Thirty years ago on this very day the world’s Metal fans would get their first proper introduction to the band Death as the band’s debut album “Scream Bloody Gore” was released on the Combat Records label. The band was formed in 1983 by lead guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner and four years after their genesis, Schuldiner and drummer Chris Reifert. They were the only musicians doing the recording as Chuck would handle all guitars along with the vocals and while the band Possessed had released a body of work two years prior, “Scream Bloody Gore” is cited as the first true Death Metal Record from a band that was considered the first proper Death Metal band. It’s interesting to realize how both bands were coming up at the same time and had quite a few similar musical principles but when it all comes down to it Death is considered the first in the line of the budding genre. Remember that band’s such as Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and Overkill were all deftly delivering the Thrash Metal but thanks to the likes of Venom with their darker topics in songwriting, the ground was open for even more to be done.
In 1987, I was not listening to anything like this at all, and was still trying hard to keep up with the friends who were listening to the Thrash Metal stuff. I was enjoying the new Power Metal stuff that I was learning about from the band Helloween who had also released some tasty melodies with their “Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Part I”. Of course I owed my interest in the Helloween band thanks to the U68 “Power Hour” which is where I recall seeing that tune first. There was nothing like the band Death or even Possessed being showcased on this thing but I digress. It would be many, many years before I would even begin listening to any kind of Death Metal so I’ve embedded the albums official Wikipedia entry for you at the close since it’s not something I can easily speak about in terms of this particular album. The full track list of the original album is listed below. What were some of your favorite tracks and what made them so? I’d love to hear what sold you about the band way back in the day if you were an original listener or what did it for you once you finally got to hear them.
1. Infernal Death
2. Zombie Ritual
3. Denial Of Life
6. Regurgitated Guts
7. Torn To Pieces
8. Evil Dead
9. Scream Bloody Gore
As a later year’s listener to the album, it’s easy to see how this was influential of its time because there were things being done in the music that were not often heard in material this heavy. Chuck seemed to see a bigger picture going forward in his compositions because while there was a level of brutality that was not yet common, there was also a technical ferocity that was not easily matched. Sadly, Chuck Schuldiner would pass away from brain cancer in 2001 and the band Death would end with his passing. A few years ago, we would find a tribute touring package being done and that was super interesting as it united numerous Death players and today’s popular Metal scene players together all united to perform Chuck’s music. The tour was known as “Death To All” and some of the proceeds would go over to the Sweet Relief charity. I missed the first go-round of this tour but caught the following year’s event and it was pretty intense. If they should ever do this again and you are a fan of Death’s music then you need to go to see it brought to life once more. I’m not one to usually do milestone pieces for albums that I didn’t have a close personal connection to just for the sake of having a post, but with so many of my friends in Metal who were listening to the heavier stuff loving the band and the influences that Chuck was mapping out made this a no-brainer for me. I’d like to think that somewhere in the great beyond that Chuck is nodding in approval about the technical developments in Death Metal music and how far this genre has come since he first offered up these melodies. I still think that they had one of the coolest logos for a Metal band ever.
An official page to the music of Death is online and serves as a proper memorial and history of the bands accomplishments along with the activity of the members that are still active. The link for that site and a detailed analysis of this particular milestone can be found below. The Death releases currently reside on the Relapse Records roster and an expanded special edition can be ordered from them and if you don’t have this seminal piece of Death Metal work in your library, then you can order one via the link down below. As always, if this release was a favorite of yours from the moment of release or many years later, you can let me know how it affected you down in the comments section below.