Dave's Metal Journey

Dave’s Metal Journey- Death Metal 1st Wave

So I have an idea to get all of you internet people to get to know my personal journey and influences to my wild and wacky musical taste.  This new monthly column will occur the last Monday of every month for everyone to see what bands got me going in all the different metal subgeneres, and some other ones too.  Some may be obvious, some may be not so obvious, and some may shock you (if you care).  I’ll be doing each genre in 4 waves, as it’ll be equally as interesting for me remembering who first got me into that genre then what couple bands came after that group of bands I discovered.  The 4th wave will be newer bands that really have a special place in my musical library. First genre I’m starting off with is the ever so underground Death Metal! These bands are so well known they don’t need any musical reference, and if you do well then…..you’re a sad excuse for a metalhead. LET’S GET IT ON!


YEP.  Kinda obvious……right? I don’t know what drew me into our fellow New Yorkers music more……Frank The Tank’s captivating voice, or Mike Smith’s pulsating blast beats on his drum kit? The era I got into the band was between “Blood Oath” and the self titled album.  Give a brother some credit, I’m only 31! How I found out about the death metal legends? So many fellow metalheads sporting their logo, eventually egged myself on to give in after a kid starting out with classic metal (Maiden, Megadeth, Priest, Dio…..you know the bands).  Lamb Of God, Pantera and Between The Buried And Me were absolutely horrific, considering I never was into growling or screaming yet as a metalhead.  It took quite a while to get used to it, and then started my slight interest in heavier vocals……which eventually landed me with Suffocation! My first Suffoshow was at Club Inifinity on the tour for their self titled album.  How lucky……THE ORIGINAL LINEUP. Frank Mullen on vocals, Terrence Hobbs on Guitar, Guy Marchias on Guitar, Derek Boyer on Bass and Mike Smith on Drums! How I lucked out…..I don’t even know, the more I reflect on that evening.  All I remember is being memorized by Frank’s voice and awesome personality, the band’s super tight rhythm, and Smith’s insane drumming (maybe this was the 5th time he left the band? I lost count over the years).  I’m in the rare group that actually digs their latest album “Of The Dark Light”, which not everyone has loved.  I thought it was their purest record in quite some time, and now means even more with Frank’s retirement from music to become a full time actor.  Death metal doesn’t pay the bills kids, and even Mr. Mullen knows that.  Cheers my fellow New Yorkers, even if you’re on the other side of the state!


Now time for some good ‘ol dirty, greasy, slightly thrashy death metal to inject into your veins! Another classic band from Florida who doesn’t need an introduction, as most metalheads know they’re one of the “godfathers” of the genre like the previous band Suffocation.  A great mix of really slow and really quick rhythms make Obituary a fun time, with a shit ton of whammy bar abuse on most of their guitar leads as well.  Ironically, my introduction to them was exactly like Suffocation’s and even weirder my first and only show seeing Obituary was ALSO at the now defunct Club Infinity.  Obituary just released “Frozen In Time”, and one of my friend’s bands was on the bill.  It was packed and sweaty, rightfully so.  Now that was released in 2005, so let me remind you my musical phase then as an 18 year old…..I was thankfully coming out of my nu-metal era, ascending into lots of classic metal but all singing…….Pantera was as heavy as I got then, and abused the Maiden Megadeth and Priest libraries like it was my job.  I remember hanging out with my friends and absolutely hating it.  I wanted to leave early but was told to stay……I was told countless times how legendary they were and I was standing there all “THIS IS SO MEH”! Only would my love grow for Obituary as I kept giving them a shot, growing out of my nu-metal phase not wanting to really give something so obscene a shot.  SEE! It’s not always love at first sight! I’m glad I smartened up about the Florida legends though……many great bands have come from that state. The Tardy brothers are a magical combination!


More quality Florida death metal! Sadly enough, I still haven’t seen them live.  Like any other band, you have the classic lineup battles.  Steve Tucker fronting the band on bass, or David Vincent? I’m a Tucker guy, especially in the long run.  Vincent ditched death metal for country, to make teh moniez.  Now, lamely enough…..he’s in a “tribute” band (although he spent a decent amount of time in Morbid Angel) called I Am Morbid, playing songs from HIS ERA.  Tucker wrote as many good songs as Vincent and stayed true to death metal, so BLAH! Everyone freaks out over the debut “Altars Of Madness” I don’t deny a THING about its impact in death metal, but what really started to fuel my fire for Morbid Angel was the follow up…..” Abominations Of Desolation”.  Those ARE David Vincent records, yes I know that…..had to point out the irony.  At least Tucker never had that turd “Illud Divinium Insanus” on his resume! A death metal band trying to go industrial or electronic? Nice try, dude. Oh, and there’s this great guy that founded the band…..Trey Azagthoth, the guitar riff master and shredder. Trey, the band mastermind who’s been there from day one……Thank you brother, for giving us one of the best extreme bands of all time.


Since it’s my site, I’m gonna cheat a bit.  Belphegor isn’t 100% death metal, half of their sound is black metal…..otherwise known as in the messed up world of subgeneres Blackened Death Metal.  They’re still heavy as hell, so that’s gotta count for many things.  My friend on the local Buffalo music scene (of multiple projects, sometimes 10 bands at once!) Eareckson Murray constantly represented the band wearing Belphegor’s classic white logo on the black shirt.  We met at the time I was getting into more extreme metal, and when he rocked that shirt when we hung out or saw each other at shows it eventually got me to check out the band.  Belphegor CATAPULTED it’s way into my discovery of extreme metal, and if it wasn’t for Eareckson’s unintentional physical reminder to check out Belphegor I don’t know if I may have stumbled upon one of my favorite extreme metal bands.  I never saw Helmuth and company live, as it really saddens me.  All of their cool fake blood and Austrian accents haven’t graced me with their legendary presence……YET. His voice is intoxicating, and adding tremolo riffing to death metal is quite addicting.  The band grooves hard, and has been around as long as I’ve been alive basically. I gave in and was on the ride when they released “Walpurgis Rites Hexenwahn” at the end of the 2000’s.  What was before that, you ask? Oh, nothing but their legendary album “Goatreich Fleshcult” with their classic song “Swarm Of Rats”. Helmuth has gone through so many lineup changes it’s absolutely inspiring he hasn’t given up on this baby.  Hails!

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