Review: Death ­- 'Scream Bloody Gore'

From the end of December 2015, to the time of writing, we have lost many influential musicians. Legends like Lemmy, David Bowie, Keith Emerson, Lonnie Mack and Prince. All incredible artists in their own right.   In 1987, Death released their debut album “Scream Bloody Gore” to an unsuspecting public. It can be argued that this is when Death Metal was born. It was more brutal and more extreme than Slayer. How can that be so? Weren’t Slayer considered to be the most extreme metal band of the era? In a way, yes, but they paved the way for bands like Death, Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Obituary, Autopsy and Cannibal Corpse, to create the most brutal, sickest, deranged, genre of music around. In those magical days of vinyl, you would buy an album, sometimes on the basis of the album cover, the sicker the better. The album cover of “Scream Bloody Gore” is very tame by modern standards, but in those days, it was considered obscene. Bands liked to push the boundaries. It also gave subtle clues to the extremity of the lyrics contained within. For some bizarre reason, it was decided to re­-release “Scream Bloody Gore”, 29 years after it hit the public consciousness, by giving it a deluxe reissue treatment, on a wide variety of formats including 2CD, Limited Edition 3CD, LP, Deluxe 2xLP Boxset, and cassette versions. Like the preceding Death reissues, the deluxe reissue of “Scream Bloody Gore” has been meticulously remastered from the original tapes by Alan Douches (Death, Mastodon, Nile), and includes a plethora of bonus content, including previously unreleased recordings and rehearsal demos, super­ expanded packaging, and brand ­new extensive liner notes from former Death drummer/Autopsy founder Chris Reifert, Sepultura’s Max Cavalier, and original “Scream Bloody Gore” producer Randy Burns. I personally thought it would have been better to do this as a 30th Anniversary tribute, but then again, thrash/death metal always go against the grain and fights against the clichés. No matter, what isn’t in doubt is this… the deluxe reissue is simply an amazing selection of goodies that will excite the die hards. There is so much on offer, it’s incredible. You get the remastered album on disc 1, disc 2 contains the original Florida sessions as well as rehearsals recorded in August 1986, and disc 3 contains even more rehearsals which were also recorded in 1986. For me, re­mastering is a matter of taste. Does “Scream Bloody Gore” deserve this polished and updated treatment? While it does sounds great, for me personally, it loses that magic which made this album a classic. I have nothing against polishing and updating albums per se. For example, when you listen to Slayer’s “Hell Awaits”, the sound production isn’t the greatest, but remastering it would diminish it’s ‘black magic’ feel, whereas Metallica’s “…And Justice For All” which, as everybody knows, also suffered from poor quality production, definitely needs to be remastered.
However, when I purchased “Scream Bloody Gore” all those years ago, I loved the tracks ‘Sacrificial’, ‘Regurgitated Guts’, and ‘Scream Bloody Gore’. The lyrical content is extremely explicit. Take for example, the opening line from the title track, “Scream Bloody Gore”: “Decapitated head licking your cunt, Sucking all the blood from your stump, Intestinal guts taking their hold, Leaving you dead, stiff and cold’ It’s certainly not something you would listen to over a romantic meal with your girlfriend, unless of course, she is into this type of thing! So kids, if you want to upset your folks with the sickest, foulest, most degrading album from the 1980’s, this is the one for you! Even now, 29 years on, this album still has the power to shock, outrage, and disgust, and this was due to the brilliance of Death and the era of video nasties (Ask your folks about the video nasties, or simply Google it) As I said, this deluxe re­issue is simply for the die hards. What is great about the “Original Florida Sessions” is that they are all instrumentals, and if you always had the fantasy of being the frontman of Death, you can do so. The rehearsals are simply that, you get to hear how Death rehearse all the tracks. One very important point has to be raised here. For some reason, the 3 cd version is only available to buy in the USA. Why? I ask.   Review: Craig Travers

One comment

  1. It was an American website wasn’t it? Here in the UK, we only have the 2 cd version, if we wanted the 3 cd version, we would have to order it from America and the shipping costs are extortionate.

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