Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 30 May, 2016
To be fair, Death is one of those bands who need no introduction. There’s nothing I can add that will elaborate on their diverse and highly regarded discography nor enhance the legacy left by mastermind Chuck Schuldiner. But, here I am, and in my inbox I have the promo for the final piece of the deluxe remaster puzzle, the three CD reissue of Death’s brutally raw debut, Scream Bloody Gore. Originally released in 1987, this ferocious ten track long player is consider by many as the first true death metal album. It marked the beginning of gruesome, guttural vocals that ran across the top of music deemed more aggressive and often downtuned compared to thrash. This cornerstone album was the first of a small handful that would soon define the blueprint for a new genre, known as death metal.
Scream Bloody Gore, as you’d expect, is Death at their rawest. Disc 1 of the three disc deluxe reissue contains the album in its entirety. The original LP version was ten tracks only whilst the CD version was an even dozen. It’s of no surprise then that this remastered version is the full twelve tracks, and once again has been meticulously remastered from the original audio tapes by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Nile). It’s also of no surprise that this reissue album is louder than the 1987 Combat original that I have, meaning it also suffers from a reduced dynamic range. The original averaged DR11 compared to DR6 on this remaster. The higher the number against the DR, the broader the dynamic range between loud and soft is. Basically, the larger the dynamic range, the better an album sounds dynamically as it allows music to breathe and build upon emotion. However, there’s no reason here that would adversely influence a buyers decision to purchase this triple disc set home.
The remainder of this set is made up of outtakes from the recording session as well as rehearsal sessions. As you’d expect, the quality varies for each group of tracks. The first seven tracks of the second disc are a dubbed “Original Florida Session” and sound very polished compared to the rest of the bonus material crammed into this release. It’s interesting to hear “Legion of Doom” feature one of the main riffs that would official appear two albums later as a dominant part of the title track of 1990’s Spiritual Healing. Also to note, for the guitar nerds who love everything about Chuck’s playing, the pitch on the final album is probably a semitone above the pitch of this handful of outtakes. The remainder of this disc is made up of rehearsals recorded on August 20, 1986, a full couple of months prior to recording the album in November that year. The quality is as rough as you’d expect and apart from some fun with The Contours’ “Do You Love Me”, these rehearsal sessions are as you’d expect. The ideas are raw and much of the material is in place for the future recording session. The third disc is another pair of rehearsal sessions from earlier on, specifically May 26 and 28, 1986. The quality is comparable to the other disc featuring the same tracks with a couple of double ups as you’d expect to boot.
Perseverance Holdings, Ltd and Relapse have finally completed the lengthy but detailed reissue tribute to the legacy established by the one and only Chuck Schuldiner. The impact his work had on the metal scene cannot be denied and it is only fitting that the man’s first work, an album that is pivotal in the creation of a genre, be reissued as a finale. Three CDs of Death goodness that diehard fans will scream bloody gore over and rightfully so.
Relapse Records/Rocket Distribution