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The Genealogy of a State Of The Art Extreme Metal - 100%

felix headbanger, January 26th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1984, Cassette, Independent

It is widely known by most metalheads who are loyal devotees of the extreme metal genre that before there was Death they were formerly called as Mantas. Under the name Mantas the band released three rehearsal tapes, along with a live tape, before deciding to change their name to Death in late 1984 and finally releasing this five track demo "Death By Metal".

This magnum opus of a demo was the band's first record released under the name Death, and this also serves as the ancestor of what we now know as the death metal genre. Now I know a lot would react to my statement about this demo being the blood lineage of the death metal genre because of the album being loaded with a number of thrashy elements, but this was totally ahead of its time when it comes to distinguishing what was defined as thrash metal during that era.

Every track in this demo is more anarchic, ponderous, blistering and intense in abhorrence than most thrash metal albums that were coming out during those times. The demo contains the resonance of early Slayer materials, yet it is more murky and vile when it comes to the delivery. With the twin guitar combination of Chuck Schuldiner and Rick Rozz, each piece in the demo is filled with relentless riffs and killer shredding solos. The vocal work of Kam Lee (Kam's drumming is also to my liking in this release, as it hammers and pummels throughout the whole demo), that along with Chuck's astonishing shrieks, also slays in this demo.

There really is nothing to say more about this record for it is plausibly one of the best early extreme metal records that the band had recorded in their career. This is highly recommended to any fans of raw and old school extreme metal music. This is totally a must listen and must own record. Cheers to the pioneers of the death metal genre! Hail to sir Chuck Schuldiner! You are truly missed in the mortal world Evil Chuck.

The birth of death metal. - 100%

Nazarath, January 19th, 2010

Well considering this is my first review, I want to start off with a release by one of my favorite bands, Death (or Mantas in this case). This was the bands third official release, with their first two demos being a rehearsal tape, and a demo called Emotional. This release is more recognized though, and it should be in it's right. The production is what you could expect from a demo, low quality. But, the low quality of the recording just adds to the rawness and power of the music.

Kams' and Chucks' vocals are just vicious on this, especially on Legion of Doom, which is one of my favorite songs by Death. Both of them hit beastly low grunts, with it adding in to the evilness of the guitars and drums, which Kam is pretty violent on. The guitarists, Rick Rozz and Chuck, both play in similar styles, but is generally a good thing, but don't be expecting to see any technical riffs in the style of Necrophagist. The bone crushing riffs employed were unheard of at the time. I would comment on bass, but it's unknown who the bassist was at the time.

So overall, this was a revolutionary release for the genre of death metal, but never got widespread recognition. It's pretty easy to find the songs uploaded on to sites like Youtube in it's original format. But it'd be better if you could find an original copy of it for the nostalgia and rawness. So, hail Death, and R.I.P (rock in peace) Chuck.

Death - Death by Metal (1984) - 75%

_MetalBrain_, July 13th, 2009

Alright then. What we have here is the super raw recording of five blood-thirsty devastating metal assaults, that were pioneering and essential for shaping the entire Death Metal genre. We hear Charles "Evil Chuck" Schuldiner's first recording, alongside Barney Kamalani Lee and Frederick DeLillo aka. "Rick Rozz".

The recording quality is pretty raw and snotty, however, the Death demos were never known for being mastered properly. The demo tape starts off with "Legion of Doom" and contains some very good, back then unheard brutal guitar riffs. The vocals by Kam Lee are destroying (consider, it was 1984). It is growling for the most part, but with a certain amount of high-pitched screams. There is a slower part in the song that reminds me of the beginning of the song "Infernal Death" that would first be recorded in 1985.

The first song is followed by "Evil Dead", probably one of Death's most famous songs. From the well-known lead intro over the Kam Lee style vocals and the powerful riffs by Schuldiner and Rozz to the guitar lead, this is pretty much the "Scream Bloody Gore" version. Track #3 is "Beyond the unholy Grave", a very fast and all-in-its-way-crushing song with a simplistic but super audible and fast guitar riff, supported by Kam's smashing intro cymbals and pounding drum beats.

Track four, "Power of Darkness", is a very short but nevertheless kickass song, with a less audible guitar riff and drums, but some excellent death growls.
We then arrive at the final and title-track, "Death by Metal", which is next to "Evil Dead" my favorite on this album. Everything here is what you can only expect from the murder trio. The beginning riff and cymbals are super-headbangable, and the main riff is fuckin awesome. It's a pity this song didn't find its way to an album. It's really worth it.

The only thing however, that is not good, is the production. This demo was recorded in a rehearsal room with Rick Rozz's cassette player and that's what it sounds like. It reminds me of the horrible sound quality of Hellhammer's 1983 demo tapes. Still, if you imagine what the songs -could- sound like, you will agree with me when I say that they're definitely fucking A.
Because of that, and probably also because I'm hardcore into Death, I give this demo a 75 % rating because it was ground-breaking for Death Metal.