Death Strike's 1985 demo, Fuckin' Death, has a legendary reputation in the old school death metal underground. Being Death Strike's only release in their short-lived history, as well as one of the legendary Paul Speckmann's first projects, Fuckin' Death has plenty of reason to be celebrated. And did I mention that this is one of the earliest death/thrash metal releases ever recorded? The original 1985 demo contained four brutal tracks of proto-death metal, and the 1991 Nuclear Blast reissue contains four more tracks of similar quality. The more-recent reissue on Dark Descent Records contains all of that material, in addition to four previously unreleased rehearsal tracks. Although Fuckin' Death hasn't aged very well and it doesn't completely blow me away, it's still an essential piece of extreme metal history that every self-respecting metalhead should hear at some point. And with a recent reissue on vinyl and CD, now is the best time to finally check out this underground classic if you've previously failed to do so!
The music here is raw and heavy thrash metal with traces of very primitive death metal. Fuckin' Death certainly is not a death metal album by today's standards, but given its context in 1985, I could see how shocking this release would have been to the thrash metal community. Paul Speckmann's raw, semi-growled vocal style was extremely original given the time period, and the relentlessly brutal riffs paired with fast drum patterns and heavily distorted guitar tones made for some of the most extreme metal around in 1985. The songs aren't all too complicated - most only contain a handful of riffs - but the genuine simplicity helps give the album a semi-accessible overtone. Not all of the songs here are too memorable, but it's always easy to pick out at least a few riffs once the album is over. As previously mentioned, the Dark Descent reissue contains 4 rehearsal bonus tracks that weren't present on the 8-song Nuclear Blast reissue. These new rehearsal tracks are almost entirely non-essential, and fit the category of "collector's item only". If you already own the Nuclear Blast version, I wouldn't bother finding this one unless you're a Death Strike die-hard. The main issue with these bonus tracks is the horrendous, almost to the point of being unlistenable, production. On the original 1991 album, the production is raw and noisy, but still audible and competent. It's obviously of demo-quality, but the production isn't nearly as bad as the bonus tracks.
Fuckin' Death may not be a perfect masterpiece (in my opinion, at least), but it's a damn good album that showed a band with a true sense of innovation. It would've been interesting to see what would've happened if Death Strike would've stayed together to make some more material... I have a feeling that could've been something really special. Even though my personal enjoyment is limited due to the mediocre production and simplistic compositions, Fuckin' Death is an extremely original and influential effort from Death Strike, and that cannot go unnoticed. 3 stars are deserved here. I would've gone higher if the songs were just a tad more memorable and the production a bit more polished.
1. The Truth (3:21)
2. Mangled Dehumanization (1:58)
3. Pay to Die (3:02)
4. Re-Entry and Destruction (3:35)
5. The Final Countdown (7:05)
6. Man Killed America / Embryonic Misconceptions (6:02)
7. Pervert (2:58)
8. Remorseless Poison (5:25)
9. Live for Free (CD and LP) (bonus track)
10. The Truth (CD and LP) (bonus track)
11. Pay to Die (CD) (bonus track)
12. Master (CD) (bonus track)