Friday, November 11, 2011

DEATH SS - All the Colors of the Dark CD Compilation review

DEATH SS - All the Colors of the Dark CD Compilation
Under Fire Records
Genre: Metal
Rating: 4/5

Hailed as being the very first Italian Metal band DEATH SS have gotten a new type of revival treatment of late. For the past few years some people in the modern Doom scene have been resurrecting the memories of past metal acts by calling them Doom even if those bands where around long before the term was coined. Well whatever the motivation behind it some bands could use the notoriety and DEATH SS certainly deserve some recognition. All the Colors of the Dark is a two disc best of collection spanning this Italian band's career. So far there has been five previously released best of DEATH SS compilations already and a couple of box sets. As far as this collection goes it was done up right spanning the band's long career with a 16 page full color booklet and extensive notes written by singer Steve Sylvester. His initials are where the 'SS' comes into play in the band name if you didn't know. Hopefully you didn't and I've just ruined your faux flirtation with what you thought was nazism. Fact is this band has caught shit for years from people who thought just that. Strangely enough they never caught shit for going Industrial but more on that latter.

The reason why modern Doom-ophiles include DEATH SS into the Doom genre is because of their early material from the original line-up which along with singer Steve Sylvester also included guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Paul Chain (along with a cast of revolving door bassists and drummers). Their sound was basically fuzzed out late 70's Heavy Metal with a gothic/occult theme. The band dressed up as movie monsters as well aka: The Mummy, The Vampire, The Dead, The Werewolf and The Zombie. Between 1977 and 1984 is when that line-up released what I consider their best material which consisted of their two demos, three singles and the 'Evil Metal" EP. On this best of release the demo material is not on here but that period is represented by the songs "The Night of the Witch", "Profanation", "Spiritualist Sense" and "Buried Alive". Unfortunately the band broke up with Paul Chain leaving to pursue a solo career. After a few years Steve Sylvester continued on leading the band with a revolving door of new musicians over the years. It was in this period where DEATH SS become more of a gothic metal act starting in 1988 with the 'In Death of Steve Sylvester' full length followed by the 'Black Mass' LP in 1989. This was the era of DEATH SS I first heard back in the day since their sound was similar to many US Horror Punk bands of the eighties I was into. The better cuts on here from then are "Terror", "Vampire", "Horrible Eyes" and "Cursed Mama". "Kings of Evil" and "In the Darkness" from the 'Black Mass' album also appear on here but in their single versions.

The first CD closes with material from the band's Heavy Demons LP from 1991 and a few singles from the early nineties. DEATH SS had changed again with this era of the band sounding more mainstream MTV metal-ish. For me this is when the band started on it's downward spiral. Some nineties lovin metal heads will still enjoy a few cuts here with the title track of Heavy Demons single version represented plus from the album there's "Where Have You Gone", "Baphomet" and "Inquisitor". The last two cuts are re-recorded songs from their early days, "Chains of Death" and "Black and Violet". Those two cuts came out together on a single in 1996. The second CD starts out alright with the title cut from the band's Straight to Hell EP from 1995 which was pretty standard metal. From here on out we're treated to the band's pseudo industrial goth metal period starting with a few songs from 1997's Do What Thou Wilt LP. Thoses cuts being "Baron Samedi", "Guardian Angel" and "Scarlet Woman" and more suited for the black wig and nail polish set if you know what I mean. Also included here is a cover of BLACK WIDOW's "Come to the Sabbath". From here there's tracks from their 2000 release 'Panic", another goth type release which did contain the rave hit "Hi-tech Jesus". Afterwhich it continues with more of the band's goth material even including the never before released "Revived" which could've stayed in a box. Be that as it may All the Colors of the Dark is thirty two cuts worth of DEATH SS musical history. Worth it for the first disc at least.



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