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Death - The Sound of Perseverance CD (album) cover

THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 306 ratings

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1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Ah, my 100th review for PA. As a little celebration, I chose to review Death's The Sound of Perserverance. This is the final studio recording from underground metal legend Death whose leader and sole constant member, Chuck Schuldiner, invented a new sub genre and also helped to expand it beyond his own humble, yet gory, beginnings. For this outing, Chuck has roped in his most cohesive lineup yet: second guitarist Shannon Hamm, bassist Scott Clendenin, and ex-Iced Earth drummer Richard Christy all help to craft Chuck's ever improving music. Though the Individual Thought Pattern lineup is Death's most skilled (King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque, extreme session man Steve DiGiorgio, and future Devin Townsend kitbasher Gene Hoglan), this lineup functions the best, resulting in Death's tightest, most progressive record ever.

This album grabs you from the start. "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" opens with a short drum solo before you get hit with several in rapid succession. Chuck's vocals have progressed from deep growls to a positively unsettling shriek, like the kind found on melodic death metal records. His vocal change alone shows that he's not fooling around here. Scott and Richard provide truly dizzying rythm patterns that could shame every technical death band that tries so desperately to outdo Chuck. The lyrics also have matured. Older Death albums never lacked in anger, but Chuck honed his focus onto the filth of humanit in a way he never did. The solo is pure Death.

"Bite the Pain" is more straightforward and a break from the uber-complexity of the preceding song. The song continues to push the heaviness and Chuck's vocal limits while he and Hamm forge more great riffs.

"Spirit Crusher" is a death classic with great bass from Scott and some of Chuck's best lyrics.

"Story to Tell" is another complex masterpiece with great solos and rythms.

"Flesh and the Power It Holds" has a stunning progression of arpeggios before settling into an almost groovy (!) beat. Another great solo demonstrates how this album has Chuck's greatest fretwork.

"Voice of the Soul" is a great instrumental that perfectly blends a beautiful acoustic guitar with he furious riffs of standard Death. A highlight of the album.

"To Forgive is to Suffer" opens with another short drum solo, while Chuck's guitar is at its most emotive; imagine if David Gilmour took some amphetamines and let loose with metallic distortion, and you'd come close to this.

"A Moment of Clarity" has Chuck's best solo ever. It just kills. The riffs never cease to both amaze and pummel. Truly dizzying.

"Painkiller" is a deathy cover of the Judas Priest classic. Chuck pushes his vocals to the limits, and even manages to be more terrifying than Rob Halford. However, considering the inventiveness of the rest of the album, this cover is very out of place.

TSoP is Chuck's finest work. Richard matches Gene for speed and even manages to outshine the drum god at spots. Scott isn't as good as Steve DiGiorgio, but he lays down some impressive and complex lines. Shannon complements Chuck perfectly. Chuck's fretwork was his best. After this album Chuck announced Death would continue to produce this kind of progressive output. The metal community was ecstatic. The man who helped to pioneer death metal had redefined its standards. Death had officially risen to the top of the metal heap. Chuck then formed Control Denied, a side project with more traditional vocals. Sadly, after that project released its wonderful album, Chuck was diagnosed with cancer and sadly died. Fans should get Control Denied's album, but this album stands as a great swan song and hands down the greatest death metal album of all time. It's mystifying progressions make this an ideal choice for fans of prog metal. Here, Chuck not only played technical, he played prog. Very highly recommended.

Grade: A

1800iareyay | 5/5 |

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