31 Best Technical Death Metal Bands

Brutal and progressive...

Ultimate Guitar
31 Best Technical Death Metal Bands

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]
  • (the) PLASMArifle
  • A Loathing Requiem
  • Abiotic
  • Abnormality
  • Abysmal Dawn
  • Abysmal Torment
  • Aeon
  • Aeon of Horus
  • Afflicted
  • Alarum
  • Alkaloid
  • All Tomorrows [progressive/technical death/groove metal/djent]
  • Allegaeon
  • Alterbeast
  • Amoral
  • Animosity [technical deathcore/grindcore]
  • Anomalous
  • Archspire
  • Arkaik
  • Atrocity [on first albums]
  • Augury
  • Azooma
  • Benighted
  • Black Crown Initiate
  • Blotted Science
  • Burning the Masses
  • Cannibal Corpse [death metal with tech death elements on later albums]
  • Capharnaum
  • Carcariass
  • Cattle Decapitation [technical death/grind on later albums]
  • Centaurus-A
  • Cephalic Carnage [avant-garde technical death/grind]
  • Cerebral Bore
  • Coma Cluster Void
  • Coprofago
  • Crimson Massacre
  • Dååth [melodic death/thrash/idustrial metal with tech death elements]
  • Deceptionist
  • Deeds of Flesh [technical brutal death metal]
  • Defeated Sanity
  • Despised Icon [technical deathcore/grindcore]
  • Dichotomy
  • Diskreet
  • Divine Heresy [metalcore with tech death elements]
  • Dyscarnate
  • Emeth [technical brutal death metal]
  • Enigma
  • First Fragment
  • Fleshwrought
  • Gigan
  • Gnostic
  • Gory Blister
  • Hate Eternal [death metal with tech death elements]
  • Hideous Divinity
  • Hiroshima Will Burn [technical deathcore]
  • Hour of Penance
  • Ignominious Incarceration
  • Illogicist
  • Inanimate Existence
  • Infant Annihilator [technical/brutal deathcore]
  • Iniquity
  • Internal Suffering
  • Irreversible Mechanism
  • Job for a Cowboy [on later albums]
  • Krisiun [death metal with tech death elements]
  • Kronos
  • Lykathea Aflame
  • Man Must Die
  • Martyr
  • Misanthrope
  • Mithras
  • Monstrosity
  • Monumental Torment
  • Negativa
  • Neglected Fields
  • Neuraxis
  • Odious Mortem
  • Oppressor
  • Orgone
  • Quo Vadis
  • Pitbulls in the Nursery
  • Polluted Inheritance
  • Portal [avant-garde/blackened technical death metal]
  • Revocation [technical death/thrash]
  • Rings of Saturn [technical deathcore]
  • Rivers of Nihil
  • Sarcófago [on later albums]
  • Sceptic
  • Scrambled Defuncts [technical brutal death metal]
  • Severed Savior
  • Slaughterbox [technical brutal death/grind]
  • Sleep Terror
  • Son of Aurelius
  • Soreption
  • Stargazer
  • 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
  • Timeghoul
  • Trauma
  • Trepalium
  • Trigger the Bloodshed
  • Unfathomable Ruination
  • Vale of Pnath
  • Viraemia
  • Virvum
  • 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.

YouTube preview picture

30. Fallujah

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.

YouTube preview picture

29. Demilich

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

27. Anata

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.

YouTube preview picture

26. Sadist

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

24. Ulcerate

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.

YouTube preview picture

23. Nocturnus

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

20. Arsis

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.

YouTube preview picture

19. Gorod

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.

YouTube preview picture

18. Psycroptic

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

15. Immolation

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.

YouTube preview picture

14. Origin

Origin are an American technical brutal death metal band from Topeka, Kansas. They formed in 1998 by guitarist/vocalists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

12. Obscura

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.

YouTube preview picture

11. Pestilence

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.

YouTube preview picture

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."

YouTube preview picture

9. Gorguts

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.

YouTube preview picture

8. Suffocation

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.

YouTube preview picture

7. Cryptopsy

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.

YouTube preview picture

6. Decapitated

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.

YouTube preview picture

5. Atheist

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.

YouTube preview picture

4. Cynic

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.

YouTube preview picture

3. Nile

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."

YouTube preview picture

2. Necrophagist

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.

YouTube preview picture

1. Death

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.

YouTube preview picture

Feel free to share more technical death metal bands in the comment section below.

84 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You know what?  Top class list.
    And I actually totally agree with the list, as well. I probably would have found some room for Archspire, but that's just because I really dig 'em.
    Who cares about Tool? I've been waiting for Necrophagist's album for longer...
    How long has it been anyway? 13 years? I think most of us Necrophagist fans have simply given up. Myself included
    I read comment on Youtube that some fan meet Muhammed at Wintersun gig, and Muhammed said to him that he just must make that album because everybody is waiting (it seemed to me that Necrophagist dont have future, but he feel obligation to make that farewell album), but that Wintesun show was 2013-14..so who knows.
    Last I heard he was working as an engineer for some car company and had completely left the music industry.
    Where the fuck is Blotted Science?!
    In the honorable mention list but they should've been in the top 10.  You can't get more technical than setting Arnold Schoenberg 12 tone serial music theory to death metal  
    I hate to sound like a dick, but Rons system is very different to Schoenbergs methodology to serialism. There's a video where he discusses how he isn't using that system. Aside from that bang on though, there isn't anyone as out there as Ron. Guy is unreal.
    You're absolutely correct and not being a dick at all for pointing this out    Ron doesn't strictly follow the rules of Schoenberg's system, but he uses it as a starting point for his own variations which I think is killer.  Especially how he breaks the 12 tones up into 3 or 4 note clusters by jumping around the 12 tone circle in a seemingly random, yet predictable and repeatable way.  I think the point of Schoenberg was to create an order of notes that defines the tonal universe a piece of music lives in.  Ron takes that idea and moves it forward...hey, maybe instead of "Technical Death Metal", Blotted Science should be considered "Progressive 12 Tone Metal"  
    Hi guys! Our band Neglected Fields is in this list as well! You could check out our live shooting of "For Those Beneath Me" and it's so cool to be there along with many other great bands! \m/ Serhio.
    Glad Nocturnus got in here, one of the most underrated metal bands ever.
    They're really good, but I hate those synth sounds.
    really, that's the part I love is the keyboards.
    Fair enough, if they were a bit lower in the mix and maybe more ELP I think I'd like it more.  Guitar-wise, those guys shred. Ok, never bothered with the 2nd album in the day, but tubing it, I much prefer to the debut.  3rd album worth it?
    Blotted Science only been in the honourable mentions list is heresy. Ron Jarzombek can play circles round pretty much anyone on here, and compositionally he is a serialist composer of unique craft within metal. Plus those film scores he does with BS are off the charts to synch up, the time and tempo changes at times make Dream Theater look piss easy.
    Marcus 90
    I would add Portal to the list, i know it's not really tech death,  more like experimental death metal. But most of there songs are really technical, with really insane chord shapes, just listen to the track Glumurphonel, the best example of just how insanely technical and fast their music is
    Ok, is it just me or are there only two acceptable voices for death metal? i.e.- low guttural scream or high pitch scream.  I didn't listen through everything but I listened through a whole bunch of them and a lot of the music I like but I just can't get into most of the vocals.  And it's not that I hate screaming or anything because I love Meshuggah and others, but they have more of an interesting cadence going onto the delivery and vary things up with different tonal approaches to the screaming (so to speak). If anyone has any interesting counter-examples for me to check out I am more than willing because generally I like a good chunk of the samples I listened to musically.
    It'd be really nice for bands to step outside this genre conventions. I'd DIE to hear a Technical/Prog Death Metal band with a talented Tenor who can actually sing, in the vein of a Dio, Tate, Halford, etc.
    Gojira doesn't even make the honourable mentions? wtf
    They've never been technical death metal. There's a vague argument for prog death but that's not always the same and they don't reach the actual 'death' intensity of the bands mentioned in the list. 
    Oh you've probably only heard their new stuff. Here's what they used to sound like and it is most certainly Death Metal
    No, I've listened to most of their discog. Still wouldn't be tech death regardless. 
    They were definitely death, but Gojira was always "way too emotional" to be considered tech. And actually guitar playing is not that "technical", they sound bussy, but its not hard to learn their stuff.  (Same with Cynic who are IMHO more prog than tech, but their music is really complicated to play)
    i feel archspire should at least be on the actual list, and glad to see arsis getting some props, those guys shred hard.  all in all a good list, learning a few new bands too is always great as well!
    Emenius Sleepus
    Pretty good list, tbh. I personally don't think Death belongs on there, and bands like Demilich, Gorguts, Cryptopsy and Nocturnus could be placed far higher (as they didn't just play technical music, - the riffs were arranged to form a coherent narrative and created a world or an atmosphere that was greater than the sum of its parts. Some of the bands mentioned either focus on a technical riff salad with no greater context, or don't really live up to others in execution). But on the whole, a lot of great mentions. 
    Great article. Death was already disbanded at the time of Chuck's passing, though.
    Death weren't officially disbanded until Chuck's passing - the band was "on hold". And yes, thank you! Glad that you liked the article.
    Fallujah, eh? I thought "Dreamless" was one of the finest records of 2016. Some really cool stuff! Also cool to see some of the truly deserving bands such as Nocturnus, Gorguts and Pestilence getting their due.
    What do people consider The Black Dahlia Murder to be? They are one of my favorite bands of all time but I just call it metal...
    Personally, I think of The Black Dahlia Murder as a melodic death metal band, but getting caught up in and arguing over sub-genre nomenclature is stupid.  It's all awesome music \m/
    Death is one of those rare cases where they're number 1 not only out of respect for their legacy but also because they actually were that great.
    Ok, ok, so why the hell isn't Mors Principium Est on the list? Also, Falluja technical death metal? Please! Now Obscura is on the list and Death is number 1, so overall I'm happy. Although Abysmal Dawn deserve more than an honorable mention, and Bloodshot Dawn deserve an honorable mention.
    Not purely tech death as it's much more prog based but check out Gods of Eden. Metal with a middle eastern/sci-fi feel.
    Honourable mention should also go to the likes of Flagellation, Purgatory, Burn Witch Burn!, Fiery Pit, Whore of Babylon, Goat of Mendes, Corrupted Flesh, Weeping Sore, Abomination, Desecration, Prolapse, Rigor Mortis, Mortal Sin, Bloody Torment, Anal Fissure, Violated, Bubonic Plague and so on.
    It is not very technical to play: ------------------- ------------------- ------------------- -0--0--0--0------- -0--0--0--0------- -0--0--0--0-------
    Swap out Nile with Allegaeon and I'll be okay with this list
    Very happy to see Arsis on that list. Saw them live in 2010 with Death Angel and it was killer. I do think Dying Fetus should be higher on the list, but overall, fucking solid. 
    Am I the only one who sees the label "brutal death metal" as being super redundant??? I've seen it thrown around, used in context as an alternative to just death metal, but why!?!? Any ideas? lol