Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Death Leprosy album cover
2.75 | 107 ratings | 17 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Leprosy
2. Born Dead
3. Forgotten Past
4. Left to Die
5. Pull the Plug
6. Open Casket
7. Primitive Ways
8. Choke on it


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Chuck Schuldiner / vocals, guitar
- Terry Butler / bass
- Rick Rozz / guitar
- Bill Andrews / drums

Releases information

Combat 88561-8248-2
Produced by Dan Johnson
Music by Chuck Schuldiner and Rick Rozz*
Lyrics by Chuck Schuldiner
Cover art by Edward J. Repka

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the addition
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DEATH Leprosy ratings distribution

(107 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

DEATH Leprosy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
3 stars VERY Rebel Music

It seems logical, when writing this review, to compare this album to the debut - Scream Bloody Gore. First of all, the line-up has changed. Instead of the grand total of two musicians that participated in the recording of the debut record, which was essentially a compilation of earlier Death's demo's, there is an actual group here - with each member handling the right instruments. I suppose that meant they could play the material live as well, but don't ask me - I was just born at the time of this release! Chuck Schuldiner, the brainchild behind Death's music, has matured in terms of technical skill, songwriting and writing lyrics. Although the lyrics are still strongly concentrated on the gore stuff here, the Scream Bloody Gore's apocalyptic feel is gone and the lyrics are more philosophical, which can be especially felt on the classic track Pull The Plug - a sign of greater things to come sooner.

The music is hardly a dramatic change from the predecessor, however, it is an undeniable fact that it has evolved into a more conscious, mature and technical shape. After listening to the album, you can't really predict that this group would later release albums starting from Human and change their style so much, although some progressive moments appear a few times(I'll be couragous enough to admit I find a few parts of SBG to be quite progressive for its time as well), specifically on the above-mentioned Pull The Plug, as well as Born Dead, if my memory serves me correctly. You can finally feel the joy of better production, being able to hear the bass well and the twin guitar work of Chuck Schuldiner and Rick Rozz. The drumming is rather simple and repetitive, which is a general trait speaking about the Death Metal genre in general. Riffs are present throughout the record non-stop and are technical and catchy. Still, Chuck's best riffs are still to come.

What's left to conclude is that this particular album contains little elements that could serve any interest to the average Prog fan. However, in its year of release - 1988 - there were not too many musicians as credible as Death. Its hisorical importance and progression is undeniable, which means that any person interested in the roots of Death Metal should give this work a listen. Leprosy can be easily used as a representative of this type of music. It also needs to be added that whoever enjoyed SBG should not ignore this one either. Moreover, people who know Death Metal in forms when it is mixed with other elements, and thus altered, must give an album like Leprosy a chance to see what Death Metal was meant to sound like. Most proggers here tend to think that Blackwater Park is the pinaccle of DM, which is deceptive to say the least. The usual progger, on the other hand, will not be interested in this grotesque, energetic and aggressive music.


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Send comments to Trickster F. (BETA) | Report this review (#72974) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006

Review by Marc Baum
3 stars "Leprosy" is the follow-up to the eponymous Scream Bloody Gore. Yes, it is probably my least favorite Death album. In song-writing it's even an improvement to the first album. Somehow, there aren't such memorable tunes like "Infernal Death", "Zombie Ritual" or "Scream Bloody Gore" on it.

For me, the highlights on this album are "Open Casket", "Leprosy", "Pull the Plug", "Left To Die" and the closer "Choke On It".

The main problem with it is Chuck's backing band. Rick Rozz is very annoying and gets old very fast. Terry Butler does nothing with the bass. Bill Andrews is just boring, at times it seems as though he only has a snare, bass, and cymbol. But, Chuck shreds and growls away so that makes everything balance out.

One of the main differences between Leprosy and SBG is that Leprosy is more varied. Tempos change, the songs are now longer, and the album is more technical. But it's a lesser album to SBG because of this. SBG was just full speed rip-your-face- off Death Metal. Leprosy changed that formula, which is good, because it led Death to become to behemoth they became. Another difference on Leprosy is the lyrics, Chuck's lyrics got more diverse, while still keeping the gore and death formula.

Leprosy starts off with the great title track, with it's many time changes make it a forbarer of what's to come. "Born Dead" again has many tempo changes but it is shorter then the preceeding track. "Forgotten Past" is more straight forward, it almost sounds like a holdover from SBG. "Left to Die" is another straight ahead asskicker. It also contains the only Rick Rozz solo I like. "Pull the Plug", one of Death's staples comes in at a bonecrushing number five. "Open Casket", my favorite song on the album has a great solo by Chuck and is one of the first Death songs to have meaningful lyrics. "Primitive Ways" is probably the weakest song on here, figures though, it was penned by Rozz, great lyrics though. "Choke On It" closes Leprosy on again a more progressive note and foreshadowed the future idea of Chuck Schuldiner's mission on DEATH metal. With numerous changes and shredding leads it again is a great song.

By no means is Leprosy the best Death album but it is still essential death metal. Not as ground breaking or neither as memorable as SBG but the primitive form of the Death sound was perfected on it. On the next album "Spiritual Healing" began the real progression of Death.

Album rating: 7/10 points = 72 % on MPV scale = 3/5 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


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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#75510) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review by AtLossForWords
1 stars Some things need to be said in blunt ways. This is a terrible album.

Chuck Schuldiner had a different approach to music. He formed his band Death (of which he is the only consistent member), to make brutal and aggressive music with an attitude to shock the metal world. Sound like the Stradinsky of metal right, WRONG! Schuldiner accomplishes his objective of shocking the metal world with song titles like "Choke On It" and "Open Casket", but he doesn't do it in a musical fashion at all. There is not a single piece featuring musical variation on this album. It's drop-tuned guitars, overdistorted, playing at obscene volume levels the entire album. There is nothing inventive about this album musically, only in attitude is this album a musical landmark.

Chuck Schuldiner minimizes his role from vocals, guitars, and bass to vocals and guitars on this album. Schuldiner writes the majority of the juvenile riffs throughout this album. The songs never seem to develop or go anywhere. They are just four musicians playing as fast and sloppy as they can for three minutes at a time. Schuldiner makes to attempt at melody. There are some skillfull solos, but nothing creative in relation to music. The vocals are underdeveloped growls. There isn't really any vocal ability being demonstrated here, but credit must be given to Schuldiner. His poor performance as a growler was at the time unique, and lead to the influence of better growls featured in extreme music. He laid a blueprint, but his particular structure feel.

Rick Rozz also plays some interesting solo licks like Schuldiner, but other than that simply plays the exact same rythymns as Schuldiner throughout the entire album. There is very little reason for Rozz to even be on this album. Due to the lack of variation in the guitar parts. Rozz was later fired from Death by Schuldiner because he started liking his hair too much. Schuldiner was a hard man to work with, but at this team, he was nothing but attitude.

Terry Butler makes another unremarkable perfomance on bass. His part pretty much follows the rythymn guitar the entire time, and I've already said enough about that.

Bill Andrews plays another typical performance from an extreme metal drummer. There are some blast beats, some flashy drum fills, but the entire album is pretty much 4/4 beats with a lot of bass drum.

The production is awful, no clarity, no definition, but a bunch of distortion that fits the attitude of the music.

Stay away, download it if your curiosity is peaked, but this album is a waste of money in any collection.


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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#82570) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006

Review by JJLehto
2 stars This album is straightfoward death metal. Like its predecessor, Scream Bloody Gore, this is very thrash oriented. I do like this album however, after hearing Death's later work it no longer is as appealing to me. While enjoyable I would prefer later albums from the band. There is alot of tremolo picking, blast beats, double bass drums, and wild guitar solos. Fine for thrash/death metal enthusiasts, but probably not for a alot of prog listeners. The guitar work is great, and the bass is absolutely amazing. I don't know how you can't like it. With the insane guitars shredding through the background you hear simple, stringy, bass and I just love it. The drumming is basic thrash/death metal beats and a little boring after a while. The lyrics are a little gore related and Chuck's vocals are the same "Death Grunt" as before.

While pretty simple, there is some improvement from their prior release. The song Born Dead is my favorite from this album, and is actually fairly technical and progressive, (especially given the rest of the album). Overall, a good album but can't compare to Death's later works and is not for everyone.

EDIT: I have recently changed my rating from 3 stars to 2. While this is a good death metal album, that's just what it is and even a lot of prog-metal fans probably will not care for it. This album is for Death fans only.


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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#88150) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
2 stars As with the debut, Leprosy continues to pioneer death metal with its fast, short, and brutal stabs at music. This is where Chuck begins his revolving door method of running Death. The songs here are all infused with campy gore that belies the insight and intelligence in Chuck's later albums. Pull the Plug, Left to Die, and the title track are enjoyable numbers, but to call them prog would open up the archives to the likes of Motorhead and the Dead Kennedys. This album is extremely important to the formation of a genre, but it's not a good as its predecessor and Chuck still has a lot of kinks to work out, though his fretwork is already amazing.

Fans of Chuck should own everthing by him, but proggies should stick to the albums from Human forward as well as the Control Denied album.

Grade: D-


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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#107625) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Leprosy is the second full-length studio album by American death metal act Death. Another Edward J. Repka cover invites us into another classic old school death metal album.

Leprosy was such a big step forward for Death. The lyrics were better written, the music was better composed and not as simple as it was on Scream Bloody Gore (1987), and a lead guitarist in Rick Rozz ( Later of Massacre) was added. This helped boost their sound and put more focus on the guitar solos. Allthough not very exciting solos. Pretty standard screaming stuff. Highlights on this album are the title track and Pull the Plug ( which deals with deciding whether or not to pull the plug on someone you love if they end up in a vegetative state). Open Casket is also a favorite of mine. The rythm section is holding the music back a bit seen from today´s perspective, but I remember they were considered to be pretty great when I started listening to Death around 1991. That was before I heard Human (1991) and discovered what a "real" rythm section can do.

Leprosy is a terribly dated album when I listen to it today but on the other hand I always get all nostalgic about it when I take my old LP out for a spin. It´s undeniably a classic death metal album but average to my ears compared to all the great stuff out there now.


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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#146480) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review by J-Man
2 stars Not as groundbreaking as Scream Bloody Gore, and not as good as their later releases

With the 1987 release of Scream Bloody Gore Death had established themselves as one of the most innovative bands in the metal world, pushing the boundaries of extreme metal from Slayer and Metallica to a whole new level of extreme. It is much debated whether or not that is the first death metal album, but it's historical importance is undeniable no matter where you stand.

Death's 1988 output Leprosy uses the same formula used on Scream Bloody Gore. Crushing riffs, fast blast-beat drumming, morbid lyrics, and just overall brutality is the name of the game here. Scream Bloody Gore was a very important album in the metal world, even though I don't consider it a great album. Leprosy isn't a great album either, but it doesn't have the same amount of importance that their debut album had, thus it is not as recommended.

Death's later albums which can be described as technical/progressive death metal are why they are on the archives. Up until Human Death had nothing "prog" about them, even though they were one of the most "progressive" bands around. This is pure old school death metal with nothing even related to prog in it. If you're looking for prog I recommend Death's later albums.

Aside from not being prog, is it a good album?

Even though this album isn't prog or historically important, it still has many flaws. For one, the production quality is really poor. Those stupid 80's drums are present, and the overall sound of this album is muddy and not produced well.

Another main issue I have with this album is the people playing along with Chuck Schuldiner. He does a great job, but the rest of the band just isn't present. Bill Andrews is a pretty boring drummer to be honest. Death's future would have some really great drummers: Gene Hoglan, Sean Reinert, and Richard Christy are all excellent. I don't consider Andrews to be up there with these greats. I don't think Terry Butler can compete with Steve DiGiorgio, and I don't think Rick Rozz is Death's best guitarist either. All in all, I don't think the musicianship here is nearly as good as it would be in the later albums.

I also don't think the songwriting is too great either. There are only a few memorable tracks, and even those aren't without flaws. Some are just pure throwaways as well.


"Leprosy"- The first (and longest) song on the album has a pretty cool opening with some good riffs. I think this is one of the best songs on the album, as it is very enjoyable. I really like some of the riffs, and this sounds like a proto-type to their later technical metal days. This song has really the only proggy moments on the album. This would have been a great song if it wasn't for the stupid production.

"Born Dead"- Opening up with a galloping-like metal riff. From there on out this is a pretty standard verse-chorus-verse death metal song. The chorus has some cool riffs, but the verses are really annoying.

"Forgotten Past"- This opens up with another really good metal riff. This has really good progressions from verse to chorus, and it is one of the few really memorable songs on the album. This has a very good guitar solo in it. Not prog, but a very good metal song.

"Left To Die"- After a short shredding intro, the main riff enters. This song is fast and takes no prisoners. I think this is a pretty poor song, and it does absolutely nothing for me.

"Pull The Plug"- This song is absolutely excellent. The riffs are absolutely perfect, and this song is a highlight of early death metal. The riff during the chorus is superb, and everything about this is perfectly crafted. One of the few memorable songs on the album.

"Open Casket"- This song is mostly just blast beat drumming with guttural growls. The chorus is decent, but as a whole this song is not even slightly memorable.

"Primitive Ways"- This entire song is pretty much just blast beat drumming. I think it has a few decent moments, but as a whole this song is not very memorable. Bill Andrews does a good job on this song, and I wish he could have drummed like this more on the rest of the album.

"Choke On It"- Despite the song title that makes me chuckle every time I see it, this is one of the best songs on the album. It has a few proggy moments, and I really enjoy this song. I wish more of the album could have been like this.


Leprosy is a decent old school death metal album. It is flawed, but still not a throwaway album. On a metal site I would give this flawed album a 3, but since this is a prog site, I will give it a 2. If you're looking for progressive death metal, go to Death's later outputs. If you're looking for classic old school death metal, this is for you. But keep in mind, this album is not flawless.

2 stars.


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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#252497) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
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.


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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#330509) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
2 stars With "Leprosy" Death make a step forward from the extremely radical death metal sound present in their first LP "Scream Bloody Gore", in every way. Except one; for me, the enjoyment of the album is the same I had with the first album.

Chuck Schuldiner had to gather a few more musicians for this album, so that Death could be an actual band and not just a one man project; we have Rick Rozz at guitars, Terry Butler at bass and Bill Andrews on drums. The musicianship is as a consequence an improvement, but still far from precise and virtuous. The production is still poor and rough, but even here slightly better than the one in "Scream Bloody Gore".

Musically, this is pure and simple death metal, with some more complex riffs and longer songs, an element that will become more and more developed by the band until, with "Human", they will become a Technical Death Metal band and use this formula constantly. But here we see only little traces of progressive song structures.The lyrical content is a little more intelligent than the one of first album, and some times they concern controversial matters, such as pulling the plug on somebody who lives in a vegetable state. But we still have pretty much those same themes we find on "Scream Bloody Gore", even though there in the second album there is a consistency concerning disease and extreme pessimism about living here in this world.

The reason why I didn't like this album is just the fact that I didn't get into the songs in here. There are some good moments, like in the title track, the longest song of the album, "Forgotten Past", or the already mentioned "Pull The Plug", but I don't care at all about the rest of the songs, which was kind of disappointing for me.

I know many people don't mind listening to this album, but I just got a little bored and I don't feel like picking it up for a long time now.But I can't deny that without this album Death maybe would have never been so great, and that it is most definitely a step forward.


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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#438004) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review by Prog Sothoth
3 stars Whether it's Relayer or Love Beach, I can at least apply some sort of positive acknowledgement towards album covers that reflect the contents of the music within, which was certainly useful back in the days before the internet. I look at a cover sleeve like Leprosy and immediately deduce that, contained in this release, there will be no song titles such as "Girl, I Need To Give You All My Lovin'" or "Disco Chicken".

This is pure, unabashed pre-grindcore influenced old-school death metal. Somewhat drop-tuned, and not even a typical horror film ambient piece to initiate the onslaught. Musically it's more ambitious than the band's debut, brandishing more riffs and tempo changes, along with lyrical subject matter that still stays true to the group's namesake, but less reliant on comical gore and occult themes which adorned Scream Bloody Gore. Of course, upping the difficulty factor concerning the rhythms by no means warrants Leprosy as a progressive release, as this stuff is still very much a product of its time, anchored in brutal thrash with hoarse, throaty growls wailing away over the riffage. Chuck was already beginning to excel regarding his guitar skills, but due to the limitations regarding the rest of the performers, his playing is tempered to simply pumping out the meanest chord progressions possible along with occasional tasteful guitar solos.

The production actually never bothered me way back when I first bought this release, yet revisiting it recently, the complaints critics charge towards the drum sound ring true to my ears, which is actually annoying since it never irked me before. But yeah, that snare is stupidly loud and brash to the point where it draws away from everything else to a certain extent.

As for the songs themselves, the title track is still a clear winner of utter nastiness boasting hellish riffs and an unmercifully grim subject matter. "Pull The Plug" and "Open Casket" are other doozies that retain the fun regarding the over-the-top song title shouts of Scream Bloody Gore, but as a whole, what Leprosy gains in maturity, loses in the sheer catchiness department. Their debut was a hilarious speed-fest, and about as prog as Rocket To Russia. Leprosy tempers the lunacy, but doesn't quite replace it with any 'wow' moments musically, although it was a logical step in the development of Chuck's prowess. I enjoy it, but mainly for a few killer tracks.


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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#1015441) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 09, 2013

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#273139) | Posted by Time Signature | Saturday, March 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Death's second album comes only a year after their landmark debut, Scream Bloody Gore. Within Leprosy there are more intense rhythmic patterns, howling vocals and bone- crushing riffs that helped, if not single-handedly created the genre of death metal. Right from the off, the title track set ... (read more)

Report this review (#254609) | Posted by dalekvilla | Sunday, December 06, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Leprosy is the first Death album I've heard. In fact this is the first death metal album I've heard somewhere in early 90s. I was a bit shocked when I heard the vocals cos I didn't realize someone can sing with such deep and low voice. Yeah, death metal. Comparing Leprosy to previous death relea ... (read more)

Report this review (#201362) | Posted by LSDisease | Sunday, February 01, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When this Florida band released their second album Leprosy in 1988, the death metal scene did not exist as we today knows it. Very few people did understand this album and it was therefore met with derision and contempt in the heavy metal media. But it also inspired a generation of death metal mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#187612) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, November 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Death - Leprosy: 32% - Awesome Death Metal. Not Prog, only faint brief hints. I have to give it to them, Death can make death metal! The title track Leprosy definetly shows progression from their first album. Here is 80s brutality at one of its finer points with awesome riffs and onslaughts...W ... (read more)

Report this review (#177104) | Posted by Onslaught | Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Leprosy was still in the same vein as Scream Bloody Gore but careful listening reveals that changes for the better have indeed been made. There is now a full band at work, the playing has improved a tad and the songs are noticeably more developed. As has been said many times, the only downfall of ... (read more)

Report this review (#148324) | Posted by Xanadu97 | Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I would like to state from the beginning that i do not consider "Leprosy" a progressive rock album. It is a pure death metal record without any musical extensions which is a natural thing if we take under consideration the fact that is was released in 1988. "Leprosy" is the definition of death met ... (read more)

Report this review (#142126) | Posted by Zarec | Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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