You know 'em, you love 'em, and you wish they'd release some new music eventually. These are the nine classic death metal bands that really ought to release a new full-length album! Not because they "owe it to fans" or whatever, but because they're too damn good to stay this quiet for this long. This list excludes bands that are currently in the studio like Deicide or were in the studio like Cryptopsy, and bands that are currently broken up (yes, we'd love new Necrophagist).
Dead Congregation has two full-length albums released in 2008 and 2014, followed by an EP in 2016. Dead Congregation recently announced their first US tour in nine years, but there's still not been any mention of new material.
In a 2018 interview, the band stated that they were out on the road and were working on new material, but none of it has surfaced just yet: "We just had a couple of very stimulating shows, one in Montreal / Canada and one in Mexico City. Not to undermine other shows of ours, on the contrary every show is exceptional and fulfilling – it’s just that visiting parts of the world that are further from your country than the ones you get to visit more frequently is always an exciting experience.
"This month we’re also headlining Reykjavik Deathfest in Iceland, then we have a show in Venice/Italy, in the Summer we’re doing Brutal Assault and PartySan, even more shows booked till the end of the year and meanwhile we’re working on new material for an upcoming full-length album."
Of all the bands on this list, Dismember feels like one the most likely candidates to release a new record. Dismember recently signed to Nuclear Blast and has been digitally reissuing their entire back catalog, with long-awaited physical copies to follow. But what about their potential first record since their 2008 self-titled? According to drummer Fred Estby, it's on their list of things to do.
"We're talking about making new music," said Estby. "The question is when. As of right now, because of the pandemic and all that, this year was only honoring all the shows that were booked in 2019 and 2020.
"So, we got those done, and of course, the way metal festivals, especially in Europe, work now is as soon as they're done, they're already selling tickets for next year's edition. So we have a couple coming up, which is gonna be really fun. But we're also thinking about recording more."
Gorguts might finally be back? The band is booked for Maryland Deathfest 2024 and will hit the stage for the first time in six years this April at the Decibel Metal & Beer Festival. It's not super clear what's going on behind the scenes in the Gorguts camp right now, but in 2020 Gorguts mastermind he was starting to compose the follow-up to their 2016 EP Pleiades' Dust (and their potential first full-length since Colored Sands in 2013).
"The thing with having worked with Dave and Elliot [on Metal Injection's Slay At Home Festival] is it really got me out of my cavern," said Lemay. "Right away when the news spread, Season of Mist's president wrote to me: 'alors merde! What is it? The guys managed to get you out of hibernation? We never get news from you.' The next day, we spoke on Skype and I said 'don't worry, I took a break, I needed a break to change my mind.' We had done a lot of tours two years ago, so we needed to focus on our own things, to take a break and recharge the batteries.
"[Bassist Colin Marston] and [guitarist Kevin Hufnagel] have projects all the time. Colin has his studio, he's always busy. Even the last tour in Europe was done with Forest [Dominic Lapointe] from Augury playing with us. I love Forest, he's a damn good friend and he's amazing. But I'd rather take a break than replace people all the time.
"Other than that, I started practicing again. As I said, I live in the countryside, in a small town. When I quit music, I started working freelance, doing woodwork. I sculpt wooden signs. Let's say you have a small shop, you're a shoemaker so you want a sign. They're handmade signs. I started doing that and it gave me a lot of work. I built a whole workshop and eventually started making furniture as well. People came to me for that. So that's what I do. You know the pandemic… of course it sucks, it's crap for the music business and for arts.
"But me in confinement, I'm lucky enough that the phone rang and that I received commissions that I can work on in my workshop. So it doesn't change much for me. I'm also in writing mode, I'll start composing a new Gorguts album. I'm sorry to say that it's a perfect timing… I mean that my writing session ends up happening now. There's no sword cutting through water, like bands who worked hard for a year or two on an album. They want to unleash it but can't…"
Grave showed signs of life in 2021 when they posted footage of their first rehearsal since the pandemic hit in 2020. Grave has since booked appearances at festivals like Næstved Metalfest, Dark Easter Metal Meeting, and the beloved Maryland Deathfest in 2024.
In a 2022 interview, Grave bassist Tobias Cristiansson said the band has some ideas for new music but hasn't gotten together to figure anything out yet. So it's loosely in the works, but don't hold your breath waiting around for it to drop anytime soon. In the meantime, feel free to blast "Plain Pine Box." That opening riff will put you in the ground.
Hate Eternal is the shortest gap on this list with only five years since their last full-length album, but this is more preemptive than anything else. Hate Eternal mastermind Erik Rutan joined Cannibal Corpse in 2020 and it doesn't seems like he's in a rush to return to his former project, given their social media silence. Which is fine – dude's in Cannibal Corpse. That's a dream job for any death metal musician.
"I feel so grateful to have been and still continue to be a part of this music that I feel so passionate about and embrace," said Rutan in a 2021 statement. "Hate Eternal will absolutely continue on.. JJ, Johnny and I look forward to recording another unrelenting Hate Eternal album in the future when the time is right.
"As many people know I have always done multiple things in my career and I plan on continuing that starting with Cannibal Corpse as well as Hate Eternal, Mana Recording, producing and other musical endeavors when time allows. We will have some other great Hate Eternal news to share in the near future and look forward to continuing down the path I have been a part of for decades."
Despite their legendary status and high-billing on death metal festivals around the world, Demilich has one album to their name – Nespithe in 1993. And if you've never heard Nespithe, prepare to be transported to a psychedelic hellscape where words are belched out as poisonous clouds.
Nespithe has been reissued a few times over the years, with the definitive version being 2014's 20th Adversary of Emptiness issued by Svart Records. But will we ever get a new Demilich record? According to frontman Antti Boman in a recent interview with Bandcamp, the band is still working on it (as they have been).
"There will be at least four songs, that's for sure," said Boman. "Well, nothing's for sure, of course—I'm turning 49. But we have four songs ready—er, almost ready. The finalizing phase, it's been taking time. But now I'll concentrate on that and get them out, and I have the plan and some riffs. I have the whole concept for the second album, but we'll see what happens. I can't promise anything—you must understand [laughs]."
There also might be a live album in the works, but nobody's heard anything about that yet.
Suffocation's 2017 album …Of The Dark Light was the band's final record with original vocalist Frank Mullen, and whatever they do next will be their first with live-fill-in-turned-permanent-vocalist Ricky Myers. Considering their legendary status, and the fact they're still out there on the road killing it with Myers, a new Suffocation record will be very welcome and feel like the proper ushering in of a new era.
All we know is that according to guitarist Terrance Hobbs in 2022, Suffocation is working on it: "The new material is just as aggressive, fast, brutal and melodic and as time went on, I learned more from people like [producer] Scott Burns. He helped us understand making a song sound like a song, not just a run-on sentence or something so bland that it loses the interest of the listener.
"I have to take those things to heart and the rest of my band did as well, like Doug, [former bassist] Chris [Richards] and [former drummer] Mike Smith. He really gave us a little bit more gumption to know about producing music. Even though he was the engineer, he still did produce some songs for us and it was eye-opening to understand that type of methodology."
Vomitory was originally active between 1989 and 2013, and has once again been playing shows ever since their 2017 reunion. Vomitory released their currently-final (and arguably best) album Opus Mortis VIII in 2011, meaning it's high time for a new one post-reunion.
Though it doesn't really look like a new record is in the card right now. According to Vomitory drummer Tobias Gustafsson in an interview with the Bulgarian site We Rock, the band is only playing their classic material right now and doesn't have a plan for new stuff. "Right now we're only performing the old stuff," said Gustafsson. "Of course we're thinking about a new album, but we'll see what happens."