Welcome to Part 1 of the 3-part blog series, See You In Hell My Friend.
Or maybe it's simply because death metal is fucking awesome, and I'm rediscovering my love for it.
Whatever the reason, this recent metal streak has made me think about the albums that solidified my excitement, awe and intense love for heavy metal of the most extreme variety. As with many metalhead kids from the early 1990's, I was of course drawn in to the scene by the likes of Metallica and Megadeth as a youth. I'd have to say White Zombie and Pantera also had a little to do with it as well. However, it was the brutal, sick, disgusting, vile and downright evil stuff that piqued my interest in the metal genre more than anything.
This blog series will share a total of 12 crucial albums that helped form my love for extreme metal (4 albums per blog). Please note that while not every album will be highly regarded by the harshest of critics...they are simply albums that put me on my path of greatness.
So without further ado....I'll see you in hell, my friends (part 1).
FEAR FACTORY - Demanufacture (1995) Roadrunner Records
Boy, does this album bring me back! I was 15 years old when this album came out, and this was one of the first metal albums I bought that featured "growling" vocals. I remember being intrigued by the album cover and the interviews with the singer (Burton C. Bell) in the classic Metal Maniacs magazine. This album also helped plant a few seeds of love for industrial music. Fear Factory used a lot of industrial elements on this album, and that led me to not only checking out other "brutal" bands on Roadrunner Records and beyond, but also the industrial music scene in general.
One of my fondest memories from college was going to see Fear Factory with some of my best friends. They were supported by System of a Down and hed(PE). The story of how the hed(PE) singer kept saying "I drink my wine, smoke my weed....fuck my woman in the ass 'til she bleeds!" over and over AND OVER during their set never gets old.
V/A - NORDIC METAL: A TRIBUTE TO EURONYMOUS (1994) Necropolis Records
MayheM - "Pagan Fears" (demo)
Just look at that album cover. Does that look like the entrance to hell or what? This album was not only one of the first (if not THE first) black metal CD that I got, but it was one that started me off on getting my extreme metal via mailorder. This was pre-iTunes after all. Back in the day, if you wanted the good death metal and black metal, you got it via mailorder. Nordic Metal was my first attempt at getting black metal, and it was amazing. Even more amazing is that I have an original pressing of this CD. Since Necropolis Records went kaput in 2003, you can find the original copies on eBay upwards of $30 or more. I think I paid $14 for it in 1995. Score.
Black metal is an interesting form of extreme metal. It's definitely not for everyone, but I always loved it. Fast metal, screeching vocals, insane drums....awwww yeah give it to me. Nordic Metal is still an essential part of any true black metal collection.
CANNIBAL CORPSE - Tomb of the Mutilated (1992) Metal Blade Records
"Hammer Smashed Face"
You may know Cannibal Corpse as being that metal band in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Believe it or not, Jim Carrey was a big Cannibal Corpse fan back in the day. While Ace Ventura may have been where mainstream audiences were exposed to Cannibal Corpse, I was exposed to them by an asshole metalhead kid in my 9th grade algebra class. Even though this guy was a complete prick (he was so metal, no-one else was worth his time), he actually introduced me to a lot of bands by wearing their t-shirts. It was because of this guy that I ever listened to the likes of Slayer, Sepultura and even Cannibal Corpse. I vividly remember the day I saw him walk into class wearing the Tomb of the Mutilated shirt. I asked him what was going on in the picture, and he told me "it's a dead zombie eating out another dead zombie." And I said "cool."
Here's the scene from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, just in case you want to refresh your memory:
DEATH - Spiritual Healing (1990) Combat Records
This was the first death metal album that I ever saw in a store. I remember being at Best Buy and seeing it on the shelf. I thought the artwork was really cool, and the subject matter of the cover challenged a few thoughts I had in my 14-year-old brain. It actually took me several more years to get a copy of this album for myself. Death's Symbolic album, released in 1995, was the first one I ever purchased. I loved that album so much, the very next one I bought was Spiritual Healing.
Chuck Schuldiner (singer, guitarist, songwriter) of Death unfortunately died December 13th, 2001 from brain tumor complications. One of my greatest regrets in life was missing out on seeing them live in 1999 when I had a ticket to go see them, but no-one to go with me. So I never went. We still miss ya, Chuck.
Be sure to tune in next time for 4 more albums that unlocked the road to hell that was paved with good intentions. Until then, take us away Chuck!
Death - "Symbolic" from Symbolic (1995) Roadrunner Records