Although DEATH is considered to be one of the most important and influential death metal acts of all time, the Florida-based band did not release its debut album, "Scream Bloody Gore", until 1987 — two years after the arrival of "Seven Churches" by California's POSSESSED, whose bassist/vocalist, Jeff Becerra, is credited by some with initially creating the term "death metal" in 1983.
Asked in a new interview with Underground Florida which was the first death metal album ever released, "Scream Bloody Gore" or "Seven Churches", CANNIBAL CORPSE drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That's always the one up for debate. It is a tough one. I would probably have to go with 'Scream Bloody Gore'. I think that was just a little bit more death metal in the vocals and in the music. 'Seven Churches', it had maybe a little bit more thrash elements still happening. 'Scream Bloody Gore' was not thrash at all — I don't think that was thrash at all; I think that's just death metal. Becerra still had an evil voice — kind of like Tom Araya [SLAYER]. It's a great voice. Is it considered death metal? You can't consider Tom death metal at all."
He continued: "In my opinion, I would say definitely 'Scream Bloody Gore' would be that album over 'Seven Churches'. Like I said, nothing against [POSSESSED]. 'Seven Churches' [was] amazing. What a great band. And I loved 'Scream Bloody Gore' — my favorite DEATH record, of course. And it was so influential for us."
DEATH leader Chuck Schuldiner died in December 2001 after a battle with pontine glioma, a rare type of brain tumor.
Becerra told Antihero in 2017 that Schuldiner cited POSSESSED as a "primary influence" in "countless" magazine interviews. But even though DEATH was inspired by POSSESSED, "they ran with it and went in their own direction and created their own vibe," Jeff said. "To go a step further: Chuck used ['80s death/thrash producer] Randy Burns, who did 'Seven Churches' to do 'Scream Bloody Gore', his first album. He also did a cover of [POSSESSED's] 'The Exorcist'."
Becerra remains the only member from POSSESSED's classic lineup, which dissolved entirely in 1987 after the "Eyes Of Horror" EP.