The 10 greatest old school death metal vocalists

Obituary standing in front of a black background
Obituary: John Tardy, second right (Image credit: Press)

John Tardy knows a thing or too about death metal. His band Obituary are one of the scene’s original Big Four, while the singer’s guttural growl has influenced countless vocalists who came in his wake. With the Obies having just dropped brutal new album Dying Of Everything, we asked John which of his fellow death metal vocalists he thinks are the greatest of all time (naturally, he’‘s too modest to include himself, so let‘s assume he’s the 11th name on the list). This is what he told us…

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Cronos (Venom) & Tom G Warrior (Celtic Frost)

John Tardy: “Tom Warrior and Cronos were the two singers that got us wanting to be as heavy as we possibly could. Both are so unique and heavy that it really got me heavy singing. We still love playing a Frost song a lot live.”


Quothorn (Bathory)

JT: Bathory was one of the earliest death metal albums blasting in our garage. Classic, evil and so heavy it is a must for everyone.”


Chuck Schuldiner (Death) & Glen Benton (Deicide)

JT: “Hometown boys of mine from Florida. Chuck and Glen were and are good friends of mine and always love both their voices. Chuck set a standard early on for all of us with Scream Bloody Gore, a death metal classic. Glen and Steve [Asheim, Deicide drummer] have been putting out steady classics all this time.”


Jeff Becerra (Possessed)

JT: “Jeff of Possessed has such a unique voice and I have always loved what he does. Seven Churches still gets played a lot at my house.”


Darren Travis (Sadus)

JT: “Sadus is another band that we toured with very early in our careers and to this day love Darren’s energy and crazy voice.”


Max Cavalera (Sepultura)

JT: “Max is one of the first singers that I met. I first met him when he came to Florida with Sepultura for Beneath the Remains and stayed at my house. Always loved his voice. To this day he sounds as good as ever and he even asked me to sing on one of his Soulfly songs. What an honor.”



LG Petrov (Entombed)

JT: ‘Entombed’s first album Left Hand Path was a great, great record. Got to know him Lars, and he would always show up to our shows and drink all our beer. Love and miss that guy.”


Jeff Walker (Carcass)

JT: “We got to tour with Carcass, and how can you not fall in love with those guys. Jeff Walker's evil sound and great pronunciation is fun to watch every night.”

Obituary’s new album, Dying Of Everything, is out now (opens in new tab)

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