When the tangled and murky origins of death metal are discussed, Canada’s Strappado is often thrown into the mix. In 1987 death metal had yet to settle on an established sound, and this period is one of my favorite periods of any metal genre simply because everything was just going right off the rails, in every direction. Thrash had been established almost immediately bands were trying to be more aggressive and out play the other bands, which eventual ended up influencing death metal (and black metal). Slaughter’s first (and only full-length that matters) was a sound right in that sweet spot. It was clearly thrash inspired but they were pushing that sound into murkier, rougher areas, especially in the instrumentation. The vocals are still a bit thrash oriented, but on the rougher side of things. There’s still some of that punk sneer there.

What strikes me almost immediately is the buzzsaw like effect on the guitars. Combine with some more downplayed and sluggish riffing, it’s very similar to that famous Swedish death metal sound which was bubbling up right around this time as well. That same sound also gives the album a bit of a death/doom effect before that was ever a thing, and a the more rhythmic passages foretell some of what would later be that “death n’ roll” sound bands like Entombed would craft much later.

This probably isn’t the single album that inspired death metal but it’s surely an influencer amongst the horde, and a unique one at that. Slaughter called it quits not too long after this only to resurface way later in the 2000’s but this is the album that did the damage, so to speak, and if you like that early, wild, creative era just before death metal solidified, this is the fucking album for you.

 

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