Few musicians can look back over their careers and see that they've created a whole new style or genre of music, but bassist Terry Butler is once such man. In America, "Death Metal" was flourishing in areas like Florida (heavily) and California as jean and leather-clad names like Death, Obituary, Virus, and even "Vengeance Rising" were spoken about as having invented a kind of music that was to heavy metal what the chainsaw is to a knife.

That genre, "Death Metal," was the horror movie with a hard R-rating put to music that was nothing short of blistering. Often tuned down to lower keys with vocals styles that sounded as tortured as the tales that were told, "Death Metal" bands set the stage for a new sound in the Metal world, but they did so from the gritty underground, not from the glitzy Sunset Strip.

Not only was Mr. Butler the bassist in two of the genre-defining bands listed above (Death and Obituary), but he is also a member of "Six Feet Under" who write songs with titles like "Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane" - a story of one who stalks and consumes the dregs of society - thus continuing in the thunderous horror that rule the storylines of the world that he helped create.

Getting back up on the horse

Butler, also of the band Massacre, has had no easy life. Fellow-creator of the genre, Death's Chuck Schuldiner, died after a struggle with brain cancer in 2001 (he toured with the wretched illness and battled it hard). During the recording of "Spiritual Healing," Bulter was credited with writing some of the legendary material on that release.

Also, May of 2020 marks one year since Butler and his family suffered the loss of their daughter after an auto accident. Thankfully, Terry Butler has proven time and time again that he can get back up on the horse, overcome, persevere, and when he takes the stage, his bass roars with passion as the mosh pit scurries and bubbles in the crowd.

That is what he does.

It can be argued that it is that kind of inner drive that leads to such extreme kinds of music to be written in the first place. In his day, Mozart, for example, was considered quite a quirky character as others found him writing songs about prostitutes and flatulence diaries while they wrote about love and still streams.

Yet it was that very strangeness or nuance that also resulted in some of the most moving pieces of music ever composed. There are times when poetry is to be read by candlelight with a lover, and there are times when horror stories are to be told by the campfire.

When it comes to Obituary and the other projects of which Terry Butler is a part of, it is the latter which is consistently delivered, though often in a quite poetic manner, regardless of the macabre subject matter.

Nine questions for Terry Butler

As anyone with even a casual interest in Heavy Metal has seen, milestone anniversary's have been heavily celebrated as Obituary CDs hit the 3-decade mark, attendance for shows have been high, and they have landed a slot on the Las Vegas "Psycho" show with such acts as Danzig, fellow thrash inspired legends Merciful Fate (as that band's singer, King Diamond, has been selling out venues all over the United States and beyond), and even classic rockers, Blue Oyster Cult.

Then again, Obituary, while never compromising on what they do, have found those in attendance adored a home on tours with less-heavy bands such as Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society and they.

As the internet and social media have been alight with all things, Terry Butler-related, Blasting News writer Samuel Di Gangi fired off some questions to the always friendly Butler and asked about life in 2020. It had been a couple of years since the last Blasting News article and now seemed the perfect time to touch base again.

Di Gangi: It is very rare for someone to be among the founding members of a genre, but in the case of your association with the band Death, you certainly were. Looking back, what is that like?

Also, are there things in the scene which you would change if you could?

Butler: Hello, thank you for the interview. It was a great time in the early days. Everything was fresh and new. We were just trying to play heavy music. I wouldn't change much if anything.

Di Gangi: In the early days, it seemed like everyone assumed that fans who were into darker metal were, by very definition, Satanic. Chuck Schuldiner actually broke that mode and was a Christian. Have you found that the scene was never about that to start with, simply a matter of liking more ominous art and never about religion?

Butler: When I was in Death, Chuck never mentioned anything about religion. He never brought that into the mix.

"Rock n Roll & METAL" have always seemed dark and dangerous. That comes with the territory.

As a 16-year-old kid, you are not inspired by Butterflies; you are inspired by "Zombies & Evil," so that is a musical influence.

Di Gangi: What is it like having the past that you do with Death as well as Obituary, also one of the founders of Death Metal as America knows it... birthed in that amazing Florida scene?

Butler: It's a good feeling. I've been blessed to be in some killer bands with some killer people.[I] Love being in OBITUARY! We were paving the way for future bands back then.

Di Gangi: "Cause Of Death” has to be one of the best metal CDs of all time. I saw that something really special was happening with that.

What are the details? (It was released thirty years ago on December 19, 1990)

Butler: We just played a "Cause Of Death" set in Japan, Australia & New Zealand. We will play it at some festivals this year as well. It's a great album!!

Di Gangi: Of the "Obituary" songs and CD's that you have been a part of, what songs or whole disk are your favorite and why?

Butler: Wow..so many good songs. I'm obviously proud of 'Inked in Blood' because it was my 1st, but the [self-titled] 'Obituary' album is a bit better, in my opinion, from the production side. I love all the songs.

Di Gangi: What is, technically, the most challenging songs to play as a bassist from either Death, Obituary, or any of your other projects?

Butler: Well, actually, the toughest would be from Denial Fiend. Sam Williams has such a unique writing style. It's very challenging and technical. He is a great player.

Di Gangi: Speaking of your other projects, what are some of your favorites with them?

Butler: Both Denial Fiend albums are great. Too bad it is kinda forgotten about.

Di Gangi: We last spoke in Cleveland when Obituary came around. Any plans to return to that part of Ohio in the near future?

Butler: Oh, I hope so. Maybe later in 2020. I love playing Cleveland. Great fans!!

Di Gangi: My famous “last question:” Since so many writers pick the questions, are then any questions about anything that you have never been asked that you expected or that you wish that you would be asked?

Butler: I think I've been asked pretty much everything in my career lol. Maybe how much do I bench press... 3 sets of 275 10 reps each.

... actually, that would explain why he can still sling that bass ax like a young lumberjack with little if any, signs of age.

So, why not dust off the Denial Fiend records since, as Terry Butler has said, they are simply too good to be forgotten. By all means, crank up Obituary (why not 'Inked In Blood?') and Death records, and just for good measure, some Massacre and Six Feet Under, as well. After all, it isn't very often that such a wide scope of talent can be heard, in part, from one man, Mr. Terry Butler.

Let the horror commence.

*As of this writing, Obituary is inviting fans to help injured animals from the Australian bushfires.

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