On the international heavy metal scene, it is well known Sweden is the place to be, when it comes to heavy metal music. Aside from bikini models and extravagant chocolate, heavy metal, in all its forms, is one of the country's main cultural exports. From death metal, speed metal, black metal, power metal, grindcore doom, and even an even hardcore, Sweden has a rich history with extreme music, which was evident with the plethora of bands to choose from. But, after much debate, this is what we came up with. We now present our best Metal bands from Sweden.
See also: The 10 Best Mexican Metal Bands
10.General Surgery A Swedish goregrind band formed in 1991, these miscreants create a slab of extreme metal that is soaked in blood, guts and visceral decay, with a sound based heavily on Carcass style death metal madness with hints of Napalm Death. The sped up, unrelenting technicality of the bands sound is top notch. General Surgery's 1991 release, Necrology put the band on the map of extreme grindcore music, and since then, with some line changes, the band has released many splits, compilations with other underground metal bands, along with several full-length albums. General Surgery still tours the world infecting fans with a medical based gore obsessed grindcore.
9.Hypocrisy This band formed in 1990, after musician and songwriter Peter Tagtren returned to his native Sweden, after spending time in Florida, where he took notice of death metal bands like Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Deicide, Death and others. Hypocrisy, at first began as a black metal band, with severe anti-Christian sentiments, much like the other Scandinavian bands at the time. But, as time went on, the band later evolved to become a melodic death metal band pushing the boundaries of extreme metal, with a sound that varied in tempo and volume, and used themes and lyrics about non human entities, UFOS, abductions, and a sinister side to ET visitations. More recently, the band's music focuses on concepts of the bleak future for humanity, technology and the quest of the New World Order for global domination. In addition to vocal and guitar duties for Hypocrisy, Tagtgren is also an established multi instrumentalist, and metal producer, with his own studios. He has worked with such artists as Children of Bodom, Marduk, Immortal, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir, Grave, Dark Funeral, Amon Amarth and many more.
See also: The 10 Best Brazilian Metal Bands
Satanic and obsessed with darkness at its core, Watain is a band formed in Sweden in 1998, by bassist Erik Danielsson. The music is very, dark and inspired by bands like Dissection, Behexen, Mayhem, and Bathory, and has faster, grim sounds that evoke the vibes of a Black Mass. Danielsson has mentioned in interviews numerous times that he takes the music seriously, as a force to channel darker energies and the band's live shows have been infamous for using incense, black candles, and YES real animal blood, bones and carcasses, some of which was even highlighted on the tabloid show TMZ.
In what initially began as a traditional, technical, yet brutal and melodic death metal band, in 1998, Entombed was first known as Nilhist. The sound of the band was a heavy, distorted sound that was lumped in with other Scandinavian death metal bands of the time. But as the years went on, the band's name changed to Entombed, and the sound became more complex with more grooves and addition of other elements such as hard rock, garage rock, and other forms of music. Eventually, the band would be described as death'n'roll, for both grooves and rock mixed in with extreme metal. The band has recorded and released seven full-length albums since 1990, and still plays shows, performing throughout the world.
See also: The 10 Best Historical Metal Bands
6.Bathory Without a doubt, this cult band, formed in 1983 in Sweden, was led by one of the most mysterious figures in extreme metal. Quorthon was the bands main songwriter, guitarist, and lyricist. Named after the vampiric Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory, the band drew in dark forces with a primitive, evil, fast and raw sound, which compared to Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Venom and Mayhem. But the band's sheer force and macabre energy including Satanic references, mysterious artwork and no lyrics gained the attention of underground music fans and collectors worldwide. Bathory's early albums are considered by many to be the foundation for the Black Metal sound that came in the band's shadow, in the early '90s. Not to mention the later part of Bathory's catalog, which also set the standard for many Viking Metal bands. All in all, the band's legacy was set in fire, but in 2004, it came to an end when the mysterious front man left this world, and died from heart failure.
From Stockholm, this band has created some legendary Swedish death sounds over the past 25 years, and has made a name itself with a very sharp and aggressive sound. Known for the classic 1991 debut album, Like An Ever Flowing Stream, the band's mix of raging violence, ultra mechanical speed and technical intensity has made for some gut busting, jaw breaking death metal. Over the years, with seven additional albums, the band grew darker, angrier, faster and more proficient in their death metal attack, but sadly Dismember have not been active, essentially quitting in 2011.
See also: The 10 Best German Metal Bands
4.Dissection This band came up during the explosion other so-called Satanic black metal bands from Scandinavia during the early '90s. Dissection's romantic, symphonic, and very dark, spiritual black metal was always obsessed with evil, darkness, and philosophical Satanic themes. The music was extreme and aggressive but also primeval and classically orchestrated with heavy echoes of drums and haunting melodies hidden throghout the darkness. The first two albums, The Slomblain, and Storm of the Lights Bane, are often cited as flawless seminal records in the black metal scene, and the overall Gothenburg metal sound. Dissection guitarist songwriter and vocalist Jon Nodtveit was an outward Satanist who openly professed to believe in and worship dark forces. In 1997, Nodveit, and several other individuals, were arrested and eventually convicted of beating to death a homosexual man. After his release from prison over a decade later for the crime, he tried to revive Dissection in 2004 with a new album and new line up, but eventually he took his own life in 2006, in a Satanic ritual, according to authorities who found his body.
3.Meshuggah Formed in 1987, this band is worked renowned for a style extreme metal, so technical you can't even head bang in cadence to it. From the humble beginnings of an underground death metal band, Meshuggah have progressed to include elements of thrash, prog rock, jazz fusion and more into an innovative and unique sound that has recently inspired the so called 'djent' movement. The musicianship is off the charts; with the band being able to produce sounds so chaotic they defy logic. After more than seven full-length albums, and a new one due next year, the band has toured the world and opened for everyone from Slayer to Tool. Fans love the band's non-conformist confrontational approach to music and esoteric lyrics and song structures. Only in the past few years has the band gained huge success, having toured over the world, sold hundreds of thousands of records, and even a Swedish Grammy nomination in 2009. Meshuggah show no sign of slowing down and are still pumped up and full of energy, speed and precision when it comes to there one of a kind extreme metal sound.
See also: The 10 Best Heavy Metal Concept Albums
2.Opeth It took a while for people to notice Opeth, but now the band is considered a staple to any fan of melodic death metal. Formed in 1990, in Stockholm, Opeth were at first very extreme, dark and more in tune with traditional death/ black metal of the time. However, soon after forming, the band grew apart from the contemporaries and began incorporating jazz, neo folk, and classical and acoustic passages into the music, adding different lays to the sound. As the years passed the musicianship only intensified and Opeth became a prog rock extreme metal blend of a force to be reckoned with. With insanely long, intricate and mezmerizing songs, bandleader Mikael Afkerfeldt has the most beautiful clean singing voice, and concurrently the most brutal death metal growls known to man. The songs are doomy, dreamy, and very cathartic, with darkness; love and romantic gloom being a main driving feeling this band exudes into the music. Think Rush meets Darkthrone. The band has released 11 studio albums, including classics such as My Arms Your Hearse (1998), Blackwater Park (2001) and Deliverance (2002).
1.At The Gates This is one of the best, and most well known of the Gothenburg metal scene of the early to mid '90s. Initially, At The Gates only lasted from around 1990 to 1996. From that short time the band took the scene by storm, while still remaining an underground force. The creation of the seminal record, Slaughter of the Soul in 1995 is the album that set the standard for melodic, tortured death metal. The band's break up and post break up career have inspired many bands in America with a sound that cannot be duplicated. Bands like Arch Enemy, In Flames, the Haunted, Dark Tranquility, Soilwork, and so many others owe their sound to At the Gates, which explains why the band is back and more popular than ever. Vocalist Tomas Lindberg's style as a vocalist is one of the most imitated in extreme metal, by far. The band's superior playing style and stamina as metal musicians set them at the top.
10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die
10 Goriest Album Covers
10 Most Satanic Metal Bands
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.