn-death approach leaving no stones unturned in its pursuit of pure ferocity. In its unrefined tone and tape-only release, not to mention the band’s lack of a social media presence, the EP recalls the genre’s tape-trading heyday, even if that does mean less people have heard this killer band.

Corpse Thrower

If you follow our content closely you’ve likely heard of this lot before, but we’re still of the opinion that they deserve more love. The Californian bruisers are still in their relative infancy, with just two demos and a split to their name, but in their punk-ridden sound the band have stumbled upon something absolutely savage. Their split with Toxic Wizard has some of their best tracks yet, brimming with delectably filthy riffs, pulverising grooves and infernal growls so grimy that you have to wonder whether vocalist Oskar Pelayo’s microphone isn’t caked in mud. Their searing anti-fascist anthem ‘Nazi Slaughter’ even features a section where literal chainsaws replace the guitars. Fucking beautiful stuff.


The music churned out by this Arizonan unit is propelled by a crust-punk undercurrent, favouring a fast-paced onslaught with an overwhelmingly sinister atmosphere that seldom lets up. The subtle melodies will weave their way into your mind with ease but the nefarious tone keeps you on your toes throughout their debut EP Aeternum, a caustic affair that makes use of sludgy sections but only as a means to keep up the intensity whilst still ensuring there’s enough variation. A truly harrowing bout of OSDM that should come with a warning label.


Hailing from perhaps the most overlooked of the death metal hotbeds, Finland’s Baron have been going for a few years but recently released a new demo following some lineup changes. Hellspawn features three scorching bursts of death metal fury, marking a stark change from the beatdown hardcore they were once known for. Their new sound pays homage to that Scandinavian HM-2-led grinding distortion, with tons of groove and hellish vocals that seem to emanate out of some infernal abyss.

Words: George Parr

Liked it? Take a second to support Astral Noize on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!