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Review: Black Death - Black Death
Black Death
Black Death

Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Year released: 2017
Originally released in: 1984
Duration: 51:09
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: November 10, 2017
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Black Death

Rated 4.3/5 (86%) (10 Votes)

Once again, a time warp from the 80s brings a long-lost release into the present, this time courtesy of Hells Headbangers. I remember seeing Black Death's self-titled album back in the day and based on the name and the band members' exaggerated poses on the cover, assumed it was a joke and passed. Back then, there was no Internet to check out what a band sounded like; you handed over your $10-20 and hoped for the best and I had Iron Maiden's back catalog to buy. Now I finally get a chance to hear what I missed and, truth be told, I'm not all that upset I skipped it back then.

Rough and ready Traditional Metal is the style with some decent, if recycled, riffs, a cool guitar tone, over the top vocals and a production that was shabby even for 1985. I'm happy Hells Headbangers preserved the original sound though it's not a lot better than demo level, but I suppose that is part of the charm. There are some cool songs on Black Death, especially when the band lets it all hang out on tracks like "Night of the Living Death" and the album highlight "Scream of the Iron Messiah." There's also some crap like the bluesy, Judas Priest Rocka Rolla snoozer "When Tears Run Red" and "Streetwalker" with its cheesy, cringe-worthy lyrics.

Black Death is a nice slice of the 80s with some fun tracks and some others that will have you reaching for the skip button. I know this re-release is getting a lot of hype but I think it is because the album was out of print for a long time and has become romanticized, something I'm sure I'm guilty of with other records from that time period. By all means, check out Black Death especially if you like early Traditional Metal. It's just not the holy grail of lost 80s classics.

Other related information on the site
Review: Black Death (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Until We Rock: The Early Recordings of Black Death (reviewed by Omni)
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