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Death - Human CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.21 | 416 ratings

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4 stars 4.5 on this one! This is it, the big daddy, the first album where DEATH truly shines. Whilst I like the three ones that preceed it, this is the one that crosses over into prog metal territory. After the whole band on Spiritual Healing had been fired, Chuck hired the services of CYNIC members Paul Masvidal (guitars) and Sean Reinert (drums) along with SADUS fretless bass legend Steve DiGiorgio. The result is an album that fuses the distinctive DEATH style with the technical playing and true progressive structures and approach of CYNIC and ATHEIST. Those two bands were surely big influcenes on Chuck, who wrote 8 songs that get the most out of the musicians and have become known as milestones in progressive death metal.

Each track is relatively short, but the tight playing and complex structures ensure that they are packed with stuff going on. It's never overbearing either, as every dynamic contrast is handled with incredible skill and feels like it should be there. Only Vacant Planets is a tad weaker as it feels like a little less attention has been paid on it, considering the rest of the album feels meticulously worked on to perfection. It also suffers from being the least memorable of a group of songs that all become ingrained in the mind after a while. I feel that is one of the most important characteristics for a death metal album to possess, especially now when the style seems to be slumping into an mire of unoriginality and facelessness once again. Albums like Human will continue to be revered because of their unique qualities, and although there are clear influences from other bands the album has its own unique way of expressing and building on those same ideas. It's hard to pick out a favourite, as all the way up to track 7 each one feels the same in the quality of composition, though the instrumental Cosmic Sea stands out as the most deviant from death metal norms with dark spacey effects woven in throughout the technical playing.

The production is often cited as a weakness of this album and I would agree to a certain extent as it does make listening a bit frustrating. It would be nice if Steve's bass was more apparent as his playing is splendid but tough to hear at points when it should be clear. The rest of it sounds fine for its time, and is yet another good job by renowned Morrisound engineer Scott Burns. If I were to have reviewed this album a few years ago, I wouldn't hesitate in giving it 5 stars. I now see that there are definite flaws here but it remains essential for a prog metal collection and I only don't award it full marks as Chuck's next few albums are even better.

Xanadu97 | 4/5 |


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