Yeah, to my non-metal listening friends (which is pretty much all of them) any kind of metal or heavier rock is "death metal."
Pantera = death metal. Mastodon = death metal. Slayer = death metal. Ghost = death metal (seriously, a buddy of mine turned down going to see them this weekend and told me I need to get over 80s death metal).
A band like Maiden avoids the death metal tag, but usually gets called a hair band.