Death - Scream Bloody Gore
Death Metal
14 songs (54:30)
Release year: 1987
Reviewed by Crims
Archive review

Between the years of 1984 and 1987 a band called Death, originally called Mantas, released a whole load of demos, live tapes, and rehearsal tapes. The actual number is somewhere in the 20’s and finally in 1987 they released a full-length, obviously titled Scream Bloody Gore. Essentially one could consider Scream Bloody Gore a best of. There were almost 30 songs that Death could have put on Scream Bloody Gore and 10 made it (12 if you count the re-issue). There are countless debates about which songs should have been put on Scream Bloody Gore and those kind of discussions are best documented elsewhere. Regardless of what songs Chuck Schuldiner did decide to put on Scream Bloody Gore the fact remains that in many peoples opinions it is one of the finest pieces of Death Metal ever released. While I don’t quite share that high of an opinion of Scream Bloody Gore, it still remains one of the most brutal Death Metal releases ever made and also one of the most influential extreme Metal releases ever.

In early Death Metal you can hear a definite Thrash flavor, and Scream Bloody Gore just reeks of Thrash. Of course, the guitars are dirtier, the songs even more brutal, and of course the vocals are just plain sick when compared to most Thrash at the time (gore lyrics weren’t exactly the norm in Thrash either). And thus Death Metal was born with this release and Seven Churches by Possessed. If there was one word to describe Scream Bloody Gore it would probably be brutal. Though Schuldiner would occasionally slow things done ever so slightly (foreshadowing his style of song writing to be) this CD is almost one big speed fest. The drums pound away at a near blast beat speed and the riffs are basically Thrash played really fast. Naturally, not all the songs are like this as Zombie Ritual and Denial Of Life demonstrate since some double bass and mid-paced (by Death standards) sections are found. Coincidently, those are my two favorite songs on the CD. However, that’s not to say this brutal Death Metal attack isn’t without its pluses either. Infernal Death is just pure classic Death Metal that helped define the genre as much as any song.

Even though Scream Bloody Gore was recorded in 1987 the production is good. It is dirty, raw, archaic, uneven… but would you have it any other way? Probably not, and it is very heavy considering the age, in fact, it’s just heavy period. Even though Possessed stumbled upon, almost completely by accident, the almost perfect production for Seven Churches, Death tries their best to come close. Scream Bloody Gore does have a lot of character though and it is the type of raw production you just can’t duplicate properly and for that Death comes in a respectable second place to Seven Churches in the production department. Vocally, Schuldiner just sounds completely sick. The sound is hard to describe as it’s far from the deep growls that would become the norm in the genre. Instead, Schuldiner sounds rather raspy and occasionally sounds as if he’s trying to vomit while “singing”. You’re going to have to decide whether or not that’s appealing to you, but one thing’s for sure: Schuldiner’s vocal style is without a doubt, distinct.

The version of this CD that is available these days has four bonus tracks. Two of them are more of the same and fit right in with the rest of the CD. The first, Beyond The Unholy Grave, is the better of the two and is more along the lines of a song like Mutilation that is fast and to the point. The last two are live tracks, both taken from the Leprosy song list. Both Open Casket and Choke On It are very good songs that sound great live in the now classic Death style. That basically means no gimmicks or tricks, just very raw and very pure.

We all know that Schuldiner would become one of Metal’s best songwriters (most people would agree with that anyway) and also a very accomplished guitarist. On Scream Bloody Gore, however, his performance and song writing is amateurish compared to his later work. Sure, there are flashes of his brilliance to be (Zombie Ritual) but on a whole this is very primitive. Is that really a bad thing though? There can be two schools of thought. On one hand you have the Metal heads whose first introduction was probably one of Death’s more widely accepted CDs such as Individual Thought Patterns or Symbolic (as was the case with me). Then on the other hand you have the Metal heads who have followed Death from day one, starting with this CD or close to it. Perhaps that’s why I don’t hold this in as a high regard as some do. Simply due to the fact that I know Death did a lot better, and it was that “better” side of Death that I was originally drawn to. So there will obviously be people who will disagree with my score or perhaps feel this should have been in the classic section but Death would do so much better than Scream Bloody Gore… even with Leprosy, which was essentially the same kind of Death Metal just better performed and better written. Regardless this is still a great CD that belongs in every Metal heads collection, if nothing then just for its historical value. It should sit right beside your Iron Maiden s/t, the Black Sabbath s/t, Kill ‘Em All, Rocka Rolla, Welcome To Hell, Seven Churches and Morbid Tales as pieces of Metal history that started entire genres and spawned countless upon countless of our favorite Metal bands… extreme and otherwise, despite the flaws inherit in each release.

Killing Songs :
Infernal Death, Zombie Ritual, Denial Of Life, Evil Dead, Scream Bloody Gore
Crims quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Death that we have reviewed:
Death - Symbolic reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Death - Individual Thought Patterns reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
Death - Live In Eindhoven '98 (DVD) reviewed by Ger and quoted no quote
Death - Human reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
Death - The Sound Of Perseverance reviewed by Ger and quoted 97 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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