Many DM bands have adopted themes of depravity. Such as murder, rape, torture, necrophilia, and pathology. Ala Cannibal Corpse, Disgorge (USA), and Pustulated. Others experimented with alternate subjects such as existentialism, nihlism, war, fear, and alternate realities and universes. Ala Disavowed, Debodified, Cryptopsy, Wormed. And some have devoted thier themes to anti-christian, satanic,necronomicon, egyptian, sumarian or demonology. Ala Deicide, Morbid Angel, Nile, and Internal Suffering.
Besides variance in themes bands vary in style. There are many styles to DM but I will seperate them into the two easiest catagories; brutal and technical. Many technical DM bands tend to stray from the typical themes of depravity and often have views similar to (black metal) bands. But thier musicianship is rival to few. Some technical DM bands would be Deeds of Flesh, Lust of Decay, and Hate Eternal. While brutal DM bands concentrate less on technicality and more on sound. And thier sound is massive! thick, tight, and low. The vocalists push thier throats into new boundries with gutteral emmisions. The drummers play with triggered kick drums, ice bells, and piccolo snare drums tuned so high that every blast beat is magnified in clarity. The guitars are detuned often as far as B or A#. The riffs played are a mix between noisy blast beat grinds and palm muted chunky slamming breakdowns with loads of pinch harmonic squeals. Some brutal DM bands that adapt these qualities are Internal Bleeding, Goretrade, and Fleshgrind.
Phrasing is not the only distinction between the legions of death. Region also plays a key role. Florida is home to many of the forefathers ala Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Death. While New York has been home to many old and new Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, and Internal Bleeding lit the tourch while bands such as Internal Suffering, Copremisis, and Malignancy now carry it. Mexico seems to love pathology (study of dieseases) ala Disgorge, Rottenness, Tu Carne,and Lymphatic Phlegm. While Brazil likes a more thrash oriented sound ala; Mental horror, Abhorrance, and Krisiun. But the Columbians are just plain brutal ala; Internal Suffering, Goretrade, and Carnal. The rocky mountains are no stranger to high altitudes or getting high ala Wicked Innocence, Cephalic Carnage, and Undertaker. But Illinois seems to be overrun with sickos ala; Lividity, Macabre, and Gorgasm. Canada has equal parts brutality and technicality ala; Cryptopsy, Martyr and Anal Bleeding. Europe loves DM also the Dutch have an interesting take on technicallity ala; Prostitute Disfigurement, Pyaemia, Severe Torture. While the Italians and French like it sick and brutal ala; Morgue, Corpsefuckingart, and Voracious Gangrene. Spain is becoming a crushing entity of its own with bands like Impure, Wormed, and Machetazo. The Czechs may not be playing exactly DM but thier version of death grind is swift and relentless ala; Malignant Tumor, Alienation Mental, and Pigsty. Many nations have embraced DM Japan has Vomit Remnants. Indonisia has Jasad. Australia has Psycroptic and Intense Hammer Rage. New Zealand has Corpse Carving.
But let us come back to the US for a second cause there is a small pocket of terrain that inhabits the most disturbed individuals...Texas! The Texas underground scene includes bands such as Putrilage, Prophecy, Grotesque Formation, Sect of Execration, Sintury, Viral Load, Insidious Decrapency, Exulcerate and last but not least (yep you guessed it)The mighty "Devourment." The band to end all DM bands. The band which defines DM. The band whos first and only full length album "Molesting the Decapitated" set the bar of brutality so high that it has been the inspiration to millions and also the demise of many. The album was perfect it was the complete package. The sound, the lyrics, the imagery everything was over the top and beyond. It was so monstrous that it even envoked a new genre "ultra brutal." It even spawned a new way of thinking pre-devourment and post-devourment.
Possessed may have stumbled apon the title "death metal" with thier 1985 album Seven Churches and Death may have had similar thinking with songs like "regurgitated guts" "torn to peices" and "mutilation" with thier 1987 release Scream Bloody Gore. So for that we owe them for comming up with the title DM, for if not for them we might be calling to blood metal or hate metal or some other epithet. But as far as sound wise they had very little to do with it. Bands like Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation had far more contribution to the title than thier predecessors. Just as Devourment thiers.
So with these many variances and many sub-genres ala; DM, death grind, technical DM, brutal DM, ultra brutal DM, gore metal, and gore grind one thing is proven DM is a medium in which many textures may be used. And with the virtuosos that take interest in DM everyday it is truly an advant-gard free form of music. DM is freedom DM is art.
death metal was never meant to be popular. It's unmarketability is actually a good thing, since the industry can't make it into a trend and kill it all together like they did glam rock, rap, and grunge.