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Death - Scream Bloody Gore CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.01 | 211 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars Here's one of those albums that snuck its way into the Prog Archives by default, in the sense that going by the definition of "prog rock", it's pretty far removed from the genre itself, including your basic progressive metal characteristics. It's straightforward speedy thrash rhythms structured in a verse/chorus format with ultra-catchy anthemic lyric shouts for the choruses (basically growling out the song title in deranged fashion). Just about every song here follows the same blueprint. Yet, it's also quite progressive in a sense, just not in a conventional manner. Playing "Regurgitated Guts" after Genesis' "Suppers Ready" might work for someone who needs severe therapy, but for the rest of prog listening fandom, this album's notoriety is strictly an important evolution for the metal genre alone.

This is thrash taken to extreme levels with a meaner, thicker sound than the norm for its time, downtuned just enough to add a heavier sense of brutality, and adolescent, enthusiastic gore lyrics that would have been quite shocking for their time if they were decipherable. This, of course, leads into probably the most memorable aspect of this album, being the vocals. Growling and grunting vocals didn't commence with this album, but they were, and still, pretty sick. Rather than gutteral inhuman grunts, here we have insanely hoarse growls and occasional screams that effectively capture an intense vibe of sheer rage and anguish. As a whole package, these elements create a unique mix, since the instrumentation, particularly concerning the guitars, is also well played, unlike many of the sloppier grindcore bands contributing monster growling for the starving masses.

Scream Bloody Gore is essentially an early death metal album before the grindcore influences, such as blastbeats and ultra low grunts, entered the genre and merged with the more technical and vicious thrash of bands like Possessed or early Sepultura. Although it's also the least technical of Death's output, I find it personally the most fun by far. There's something hilarious about singing along to "Zombie rituuaaaal!!!" that I don't get in their more musically accomplished later works. In fact, in this rare case, my enjoyment of the band seems to dwindle with each of their succesive efforts in spite of them becoming more and more progressive and skillful in execution. I'm not sure why that is since I do admire strong technicality, but Death's later material never grabbed me more than "wow, that part sounded cool" whereas this questionable release in terms of tastefulness and competence I play more often despite its repetitive nature that I admit gets tiresome after awhile. It's like certain film directors who are better at releasing entertaining shlock than trying to release something important, profound and deep. I suppose I just dig Death when they sang about, well, death.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |


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