International Mosh: 15 Extreme Chilean Metal Bands
In a 2018 study, Chile was found to be the Latin American country with the most metal bands per capita at 113 metal bands per one million people. With nearly 3,000 Chilean bands listed on the Encyclopaedia Metallum, it should go without saying that the pais de los poetas — or land of the poets — is actually the most metal country in the region.
Metal developed in Chile in the late 1970s and 1980s with bands like Dorso, Massakre, Necrosis and Rust gaining traction in the country. As the military dictatorship run by General Augusto Pinochet came to an end in 1990, more bands emerged in different styles.
Of those bands, a large amount label themselves as thrash metal, black metal and/or death metal. Chile even plays a major part in the Big Four, since Slayer bassist/vocalist Tom Araya emigrated to the United States when he was five. It goes without saying that it’s very likely that Slayer could have influenced a whole generation of Chilean metalheads.
Still to this day, extreme metal has been a constant in Chile and there are countless others to check out besides the bands on this list. So do yourself a favor and grab yourself a big bowl of hot Chilean metal.
Pentagram Chile – Thrash/death metal
No, not that other Pentagram. The thrash/death metal Chilean band changed their name to Pentagram Chile out of respect for the classic doom metal act in 2012. Chile’s Pentagram, though, has almost as much history as the Virginian Pentagram, starting in 1985.
Singer/guitarist Anton Reisseneger went to Brazil in the band’s early days, invited by Max Cavalera, in hopes to land on a label, but nothing came of it. Back in Chile, no other label wanted to sign Pentagram as the ‘80s soldiered on, causing the band to split up. They reunited in 2001 and again in 2009, putting out their only full-length in 2013, The Malefice. For pure Chilean evil incarnate, look no further than Pentagram Chile.
Atomic Aggressor – Death metal
Also smashing out of the year 1985 are the death metal battalion known as Atomic Aggressor.
The Santiago-based boys added a pinch of occult horror to their lyrical themes, taking inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft (Rise of the Ancient Ones, Invoking the Primal Chaos) and anti-Christianity. Their sole full-length from 2014, Sights of Suffering, is all the evidence needed for proof of these diabolical “old ones”. The band is still laying waste to metal festivals in and outside of the country today.
Apostasy – Thrash/blackened thrash metal
Emerging at a time when thrash ruled the world (1988) are Valparaiso’s Apostasy. Their 1991 album Sunset of the End (only released on cassette tape) is an underrated gem of the thrash genre, with enough mood and texture added in the album’s intro “Apocalyptic Serenade” to make the later pulverizing thrash compositions have that much more impact once they kick in. The band added a touch of evil later in their career with some black metal influence creeping in, though it can be detected in Sunset with a Venom-meets-thrash vocal style on display.
Godless – Death metal
Christianity is the dominant religion in Chile, with most identifying as Roman Catholic. Bands like Godless, however, identify their music as irreligious or impious, serving as a reminder that defying the culture’s norm and blazing your own path is virtuous…or rather, “the infamous degradation of the paradigm of virtue.” Godless emerged in 1997 and have been a vortex of chaos since. A few underground labels have been acknowledging Godless these days and are reissuing their old material, so nab a copy from Sunshine Ward Recordings, Chaos Records, Caligari Records and others.
Cancerbero – Death metal
Death, darkness, torture, hate, evil, blasphemy, agony. These are the words that describe Cancerbero’s lyrical themes. What more could you possibly want? The death metal band formed in 1987 and ran until 1994 with only a few demos to their name. They reformed a few more times, getting more punishing with each incarnation. 2019’s Reconquering the Throne of Death says it all in the title, really, evoking an old school death metal sound which would fit in on any purist’s fetid, crusty playlist.
Torturer – Death/thrash metal
If looking at a line of suspects at a Chilean metal police station, Torturer may be the face you recognize. Founded in 1989 by bassist Francisco Cautin, the death/thrash attack of Torturer is something that when heard, is both brutal but identifiable to the region, much like bands like Sepultura. In 2001, they emerged from a period of being absent from the public eye with Rise from the Ashes, gaining more traction outside of the country. This was followed by teaming up with Australia’s Apocalyptor Records for further international exposure, which continues to this day.
Force of Darkness – Black/thrash/death metal
Contemporary extreme metal is a strong force in the underground music scene of Chile. Bands like Force of Darkness, obviously inspired by the bands listed above, continue to build upon an already thriving scene by throwing in more layers of brutality. The force of thrash/death/black metal is what this band wields with their instruments. Their self-titled 2006 album, featuring a cover that evokes cosmic blasphemy is about as lawless as you can get when immersed in darkness.
Ancient Crypts – Death metal
The new school of old school death metal in Chile is best represented by opening the Ancient Crypts. From 2010 onward, this band has been guiding ears to pried open caskets that make up their EPs. Their 2020 effort Inhaling the Flames of a Burning Carcass is the best album title I have heard in some time, and the Lovecraftian infused death metal found on the disc is just as pungent.
Slaughtbbath – Black metal
Made up of a trio of blasphemers with the names Skullshredder, Desecrator and Negro, Slaughtbbath, from 2002, have been bringing their sacrilegious style to the Chilean underground. The band has never lacked inspiration and has been a working man’s band, who have released over a dozen splits and two full-lengths since their ungodly debut. Thunderous and repugnant, check out Hail to Fire or their latest, Alchemical Warfare for that blasphemous fix.
Inanna – Death metal
Named after the ancient Mesopotamian goddess of war, sex, desire, fertility and power, Inanna take on many different elements of metal, but don’t describe them as anything other than death metal unless you’d like to feel the wrath of the angry gods. The band, like a few others on this list, is also inspired by Lovecraft, with album titles like Void of Unending Depths or their live album, Ancient Horror Unleashed being perfect soundtracks to candlelit The Call of Cthulhu readings.
Defacing – Brutal death metal
Slamming out of La Serena, the modern princes of brutal death metal in the country of Chile, Defacing. Their sample filled, ungodly vicious albums are ones to put hair on your chest and then slice it off along with a few layers of skin. They recently played the Spider in the Corner fest, opening for Krisiun and Belphegor – expect bigger things from the band who love Destroying Your Dignity.
Piggy – Goregrind
Oink, oink. EEEEEEEH! This vegan, groovy goregrind band has been around since 2015 with a distaste for animal cruelty and a taste for savage grind. Wearing pig masks on stage, the band instigates crowd stampedes as if they were swine running to their mother’s various nipples. Check out their new album Superfiesta via Bizarre Leprous and also check out the similarly named Porky for more pigsty-produced grind.
Phantasmagore – Death metal
It was hard to not choose Phantasmagore to feature here due to their album cover of Insurrection or Submission being like a scene from Hellraiser cranked to 100. The band have only been around since 2018, though this destructive force of a death metal album, as well as a few demos and a split with Fleshrot have seen the band quickly rise up the ranks as something to look out for. Phantasmagore – they’ll tear your soul apart.
Esophagus – Slamming brutal death metal
From Hellraiser to Predator. Esophagus are a long-running (2008 was quite a long time ago when you think about it) slamming, brutal death metal band out of Concepción who blasted onto the scene with their 2009 demo Pulverized by Misanthropic Behavior. The song was such a hit that it made it onto their full-length, Defeated by their Inferiority, released in 2020, which features quite the badass cover art of the Predator post-spine splitting with victims hanging upside down from trees in the background. Typical to slam, the band slows it down enough for you to feel every millisecond of pain and agony on this release.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Death metal
Cult of the unspeakable – the name is derived from Von unaussprechlichen Kulten, a fictional book featured in Lovecraft’s The Black Stone. They have been around since 1999 (before that, they were known as Spawn) and have been churning out death metal of the cosmic horror variety since. New bass player Goldor is known throughout the scene for his hand painted canvases including huge backdrops which he has done for bands like Napalm Death, Mayhem and Destroyer 666.