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• First time on CD

• All tracks remastered

• 12-page booklet

• Complete lyrics & photos

• Band history essay

• New cover art

• Limited to 500 worldwide



In the mid-eighties, as the metal scene came into its adolescence, three childhood friends in Syracuse, New York, Jim Pfeiffer and Jeff and Mike Lanning, found themselves immersed in the heavy anthems of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH and METALLICA.

Together, the trio honed their skills in garage bands, channeling the raw energy of their idols. When the time came to forge their own path, guitarist Jim, bassist Mike, and his brother Jeff on vocals founded SACRED DEATH.

The trio would then recruit drummer Mark Baldwin, a high school acquaintance whose interest in and encyclopedic knowledge of metal matched their own. The addition of the formidable guitar virtuoso John Mallia would complete the lineup.

In a basement studio, SACRED DEATH would give birth to the band's sound and its first two demos. The first was a crudely recorded five-song effort in 1986. Later that same year, the band would produce a second five-song demo titled "Scared to Death." Both raw offerings hinted at the sonic onslaught to come. Despite the rough edges, their demos garnered positive reviews from underground zines, fueling the band's ascent.

The band's break came courtesy of Scott Sterling at The Lost Horizon, who granted them a spot in a local metal showcase, propelling them onto stages alongside titans like MEGADETH, EXODUS and MANOWAR. With each performance, the SACRED DEATH following swelled and more opportunities to open for legendary acts like ARMORED SAINT, MERCYFUL FATE, OVERKILL and others. These opportunities helped to cement SACRED DEATH as one of the premier power-thrash metal bands in the Upstate New York area.

However, as personal challenges struck and Mark departed, SACRED DEATH showed their resilience. They quickly found a replacement in Jeff Tortora, whose thunderous beats breathed new life into the band, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to their music and their fans.

With their revitalized lineup, the band entered the studio with engineer and producer Bob Acquaviva. Under Acquaviva's guidance, SACRED DEATH was eager to unleash their sonic fury, their excitement palpable. Each guitarist doubled up on rhythm tracks, creating a wall of sound that reverberated with raw power. Jeff's relentless drumming, captured in a single take for every song, propelled the album to new heights. The 10-song debut full-length "Deadly Playground" quickly took shape.
The album, released only on cassette in 1990 through the small indie label ICE Records. Unfortunately, time would not be on the band’s side, as more alternative forms of popular music seemed to silence all that was heavy metal. A few more notable acts, such as METALLICA, ANTHRAX, and MEGADETH, managed to survive the flannel scourge from the Northwest, but it wiped out most. Despite all efforts, the elusive big record deal remained out of reach for SACRED DEATH

SACRED DEATH “Deadly Playground” is an album that captures that perfect 1986 year of old-school thrash while showing some modern influences, such as some crossover and even death metal elements, from the 1990 year it was recorded.
“Grade A thrash? Close, more like a B, B+. But grades only matter in the classroom. On the playground, the fastest and strongest rule. Sacred Death aren't the fastest and they aren't the strongest but they definitely wouldn't be picked last for kickball.” (taken from Encyclopedia Metallum)
Eventually, members began to leave the band, and new members joined. The band then plans to re-enter the studio with the new lineup to record a second album. However, the spectre of grunge loomed large, signaling the end of an era for SACRED DEATH.

Though their second album never saw the light of day, their legacy is a testament to their unwavering dedication and the indelible mark they left on the Syracuse music scene. 


FOR FANS OF: Overkill, Testament, Powermad, Forbidden & Mefadeth



01. In the News

02. Beginning of the End

03. Two-Faced

04. Bad Advice

05. Pit and Pendulum

06. Social D

07. Love or Lust

08. Blind Leading Blind

09. Execution

10. In the Night


Shipping in June

PREORDER SACRED DEATH - Deadly Playground HHR163

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