Scream Bloody Gore is the debut studio album by American death metal band Death, released on May 25, 1987, through Combat Records. It was considered "the first true death metal record".Chuck Schuldiner plays bass and guitar, wrote all the songs on the album and provided all the vocals. John Hand is noted on the cover as playing rhythm guitar, though this was incorrect and Hand was only in the band for a short period and was not on the recording. This is also the only Death album to feature drummer Chris Reifert, who had joined for the Mutilation demo.
Perseverance Holdings, Ltd. and Relapse Records reissued the album on May 20, 2016, on CD, vinyl, and cassette. The album was remastered for this release, and also included the original Florida session as well as recordings of rehearsals performed in 1986.
The album was actually recorded twice, with the second Los Angeles-based session being released as the complete album by label Combat Records (later Relativity). It was first recorded in Florida, although only the rhythm guitar and drum tracks were recorded. The track listing consisted of "Torn to Pieces", "Legion of Doom", "Scream Bloody Gore", "Sacrificial Cunt" (later shortened to "Sacrificial" because the label asked the band to do so, possibly because "they didn't want to get P.M.R.C. on their case"), "Mutilation", "Land of No Return", and "Baptized in Blood". The label were unsatisfied after hearing the initial mix, so Schuldiner and Reifert re-recorded the album in California with Randy Burns as producer. Once returning to Florida, the first session was released as a promotional tape, and was eventually bootlegged. "Legion of Doom" was a longtime staple of Death's rehearsals and live shows, and was indeed the first song written, reaching back to when they were known as Mantas.
Despite the many songs written during Death's demo days, only half of them were re-recorded for the album, the rest being new compositions. "Infernal Death" and "Baptized in Blood" originally appeared on the Infernal Death demo. "Zombie Ritual", "Mutilation" and "Land of No Return" originally appeared on the Mutilation demo, and "Evil Dead" and "Beyond the Unholy Grave" were originally on Death By Metal. "Beyond the Unholy Grave" and "Land of No Return" were also cut from the album, though were included on the re-release, with the live audio tracks taken from the Ultimate Revenge II video.
Certain songs on the album were inspired by horror movies. "Evil Dead" inspired by Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead", "Regurgitated Guts" was inspired by the 1980 film City of the Living Dead (a.k.a. The Gates of Hell), "Beyond the Unholy Grave" was influenced by the 1981 film The Beyond, and "Zombie Ritual" was inspired by the 1979 film Zombie, all of which were directed by Italian director Lucio Fulci.
Scream Bloody Gore is often considered the first death metal album. Although some critics consider Possessed's Seven Churches to be the first death metal record, AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia suggests that Seven Churches was a transition between thrash metal and death metal, while Scream Bloody Gore defined the core elements of death metal. According to music journalist Joel McIver, Death's debut album was a "turning-point in extreme metal", and qualified it as "the first true death metal album". Writer Ian Christe stated in Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal that "Scream Bloody Gore emulated hardcore punk. It also evoked the dark moods of horror sound tracks from the drive-in zombie and cannibal horror films of George Romero".Metal Forces described the album as "death metal at its utmost extreme, brutal, raw and offensive – the kind that separates the true death metallers from countless trend-following wimps".
In 2016, a re-release of the album was one of the top 200 selling albums in the United States in its first week of release, marking Death's first appearance in the US Billboard 200 chart at No. 174.