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Death - Leprosy CD (album) cover

LEPROSY

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.76 | 110 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Not as groundbreaking as Scream Bloody Gore, and not as good as their later releases

With the 1987 release of Scream Bloody Gore Death had established themselves as one of the most innovative bands in the metal world, pushing the boundaries of extreme metal from Slayer and Metallica to a whole new level of extreme. It is much debated whether or not that is the first death metal album, but it's historical importance is undeniable no matter where you stand.

Death's 1988 output Leprosy uses the same formula used on Scream Bloody Gore. Crushing riffs, fast blast-beat drumming, morbid lyrics, and just overall brutality is the name of the game here. Scream Bloody Gore was a very important album in the metal world, even though I don't consider it a great album. Leprosy isn't a great album either, but it doesn't have the same amount of importance that their debut album had, thus it is not as recommended.

Death's later albums which can be described as technical/progressive death metal are why they are on the archives. Up until Human Death had nothing "prog" about them, even though they were one of the most "progressive" bands around. This is pure old school death metal with nothing even related to prog in it. If you're looking for prog I recommend Death's later albums.

Aside from not being prog, is it a good album?

Even though this album isn't prog or historically important, it still has many flaws. For one, the production quality is really poor. Those stupid 80's drums are present, and the overall sound of this album is muddy and not produced well.

Another main issue I have with this album is the people playing along with Chuck Schuldiner. He does a great job, but the rest of the band just isn't present. Bill Andrews is a pretty boring drummer to be honest. Death's future would have some really great drummers: Gene Hoglan, Sean Reinert, and Richard Christy are all excellent. I don't consider Andrews to be up there with these greats. I don't think Terry Butler can compete with Steve DiGiorgio, and I don't think Rick Rozz is Death's best guitarist either. All in all, I don't think the musicianship here is nearly as good as it would be in the later albums.

I also don't think the songwriting is too great either. There are only a few memorable tracks, and even those aren't without flaws. Some are just pure throwaways as well.

THE MUSIC:

"Leprosy"- The first (and longest) song on the album has a pretty cool opening with some good riffs. I think this is one of the best songs on the album, as it is very enjoyable. I really like some of the riffs, and this sounds like a proto-type to their later technical metal days. This song has really the only proggy moments on the album. This would have been a great song if it wasn't for the stupid production.

"Born Dead"- Opening up with a galloping-like metal riff. From there on out this is a pretty standard verse-chorus-verse death metal song. The chorus has some cool riffs, but the verses are really annoying.

"Forgotten Past"- This opens up with another really good metal riff. This has really good progressions from verse to chorus, and it is one of the few really memorable songs on the album. This has a very good guitar solo in it. Not prog, but a very good metal song.

"Left To Die"- After a short shredding intro, the main riff enters. This song is fast and takes no prisoners. I think this is a pretty poor song, and it does absolutely nothing for me.

"Pull The Plug"- This song is absolutely excellent. The riffs are absolutely perfect, and this song is a highlight of early death metal. The riff during the chorus is superb, and everything about this is perfectly crafted. One of the few memorable songs on the album.

"Open Casket"- This song is mostly just blast beat drumming with guttural growls. The chorus is decent, but as a whole this song is not even slightly memorable.

"Primitive Ways"- This entire song is pretty much just blast beat drumming. I think it has a few decent moments, but as a whole this song is not very memorable. Bill Andrews does a good job on this song, and I wish he could have drummed like this more on the rest of the album.

"Choke On It"- Despite the song title that makes me chuckle every time I see it, this is one of the best songs on the album. It has a few proggy moments, and I really enjoy this song. I wish more of the album could have been like this.

Conclusion:

Leprosy is a decent old school death metal album. It is flawed, but still not a throwaway album. On a metal site I would give this flawed album a 3, but since this is a prog site, I will give it a 2. If you're looking for progressive death metal, go to Death's later outputs. If you're looking for classic old school death metal, this is for you. But keep in mind, this album is not flawless.

2 stars.

J-Man | 2/5 |

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