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Death: Scream bloody gore

10/03/10  ||  Smalley

In 1987, Death was a very different beast from the sophisticated, enlightened band they’d become in the 90’s; having recorded about a million different demos during their early days, they finally landed a deal with Combat Records in ’86, making this debut, “Scream bloody gore”, a possibility. If you compare the songwriting, the production, even just the lyrics on “Scream” to the Death albums of the 90’s, it’s all much rougher and blood-thirsty in its approach, but still, this is a very important record in popularizing the death metal sound, and is still pretty fun as well, crude as it may be.

Opener “Infernal death” is rather straight-forward in its songwriting, even if you don’t compare it to something off “Individual thought patterns” or whatever, but the energy level is high, so it’s an entertaining listen in the end, a formula that applies to pretty much every song on the album. Chuck Schuldiner gives a nice, quadruple-threat performance here, with his infamous scream-growling, soloing, riffs, and the bass lines (which are pleasingly prominent), and Chris Reifert gives a skilled, well-paced performance on the drums, and while “Infernal” isn’t HIGH ART at all, who the hell cares? There’ll be room for that kind of shit on future albums; for right now, Death’s just having fun playing death metal , and we’re having fun listening to them do so.

I love the ominous soloing that opens up following track “Zombie ritual”, before the music returns to almost-thrash metal tempos, and pure trashy-horror movie lyrics: “Revengeful corpse out to kill!/Smell the stench, your guts will spill!/Vomit for a mind, maggots for a cock!/With his axe, the corpse will CHOPPP!!!”. A far, far cry from the philosophical stuff Chuck would be writing soon, but it’s so damn goofy, how can you not love it? From there, “Denial of life” is the fastest, most intense song on the album, since, minus Chuck’s growling, it’d basically be thrash, but it isn’t quite the best one; that prize goes to “Evil dead”, with its awesome opening guitar work, and that damned simple-but-catchy chorus that I just can’t stop from trying (and failing) to imitate myself.

Although “gore” is at it’s best when it’s at its fastest, since the slower parts can get a bit unengaging, I’d still say every single song here is pretty good. And yes, the rhythm and lead guitars don’t sound too hot, but what else do you expect from a death metal album made in 19-fucken-87? At least the drums ‘n bass both sound pretty good, and, despite the simplicity of the songwriting here, it is basically well-composed, with smart use of tempo changes and other variations that keep things from getting too simplistic.

And no, it turns out Chuck Schuldiner isn’t perfect and infallible after all, since his growling on “gore” is surprisingly muddled and unintelligible, making it sound like he’s had a bit too much to drink, but his guitar work remains really good, even at this early stage in his career. I think you have the basic gist by now; for every single flaw here, there’s another strength to make up for it, and ultimately, “Scream bloody gore” emerges as a rough start for one of the greatest metal bands of all time, but still a pretty good one, in the end.

7,5

  • Information
  • Released: 1987
  • Label: Combat
  • Website: www.emptywords.org
  • Band
  • Chuck fucken Schuldiner: vocals, guitar, bass
  • Chris Reifert: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Infernal Death
  • 02. Zombie Ritual
  • 03. Denial Of Life
  • 04. Sacrificial
  • 05. Mutilation
  • 06. Regurgitated Guts
  • 07. Baptized In Blood
  • 08. Torn To Pieces
  • 09. Evil Dead
  • 10. Scream Bloody Gore