Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15th, 2013 - Death For A Dead Guy

Good evening!!  Today the Meista is pairing Death's first album, 1987's "Scream Bloody Gore" and a tasty German-style brew, a Rogue Dead Guy Ale.  This pairing is dedicated to the memory of the "Father of Death Metal," Chuck Schuldiner.  Rest in peace metal brother!  And although he really isn't a death metal fan, my friend Jamie is a big Dead Guy Ale fan... so this one goes out to him as well!  Cheers Jamie!!

A metal pioneer, Schuldiner's metal band, Death was one of the original death metal bands (maybe the original) to come onto the scene along with the Possessed and Morbid Angel.  Many consider "Scream Bloody Gore" to be the very first death metal album and it certainly is a template for the genre.  Schuldiner wrote all the songs, was the vocalist, the bass player, and played all the guitars on the album... in other words, he was one talented s.o.b.!  Created from the building blocks of thrash, punk, and black metal, Death created a whole new sound with "Scream Bloody Gore."  Schuldiner employed heavily distorted guitars, alternate/tremolo picking, an obsession with minor keys/atonality, machine gun-fast drumming, and a new way of approaching vocals - growling!  And all this with complex song structures and multiple tempo changes!  With the speed of punk and the aggression of thrash, Death's lyrical focus (and what set them apart from other extreme metal/hardcore bands of the time) was on gore, on horror film imagery.  Songs like "Zombie Ritual," "Mutilation," "Baptized In Blood," "Torn To Pieces," "Evil Dead," (obvious nod to the film) and the title track, "Scream Bloody Gore" all stemmed from Schuldiner's love of slasher, zombie, and monster movies.  "Sacrificial" is an explosion of speed, energy, and power.  There is an intensity, a raw energy with all of these songs that really had not been heard before... at least not to this degree and definitely not in this fashion.  Schuldiner seemed to channel the absurd evil of Venom, the dark rawness of Bathory, the insane aggression of Kreator, and the blistering speed of Slayer with each and every note!  Sadly, Schuldiner died in 2001 from brain cancer.

With the ferocious speed, heaviness, and complexity of "Scream Bloody Gore," I felt I needed a beer that was hearty and higher in alcohol, yet very drinkable.  Rogue Ales' Dead Guy Ale is a Maibock or Helles style of beer.  Characterized by a lighter color than most bocks, as well as a hoppier bite and a higher (and noticeable) ABV percentage, Maibocks/Helles beers are generally celebratory, Spring ales.  The Dead Guy Ale pours a wonderful, transparent honey-amber with a frothy, 1-finger head.  The lighter color makes for a nice juxtapostion with the "darkness" of Death's "Scream Bloody Gore." The aroma is somewhat sweet, biscuity, and malty from the Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich, and Carastan malts, but there are definitely some nice hop notes as well.  The mouthfeel is crisp with medium body and carbonation. There's a nice dry finish as well.  The flavor is definitely malty, but there's some really tasty hop complexity from the use of Perle and Saaz (coming in at 40 IBU).  It has a nice, sharp bite... just like Death!  Oh, and Rogue also uses their very own Pacman Yeast and free-range Coastal Water to make this brew.  This one goes down real easy... so be careful my friends!  You can get a bit wonky quite quickly if you are not careful... especially when you are thrashing about to Death!

Death is a MUST for any fan of extreme or death metal.  You can order "Scream Bloody Gore" (or any of their great albums) from my buddy Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop:!  And make sure you pick up a sixer of Dead Guy Ale for a very solid, very delicious Maibocks/Helles German-style ale!

Cheers head bangers!!

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