To hell with 2015! The 80s are what it’s all about and this is our ultimate love letter to all you deathrash maniacs. The worship begins with the very cover picture. It’s a snap from 1982’s horror nasty “The Slayer”, the movie that inspired Jon Kristiansen to name the greatest underground metal fanzine of all time Slayer Mag.
This one goes out to him.
We wanted to start the New Year in style with the rawest and most brutal sounds we could possibly unearth. To our knowledge there’s nothing quite like 84-87 metal so we summoned your total death right from that most unholy period. For the most part. There’s a lot of demo quality stuff here and if you don’t like that you can just FOAD.
SATAN MADE ME DO IT wishes all you open minded thrashers a damn good year. We can only hope to contribute some of that good through our continued assaults. Do play it loud. It’s not just a catchphrase, you know? It’s common sense.
Click for show notes and a complete tracklist.
This time it’s war. Sex too. Primitive destruction and all the exaggerated and moronic features that make metal such a special and generally hateful thing to most people. This episode, like our first, is about making a statement. It’s about pissing off those who don’t get it and party with the rest. We’re happy to say our first 2015 episode is of hell.
The first two tracks come straight from the deep, deep mid 80s North American underground. NME is granted the honor of getting us in the mood with their blasphemous 1985 “Of Hell”. We’ve covered NME before, but couldn’t find a better way to kick-start “The Slayer”. You can’t really tell from this track of course, but if you are yet to be initiated in NME’s black magic know this: “Machine of War” and their first LP “Unholy Death” are mandatory if you like it Venom-ish with a broader splash of punk and whole lot nastier. Black Task too kept it nice and metal-punk before “Long After Midnight”. Forget that release. The 1985 EP is where it’s at! Where NME could more easily be connected to first wave black metal, Black Task’s EP remains to our ears a proto-death metal release – and a mighty good one! There’s a reason why that shit is expensive.
Poison Idea is one of those bands walking a fine line between obscurity and criminally underrated underground influence – Pantera, Machine Head and Turbonegro all covered Poison Idea’s songs at some time, while bands such as Nirvana, Napalm Death or Ratos de Porão cited them as inspirational. Listening to their first album, “Kings of Punk”, an irresistible 26 minute burst of punk, hardcore and metal via Black Flag, Discharge or Motorhead, it’s easy to understand why. Their conviction and energy is a force to be reckoned with. And if you want them sounding more “metal”, go to their 1990 release, “Feel the Darkness”. It’s great Southern Lord is reissuing their stuff. And Relapse is doing the same for Num Skull’s “Ritually Abused”, one heck of a forgotten (or hands-down unheard of) gem from the 80s deserving monstrous loads of love and recognition. Bridging the gap between unrelenting thrash (Kreator and Slayer comes to mind) and death metal, it still sounds remarkably fresh.
How can so many people STILL not see why plenty of headbangers back in the day were mighty pissed off with what death metal became in the late 80s and early 90s (and as a result gave birth to a new wave of black metal)? Listen to these two Slaughter tracks here. Then go and listen to 90s Death or Cannibal Corpse or whatever. It’s fucking laughable. Not to mention over produced. Some guys may want to play the taste card. We much prefer to talk about being reasonable.
Impossible to seriously discuss death metal without Paul Speckmann and the Chicago school, so we start with Death Strike (don’t fret, his most prominent project, Master, is coming later) and their “Fuckin’ Death” demo from 1985, released six years later as a proper album. It’s one of those things with demo quality: either it sounds amazingly crude and genuine, or it can sound terribly sloppy. Well, one of us is not so fond of the drumming here. It sounds a bit like someone jerking off on drum sticks. But everything else? It’s GOOD-BEYOND-BELIEF (Speckmann’s voice is amazing) and way ahead of its time. Doing for death metal what Hellhammer or Venom did for black metal. We picked up “Mangled Dehumanization”, which would later find its way into Master’s first album, and is a great example of thrash/punk crossover.
Two years later from this demo, Panic would release “Rotten Church” via the legendary Woodstock Discos. These Brazilians from Porto Alegre are mostly unknown and, although far from brilliant, you have to love the primeval energy of it all. As one who is familiarized to analogous stuff from outfits such as Holocausto, Vulcano or even Sarcófago would expect, the production is a bit “unrefined” and the mix is uneven (drum’s a tad too loud), but other than that, it adds to the whole atmosphere of this thrash/ death album.
Time for another Chicago death metal scene pop.
Devastation cuts deeper than your good kitchen knife. If there is indeed something ‘cult’ in metal this is it right here. The band’s first incarnation (not really a band at this point, actually) saw them becoming a sort of Celtic Frost from Chicago, but wanting to play heavier things Devastation was born. What’s cool about these fellows is that although still quite unknown in 2014 they influenced some pretty major bands such as Napalm Death and Darkthrone. One of the most interesting aspects of their sound is the vocals. Not the kind of vocals you’d expect to hear from a band from 86. There was a real punk attitude there also. Forefathers of death metal, indeed.
So apparently Master’s drummer overdosed in the car of Devastation’s drummer back in 86. Sounds like the beginning of a lame joke, but we read it’s true. This is just our piss poor excuse to justify us playing “Funeral Bitch” from Master’s unreleased 1985 album. It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone had at least one tape with a Master from this session back in the day. The album was supposed to be released on Combat Records, but disputes between band members and the label held back the release. The recording leaked though, which is why so many people got to listen to this way before the 2003 official release. It was hugely influential back then and it still melts faces today.
Listen. Very. Carefully. “Waiting for the Funeral” is quite simply one of the very best tracks that SATAN MADE ME DO IT ever shared on any episode (and mind you, this episode if filled to the brim with goodness). Scratch that. This is one of the best metal songs EVER. It’s that simple. This is from Post-Mortem’s unclassifiable debut album and now considered an overlooked cornerstone “Coroner’s Office”. We’re in 1985, in Boston, and these guys are experimenting with punk, jazz, doom and thrash without ever letting go of all the viciousness and gore one would expect from a band who was, at the same time, helping lay the groundwork for what would become death metal. It’s amazing. You have to give it to John McCarthy, Post-Mortem’s (late) singer and to guitarist John Alexander. These were guys with far-reaching tastes drawing inspiration from Black Sabbath, Slayer and Celtic Frost as well as unlikely sources such as Neil Diamond, Captain Beefhart, Stooges, ABBA, Beach Boys, the Beatles or Sly and the Family Stone. No wonder Post Mortem were hated by narrow-minded metalheads and frequently attacked on stage (and it didn’t help they played the tambourine and were mistakenly booked with hair metal or classic rock bands)! “Our whole concept was that we honestly didn’t give a fuck. That’s why we’re lumped in with punk rock as well as metal,” McCarthy said, adding: “It’s much better to piss off people who think they’re pissed off than to piss off your grandma or your mother or your father.” Funny thing is, McCarthy and especially Alexander were not so fond of “Waiting for the Funeral”. Also, you have to check the great early cover art they had, a bit reminiscent of Butthole Surfer’s stuff.
There are many Xibalba bands out there. This is the one from Los Angeles, released under Southern Lord. These guys look like they don’t have the recognition they deserve, at least in Europe (they’re not even listed on Encyclopaedia Metallum), even though they have a strong following growing on California. Apparently it all started to go their way once they uploaded videos of block parties, fueled with alcohol and drugs, where they played for friends. We really like their 2012 album “Hasta La Muerte”, a bass-heavy punch in the forehead in the form of doom, death and hardcore punk, the Latin American way. Drumming is incredible: everything gravitates around it.
Parabellum was a 2014 discovery actually and being that this year wasn’t really a favorite of ours in terms of metal releases (surely worse than 2012 and 2013), we gotta rank these Colombian bangers way up high on our 2014 list. It is part of the fun: finding out about these old acts, listening to them for the first time decades after the fact and being left speechless. We fucking thrive on stuff like this. All right, so apparently both tracks of their 1987 EP were written way back in 1984. That is insane. In 1987 there really weren’t many releases one could describe as purely black metal. There was “INRI” for sure, which says a lot about the overwhelming influence that South American bands exerted especially on the Norwegian scene (not that there was really anybody on Norway playing something even remotely close to Sarcófago’s style in the early 90s). Parabellum’s 1985 EP too is as black metal as it gets, especially because of how well it gets atmosphere. That’s what attracted Euronymous back then, we’re sure. He was all about atmosphere. Parabellum is speed and brutality, sure. Chaos, dissonance and malformation. But it’s also dangerous. Oh so beautifully dangerous.
Cogumelo Records and Roadrunner’s sweethearts Sepultura have plenty of underground cred as well. Max was an avid tape trader and letter writer, and Sepultura, besides being an important band on itself, had as whole a very entrepreneurial conscience which facilitated the process of spreading the word of course. It’s funny to think that in 87, when “Schizophrenia” was released, all the records in Brazil had to go through the evil hands of censorship. What’s even funnier is that apparently most policemen couldn’t read or speak any English, which explains why they demanded a Portuguese version of all the lyrics. Of course that labels and bands used a much softer Portuguese when translating from the original English version to get through haha fucking amazing. The song here is of course “From the Past Comes the Storms”, a track that explains a whole lot about how to write cool thrash music: riff, after riff, after riff, after riff without a care in the world.
This is arguably the most obscure stuff we ever played. Exiled was a thrash/death metal band from Lisbon, Portugal, back in the tape-trading, fanzine publishing days of the early 90s. Most Portuguese bands just couldn’t afford or even FIND studios to record properly, but this track from their 1993 “Exiled” demo (that the older half of SATAN MADE ME DO IT helped promote at the time) doesn’t sound so bad. It’s death metal-by-numbers, we’ll give you that, but it holds a special place in our metal hearts.
This has been one hell of a ride. Sixteen tracks. Uff! We’re finally done, and done in style with politically-objectionable-but-musically-untouchable Betong Hysteria (we found out about them through one of Sindre Solem’s mixtapes, so props to him), widely regarded as Norway’s first hardcore band. Enjoy it.
- Of Hell | NME (USA) | Machine of War [demo], 1985 http://www.discogs.com/artist/985106-NME-6
- Sex and Destruction | Black Task (USA) | Black Task [EP], 1985 http://www.discogs.com/artist/1505012-Black-Task
- Lifestyles | Poison Idea (USA) | Kings of Punk, 1986 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Poison-Idea-Official-/
- No Morals | Num Skull (USA) | Ritually Abused, 1988 http://www.relapse.com/label/catalog/product/view/id/85141/s/num-skull/category/51/
- Surrender or Die | Slaughter (CAN) | Surrender or Die [demo], 1985 https://www.facebook.com/pages/SLAUGHTER-Canada/12169425739
- Eve of Darkness | Slaughter (CAN) | Surrender or Die [demo], 1985 https://www.facebook.com/pages/SLAUGHTER-Canada/12169425739
- Mangled Dehumanization | Death Strike (USA) | Fuckin’ Death [demo], 1985 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Death-Strike/
- Satan Shall Return | Panic (BRA) | Rotten Church, 1987 https://www.facebook.com/panicthrashmetal
- Cranial Hemorrage | Devastation (USA) | Dispensable Bloodshed [LP], 1987 https://www.facebook.com/DevastationChicago
- Funeral Bitch | Master (USA) | Unreleased 1985 Album (2003) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Master/18521536017
- Waiting for the Funeral | Post Mortem (USA) | Coroner’s Office, 1986 http://www.discogs.com/Post-Mortem-Coroners-Office/master/365228
- No Serenity | Xibalba (USA) | Hasta La Muerte, 2012 https://www.facebook.com/placeoffear
- Engendro 666 | Parabellum (COL) | Sacrilegio, 1987 http://www.discogs.com/artist/412414-Parabellum-2
- From the Past Comes the Storms | Sepultura (BRA) | Schizophrenia, 1987 http://sepultura.com.br/
- Again | Exiled (PT) | Exiled [demo], 1993 https://www.facebook.com/Exiledoficial
- Det er bare løgn | Betong Hysteria (NOR) | Spontan Abort [7” EP], 1982 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Betong-Hysteria/169637678064?sk=timeline