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Death - Spiritual Healing CD (album) cover

SPIRITUAL HEALING

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.22 | 96 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is a crucial album in Death's progression. Leprosy was still a very straightforward album but on Spiritual Healing the music got much more technical and slowed down quite much. Also "Spiritual Healing" was the only Death album to feature three members from the previous album. Yes, the line-up stays almost the same. Only Rick Rozz left the band to be replaced by James Murphy. Chuck had a real talent for spotting gifted people. The added technicality was something really new in the death metal-scene back then and also Spiritual Healing's intelligent, non- gore lyrics were something quite spectacular.

The album starts off with "Living Monstrosity" quite straightforwardly but the song doesn't continue in that vein. A very aggressive, high speed intro leading into Chuck's unique growling vocals, and then switches between mid and high speed riffing, leading into dueling solos by James and Chuck about half-way through the song, before reverting back to the pattern that the song started in, and all of this is topped off with socially conscious lyrics about drug addiction. Bill Andrews isn't a genius on the drums though and the drumming isn't anything remarkable compared to say the technicality of Gene Hoglan or Sean Reinert. Also Terry Butler's bassing isn't anything remarkable or noteworthy although it is sufficient. The guitarwork and the composition itself on the other hand fully make up for the average rhythm section.

"Altering The Future" is next, one of the highlights of the album musically and lyrically, this song relies primarily on mid-paced riffs, up until Chuck comes out with a solo, which is followed with a faster one by James, then once again reverts back to the riffing style that was in the beginning of the song. It's hard to say exactly what makes it a stand out, so the best thing I can say is to listen for yourself.

Next up is "Defensive Personalities", one of the weaker songs on the album, although it's not a bad song, it simply doesn't stand out, it has good drumming, riffs, and solos, but it just doesn't have anything that makes it stand out from the rest of the album.

"Within The Mind" is similar, however, somewhat more memorable.

Next up is the center piece of the album, the epic title track, and the highlight of the album: "Spiritual Healing". A slow, epic sounding riff opens up the song, which shifts up into a higher tempo, more aggressive riffing, and vocals come in. From this point the song continues on at the same pace, until settling back down into the slower riff, and then two solos emerge around the four minute mark. Afterwards, the song reverts back to a very slow paced riffing, until another tempo change, which leads back into the faster riffs from earlier, which the nearly eight minute long epic ends on.

"Low Life", is the next track, and is a very aggressive and angry song with more great riffing and six solos in a row, plus some clichéd but well written lyrics, making it another highlight of the album.

And now, as the album nears a close "Genetic Reconstruction" is up, with a very interesting mid tempo riff leading into the song, until another tempo change comes along, while Chuck spews out lyrics about cloning and it's affects on a fantasy. This, like every other song on the album (they tend to follow a pattern), leads into some good guitar solos by both James and Chuck, and then going back into the riffing, the bass coming through yet again, until the song ends with a mid-paced riff.

The final song is "Killing Spree", with lyrics dealing with school shootings. The song employs very aggressive riffing, although it slows down into mid-tempo as a set up for the two solos, which then reverts back to the aggressive ending before, until the end of the song, which bookends the album nicely.

The guitarlines vary from clear death metal riffs to maidenish twin guitar leads though they mainly stay in the death metal area. The riffs usually control the field but when the leads strike in, they steal the whole show. The melodies flow very well and have a really sinister sound to them which suits the otherwise brooding atmosphere of the album very well. The riffs are more controlled than on the previous albums. They have a clearer purpose and deliver more accurately due to Chuck's progression as a song writer. Also both Chuck and James are excellent solo guitarists so there's nothing lacking in that department. One of the most impressive solo parts is the tradeoff between the two guitarists in "Low Life". Partly Murphy even outplays Schuldiner. Chuck's vocal performance has been tuned down a bit. The lyrics are a bit easier to hear and he doesn't sound as brutal as before although he does some screams which remind me of the greatest parts of the vocalizing in Scream Bloody Gore.

The variation in the material adds quite much to the age of the album. Even after quite numerous listens, I find myself wondering what is coming up next. Chuck and co. have come up with some really great and unexpected compositions in here. A more underrated album in their catalogue. Here started the progression of DEATH metal and was even further explored on the next album "Human".

Album rating: 7.5/10 points = 77 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Marc Baum | 4/5 |

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