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Death metal just should've kinda stopped right here. I mean Possessed had it all figured it out, that you are really not supposed to take out the thrash riffs and replace them with entrails and cunts.
This album seems to be the next logical step after Slayer's "Chemical Warfare" in the vein of extreme music. Similar thrash ideals to "Hell Awaits" are combined with insane fucking vocals, and a guitar tone that will rip your arms in half and shove them into your gallbladder. The death-metal sense of chaos is definitely evident, without resorting to the self-mockery of many later albums that just can't figure out where the riffs went.
There is also a very well-defined sense of melody to be found here. Slayer's "Show no Mercy" is approximately the best analogy for how the guitar solos sound, though Judas Priest "Stained Class" may be even more appropriate. Not overall shredding, and the solos don't sound "pretty" in the classical sense, but they avoid Slayer's "cat in a blender" wankery in the name of general memorability. The opening to "The Exorcist" manages to be both frightening and catchy at the same time, as does most everything else here. The lead work also tends to worm its way into the rhythm guitar at times, with riffs resembling those of Whiplash abundant on this album - think of the intro to "Power Thrashing Death" and you've got a decent idea of some of the riffs here. This idea of course would be completely bastardised by later death metal bands who needed a quick counterpoint to the wall of noise, but here it is used to its full potential.
Great songs? All of them! Especially "Burning in Hell" - my absolute favourite, and maybe the greatest death metal song ever. Also, "Death Metal", "The Exorcist"... Hell, they're all, at the very least, excellent. SATAN SAYS THIS ALBUM OWNS YOU!!!
Yep, the first death metal album. And it hasn't been topped. Nocturnus had some good stuff in "The Key", as did Atheist in "Piece of Time". "Scream Bloody Gore" and the related demos were also pretty nice, and has a lot of similar ideals, but this is just fucking awesome to the N+3rd power!!