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Death - Leprosy CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.09 | 187 ratings

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Time Signature
3 stars Leper messiah...

The value of this album in the history of progressive/technical extreme metal cannot be overestimated (but it's often underestimated). "Leprosy" is in itself not a progressive album and is better described as a death metal or extreme thrash metal album than a progressive metal album. Still, as the observant listener will undoubtedly note, there are plenty of innovative, technical and even some - dare I say - progressive, elements on this album. While not a progressive alsum, "Leprosy" is ahead of its time and contains many inklings of Schuldiner's later style. Certainly, while a sort of stadard death metal album, "Leprosy" may be compared to one of the seeds of what would later grow into the genre of technical/progressive death metal, which is what, in my opinion, makes this album more important in relation to progressive/technical extreme metal than a lot of people would acknowledge

For instance, there are several changes in time and tempo, some of which in an Iron Maiden-esque fashion, come as a complete surprise to the listener. There are also a few examples of complex guitar riffs, and odd riffs that almost seem incongruous with the rest of the song as in the case of the part that appears about one minute and twenty-five seconds into "Pull the Plug", which is a pointer at Schulidiner's later ability to compose very dynamic metal songs.

Notable tracks are "Pull the Plug", "Open Casket" and "Primitive Ways" as well as the title track whose many time and tempo changes make them especially dynamic and interesting to listen to, while "Choke on It" seems a bit too unstructured.

Yes, this album deserves to be praised, but it does have its low points, too. Firstly, the drums are annoying. They have this really annoying 80s sound with so much reverb that one suspects that they were recorded in Sant Paul's Cathedral. Secondly, while the album is full of great ideas, I think that the limited skills of most of the musicians that appear on the album (maybe with the exception of Schuldiner) prevent the album from being what it should have been. One can only imagine what it would have sounded like with Gene Hoglan or Sean Reinert on drums and Paul Masvidal on guitars. Thirdly, many of those riffs that are not innovative are exactly the opposite - namely, trite and repetitive and uninteresting.

So, no this is not a pregressive metal album, and it probably does not appeal to many fans of progressive rock as such. It does, however, contain a number of innovative elements that are indicators of things to come, and, in many ways, it is a precursor of progressive/technical death metal. I can imagine that death metal afficionados will enjoy this album, and I also think that fans of progressive and technical metal of the more hard-hitting kind will enjoy this album - if not for its musical quality (which I think is there), then for its role in the history of progressive/technical metal.

... that is, if they can live with a death metal album in their collection whose cover art is actually based on the color pink.

Time Signature | 3/5 |


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