30 Years Ago: DEATH begin recording Scream Bloody Gore in Florida (the aborted first session)

…we actually recorded an earlier version in Florida during the summer of ’86 that came out so shitty sound-wise, that Combat wrote it off as a mistake and sent us to Los Angeles to do it right. I almost wish I had kept my cassette of the old version to look back on, but I taped over it ages ago.
– Chris Reifert, Metal Rules (2007)

Before heading to the Music Grinder, Hollywood in November, DEATH began recording Scream Bloody Gore in Florida during the summer of ’86. Only drums and one guitar track were recorded in that July session. Combat, unsatisfied with the sound, arranged for them to re-record everything at Music Grinder, LA with Randy Burns.
Randy was already well known in death metal circles for being producer on POSSESSED’s Seven Churches the previous year. In 1986 he also produced MEGADETH’s Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? and DARK ANGEL’s brutal classic Darkness Descends at Meat Grinder.

Chuck had returned from Canada (a brief member of SLAUGHTER) to San Francisco and reformed DEATH with Chris Reifert (later forming AUTOPSY).

I was still in high school at the time and had a friend who was a DJ for the school radio station. She told me she was gonna play an ad from Chuck who was looking for band members. I got his phone number from her, called him up and went over to his house. The deal was pretty much sealed right away as I jumped on the chance before anyone else could get a try… ha-ha! Also, I knew about bands like Sodom, Bathory, Possessed and Artillery which impressed Chuck. This was incredible for me because I had been buying Death demos for the past 2 years and was thrilled that not only would I be playing the songs I knew and loved already, but also some new crushers that went perfectly with the old ones.
– Chris Reifert, Metal Rules (2007)

They recorded the Mutilation demo in California, this led to the deal with Combat who would release Scream Bloody Gore – the final version, recorded in LA – in May 1987.

death-chuck-schuldiner-chris-reifert

More quotes about the Florida recording session:

Yeah, the deal was sealed and they trusted us to find a studio and go at it on our own, which turned out to be a terrible idea [laughs]! We were enthusiastic, but unaware that the studio we picked was a bad choice, due to the fact that the folks who ran it had NO idea of what metal was. We figured our brutality would shine through, ya know?

It was Combat who realized we were making a mistake. We were happy just to be in a recording studio making death metal. I think we went there for two days. One day for setup and one day for recording. There’s actually a bootleg out there of that session. Someone sent me a copy of it not too long ago which was interesting since I taped over my copy ages ago. Didn’t think it would be important later so I probably taped Repulsion over it or something [laughs]! I’ve heard seven songs from that including “Legion of Doom,” which obviously didn’t make it onto the “real” version of Scream Bloody Gore. Maybe we did more, but I honestly can’t remember… it was SO long ago. And yeah, we only did drums and one guitar track – that’s as far as it got.

Yep, they [Combat] somehow got a listen after that first attempt and wisely said it sounded like shit. We were shocked at first I suppose, but as soon as we found out they were gonna fly us to L.A. to do it right, excitement took over pretty quick. It was time to write it off at a loss and move forward. The best part was we got to work with Randy Burns who had done Seven Churches… score!

– Chris Reifert, Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore (revised edition)

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