Death SS – Black Mass - Gatefolded RED/WHITE Splatter -LP
Death SS were formed in 1977 and they can be considered the very first horror metal band. After the good debut, they reached the top with this great album, Black Mass. The members used to wear monsters dresses with face panting; very original for this period! I think nobody did this before them (except for Kiss, but they had not the same occult meaning), especially in Italy. The frontman Steve Sylvester (the Vampire) and the other members, the Death, the Werewolf, the Zombie and the Mummy, created something new, also musically.
Occult contents, cemetery visions and an horror image created a mystery the surrounded the band.
Their music can be seen as a great mix of classic heavy metal with speed/thrash influences. The face panting and the lyrics content contributed to create a black metal image, along with some instruments and atmospheres typical of the band.
They are the kings of evil, as they proclaim in the album's first track and considering all that I said before, you must believe them…
The occult can be found in each single track, being a future inspiration for lots of group. In that period the Italian pioneers of death and black metal were releasing their first albums or demos (Mortuary Drape, Bulldozer and Necrodeath, ex-Ghostrider) and Death SS contributed to their image and sound.
In this album each group's influence is well balanced and very intense, producing band’s classics like the scary Horrible Eyes or the great Cursed Mama, with a great organ intro to celebrate a true black mass. Gregorian chants and samplers can be found in the long title track. The atmosphere is sick, starting from the front cover where the singer has been shown crucified in the dark, with his scary eyes staring at you. The legends behind the group's history and the moniker Death SS make the listeners' morbid curiosity grow.
The singer has a great voice, scratchy and evil enough for this great piece of metal; songs like Buried Alive, Kings Of Evil, with a great melodic intro and the obscure Welcome to My Hell, are an important history lesson for those who still do not know this band. The title track, with the bells intro and the sax (yes!!) sound is incredibly original and evil.
With this album the band has become a cult in the scene, showing something new and scary for the period. The reviews of this album were great in different countries at the time and I must admit that this album is simply unique.