DEATH - Scream Bloody Gore (UNDER ONE FLAG LP 1987)
This is a timeless release. This is a fundamental death metal album. This is also the FIRST death metal album that was ever released (yes, I consider “Seven Churches” more a thrash metal, if any of these genre tags matter at all). And if there are albums that really – and I mean REALLY – deserve being called “classics” or “cult”, then “Scream Bloody Gore” is among them. These are undisputable facts. It may not be the best album of all time, it’s not even my favourite Death record (as I prefer “Leprosy” and “Spiritual Healing” way more), but it had an enormous influence on the entire scene and belongs to genre defining albums.
I can only imagine how strange it had to be to see these 20 years old kids recording such filth and singing about cunts, zombie rituals and other disgusting, repulsive things. But they did it! It was 1987 when two youngsters – Chuck Schuldiner and Chris Reifert – recorded “Scream Bloody Gore”. There was also a third band member, John Hand, but his place in history of extreme music is limited only to the photo on back of the vinyl, as he didn’t record even one part of bass or guitar. What an unlucky dude haha!
“Scream Bloody Gore” was released by Combat Records in 1987. Personally, I’ve heard it for the first time in 1991. It was actually quite funny, but I bought a cassette with “Spiritual Healing” cover, but the tape was mistaken with “Scream…”, so for some months I didn’t even realize that what I listen to is “Scream Bloody Gore” haha! One of the things, for which I love this record is the fantastic artwork. It’s superb and one of the most classic artworks in the metal history! Obviously the lyrics are something a lot of people moan about. They hate their primitive and vulgar nature, they hate this gory style and for them it’s just stupid, childish and non-sense crap. Well, who cares. “Revengeful corpses out to kill. Smell the stench, your guts will spill. Vomit for a mind, maggots for a cock. With his axe the corpse will chop…” Ha, what a nice stuff. Death metal is not a place for romantic poetry, so I don’t understand people moaning about brutal, gory lyrics. I actually prefer them over the philosophical or social topics, which you can find on some other Death albums.
Now the music. First I have to say that I love the production of “Scream Bloody Gore”. If we have to compare this record to “Seven Churches”, then Death’s debut kicks the shit out of Possessed, not only musically, but also due to much better, heavier, more aggressive and darker production. It had to be tricky to come up with a sound, which would be proper for such brutal music. But it had to be done, because this music would not work with a simple thrash metal production. It required something different and the band succeeded fully. And the songs are superb. This is Death and death metal in its infancy, so don’t expect that it sounds technical, clean and progressive. Do not expect that “Scream Bloody Gore” will have much in common with “Human” or “Symbolic”. If you’re a fan of the latter Death album, this debut may be difficult for you to get into, as it’s way more primitive, harsh and just nasty sounding death metal. It’s full of gore and horror, dark and almost macabre atmosphere. And for me personally it all sounds super fantastic. I love many of these songs and no matter how many times I’ve been listening to them, they just don’t get old and boring. I still get thrills when some of these riffs mutilate and cut deep and some of these songs belong to the most recognizable death metal tracks of all time. We have here such killers as “Zombie Ritual”, “Evil Dead”, “Sacrificial”, “Regurgitated Guts” or “Mutilation”. Some of them are very vicious and quite fast sounding, other may have slower riffage and even some harmonies, which will later become trademark for Schuldiner style of playing and Death. For example the opening melodies for “Zombie Ritual” and “Evil Dead” – they are so memorable and fantastic sounding!
Soooo… I don’t have to write that if you’re into this style of music, you just have to take a sip from the goblet of gore at least once. If you don’t like its taste, then you must be either poser or you’re simply out of your fuckin mind. It’s essential release and mandatory item for everyone’s collection. I have Under One Flag’s 1987 European version of “Scream Bloody Gore”. Obviously it is awesome to have this press, I have it since many years and will never get rid of it. There’s one thing though, which I hate about it. It doesn’t have two additional songs that appeared on other pressings of “Scream Bloody Gore”. “Beyond the Unholy Grave” and “Land of No Return” are also great songs (especially the first one), they should be here as well! So, in case your version of “Scream Bloody Gore” also doesn’t have these tracks, you just have to buy yourself one more version (CD or LP), which would include the entire tracklist. “Scream Bloody Gore” was reissued on vinyl in 2016 and this new remastered version has the complete album.
Standout tracks: “Zombie Ritual”, “Mutilation”, “Evil Dead”, “Regurgitated Guts”, “Sacrificial”
Final rate: 90/100