Released in 1991, Human, marked the beginning of a major stylistic change for DEATH, being more technically complex and progressive than the band’s previous efforts.
“The DEATH Human album is very special because it was one of the first that really mixed this technical musicianship with the aggression,” Malakian says. “I had never heard anything like this before. Before that album, DEATH was more of a straightforward death-metal band.
“But with that album, they transitioned into something a little more progressive… These guys took SLAYER and made it heavier. It was so fresh and brand new.”
He also commented on SLAYER‘s 1983 debut, Show No Mercy, saying: “When I was 14 years old, I went to Iraq. I was there for a month and a half and I got to see the whole Saddam cult of personality. I took a bunch of my cassettes and heavy-metal magazines just to keep me occupied.
“Show No Mercy was the one I would listen to the most – on an old Sony Walkman with headphones, and a MÖTLEY CRÜE T-shirt on. All my family there were like, ‘What the f*ck is this that you’re listening to?’
“I might have been the first person to take heavy metal to Iraq,” Malakian continued. “I can’t prove that, but they had no clue what heavy metal was in 1989 in Baghdad. I was just in love with it. It was the heaviest stuff that I could get my hands on. It was a great time in heavy metal because there was an evolution happening in the ’80s. When I first bought that cassette, I didn’t like it.
“But I kept putting it on, and it clicked for me when I took it to Iraq, ‘Wow, this is really great sh*t. This is heavier than anything else.’ SLAYER was a harder sell for some of my friends in those days. They all liked METALLICA. All my friends who were trying to play like Yngwie Malmsteen and all that sh*t, they were really not into SLAYER.”