Death Yell biography

To understand the beginnings of DEATH YELL you have to travel back to the end of the year 1986; when Andres Herrera and Andres Lozano – two college friends – decide to take their guitars and start playing covers from bands like Metallica and Exodus. Several bass guitar players and one or two vocalist occasionally joined, but there no one stayed in the band long enough. It was till the end of 87 when Patricio Diez in the drums came in and the base was formed of what would be PESTILENCE (the name with which the band first performed in a school festival, playing "Motorbreath" from Metallica). With time, the riffs were much faster and the covers naturally changed towards something more aggressive: Slayer, Possessed, Kreator, Death…...

Several rehearsals later – and a few more vocalists and bass guitar players too, those who could not resist the speed and the force of the band, as a matter of fact it is said that they were sacrified for being so bad after each rehearsal!!! – the base trio was already finding their own identity, a style much closer to aggressive and brutal death metal, very fast and including unexpected changes of rhythm, this was the fundamental characteristic that DEATH YELL contributed to the first wave of Death Metal in Chile. The band was a pioneer in their style that was less known in that time and that literally blew your brains out, with its technique, speed, and ripping vocals! Just then grindcore bands were forming (I remember Slaughter Lord among others; they were totally underground at that time though).

In mid 88 Felipe Allende in bass guitar and Sergio Arenas in voice joined the band, both were coming from the old school of heavy metal; the fusion of different styles was a perfect fit… particularly the voice of Galleta, since it was not the typical voice of death metal – that all the known bands had at that time – it sounded like terrible cries of suffering, while being murdered! The line-up was finally definitely complete and the name was changed to DEATH YELL.

The debut of the band with this line-up was devastating. They were invited to open a concert that had several thrash, punk and death metal bands. The band connected with the public immediately, showing a high level of energy little unusual for a debuting band... I remember that when the band opened with the cover "Thy Kingdom Come" from Morbid Angel's first demo… It was simply incredible! In this first concert Pato was officially re-baptized as bullet by the other bands and DEATH YELL started to give something to talk about in the Chilean underground!

And it was like these how several concerts continued and DEATH YELL quickly surpassed being the opening band to one of the principal names in the underground scene, successfully becoming a great band and a revelation to the Chilean deathbangers. It is worth mentioning that these were probably not the best concerts as far as the quality of sound and technique, but they were certainly of the highest note when showing energy and passion on stage. The public really enjoyed DEATH YELL, for that time the cover from Morbid Angel became an obligated characteristic at every gig! Something very usual to see was Galleta climbing up and down the stage during the concerts, to share a drink (or a few) with the fans, while the rest of the members continued to destroy brains without any passion… Several times the band had a hard time playing because the fans would literally get on stage and start headbanging with the members of the group.

During the years of 88 and 89 the group became good friends with other bands, forming along with Atomic Agresor, Sadism and Darkness among others, the base for the mythical underground scene of Death Metal in Chile. These bands used to perform live every other week, most of the times at the long gone Sala Lautaro in Santiago, but they would also go play concerts and different cities in Chile, like Valparaiso, Villa Alemana, and Concepcion… One of these concerts, worth mentioning is the Morbid Rites I; one of the first concerts that brought together only death metal bands and that would created the tonic to what would be the Death Metal scene in Chile. The name Morbid Rites would later be associated with the sound of DEATH YELL – because of its brutality and sinister-sounding – as a matter of fact the first demo of the band was auto-produced and distributed under this label.

It is said that several spiritual retreats for several days to San Jose de Maipo and Codegua (locations of the Chilean countryside) contributed to seal the brotherhood and good vibe that already existed among the band… rehearsals, alcohol, and hallucinations were mixed during these sessions and inspired the last details to complete the songs that would be later recorded in the studio, these rehearsal sessions were known as "Vengeance from Darkness pre-sessions".

The first (and only) official demo from the band was the fusion of two recording sessions, that at first were going to be distributed as two separate demos, but finally the band decided to put them together and deliver an excellent production because of the killer graphics and also because of the great quality of sound achieved.

The fist songs were recorded at the end of the week of August 1989, including Obsessed by the Vision, Confessions after Death, Pain and Fear days and the sinister intro that gave the title to the demo, Vengeance from Darkness. The second group of songs was recorded in a few days in October of the same year: Heavenly Injustice and Victim or Hangman.

The demo Vengeance from Darkness reflected the band just like it was, crude and brutal; with DEATH YELL it was impossible to have a middle position, either you loved them or you hated them. The band delivered a demo with songs so diverse and so original, demonstrating that they were able to manage different styles, with tons of changes in rhythms, a base full of complex and excellent guitar riffs, the drums were incredibly fast and the voices were guttural and ripping; they even had the luxury to include some novelties for the time like the use of synthethizers with angelical voices, wich together with the heavy guitar riffs… they gave the impression that the entire demo was possessed.

Even the cover of the demo was gave much to talk about during the time, an angel impaled on an inverted cross. Pollo created a design so sick and shocking for the time, in a very conservative country, opressed and ruled by the military dictatorship and strongly influenced by the opinion of the church. This image made many call the band satanic. DEATH YELL always played with images of the eternal battle between good and evil. Using metaphors, their lyrics described very real situations … also some lived and others created by the sick imagination of its members.

At the end, the demo was released in December of 1989 and it was very well received by the public and the magazines in the underground, becoming one of the most outstanding productions and favorite of all the deathabangers. Selling close to 2000 copies, which was a very significant figure for such an extreme musical style and in a time without internet, where the interchange and the distribution were done hand to hand and via post!

The demo allowed the band to become known internationally as well; in fact some songs were redited in 7" vynils, by Seraphic Decay Record (USA) and Turbo Records (Germany), which produced a split with Beherit. These vynils have became cult and collection pieces, very rare and hard to find nowadays. Turbo Records also edited the CD bootleg "Triumph of Death", including the bands Acheron, Samael, Carcass, Mortuary, Beherit y Death Yell. Eventhough the label never obtained the authorisation from the band, this CD helped DEATH YELL to be better known internationnally. At that time the band started the conversations with a couple of labels about the recording of an LP; as well as the possibility to play in Peru and Brazil emerged too... DEATH YELL had a lot to give yet...

However, every one in the band had their own parallel interests; some band members were too busy with their studies as other members were having fun doing alcohol and drugs, which all together caught up with the band sooner than later; they did not share the same interests other than the concerts (which was the only thing that kept them together). There was no much time for rehearsals or writing new songs. Party for some and study for others became the priority in their lives and the big dream of five talented youngsters to create an everlasting band came to an end rather too quick...

Even though DEATH YELL was a short lived band and only recorded one demo, they left a big scar in the Chilean scene and there is no doubt they were one of the most important pillars in constructing and holding a raising Chilean as well as international scene (several death and black metal bands still mention DEATH YELL as one of their influences). Let`s hope that the redition of this material allows to the new generations to know and taste some of the Chilean Death Metal roots.

DEATH YELL line up:

Sergio Arenas – yells
Andrés Lozano - guitars
Andrés Herrera – guitars
Alejandro Allende - bass
Patricio Diez – drums

Vengeance from Darkness (1989)
Beherit / Death Yell (1991)
Morbid Rites (1992)
Morbid Rites (2007)