Monday, December 22, 2008

Scream

Now that we've established what is the greatest American Punk record of all time, let's discuss the greatest American Death Metal record of all time. My vote is for this little masterpiece, Death's 1987 debut Scream Bloody Gore. Death's history of moving from city to city, changing line-ups, the John Hand thing, and infighting, is thoroughly confusing, and really not that important in the bigger picture. What IS important is that Scream Bloody Gore is a part of your life, and an integral one at that. Every greasy, gooey riff and ruddy drum fill from the duo of Chris Reifert and Chuck Schuldiner is a blunt instrument to the skull. I have used this album as a sort of litmus test. If you aren't on board for this one, you are most likely a square or my dad. My dad hated Death Metal.

43 comments:

Nickthrone said...

my vote is for CARCASS "Symphonies Of Sickness"

Aesop said...

Symphonies is an amazing album, but not American made.

NICKTHRONE said...

your right. for american death metal i'll go with POSSESSED "Seven Churches"

Anti said...

As much as I love this one I'd have to say I prefer Human, but that was also one of my first death metal records when I caught on in about 1993, being 13 at the time and working my way from Metallica to Testament to Slayer to Sepultura, Obituary, Morbid Angel, and so on. In fact, I think I am obligated to name Covenant as my own favorite American death metal record O.A.T. When I hear people talk about their first death metal albums and how "disturbing" they were (in that "I feel like this is altering my mental landscape" way), how exciting that was, Covenant was the one that did it for me.

S-Bowlin said...

While you have posted an amazing document of American Death Metal, certainly up for consideration as being an all-time classic, I'd have to put my money on 'Altars of Madness' as my nomination. To put it into an analogy apropos to this holiday season: if one were to view the history of American Death Metal as a holiday family get together, Scream Bloody Gore would be the uncle who did too many tours of duty in Iraq who's kinda post traumatic stress disorder'd out but everyone's afraid to tell him to stay down in his basement bedroom when there's company over, and he keeps spiking your milled cider with whiskey and he gets you drunk enough to accompany him down to the basement to show you his weapon collection only to find he wants to tie you up and play a little game he calls 'Interrogate the Terrorist,' which involves copious amounts of butthole trauma; whereas Altars of Madness could be viewed as the black clad cousin with raccoon eye makeup who smells like a rotting apple orchard in autumn but she has the gigantic boobs and she takes you outside behind the garage and smokes a joint with you and you go for a walk with her through the forest and she introduces you to her left hand path and you find yourself naked in a clearing smeared with the congealing blood of a tabby cat that you've just sacrificed for the glory of satan and she gives you a handjob before you return to the party because she's so proud of you. For me, the choice is an easy one.

But then there's 'Mental Funeral,' who wants to come to the party but everyone's too ashamed of what he did last year to let him inside. So he waits and masturbates.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, completely agree

Fuckin' brutal and HEAVY record, not to mention it was released in what, 86? What other record to match this brutality in that year? Perhaps the Possessed LP, or Necrophagia LP (speaking of American bands)....

Only if you count canada's SLAUGHTER "strappado" as a contender, in that case I think it's a hard decision to make...

cheers - matt

Aesop said...

Wow, Mr. Bowlin, just wow.

Children's Prison said...

I have to agree with Mr. Bowlin.

It is a slow, slow toss up between "Altars of Madness" and "Scream Bloody Gore".

"whereas Altars of Madness could be viewed as the black clad cousin with raccoon eye makeup who smells like a rotting apple orchard in autumn but she has the gigantic boobs.." - What the fuck?

I'm in the process of writing a proposal for the 33 1/3 series on "Altars of Madness". I'll post it up on my blog soon.

Anonymous said...

Obituary's Cause of Death was always my fav Death Metal record. I love Scream Bloody Gore - but Leprosy is a total good time too. I forgot about that John Hand thing. Man I want to know what happened to that dude! and yes, Mr. Bowlin - wow.

john/milwaukee

DiNo said...

DEATH metal - what's in a name... You simply know this album's importance, or you just don't have a clue. At all.

Aesop said...

a 33 and a 3rd book about "Altars" would rule.

S-Bowlin said...

Thank you Aesop. I eagerly await your proposal for greatest American Black Metal record.

And what is a 33 and a 3rd book? I am intrigued.

Shelby Cobras said...

I heard Hand moved to Hawaii... Aloha Mr. Hand!!!! Get it?!?!


Sorry.

Aesop said...

Best American BM record; Weakling "Dead As Dreams"

33 1/3 books. This cool series of little books, each one being about a record that is considered a classic. The authors often try to have an angle. The publisher takes submissions and then chooses. I have been kicking around the idea of writing a proposal for a "My War" one. Here's a list of the ones I have read:

Harvest
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
ABBA Gold
Unknown Pleasures
Live At The Apollo
Led Zeppelin 4
Pet Sounds
Ramones
Kick Out The Jams
Paul's Boutique
Doolittle
Double Niclels On The Dime
Master of Reality
Reign In Blood

These books are really only interesting if you are very familiar and very fond of the album they are about.

NICKTHRONE said...

just downloaded "Death By Metal" [Demo] (1984). brutal!!!!!

http://sataniknuklearwarstrike.blogspot.com/2008/06/death-death-by-metal-reissue-demo.html

Anonymous said...

i've always wondered if those books were any good...

good one Shelby....

john/milwaukee

Aesop said...

John, they're only good if you know the album it's about well., and then it hinges on how the writer approaches it. The Master of Reality book was done as a teenage boy's diary, not real good. The Doolittle book mainly focused on the lyrics, which is fine by me. Sorry, John, they haven't written a Rush "Fly By Night" one yet. And don't encourage Shelby's antics.

Jake Thee Pope said...

I've spent about 90 % of my free time listening to death metal since the form arrived, and I say "BAH!" The two Greatest American Death Metal albums are this and this. All Hail thee Genius of thee Furry Freak From Chicago!

Aesop said...

I feel embarrassed but I wasn't aware of the Deathstrike album, and I consider my self a Paul Speckmann fan. You really think it tops Scream Bloody Gore? Now I have to hear it.

brandi said...

This has always been one of my favorite death metal albums, along with Altars of Madness and Obituary's Cause of Death. Now that I've read S-Bowlin's words, I feel all the more moved by Altars because I swear I know that black clad cousin... probably all too well.

Aesop said...

Obituary's "Cause of Death" totally ruined for me by James Murphy's out of place shred solos over their trailer court bludgeon. I wish I could find a version without the solos. As much as I love Obituary, they really only made one superb record. Morbid Angel made 3, Death made 5.

Shelby Cobras said...

I see how it is, Aesop. I see how it is.

Shelby Cobras said...

I can't believe the discussion has gone on this long without any mention of this American Death Metal masterpiece:

http://cosmichearse.blogspot.com/2008/09/dino-metal.html

Aesop said...

Definitely the best American Death Metal album about dinosaurs.

brendan said...

Sometimes I'll be going about my business, humming a mid-tempo tune and maybe tapping on my desk when all of a sudden my head snaps up and I hear:

"Suicidal preacher, hangs himself... "

Just as clear as day.

It's rare to find death metal that catchy.

NICKTHRONE said...

best american black metal album. without a doubt LUDICRA "Another Great Love Song"

vugelnox said...

Joining this one late but ALTARS OF MADNESS, def the best USDM album! That completely evil riff in Immortal Rites alone seals the deal for me.

However for Death I'll agree this is their best work, followed by Human.

Ambassador Magma said...

Morbid Angel has the most special place in my heart, but this was first proper death metal album, and so you all have to hand it to Aesop.

If you're STILL not convinced... here's the deal breaker, Death had way better album covers, and this compared to Alters is no contest. The creepy king skeleton with his furry mop inviting you to sip poison with his friends; the title in pure eighties-horror-film red, it's just beautiful, piles of skulls littering the archways. A ball of gray, mushy-cartoon monsters in a vortex... well, you know.

Not to mention the Spiritual Healing cover... when everyone else was trying to have the sickest, grossest, most monsterish or "real dead people" cover (a la Filthy Christians) Death put a healer and cancer patient on there's. That's fucking metal.



Speaking of Cancer, they are one of the most underrated metal bands. They have great thrashy riffs and have this weird groove under the sludge. Definitely not the best, but forgotten and awesome.

Aesop said...

Speaking of the art, I love how the skeleton guy just to the left of the main skeleton guy is holding his goblet to his forehead as if to tell us "Woo, It's hot here."


Oh, and I just picked up the new 33 1/3 book about Rum, Sodomy, & The Lash.

THRIPS said...

ooh, have you heard the chuck shuldinger demos?

http://drugsfacenow.blogspot.com/2008/07/zombie-ritual.html

Zmaj said...

All I see is Florida Florida Florida! :D

Seriously though, not even a mention of ANY NYDM band. Since I'm unable to decide for favorites at all (well, unless it's Discordance Axis or something), I'll just throw in a few that I'd definitely mention; Suffocation and Immolation. But the truth is, I too favor Florida the most, really; Death, Obituary, and Morbid Angel aside, I used to love Nocturnus' The Key.

Aesop said...

Never got Immo or Suffo (that's what the meatheads say) until I saw them both live. Still never liked the records. I guess this is a good place to mention the two best young DM bands around today, Deathevokation from Southern California and Dead Congregation from Greece.

http://www.myspace.com/deathevokation

http://www.myspace.com/deadcongregation

e normous said...

Haha. I'm sorry but this is one area where you are all losers.


ORDER FROM CHAOS. ENDING IN FIRE. THE END.

spamstratagem said...

IMO 'Scream Bloody Gore' by a hair over 'Altars of Madness'. However, if this included demos, Necrovore's 'Divus De Mortuus' is, IMO, the epitome of American Death Metal.

I remember buying this when I was in high school, when my vinyl purchasing decisions were based on cover art and song titles. I have a feeling (or at least hope) I wasn't alone in how I made such decisions.

Can I look forward to a discussion on American Black Metal?

Anonymous said...

immolation first album...hands down

S-Bowlin said...

That Dead Congregation record rekindled me faith in modern death metal this year. They tapped that whole disgusting grimy vibe that Autopsy and Incantation invoked in their work, rather than throwing together a shitpile of noodly unremarkable riffs punctuated by typewriter drums.

vugelnox said...

While as a single record for USBM I'll give props to Altars of Madness, Immolation has long been my favorite death metal band as I feel they've never released an album that is anything less then excellent. Failures for Gods has one of the worst bass drum sounds in the known physical universe but the music still kills and No Jesus, No Beast is one of their very best songs so they are forgiven.

I'll readily agree for newer DM bands Dead Congregation and Deathevokation are fan-fucking-tastic and deserve all the praise that comes their way.

For plenty more top-shelf newer DM I'll also mention Execration from Norway. Necrovation, Facebreaker and Karnarium from Sweden. Slugathor from Finland. Necros Christos, Excoriate, Drowned and WeakAside from Germany. Ares Kingdom, Helcaraxë, Father Befouled, Sanguis Imperem and West Wall from the US. Spearhead from England. Mitochondrion from Canada. Anima Damnata and Ebola from Poland. And finally Ignivomous, Cauldron Black Ram, Vomitor and Cemetery Urn from Australia. All bands I feel are currently playing death metal with passion and intensity and avoiding falling into the trap of mindless blasting and shitty half-baked riffs pasted into lousy songs. Death metal is a style that is just so easy to fuck up and it makes finding truly great bands all the more rewarding.

Aesop said...

I second the props on Ares Kingdom (classic), Spearhead (so vicious), and Cauldron Black Ram (like Black Flag meets Nunslaughter)

e normous said...

I thought Spearhead sounded really flat, the sort of stuff that you can recognize as being good but not really react to. Like saying "that's funny" instead of actually laughing.

läjä said...

Suffocation - Breeding the Spawn

brekinapez said...

I would have to say that even though I heard Morbid Angel first on the Grindcrusher comp, I always considered them Satanic Metal. Scream was my first death metal purchase. I had recently evolved into grind after the punk scene in Central Florida started to wane, around '87, and began listening to the other bands mentioned in the liner notes. If a band I liked some band, I figured I might like them too, which worked most of the time. I saw them the first time with Carcass at some lounge in Longwood, FL in 1988 (Spiritual Healing and Reek Of Putrefaction tours - Morbid Angel dropped out to a hand injury during the previous show and Pestilence was having visa problems).

So, Florida homeboy bias aside, I still mark this as the greatest pure death metal album. I even think it is really in a class by itself. No other album comes close to me, not even all that copycat crap like early Morgoth.

Hell, Obituary are in a class by themselves as well.

Anonymous said...

i have to agree that this is the finest usdm album

what does anyone think of leprosy? that shit jams especially open casket..i can see why this is better,leprosy mighta been a bit too ambitious

one thing i also like about early death is the timing of the drum fills...its like chuck knew exactly when he wanted it there to send the riff ott

Aesop said...

Leprosy is great, it's the best album Massacre ever made. It lacks the grit and grease of SBG. Maybe Leprosy is too good, if that makes sense?