Uglier than Alice Cooper: Five forgotten shock rock bands from the 1970s
5. Death SS
Steve Sylvester was an Italian Aliester Crowley enthusiast and member of Crowley’s secret sect, the Order Templi Orientis. Along with doom-rock guitar legend Paul Chain, he formed Death SS in 1977.
Calling their particular style of raunchy creep rock ‘horror music’, Deth SS dressed up like monsters and skeletons, draped their stages with skulls and tombstones, and choked the audience with enough dry ice to last a dozen spaghetti splatter flicks.
Like a lot of 70s shock rockers, they didn’t get around to recording until the 80s, releasing their first single, Zombie, in 1982. They have existed, in one form or another, ever since, although Sylvester is usually the only original member on deck.
The unsung heroes of early black metal, Deth SS are rarely mentioned in the same breath as their obvious (and more respected) peers like Mercyful Fate, Hellhammer or Bathory. This may be because they’re ridiculous, but when has that even been a detriment to heavy metal?