The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time!

The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, #11: Cannibal Corpse

  • Dave Mustein

The 25 Best Metal Bands of All TimeCannibal Corpse 2014MetalSucks recently polled over a hundred of metal’s most revered musicians, critics, journalists, artists, publicists, and industry insiders to find out which 25 bands represent the very BEST in the history of metal. Appropriately enough for Halloween, today we continue with the legendary masters of gore…

Cannibal Corpse
40 Votes
510 Points

There are some of you who might contend that Cannibal Corpse should not be so high on this list. The complaints are predictable: “Cannibal Corpse didn’t invent death metal;” “they’ve made the same album for the last ten years;” “they’re just generic death metal.” And it is admittedly easy to take the band for granted – but only because we’ve gotten so used to living in their presence, a presence that’s truly essential to the integrity of death metal as we know it. Anyone foolish enough to harp on these claims year after year is ignoring more than just the massive legacy Cannibal Corpse have established in the metal scene – they’re also forgetting the broader impact Cannibal Corpse have had on popular music in general.

It’s undeniable that Cannibal Corpse were one of the first to put extreme metal on the map for non-metal audiences, both past and present. From a numbers standpoint, the band have sold hundreds of thousands of albums and even broke into the US Top 40 with 2012’s Torture. In 1996, Vile debuted at 122 on Billboard, when no other death metal had so much as cracked 200. It’s mind-blowing to consider that a band with such an outwardly antagonist attitude (to say nothing of George Fisher’s trachea-shredding roars) could appeal to mass audiences, and that Cannibal Corpse would be the ones to enable crossover between extreme metal and the mainstream.  It’s undoubtedly had an influence on the way modern metal is viewed today – would Lamb of God, with Randy Blythe’s howls, really have been so easily accepted had Cannibal Corpse not paved the way? It’s not too far-fetched to think that the massive mainstream success Deafheaven have been enjoying lately might not have existed if not for Cannibal Corpse’s prowess nearly two decades earlier.

Further into the metal side of things, the band are iconic, almost cult-ishly, the OGs of shock tactics and gore. Ever since the earliest contention over the band’s lyrics, album art bannings, and lawsuits, the band have been the undefeated heavyweight champions of death metal free speech. Without Cannibal Corpse, we may never have been lucky enough to be graced with the likes of Vaginal Penetration of an Amelus With a Musty Carrot or good ol’ Parasitic Ejaculation. And that’s saying nothing about the music. The riffs of Pat O’ Brien and Alex Webster have been raising the bar for technical proficiency in death metal since Bloodthirst; the latter is one of today’s most established paragons of technical metal.

Cannibal Corpse are more universally known than two of the Big 4, and they’ve done something that those bands have not: kept up. Cannibal Corpse toe the line between the present and the historical, the influential and the influenced. Cannibal Corpse grew into the modern death metal sound without abandoning their roots; you can’t listen to modern death metal without referring back to to the band. Yet Cannibal Corpse have taken a lot of ludicrous flak for “not changing.” How could the essence of death metal change drastically enough to ever pacify the so-called innovators without forsaking its roots entirely? The recent influx of interesting new bands has made us impatient, desperate for constant change and instant gratification – and it’s forever changing the way we look back at the greats. This list should inject a much-needed dose of reality into the metal community: reminders that these are the pillars of the music we cherish; these are the bands that, years and years ago, worked on their vision and actualized the genre and burgeoning subgenres we now hold so dear.

It’s true: Cannibal Corpse did not invent death metal. But they have come to epitomize death metal, continuing to grow consistently and reliably with the genre as other early acts have fallen off the wagon or dipped in quality. Cannibal Corpse will never claim to be reinventing the wheel, and they’ll never reach for disastrous collaborations in a sad attempt to bolster their relevance. In a world full of bullshit, Cannibal Corpse have survived solely on their absolute lack of bullshit. No laziness, no watering-down of their sound for no no audiences; just five dudes united in a pact to produce pure, undiluted DM. Cannibal Corpse are here for one simple reason: they’re the best fucking death metal band of all time.


#12 – Anthrax (42 Votes, 497 Points)
#13 – Sepultura (41 Votes, 444 Points)
#14 – Dio (33 Votes, 433 Points)
#15 – Mercyful Fate (31 Votes, 419 Points)
#16 – Morbid Angel (33 Votes, 406 Points)
#17 – Meshuggah (32 Votes, 377 Points)

#18 – Opeth (30 Votes, 364 Points)
#19 – Testament (33 Votes, 347 Points)
#20 – At The Gates (28 Votes, 331 Points)
#21 – AC/DC (17 Votes, 313 Points)

#22 – Celtic Frost (24 Votes, 310 Points)
#23 – Ozzy Osbourne (21 Votes, 290 Points)
#24 – Napalm Death (22 Votes, 278 Points)
#25 – Lamb of God (29 Votes, 277 Points)


Chris Alfano – East of the Wall, Gear Gods
Paul Allender – White Empress, ex-Cradle of Filth
Rob Arnold – The Elite, ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under
Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) – Primordial
Chuck B.B. – Artist
Matt Bachand – Shadows Fall
Micke Berg – Below
Chuck Billy – Testament
Randy Blythe – Lamb of God
Paul Booth – Last Rites Tattoo and Art Gallery
Jake Bowen – Periphery
Terry Butler – Obituary
Liz Ciavarella-Brenner – Publicist, Earsplit PR
Blake Charlton – Ramming Speed
Richard Christy – Charred Walls of the Damned, ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Control Denied, The Howard Stern Show
Monte Conner – President, Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Bruce Corbitt – Rigor Mortis, Warbeast
Doc Coyle – ex-God Forbid
Sergeant D. – MetalSucks, Stuff You Will Hate
Topon Das – Fuck the Facts, Merdarahta
Anso DF – MetalSucks
Peter Dolving – Rosvo, ex-The Haunted
Ryan J. DowneySuperhero Artist Management
Sacha Dunable – Intronaut, Bereft, Dunable Guitars
Vince Edwards – Head of Publicity, Metal Blade Records
Excretakano – MetalSucks
Extreme Management Group
D.X. Ferris – Slayer ScholarThe 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, #11: Cannibal CorpseMetalSucks
Ryan Fleming – Black Table
Jon Freeman – Publicist, Freeman Promotions
Matthew Friesen – Culted
Ville Friman – Insomnium
Mike Gitter – Senior Director of A&R, Razor & Tie
Frank Godla – Metal Injection, Meek is Murder
Mike Greene – Director of Digital Marketing, Razor & Tie
Shane Handel – Set and Setting
Jeff Hodak – Head of Sales, Razor & Tie
Terence Hannum – Locrian
John Hoffman – Weekend Nachos
Mark Hunter – ex-Chimaira
Don JamiesonThat Metal Show
Daniel Jansson – Culted
John Jarvis – Pig Destroyer, Fulgora
Gaz Jennings – Death Penalty, ex-Cathedral
Patrik Jensen – The Haunted
Rick Jimenez – Extinction A.D.
Kassa – Below
Mirai Kawashima – Sigh
“Grim” Kim KellyMetalSucks
Zeena Koda
Erik Kluiber – Gypsyhawk
Eyal LeviUnstoppable Killing Machine, Dååth
Jason Lekberg – IKILLYA
Adam Lindmark – Morbus Chron
Ryan Lipynsky – Serpentine Path, Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind
Jonah Livingston – Ramming Speed
Bob Lugowe – Director of Promotions/Marketing, Relapse Records, Brutal Panda Records
James Malone – Arsis, Necromancing the Stone
Jose Mangin – Director of Music Programming, Sirius XM Liquid Metal
Bobby Mansfield – 16
Misha Mansoor – Periphery
Morgan McGrath – Live Nation
Mike “Gunface” McKenzie – The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Nightkin
Vince Neilstein – MetalSucks
Eventansvarig Biostaden Nyköping – Below
Chris Ojeda – Byzantine
Casey Orr – Rigor MortisWarbeast
Rob Pasbani – Metal Injection
Anders Persson – Portrait
Chris Pervelis – Internal Bleeding
Karim Peter – Artist Relations, IndieMerchandising
Raphael Pinsker – Booking Agent, 3Thirteen Entertainment Group
Markus “Rabapagan” – Metsatöll
Josh Rand – Stone Sour
Emperor Rhombus – MetalSucks
Gus Rios – Gruesome
Tobias Rosén – Noctum
Axl Rosenberg – MetalSucks
Travis Ryan – Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Nader Sadek
Marc Schapiro, Branch Marketing Collective
Zach Shaw – The Syndicate
Patrick Sheridan – Fit For An Autopsy
Alex Skolnick – Testament
Brian Slagel – Chairman/CEO, Metal Blade Records
Mark Solotroff – Anatomy of Habit, Bloodlust!, BLOODYMINDED
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Exodus, Hatriot
Kevin Stewart-Panko – Decibel, MetalSucks
Black String – Vampire
Jason Suecof – Audiohammer Studios
Bram Teitelman – Metal Insider
Nick Tieder – No Jacket Required Marketing, Indegoot
Tone Deaf Touring
Aaron Turner – Old Man Gloom, ex-ISIS, Hydra Head Records
Brody Uttley – Rivers of Nihil
George Vallee – Head of Publicity, Street Smart Marketing
Dirk Verbeuren – Soilwork, Bent Sea, Scarve
Jens Vestergren – Below
Jake Wade – Columns
Kelly Walsh – Publicist, Prosthetic Records
Mike Wohlberg – The Fat Kid Illustration
Wookubus – The PRP

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