Aug 18, 2012

Death Strike 'Fuckin' Death' review


DEATH STRIKE
'Fuckin' Death'
(Dark Descent Records)

Death Strike need little introduction to anyone who would consider themselves seasoned in the realm of death metal, the legendary Paul Speckmann’s debut foray into the genre has garnered pretty much cult status now as a genre classic and not without good reason. This reissue of 1991 album by Dark Descent compiles the debut demo from ’85 together with four other tracks for the rather aptly titled 'Fuckin’ Death', and being brutally honest, could you possibly have a more suitable description for the sensory annihilation present on this disc? 

It’s that fact that half this material was recorded back in the mid eighties that really makes it stand out, death metal was still in its infantile stages back then with extreme metal making a transition between the crust influenced filth of Hellhammer and the ilk to a more brutal strain with bands like Possessed and Slaughter emerging out of the underground with a significantly more potent and brutal form of metal unlike anything heard before, and when you realise it came out at the same time as two monumental releases by the aforementioned bands you wonder why the fuck it never got quite as much attention as it was just as influential if not more so than those classics.

In case you’re one of the unenlightened still wondering who the fuck Death Strike are, 'Fuckin’ Death' was essentially just the first Master album under a different moniker, and if you ask me, along with Master’s debut and possibly 'On the Seventh Day' are the only things worth owning by Speckmann. The first four tracks as previously mentioned are from 1985 and astonishingly ahead of their time. It’s basically ‘Hellhammer on crack’, fast brutal and utterly primal death metal with that huge hardcore influence shining through. Paul’s vocals are a maniacal and wretched reverbed howl that just add to the chaos conjured with Kirk’s unbridled leads, the d-beat styled drumming and thundering, bowel shaking bass. Songs like “Pay to Die” and “Re-Entry and Destruction” are impossible not to like, it’s extreme metal heaven (or hell, whichever you prefer), straight-forward, catchy and downright punishing.

The next four tracks are noticeably different; “The Final Countdown” starts off with a doomy dirge and forgoes flat out speed for a suffocating heaviness that certainly hints at a change in thinking within the band, also evident in the increased length of the songs. “Man Killed America” follows much the same pattern while “Pervert” presses a little harder on the gas while closer “Remorseless Poison” reverts back to that ominous onslaught of bass driven death. And if like me you got your hands on the vinyl copy you also get a bonus 7” of rehearsal tracks which are a nice addition albeit nothing to write home about.

It’s the lo-fi shoddy execution and production of the whole thing which adds so much character to this release and so many others from the same time frame, a character and feeling which is sadly lost on today’s tech and blast obsessed bands. In my books 'Fuckin’ Death' is pretty much a classic of primitive death metal and when you consider when it originally was released that makes it all the more spectacular, and now that it’s finally seen a re-release it makes obtaining a copy something that won’t cause your bank account to have a fit. [9]
(Chris Cowgill)


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