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Death - The Sound of Perseverance CD (album) cover

THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 306 ratings

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2 stars Death, of course, owe much to Kreator for their overall sound, which has not changed much since "SBG", except in terms of production and the additional detail in the riffs, which is what I think leads to the misconception that this might somehow be progressive.

It isn't.

It's metal, and whether you want to call it Death Metal because it's by a band called Death, or whether you want to face the facts and wake up to the fact that it's a bunch of over-elaborate, calculated and memorised riffs and tangential changes, it makes no difference. One could be generous and call it "technical" metal, but that's a technicality really, as there's nothing technical about the songwriting.

"Scavenger of Human Sorrow" begins with a crisply executed drum solo, that feeds into a bit of widdley-woo, then the main (hiccuping) drum riff that underpins the guitar riffs which seem to have been adapted from a Kreator album. Even the vocals these days have stopped being Chuck's trademark gutteral grunts that gave the Death edge to the sound, and are more a diluted version of Kreator's, with an extraordinary similarity to Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth.

There's another riff, in which the bass does something different to the guitar, presumably to indicate that it can, then another riff, another riff, another riff - clearly someone had a lot of riffs they wanted to use...

Then there's a quiet bit, apparently led by the bass, which concentrates like mad on keeping an odd time signature going using really boring steps in order to help keep count, I'd wager.

This plethora of simliar riffs soon gets very old, and really, this piece is at least 3 minutes too long and lacks any kind of real drama or build up, and the re-emergence of the earlier bundle of riffs is all too apparent, proving that the structure here is a bog-standard rock song structure.

There is no vision here - the last 3 minutes could just as well have been copied from the first 3 and pasted in here, with a few details changed here and there.

"Bite The Pain" is similarly non-progressive. Melody - there is none in the vocals, but the guitar parts occasionally shine through with some catchy fragments. Rhythm - you hear sooooo many bands writing riffs with rhythms that are intended to baffle that it all ends up sounding pretty much the same, and I fail to be impressed with these - they're all repeated anyway, so there's no development. Harmony. Hah! There is no harmony to speak of. Slabs of open 5th power chords, with noodling guitar solos and monotonous vocals means a complete dearth of harmony. Form. Standard Rock song with more riffs than it really needs in the name of so- called "complexity" - this is wearying, not exciting. Timbre - There are really loud bits and not so loud bits, but the overall sound is pretty much unchanging throughout.

"Spirit Crusher" begins with a bass riff. That's a really nice tone on the bass, but I'd bet the guitar is just going to pick it up in unison... Oh, yes. It does. Then there's another riff...

None of these riffs are instrinsically bad - they're actually quite good on the whole, but nothing that you can't find on a large number of albums from the late 1980s, but done with a clearer vision of how the pieces are going to pan out, and a sense of song development instead of this really annoying tendency to just go off at a mad tangent with a new idea constructed in order to sound bogglingly complex while it just isn't.

Even the impressively fast guitar flurries don't save this piece from sinking into the same monotony as its predecessor.

"Story To Tell" begins like part II of "Spirit Crusher" - the riffs in exactly the same soundscape. The overall feel is slower, but the monotony is exactly the same.

"Flesh and the Power It Holds" begins with striding guitar riffs in complete step movement: Obviously, it's difficult to do odd rythms when you're playing striding features - it's much easier to do that when you're playing power chords that are close together, and that is exactly what happens next.

Some good riffs in here - and I like the starts and stops, particularly the one around 3:40, that drops into a nice chunking riff. However, the annoying tangential change to a striding bass riff coupled with noodly guitar solo around 30 seconds later is just dull, dull, dull. And it sounds like the bass player is playing the wrong notes most of the time. A clear demonstration of why understanding harmony is a good thing.

"Voice of The Soul" starts promisinglyish, with an acoustic guitar riff and bass pedal notes with soaring guitar - straight out of the NWOBHM text book... This is actually the most interesting track on the album, as the drums stay out of the picture, and the piece is built up with guitars alone. But it's still just a collection of riffs. To hear how this should be done, buy "Canterbury" by Diamond Head.

"To Forgive Is To Suffer", apart from having a very negative title that makes me tut with annoyance, is another collection of riffs - I like the main riff a great deal, but find the slowing down and speeding up a continual irritance.

"A Moment of Clarity" is anything but... Can't tell you how long I've been waiting to trot out that little chestnut ;0)

The focus is, well, non-existant and the tangents obfuscate everything except the band's lack of understanding of how to put together a developing piece of music. Again, a standard rock structure with elongated solo passages is exactly what Rock bands have been doing for decades - so null points on the Prog scale yet again.

"Painkiller" is anything but... (Yay! I got that one in again!) - a raucous piece that begins far more in Kreator mode than anything thus far - it could have been lifted from "Extreme Agression" - maybe it's the title track... I need to go back and listen to it. What a great album that is... er... back to the album in hand...

A fair summary really - if you liked Kreator, then you probably own all of their material, so there's no point buying this.

If you liked early Death and wanted to find out what they were up to recently, then you might like this - but there's none of the originality of their original outings, even though the standard of playing has improved considerably. Note that this does not apply to the standard of musicianship, which is meandering and contrived at best.

An album for collectors of "brutal" metal, but safe to ignore if you're into Prog.

There's no Prog here.

Just Metal - and if you ignore the squeaky-clean production, technically precise playing and over-fiddly riffs, there's not much left.

Certif1ed | 2/5 |

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