Review: Rudimentary war-machine music from the city, Death Strike was one of the first ventures into the sound and composition of death metal as a separate genre, and although here not fully developed as demonstrated by the half-growled vocals and full-on punk riffs, still represents the forging of the elements to what would become "death metal."
Fundamental elements battle it out in old-style heavy metal riffs removed from any context of harmony and hybridized with Discharge- or Exploited-era hardcore into a bass-intense weather front which consumes as it advances. The random and violent body-in-motion rhythms present an unstable phrase which is each case is matched with the morbid certainty of its counterpart motion, creating an instability which favors the inevitable and dominant death awaiting each of us.
Doomy in their uncannily macabre sense of pacing, these riffs are heavy metal adaptations of punk rhythm which provide a generous propulsiveness in the style of Hellhammer's "Apocalyptic Raids" but with a more grounded, tonally-centered Black Sabbath trademark reductionism, where musical tension in a song exists in awareness of its counterbalance, an inevitable even interval progression which slams to a tone center with absolute delivery.
With rough-edged vocals that take Lemmy's shot out throat and bark it, the music surges ahead aesthetically with a distortion focused around low-end sounds and a constant tremelo strum to produce waves of motion and, when applicable, to assert melody as a structuring element. These songs are built however on a less theoretical level than Slayer or Possessed and so in elemental structure are more like punk music or classic heavy metal.
To appreciate death metal, it's important that you appreciate this album as well as the other classics of the era: Slayer, Sepultura, Possessed, Cryptic Slaughter and DRI. It is crossover music that makes it contributors to death metal with acerbic finality, while showing roots that many death metal heads have forgotten in the detail development of the genre. For ripping head-slamming underground metal freaks, this album not only delivers the satisfying crunch but also tears a big hole in the conception of death metal, presenting an obscure and feral view into the genre.