Thursday, July 21, 2011

Death Strike - Fuckin’ Death

Death Strike
Fuckin’ Death
Dark Descent Records

Vocalist/bassist Paul Speckmann is a well known figure within the U.S. death metal scene through the long running underground cult act Master, who after twenty years are still going strong and delivering quality death metal to fans (As evident with 2010’s ‘The Human Machine’). Prior to forming Master, Speckmann started out with a couple of short lived projects, namely the doom based act War Cry, and the follow-up outfit Death Strike.
Death Strike didn’t have much of a history, but the brief period of time the band were active played an integral role in helping to establish the foundation that eventually led to Master.
Recorded in 1985, the band’s self-titled demo was a highly sought after four track recording that made some waves within the underground metal scene of the day. The said recording was later re-released on C.D. through Nuclear Blast Records in 1991 with four additional bonus tracks, cementing the band’s reputation and an important stepping stone to what would eventually establish Master onto the scene, and establish Speckmann as one of the U.S. underground extreme metal scene’s true founding figures.
Having long been out of print, Dark Descent Records has decided to re-release this long lost gem in expanded form with full consent from Speckmann (Who along with Olivier ‘Zoltar’ Badin from Terrorizer Magazine, provides some additional liner notes and some previously unseen early photographs for the expanded and lavishly revamped booklet).
The eight tracks that made up the track listing of the original Nuclear Blast Records release haven’t changed, with the opening four tracks on the album making up the tracks that appeared on the band’s sole demo tape ‘Fuckin’ Death’.
While all four tracks were later re-recorded by Master (Both on their self-titled debut from 1990, and on 2003’s ‘Unreleased 1985 Album’), there’s a definite sound and feel to the four tracks here (‘The Truth’, ‘Mangled Dehumanization’, ‘Pay To Die’ and ‘Re-Entry And Destruction’), which suggests that while in Death Strike, Speckmann was clearly influenced by the likes of Venom, Hellhammer and Motörhead, with traces of punk, primitive death ‘n’ roll and crossover/thrash evident throughout.
On the second half of this re-release, there’s an obvious change in style, with the lengthy ‘The Final Countdown’ revealing a definite doom influence, while the equally epic ‘Man Killed America/Embryonic Misconceptions’ (Which has its own twisted take on ‘God Bless America’ into its opening section) is far more punk edged with its d-beat drum underpinnings and faster tempo. ‘Pervert’, while great in its own right, is quite primitive in its structure and a little sloppy in terms of performance (Namely the drums), while ‘Remorseless Poison’ is a Hellhammer/Celtic Frost styled doom like classic.
Aside from the additional packaging, Dark Descent Records’ re-release of ‘Fuckin’ Death’ is expanded with the addition of four previously unreleased rehearsal tracks (‘Live For Free’, ‘The Truth’, ‘Pay To Die’ and ‘Master’).
While the additional tracks are interesting, the sound quality is really quite bad, and not the sort of thing that is likely to get anyone excited after a single listen except absolute diehards.
If you’ve never heard Death Strike before, and you’re a fan of early Master, then this re-release comes highly recommended. Death Strike may not have been as innovative or as renown as some other death metal/thrash ‘n’ roll acts in their time, but the recordings they made sure are one hell of a great listen.

For more information on Death Strike, check out - http://www.myspace.com/deathstikeusa

© Justin Donnelly