"The Grand Leveller"-1991
"Dark is the Season"-1993
Formed in the late `80s, this British 5-piece were pioneers of the emerging "Grind Metal" genre that also included such acts as Napalm Death, Carcass, Morbid Angel [all of whom, not coincidently, were on Digby Pearsons` then-fledgling Earache label] etc. Benediction added their own sinister "bent" to the mix, thus allowing them to stand apart from their fellow noise-mongers. Mark "Barney" Greenway fronted the band, his blowtorch-in-the-throat death grunts a perfect compliment to the sludge-riffing and overall aura of DOOM & DARKNESS. Greenway left soon after"Subconcious.." [filling Lee Dorians` spot in Napalm Death] but the group found a worthy replacement in Dave Ingrahm and have sucessfully carried on; My personal favorite is the "Dark is the Season" EP, which has a blistering cover of the Anvil classic, "Forged in Fire".
I don`t really know too much about this New York based Death act, and never got into them much after this EP. The 5 songs here are good, if unremarkable, Black/Death Metal, with the distorted vocals giving them a slightly unique sound that has been copied by countless others since. Songs include "Mass Obliteration", "Infecting the Crypts", "Jesus Wept", and well...you get the idea!
Sodom-"In the Sign of Evil"-1984
Ahh, yes,Sodom! Here`s the disc that started it all. Unbelieveably primitive & nowhere NEAR the Metal juggernaut they are today, this EP still ranks as a classic! Influenced by the Motorhead [circa "Ace of Spades"] and the mighty Venom ["Welcome to Hell"/"Black Metal" era] this German 3-piece, led by the one-and-only Tom Angelripper, built a large following in spite of the bands not-so-great [at the time] musical skills and piss poor command of English. So WHAT?! Tunes like "Witching Metal", "Outbreak of Evil", and "Blasphemer" are so full of raw energy that you can forgive the band for their shortcomings. Just a TASTE of things to come!
"Scream Bloody Gore"-1986
The LEGENDS! Formed in the early `80s by guitarist/vocalist/mainman Chuck Schuldiner,this band, if not the first, was certainly among the early originators of the Black/Death Metal sound. A series of demos spread the word throughout the underground, and Death became THE Death Metal act by which all others were judged by. Signed to the Combat label [remember them?], Chuck & co. released "Scream..." to widespread acclaim. The next 2 albums, "Leprosy", and "Spiritual Healing" did even better, and the groups` reputation in the Metal community was secured. I didn`t really pay much attention to them after that; Chuck started to move things in a more technical direction, and subsequent albums, while still good, did not match the power and raw energy of the first 3 discs. But Chuck has kept it together, through countless line-ups and changing musical tastes, never compromising and for that he has to be commended! [Sadly, on December 13th 2001, Chuck Shuldiner lost his 2 year battle with brain cancer. Rest In Peace...]
Yet ANOTHER Florida death band! I really don`t know too much about them,and this is apparently the only full-length release that they`ve done [though they`ve put out quite a few demo tapes]. Hellwitch are, at least on this album, obviously influenced by fellow Floridians Death, and that`s not a BAD thing! The band lean towards the high-tech side of things at times while still keeping things brutal, as demonstrated in songs like "Mordirvial Dissemination", "Viral Exogence", and "Sentient Transmography". [try saying all THAT 5 times fast!] Hellwitch is still together, and I`ll try to find out more about `em when I can. Stay tuned!