Scream Bloody Gore

Eternal howl
dB rating: 9/10

Release Date: May 20th, 2016
Label: Relapse

In a short, sweet liner notes essay describing the enviable experience of watching “well-prepared and efficient” Chuck Schuldiner and Chris Reifert—then both still teenagers—realize an extraordinarily transgressive, iconoclastic, metamorphic musical vision back in the fall of ’86, Scream Bloody Gore producer Randy Burns muses, “What I find incredible is that what Chuck and Chris accomplished with this project became a prototype for much of what followed in extreme metal for the next three decades.” (Fact, motherfucker.) And the pair did so during a period Reifert calls “the innocent years before things got serious on a business level”—i.e. without even an inkling of future niche acclaim or relative remuneration. “It may sound crazy now,” Reifert writes in his own contribution to this deluxe reissue, “but at the time we couldn’t find band members around here to save our lives.” (Let that sink in, fanboys—Chuck Schuldiner offering up spots in Death… and no takers.)

Are social media nerdgasms over official Scream Bloody Gore bobbleheads and retro cassette pressings somewhat amusing circa 2016 mania/ephemera? Sure. But a celebration of the above implacable pioneering spirit—this sui generis pursuit of brutality for art’s sake—is really the only legitimate reason to reissue Death’s debut. Happily, Relapse’s three-disc package marries a crisp Alan Douches remaster to a treasure trove of unreleased demos and alternate takes—some featuring hilarious banter between Schuldiner and Reifert—providing a fascinating window into both the raw creative energy these boys were attempting to harness as well as the meticulous, concentrated attention to detail and craft necessary to evolve tracks like “Sacrificial,” “Mutilation” and “Zombie Ritual” into the timeless death metal classics. For anyone possessing anything exceeding a minor interest in death metal, this edition of Scream Bloody Gore is a subgenre Origin of Species and, to paraphrase Darwin, completely fucking essential.

—Shawn Macomber
This review taken from the July 2016 issue.