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Death SS - Rock 'N' Roll Armageddon

Death SS
Rock 'N' Roll Armageddon
by Dave Nowels at 06 August 2019, 1:12 PM

It's always fun to discover something new that fell through your musical cracks somehow. That exactly what DEATH SS proved to be with this international release of “Rock 'n' Roll Armageddon” via High Roller Records. DEATH SS was (and is) a band that formed in Italy in 1977. The band melded a wealth of interests (the occult, horror films,eroticism and theatrical elements), with a healthy dose of rock music of the era (think KISS and ALICE COOPER) that somehow managed to predate some legendary bands that have made fortunes off the very same idea (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND etc).

So, despite a rabid underground following, somehow DEATH SS managed to remain mostly under the radar, and the sad fact remains that the music business is littered with similar stories of injustice. Thankfully, band founder and vocalist Steve Sylvester kept forging on and ultimately released with new music “Rock 'n' Roll Armageddon”. Initially via his own label, Lucifer Rising, before High Roller Records gave it a more widespread distribution. A despite several errors with my review download, I'm really happy that I persevered through the difficulties and gave these songs  the chance they deserved.

The album initiates with a church organ at the beginning of  “Black Soul” and the track definitely sets the stage so to speak, for what one can expect. Sylvester's vocals throughout range from a smoke and sleaze consistency (“Black Soul”), to an urgency boiling out of control ( title track, “Hellish Knights”) a thrash like presentation (“Slaughterhouse”) and finally, reminiscent of the vocals of Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson (“Promised Land”, “Zombie Massacre”, and “Fourth Reich”). But even with that comparison, make no mistake, DEATH SS is distinctly original, and more than likely served as a significant influence on those two.

While the album is best served as a whole, standout tracks centered for me around the melodic aspects of “Creature of the Night” and “Madness of Love”, and these would be the first two songs I'd suggest to a new listener. Despite the 13 tracks, the album never becomes boring or complacent. Musically, it's extremely well played, produced and mixed. Based on my research for this review, it seems the band's live shows match the music's intensity with captivating theatrics and exciting visuals, so now I'm really wanting to catch a live show. I can't comprehend how a band like this remains under that radar while others thrive. It truly is an injustice. So, if you're a fan of MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND, ROB ZOMBIE, MANSON or any of the other theatrical powerhouses, be sure to pick up “Rock 'n' Roll Armageddon” for a taste of an originator of the genre. You'll be glad you did.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Black Souls
2. Rock 'n' Roll Armageddon
3. Hellish Knights
4. Slaughterhouse
5. Creature of The Night
6. Madness of Love
7. Promised Land
8. Zombie Massacre (2018)
9. The Fourth Reich
10. Witches Dance (2018)
11. Your Life Is Now
12. The Glory of the Hawk (2018)
13. Forever
Steve Sylvester - Vocals
Freddy Delirio - Keys
AL Denoble - Guitars
Glenn Strange - Bass
Bozo Wolff - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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Edited 15 August 2020

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