Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The origin of the term “death metal”

Death metal is one of the most extreme forms of music in the universe with its crunch guitars, driving beats, and insane vocals. But who came up with the term “death metal?” That’s…complicated.

You’d think that since Scandinavia became a big focal point for the genre, someone in Sweden or Norway or Finland would have coined the term. For any hope of an answer, we have to go back to 1984 when several intense metal bands came out with new material. First, there was Mantas, a Florida band that released a demo called “Death by Metal.” They later evolved into a band called Death and they became very influential within the genre.

The same year, a San Francisco band called Possessed released a demo tape called Death Metal. And then around the same time, a label called Noise Records released a compilation of ultra-heavy music called Death Metal. Take your pick.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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