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Death SS > Evil Metal > Reviews
Death SS - Evil Metal

Evil indeed - 89%

Spatupon, June 15th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1983, 7" vinyl, Metal Eye (Limited edition)

Death SS is truly a monumental band when it comes to doom metal, rock n' roll tinged metal and proto-black metal. In one way or another, these Italians have been around for over 40 years now, despite all the drama that has surrounded this bestial force. However, all the drama is irrelevant because it has not really affected any of the output from this band. Death SS was one of the first metal/rock bands that I ever listened to back when I was still a 5-year-old kid. Back then I wasn't aware of the colossal influence these guys have had on my favorite sub-genre of metal, black metal. This EP is aptly named "Evil Metal", and indeed, this mini-album is evil in all sorts of ways for example; guitar riffs which seem to cut through your soul like a chainsaw; haunting vocals and hypnotic bass lines.

Unfortunately, this EP is only made up of three songs, but each song is a fucking masterpiece in its own right. Just like their cousin Bulldozer, Death SS truly know how to craft some pretty amazing Sabbath-influenced bluesy metal. However, these guys go beyond anything which Sabbath had created up to that point. The music was much eerier, the lyrical themes were much more evil for any intents and purposes. The guitar work is much more interesting, and Paul Chain and Sanctis Ghoram have a much more captivating vocal style than Ozzy Osbourne. To me, Ozzy just sounds whiney and comes off as trying too hard, but for these guys, their vocals come off as very natural.

So, as I've already explained, this EP only has three songs. The last offering on this mini-album, entitled "Schizophrenic" is another aptly named song. It could have easily been used as a soundtrack for Dario Argento's Giallo films that were so popular during the 70s and 80s. The vocals in the song sound very schizophrenic hence the name. The other two songs are nothing short of being extremely captivating. One of the most remarkable thing which make this EP awesome is the thick sound of the bass. In addition to that, the bass has a very unique character which doesn't simply emulate the guitar work. There are some great bass passages, especially in the second song called "Inquisitor". I previously mentioned Sabbath as a source of influence for this band, however, simply citing Sabbath as the only source of influence would be only partially correct. When listening to "Inquisitor" you'll definitely hear some Iron Maiden influences too, with the galloping they've become so associated with.

The production on this album is very muddy and it perfectly suits the whole idea behind this short yet impressive offering. The short and straight to the point riffs abandon all sort of "progressive" technicality which was so common during the late 70s and early 80s when they were still in their infancy. The drums are pretty simplistic but they are varied enough to actually merit the attention of the listener. This rejection of technicality and any sort of progressive feel made Death SS what they are today. They're the unsung heroes of the 1st wave of black metal and can be considered to be on the same level as Bathory and Venom. This might not be the case for everyone, but it certainly is for me. Back then, a lot of progress was being made on the front of production and mastering, and these guys totally rejected using those techniques and went on straight ahead using simple equipment which truly gave a masterful soul to this EP and most of their subsequent releases.

I recommend this mini-album to everyone who is interested in listening to and unfolding the early history of black metal. The music might be very different from anything Mayhem and Darkthrone would produce a few years after this EP was released, but the tone and the feeling are definitely similar. This mini-album simply screams death and Armageddon.