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Death - Spiritual Healing CD (album) cover

SPIRITUAL HEALING

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.23 | 96 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A Step Forward

Spiritual Healing is where Death got interesting in my opinion. While the band's first two albums are undeniably death metal classics, they've never really done very much for me. Spiritual Healing shows improved lyrics, enhanced production quality, better compositions, and an all around superior death metal album. Human is when Chuck Schuldiner & co began creating metal masterpieces, but of the early Death albums, Spiritual Healing is the best by far.

The sound here is pretty standard if you understand Chuck Schuldiner's style. Expect traditional 90's Florida-styled death metal on the more melodic side, without sacrificing heaviness or intensity. Spiritual Healing is before Death became more progressive and technical, so don't expect a whole lot of odd time signatures, rapid riff changes, and complex rhythm sections yet. Back then Death sounded somewhat similar to fellow Floridian death metal band Morbid Angel. However, on Spiritual Healing, Chuck took a much more melodic, slowed down style than on the first two Death albums. There aren't a whole lot of blast beats, or fast parts in general. I personally like this more melodic approach, as it shows more direction and attention to the compositional details. It was also with this formula that Chuck Schuldiner would explore further, resulting in the upcoming Death masterpieces.

Spiritual Healing is an 8-track, 43:19 album. This is the perfect length for music this heavy and intense. It doesn't drag on for too long, but it's not so short that you feel like you're getting ripped off. All of the songs here are high-quality death metal pieces, but my personal favorites are Altering the Future and the progressive Spiritual Healing. The latter actually shows some of the first real evidence of Chuck Schuldiner writing more progressive and technical death metal. All of the songs are absolute head-crushers that are sure to please old school U.S. death metal fans.

The musicians of Death during this lineup are good, but nowhere near the level of the Human lineup. Of course, Chuck Schuldiner is fantastic (as always), but his backing band is lacking by comparison to the next few lineups. Bill Andrews' drumming is good, but nowhere near the level of Reinert, Christy, or Hoglan. Terry Butler is a pretty uneventful bassist. It wasn't until the next Death album, with Steve DiGiorgio's fretless talents, that the bass playing would get interesting. James Murphy is a very solid guitarist, but once again, he's paled in comparison to the following Death guitarist.

The production is a major improvement over Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, but it's still not very good. Although the thick 80's production is gone, instead we have a thin, flat sound. Everything is audible and professional (a definite improvement) but it's just not very powerful. At least the next four Death albums have some of the best production in the industry.

Conclusion:

Spiritual Healing is a very good album by Death, but it's always been overshadowed by their following albums for me. Whenever I want to listen to Death, this just isn't the album I pull out. This is a very dated album by today's standards, but its influence and importance is undeniable. Sounding dated is not a plus in my book, but I'm sure old school death metal fans are fine with it. Despite its flaws, this is a quality album worth 3 solid stars.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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