Scream Bloody Gore. A bold title reflecting a new direction into greater depths of extremity for heavy metal in 1987. An era when thrash metal was at it’s peak popularity with classic album after classic rearing their heads in the metal underground. However, the new extreme form of death metal had truly arrived when Chuck Schuldiner’s Death released the game-changing debut that is Scream Bloody Gore. Fast forward to 2016 and Scream Bloody Gore is almost 30 years old. Relapse records has been slowly releasing deluxe re-issues of Death’s back catalogue for the past few years now and with the genre of death metal reaching it’s 30th birthday it seems all too appropriate for a remastered, re-packaged re-release of the album which started it all.
Scream Bloody Gore is an essential album in the collection of every death metal fan worth their salt but for those missing out, or discovering the genre for the first time, here is the low-down:
Scream Bloody Gore is 10 tracks of pure raw sonic battery that spews utterly disgusting entrail-laden songs straight from a catalogue of B-movie video nasty shockers. From opening number “Infernal Death” through “Zombie Ritual”, “Sacrificial”, “Regurgitated Guts” and the title track, Scream Bloody Gore is a horrific aural assault of pounding drums, ear-splitting guitars and throat-shredding screams. The songs are all pretty simple (especially in comparison to Death’s later, more progressive outputs) but insanely catchy so that once experienced, they aren’t easily forgotten. The sound in general is pretty raw and primitive with a more biting distorted guitar sound and generous reverbs and delays. The 2016 remaster takes the sound of Scream Bloody Gore and gives it a greater sense of clarity with less mush. The ambience is still there, the bass still booms, the drums still pound, the guitars are still cutting and the vocals still shred, but all of these elements stand out a lot clearer individually yet still blend to create that unforgettable vicious early death metal sound .
The deluxe re-issue of Scream Bloody Gore features a plethora of extra tracks on both the 2-disc and 3-disc versions of the album. The bonus material is mostly taken from rehearsals in 1986 prior to the production of the original album. Also included are 4 tracks taken from the original Scream Bloody Gore recording session in Florida before the final album was recorded and produced in Los Angeles. The rehearsal and demo tracks are very raw and sound as if they were recorded with only a few microphones in a very reflective space. Musically the songs sound as though there was little development prior to the album – in other words, once originally written the songs stayed the same when it came to recording the final product. The extra tracks demonstrate a sense of fun within the Death camp, as highlighted by the cover of “Do You Love Me?” by KISS.
The re-issue comes in various presentations depending on which format you buy it on. There is the 2-disc and 3disc fold-out digipak CD versions, a cassette tape and 4 different gatefold vinyl versions (black, red, purple/white, picture disc and 2LP box set). Contained within each format is new liner notes from ex-Death (Scream Bloody Gore-era 1986-1987) and current Autopsy main man Chris Reifert, ex-Sepultura/current Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera, and the original producer of the album Randy Burns. For fans who like extra collectables, there is also a bobblehead figurine of the undead ghouls that adorn the iconic album cover.
Overall, the remastered deluxe re-issue of Death’s classic debut Scream Bloody Gore on Relapse records is a fine treatment to the album that truly started the death metal genre. For existing fans of the band and the genre however, I’d say that this version of the album is a rather unnecessary addition to your collection (assuming you already have a copy) unless you are a serious collector. For new fans or those who haven’t got a copy of the album, Scream Bloody Gore is one of the quintessential death metal albums and in my opinion, there isn’t a better place to start than with this re-issue.
Scream Bloody Gore is available now via Relapse Records.