It’s impossible for me to write about Death SS without mentioning Swedish giants Ghost, so probably this review will be more about Ghost than Death SS, we’ll see.
Death SS, the Italian cult horror heavy metal band, was one of Tobias Forges big influences when forming Ghost and it can sure be heard in their music but even more in terms of visual expression.
The SS in Death SS stands for Steve Sylvester, the frontman and only member who’s been in the band from the start back in 1977. They were early with the horror movie aesthetics in metal and I first heard the band in the 90’s and as I was a young metal kid I thought this newfound cult band was the coolest thing.
Their material though has always been a bit rough, some albums really rock and some of their more industrial albums don’t really rock as much. But once in a while they put out some really great stuff and it appears that it’s time again.
Their new album Ten, appropriate enough their tenth LP, is a powerful sing-a-long piece of cheesy heavy metal and I really enjoy it. The single Zora sets the tone as the second song on the album and it’s a real hit (watch the music video, so fun and I’m still laughing), then the industrial side of the band show itself with Under Satan’s Sun, but this time they make it work. Sounds a bit like Peter Tägtgrens Pain project crossed with Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe album.
Another highlight on Ten is Suspiria – Queen of the Dead, and here they really sound like Ghost and I think this song could have fitted on Meliora.
And yes speaking of Ghost again. Let’s see if you follow me on this one. I feel that Death SS is what Ghost would have sounded like if the band wasn’t a show. If Papa and the ghouls were real, not a fancy cool cult project from a Swedish rock geek, but actual fallen ones that were on the earth to spread the word of Satan through rock n’roll. It’s like a flawed, original and out of time version of the Swedish spectacle. You know, how perfect would some nameless ghouls and an old hibernated Papa sound if they came to earth? Probably more like Death SS!
Think about that when you listen to Heretics, the He Is of this album. It’s exactly the kind of evil power ballad like He Is, just that it’s… very unperfected. And I love it.
To sum up how the new album of Death SS sound to someone who’s never heard them before I would say like a combination of 80’s Helloween, Rob Zombie, Ghost’s Prequelle and Mercyful Fate. All songs are really catchy and this is nohing but a fun album. Best from Death SS in a while!
Best songs: Suspiria – Queen of the Dead, Zora, Under Satan’s Sun