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Death - Leprosy CD (album) cover

LEPROSY

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.75 | 108 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Leprosy' - Death (6/10)

After having released a debut which has since been labelled a classic in the death metal scene, there's no denying that Florida metallers Death had a hard act to follow up on. While the successor to 1987's 'Scream Bloody Gore' may not have the historical significance of the former, 'Leprosy' does take Death's early death metal style and develop upon it, improving virtually every aspect of the music to some degree, and perhaps most importantly, taking the band's subject matter out of the simple 'gore' topics and into some more philosophical and complex lyrical regions.

As with virtually every Death release, the man of the front and center is Chuck Schuldiner, a man that has reached a near-godlike status with metalheads after his tragic death in 2001. While quick to be labelled death metal, the sound here is more accurately labelled as a mixture of death and thrash metal styles. All of the songs here are high-energy and focused around the powerful axework and vocal delivery of Schuldiner. While there are still tracks here that revolve around gore, death, and graphic human suffering in general, a handful of tracks really show Schuldiner exploring new territory with the lyrics. 'Pull The Plug,' for example revolves around the ethics of euthanasia; certainly a far cry from the b-movie subject matter of the first album.

While 'Leprosy' is a decent death metal album, it could have been alot better had it not been for the lacking backing band. While the basswork of Terry Butler is functional, it doesn't any dimension to the music, instead choosing the simplest way to emulate whatever Chuck is playing on guitar. Worst yet is the drumming of Bill Andrews here. While Andrews isn't necessarily a horrible musician, the sound of the percussion is utterly lifeless, and sounds like a poorly programmed computer drummer. While the majority of the appeal in Death is obviously centered around the talents of Schuldiner, a better host of fellow musicians could have really brought other aspects of this music to life. While Schuldiner's guitar work here delivers some absolutely killer riffs throughout the album, there are even parts of his work with 'Leprosy' that don't sit well with me. In particular is his soloing technique; while a skilled shredder, each of the solos here seems to sound quite alike to each other, and each like a tribute to Kerry King's work in Slayer at that.

'Leprosy' has been my first legitimate experience with the work of Death, and while there are plenty of notable faults here, it's easy to see why there's such a hype about this project. While it wouldn't incorporate the progressive brilliance of the later work for a while yet, Death delivers the goods here to mixed results; 'Leprosy' is a recommended listen for the death metal fan.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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