Black Death - Black Death album review

African-American metal pioneers finally get a full airing

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An unholy grail of the fertile mid-80s US metal underground, this sole LP by “the first African American metal band” was unleashed in 1984 and, ridiculously, never officially reissued until now. An invigorating keg-party classic from the golden age of leather, spandex and brimstone-snorting conviction, Black Death (from Cleveland, Ohio, of all places) formed as early as 1977, so their bloodthirsty rampage is bolstered with cosmic stoner grooves, frantic punk energy and a faint residue of hard funk, assisting Siki Spacek’s wild-and-crazy vocal attack in lending an air of eccentric derangement to ripping rivethead anthems like Night Of The Living Death, Streetwalker and the legendary Scream Of The Iron Messiah. Shame there are no bonus contemporary demo or compilation tracks, but this powerful remaster by Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind stands proud as the definitive rendering of a criminally undervalued rough diamond.