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Review: Black Death - Until We Rock: The Early Recordings of Black Death
Black Death
Until We Rock: The Early Recordings of Black Death

Label: Wyrd War
Year released: 2017
Duration: 64:27
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: March 24, 2017
Reviewed by: Omni
Readers Rating
Until We Rock: The Early Recordings of Black Death

Rated 3.92/5 (78.33%) (12 Votes)

Like many Internet-savvy young metalheads, I was first exposed to Black Death through the overused "Black Metal" meme in the mid-2000s. I decided that I had to investigate their music immediately, and I was very surprised by how unique and interesting this Cleveland-based band was. Unfortunately for me at the time, their music was hard to track down as it had been out of print since the 1980s. In a fortunate turn of events, Black Death mainman Siki Spacek returned with Black Death Resurrected and this compilation of early Black Death recordings from before their 1984 eponymous album was released. Until We Rock contains four tracks from a demo recording, two live tracks and two songs that originally appeared on the Cleveland Metal compilation, all recorded in 1983. Considering the age of these archival recordings, the sound quality is excellent. Even the live recordings sound great. The tracks on this compilation feature frontman and guitarist Siki Spacek, guitarist Greg Hicks, bassist Darrell Harris and drummer Phil Bullard.

The demo tracks are a bit less tight than the finished versions of the songs, with the bluesy ballad "When Tears Run Red" clocking in at nearly twice the length of the studio version recorded for the debut album. Spacek's liner notes refer to how he worked to trim down his compositions for the album itself, and this definitely shows. The recordings are still quite enjoyable despite occasionally going on a bit too long. The live songs show that Black Death was a killer live act and reveal that Spacek was as charismatic on stage as he was in the studio. For me, the two studio tracks for the Cleveland Metal compilation are the most essential recordings on this compilation. These two tracks stand up favorably to songs recorded by much bigger heavy metal bands, and they showcase the musical talents of the band. Spacek's catchy vocals and the scorching dual guitar attack make me wonder why these guys never made it big back in the 1980s. Their rough and tumble sound and a truly memorable frontman should have elevated them to superstardom.

This compilation serves as a welcome treat for fans of 1980s underground heavy metal and a great teaser for the upcoming reissue of the band's debut album on Hells Headbangers. Black Death was far more than an Internet joke. They were the real deal. I can hardly recommend this compilation enough. Buy or die!

Other related information on the site
Review: Black Death (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Black Death (reviewed by MetalMike)
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