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DEATH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Death picture
Death biography
Chuck Schuldiner founded Death in the early 80s as an extreme metal band, not knowing that in the years to come the band would be celebrated by many as the band which created the genre of Death Metal. During the years the lineup changed frequently, with Schuldiner as the constant element. Their music got more and more complex in the 90s, and their last releases Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance are the reason for their inclusion in the archives. The music on these albums is what is today often referred to as "Progressive Death Metal", and it influenced many other bands in the following years which further explored the possibilities of this new kind of music. Eventually Schuldiner founded the band Control Denied, which essentially continued Death's evolution towards a more experimental music - their first release is very similar to Death, minus the typical Death Metal vocals. After the release of that album in 1999 Schuldiner was diagnosed with brain-stem cancer, and due to this disease both Control Denied and Death were put on hold, and in 2001 Schuldiner lost his battle with his illness.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Death can be seen as the founding fathers of two genres: Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal. While their first 4 studio are not progressive, the remaining 3 show an amazing development of more and more experimental structures.



Discography:
Scream Bloody Gore (1987)
Leprosy (1988)
Spiritual Healing (1990)
Human (1991)
Individual Thought Patterns (1993)
Symbolic (1995)
The Sound of Perseverance (1998)
Live in L.A. (2001)
Live in Eindhoven (2001)

See also:

- Control Denied

DEATH Videos (YouTube and more)


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Scream Bloody GoreScream Bloody Gore
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DEATH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEATH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.96 | 153 ratings
Scream Bloody Gore
1987
3.04 | 157 ratings
Leprosy
1988
3.44 | 140 ratings
Spiritual Healing
1990
4.16 | 354 ratings
Human
1991
4.15 | 281 ratings
Individual Thought Patterns
1993
4.23 | 515 ratings
Symbolic
1995
4.19 | 403 ratings
The Sound Of Perseverance
1998

DEATH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 29 ratings
Live in L.A.
2001
3.83 | 18 ratings
Live in Eindhoven
2001

DEATH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.24 | 10 ratings
Live in Eindhoven
2001
4.19 | 13 ratings
Death - Live in L.A. (Death & Raw)
2001
4.20 | 5 ratings
Live at Cottbus '98
2005

DEATH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.30 | 16 ratings
Fate
1992
2.35 | 7 ratings
Vivus!
2012

DEATH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

DEATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spiritual Healing by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.44 | 140 ratings

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Spiritual Healing
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Out of the seven DEATH studio albums that were released in the band's fourteen year run (as DEATH) it's this third one SPIRITUAL HEALING that gets cited most as the weakest of the pack and i can only imagine that the gawdawful cover art could possibly contribute to that more common than not opinion, however personally i really cannot understand exactly why this one has been singled out of the subsequent pack as the worst of the lot. As was notorious in the ever changing lineup, Chuck Schuldiner experienced a third guitarist on just as many albums this time with Rick Rozz being replaced by James Murphy (an unknown at the time but would go on to play in Obituary, Testament, Konkhra and Cancer). The worst artwork of the Eric Repka catalogue aside, SPIRITUAL HEALING musically speaking, continues the forward thinking march into incrementally increased progressiveness and less of the straight forward brutal rawness with a focus on more intellectually stimulating lyrical content.

Although the sub-genre of death metal began with 1987's "Scream Bloody Gore," the close ties to thrash metal were still at the forefront and while each following release took baby steps into a complete cutoff from its parent sub, SPIRITUAL HEALING still retains a heavy thrash riffing brutality augmented by a more sophisticated compositional approach but doesn't quite reach the level of the true progressive nature of "Human" and beyond. Album #3 is very much a transitional album from death metal's thrash laden birth pangs to the ever increasing technical sophistication displayed all throughout the 90s. As one decade ceded into another, Schuldiner too was laying the 80s version of the band to rest and slowly but surely ratcheting up the intensity that would culminate on 1998's "The Sound Of Perseverance." So what it adds up to is a slightly more melodic version of the first two albums that has slivers of the more technical touches such as Schuldiner and Murphy's excellent dueling guitar soloing.

Lyrically Schuldiner was maturing rapidly as he left behind the blatant shock and awe subject matter of zombies, mutilation and gore and began to tackle the complexities of human society with a special interest in the most [%*!#]ed up aspects including deformed babies from coke addicted mothers on "Living Monstrositiy," abortion on "Altering The Future," schizophrenia on "Defensive Personalities" as well as the expected evangelistic brainwashing punditry as evidenced on the gawdawful cover art. These types of themes would become increasingly more relevant and refined on the following "Human" release. While the insane time signature changes and labyrinthine song structures hadn't quite blossomed completely, there are hints of the future with little snippets of frenetic time bending as well as sudden breaks that deviate from the expected "normalcy" of the previous albums.

One thing's for sure and that i would bet nobody would deem SPIRITUAL HEALING as their favorite DEATH album of all time but that is not to say that this album deserves any of the bad reception that it has received. Schuldiner dishes out the expected punishing brutal riffs at intensively high speeds with his by then signature death growls and succeeds in whipping the rest of the band into shape so that the eight tracks are completely consistently tightly delivered with the bombast and as much caustic abrasiveness one could hope for in the fledgling metal sub-genre. Yeah, that album cover really has to go. I understand that it was meant for the album to evolve more into a psychological horror soundtrack rather the blood and guts themes of prior but something about the whole Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker theme on the cover just doesn't work. Just for the record? there ARE NO BAD DEATH ALBUMS! This included. Another excellent slice of the early death metal years.

 Leprosy by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.04 | 157 ratings

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Leprosy
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Following in the footsteps of Slayer and Possessed, the Orlando, FL based Chuck Schuldiner single handedly developed his band DEATH into a major metal powerhouse and then dropped his fully functional death metal bomb onto the unsuspecting world of heavy metal with his debut album "Scream Bloody Gore." While in effect a solo album with only the percussive bombast of Chris Reifert as a partner in musical mischief, Schuldiner had unknowingly unleashed an entirely unexplored universe of metal possibilities with darker and more sinister themes that utilized punishing guitar riffage, primeval raw distortion and those famous Schuldiner only blood curdling screams that finally took that last step out of the only recently developed thrash metal into the ultimate world of extremities.

One can basically view DEATH's all too brief existence as an incremental step-by-step evolution from the deathened thrash metal beginnings of Mantas to the full blown independence within the death metal camp on "Scream Bloody Gore." On Schuldiner's second album LEPROSY now under the DEATH moniker, Chuck (on bass and guitar) almost employs a complete lineup making this one sound more like a real band effort and not just an early solo noisefest. Thus on LEPROSY there were two more musicians with the only album appearance of Rick Rozz on guitar and Bill Andrews picking up the drummer role after Chris Reifert went off to start Autopsy. The result of the new lineup and some time to iron out the kinks presented on the debut resulted in a stunningly brilliant followup.

LEPROSY provided a much needed intermittent step from the raw primeval bombast of the debut and the increasing progressive touches that climaxed on the final album "The Sound Of Perseverance." While not quite in the progressive death metal camp, LEPROSY displays proto-offerings of the famous abrupt time signature changes and adventurous stylistic changes from chugga chug riffing to the histrionic guitar solos with an riveting changing it up of the drums that create an interesting mixture of styles all throughout the album. The proto-prog labyrinthine tendencies are in full regalia on LEPROSY and would only incrementally accrue on each subsequent release. Never mind the pink album cover. These sounds emanate from the deepest trenches of hell. Despite the choice of color for the album cover pastiche, Edward Repka's artwork is quite creepy!

While it's true that DEATH was still in its infancy and was climbing the ladder to one of the most innovative metal bands of all time, LEPROSY provides an interesting snapshot into the late 80s when glam metal bands like Whitesnake and Poison were dominating MTV, the pop charts and the overall public's perception of what metal was. While not exactly taking the world by storm in terms of popularity, Schuldiner was staunchly nurturing his newly sired craft into an incredible maelstrom of technical wizardry that would provide the blueprint of metal ingenuity for generations to come. For any fans of DEATH, you know you're either in it wholeheartedly or just casually dipping in to hear what all the fuss is about. It's simply impossible to follow Schuldiner's brainchild career without experiencing every single stop in the road along the way. LEPROSY provides that interesting phase two realm.

While i personally prefer the four more progressively infused albums that came last, LEPROSY is by far my favorite album of the first three as it successfully captures in perfect balance the raw and unrelenting origins of the DEATH universe but also begins to create more elaborate compositions that utilize not only traces of melody married with the youthful exuberance and sloppiness that comes from the initial stages of a band's existence. This is truly a subway stop on the road to greatness but because of Schuldiner's personal style and ferocious approach, i find this to be the quintessential satisfying release in the early years of old school death metal. Tech death is probably my favorite extreme metal style of the 21st century but LEPROSY is a classic that captures a moment in time that can never be repeated and captures it brilliantly. Brilliantly i say, brilliantly! Grrrrrrrrr.

4.5 but rounded down

 Scream Bloody Gore by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.96 | 153 ratings

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Scream Bloody Gore
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars When it comes to metal music legends, the story of Chuck Shuldner's epic journey with his influential band DEATH has to be one of the most enduring as Schuldner is not only regarded as the godfather of the entire death metal subgenere but one of the most innovative musical influences in the entire metal genre period ( . ) with each album in his all too short career taking massive leaps of evolution over what came before. When it comes to the origins of death metal, the endless debate will surely revolve around who really created it and the answer will forever exist in the morbid murky nebulous annals of history and the idiosyncratic definitions of when and where the death metal sub actually split off from its parent thrash metal. I have developed my own take on this and instead of assigning a clearcut definition, i prefer to view it from a rather biological evolutionary perspective since musical developments occur in much the same manner as do animal and plant species. One species clearly could not exist without branching off of another and each slight differentiation may or may not constitute a relabeling of its characteristics and corresponding nomenclature.

In the case of death metal, there can be absolutely no doubt that the underpinnings of the sub originated with the English heavy metal pioneers Venom whose macabre and bantering din laced with the first vociferations of harsh shouted vocals would ultimately blossom into what would later be called extreme metal. In the beginning Venom was in a metal limbo or rather a somewhat embryonic extreme metal stage where thrash, black and death metal were all nestled within the very DNA of the caustic sonic waves that emerged from their baleful expressions of societal contempt and verbal vitriol wrapped up in distorted decibelage and breakneck speed outbursts. Out of this primordial cesspool sprang forth other early degenerates such as Celtic Frost, Slayer and Kreator as they began to diversify the intensity and focus of their bombastic approaches. These could be considered the proto- death metal bands that not only launched the nascent beginnings of the thrash scene but also were ultimately influential for the evil contorts of Bathory which would hatch the wretched spawn of black metal, death metal's evil twin.

The next phase in the development of death metal is undoubtedly the Bay Area's own Possessed who took Slayer's extreme speed and demonic gore to even greater extremities with lightning fast blitzkriegs of thundering riffing, bantering percussive drive and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, a style that to many, defines the very essence of the death metal sub entirely, however musically Possessed were very much still a thrash metal band as they hadn't quite taken that final step into low-tuned tremolo picking riffing accompanied by the double kick blastbeat drumming that utilized the ugliest aspects of minor keys, atonality and wicked chromatic chord progressions. They were still a few baby steps away from what we would call death metal today, but personally i find them to exist in that crucial phase 2 development of death metal much like a tadpole (which would be Venom and friends) would development limbs (the Possessed phase) but still not quite the frog that is free of its fully aquatic features and thus keeps it from being a full fledged amphibian, the completely liberated death metal stage.

Chuck Schuldner's DEATH is where that very amphibian phase of death metal finally came of age. Schuldner had been unleashing his sonic terror onto the world with his many demos (released under the moniker Mantas as well as DEATH) but these too were somewhere in the Possessed camp of proto-death with thrash leanings. Always the visionary even at the young tender age of seventeen, Schuldner set out to evolve his own brand of extreme metal into something even uglier, taking his primary metal influences of Possessed and Slayer to the next level. In the search for the musical talent to take him to this new level, Chuck had one helluva time finding anyone to fill these roles and after moving from his native Florida to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Canada and then back to the Bay Area. After placing an ad or two, Schuldner finally found promise in the 17-year old drummer Chris Reifert but was unsatisfied with the music scene as nobody else fit the bill to fill the shoes of his new musical vision.

Undeterred, Schuldner opted to record his debut DEATH demo 'Mutilation' completely by himself with only Reifert along for the ride, therefore Schuldner performed all lead and rhythm guitars along with bass and vocals. Although John Hand had briefly joined the band, he didn't play on any recordings or participate in any live settings either. 'Mutilation' proved quite the hit on the underground cassette trading community and caught the attention of the fledgling extreme metal label Combat Records which enabled Schuldner and Reifert to record their full-length debut SCREAM BLOODY GORE. The process proved to be more trouble than expected as the album was recorded once in Florida and then by record company demand had to be re-recorded once more in California with Rnady Burns as the producer. While many tracks such as 'Infernal Death' and 'Baptized By Blood' had appeared on prior demos, half the tracks on SCREAM BLOODY GORE were completely new and therefore the album has an interesting range of primal to more sophisticated, albeit nowhere near as complex and crazy as DEATH would become with each subsequent release.

Point blank, SCREAM BLOODY GORE was a shout out to the metal universe that something new had emerged and that something was the equivalent to a nuclear bomb being dropped at a Bon Jovi concert turned horror movie where audience members' body parts rained o'er the blood stained lands. And so it was. Death metal was born on 25 May, 1987 as SCREAM BLOODY GORE made its debut to an unsuspecting public that while unheard by the masses has only gained its legendary status as the following decades ensued. Like many metal fans, i myself had only come to experience the magic of DEATH in a posthumous Chuck Schuldner reality. Despite being the DEATH album with the least finesse, there's a certain rawness and assured certainty in the powerful delivery that infuses the ethos of hardcore punk with the provident shock and awe for an entire branch of the metal universe to spiral off of. SCREAM BLOODY GORE has to be one of the most ferocious sonic attacks of all the 80s, taking the frenetic bantering of Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' and adding a sense of brutality and offensiveness never heard before. Much of the subject matter was inspired by horror movies such as 'City Of The Living Dead,' The Beyond' and 'Zombie' and Schuldner pummeled the senses with a sense of sonic horror hitherto unmatched.

When all is said and done, one can only bow down to the metal god that was Chuck Schuldner and pay reverence to his pivotal role in the great big bang of the death metal scene. Perhaps other acts such as Morbid Angel or Obituary would have eventually reached similar musical conclusions, but it was Chuck Schuldner who relentless strived to exercise extreme creativity that would ratchet every single album he touched into higher levels of musical expression in his ceaseless reach for the stars and beyond. While no one could ever conflate the magnanimous progressive achievements of albums such 'The Sound Of Perseverance' with DEATH's earliest offerings, there is also no denying that no one quite dished out the old death school charm like Schuldner did on SCREAM BLOODY GORE with not only its landmark old school death metal cover art but also with the pummeling guitar riffs, the frenetic skin punishing percussion or the grim growly gusto of Schuldner's vocal style.

While this debut may not be the my first album of choice for repeated listens out of the septet of DEATH's canon, it is clearly the one that deserves the most respect for paving the way for everything death metal related to follow and remains as enigmatic today as it must've sounded all those decades ago. THIS is truly one of those 'must hear before you die' sort of albums not only for its immortal legendary status of ushering in one of the most popular metal styles of the 90s but must be experienced for its punishing ear assaults that crank out one addictive mutilated groove after another. After recording SCREAM BLOODY GORE, Schuldner would move back to Florida leaving Reifert behind as he would opt to remain in California to create his own band Autopsy. And so the tradition of a new lineup for every album was born along with an entirely new subgenere that continues to evolve in a post- Schuldner world but still carries on his musical DNA in the tapestry of every fiber of the death metal universe.

 Symbolic by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.23 | 515 ratings

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Symbolic
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I recognize the technical prowess of the band members of this band, but most of the sounds here feel the same as any metal album. What makes this music stand out is the lyrics and singing (I can actually understand the words!) and the phenomenal time and tempo shifting that goes on within each and every song. Amazing flexibility and skill coming from drummer Gene Hoglan as well as from the guitarists. The only reason I rate this album down from masterpiece status is the over-familiarity of many of the riffs, sounds, and chord progressions co-opted herein (many of which I hear as if they were lifted from the RUSH catalogue). Is this album, this band, a shaker and mover of metal? Yes. But they are to these ears first and foremost a synthesizer of all that has come before (Is there such a thing as Neo Metal?), and secondarily innovators. Still, kudos to Chuck and the band for their passion, their skill, and their creativity.

 Spiritual Healing by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.44 | 140 ratings

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Spiritual Healing
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Spiritual Healing is an awkward spot in the Death timeline; they hadn't quite abandoned their old, more straight-ahead death metal style here, but on the other hand hadn't entirely embraced the technical death metal direction they would latch onto on Human.

It's the more straight-ahead death metal numbers which suffer the most here, with the least progressive songs tending to be the least accomplished. This isn't just a style thing - the sections in question just aren't quite as good as, say, the material on Leprosy, and at points sound like polished-up rejected songs from Scream Bloody Gore. The album is saved by Chuck beginning his introduction of more technically intricate techniques into his performance and songwriting, the title track here perhaps being the best example of this.

Between this and the lyrical shift from overt shocking gore to more contemplative examinations of weightier issues, it's quite clear to me that this more technical, almost progressive material was where Chuck's heart was really at by this stage of the band's existence, his tastes having evolved away from the group's earlier style. Between that and the decision of the rest of the band to tour Europe without Chuck, it's no surprise that this lineup (a mildly tweaked version of the one that did Leprosy, with Rick Rozz gone and James Murphy in his place) didn't last, or that Chuck would switch to working with session musicians rather than running Death as a band project in future.

 Leprosy by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.04 | 157 ratings

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Leprosy
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Death's debut was a decent blueprint for death metal but didn't have brilliant production; their second album would not only demonstrate that they had a few more technical chops than Screan Bloody Gore might have suggested, but also put the distinctive production style of Scott Burns on the map and made Morrisound in Florida the hub of the late 1980s/early 1990s US death metal explosion. With songs that incorporate a higher degree of technical capability without making technicality the sole focus and a production which teases out the hidden intricacies of the group's playing whilst retaining the fire and fury of the preceding album, it isn't a delicate or shy piece but it is an iconic one.
 Scream Bloody Gore by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.96 | 153 ratings

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Scream Bloody Gore
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before they became a prime mover behind death metal's shift into increasingly technical complex territory, Death pioneered the early genre's rough, thrashy, dirty style with albums like this debut, the culmination of a series of well- received demos. Several of the songs are inspired by the horror films of Lucio Fulci, and appropriately enough they're just as trashy and gorey as the material which inspired them. A product of a time before fancy Florida production chops gave death metal a more polished sound, this is an eruption from the underground which may turn off listeners whose main interest in Death lies in their later, more technical works. If, on the other hand, you appreciate the rougher side of the genre, it's a vital manifesto of that.
 Spiritual Healing by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.44 | 140 ratings

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Spiritual Healing
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There seems to be a growing number of people who consider the 1990 album Spiritual Healing to be Death's worst record, even deeming it clunky and unfocused. Personally, I still stand by my opinion that Scream Bloody Gore was the most lackluster offering by the band; it sounded more like a foreshadowing of future greatness than a great album itself. While follow-up Leprosy did its best to raise the stakes, Spiritual Healing still seems to improve things much further and hit almost all of the right notes. While it may not be the very best album of the Death canon, it is often overlooked and definitely deserves more praise than it gets.

So what do we get? Between eight tracks and forty-two minutes of non-stop death metal, the record flies by pretty quickly. Chuck Schuldiner's songwriting is still the main focus here, but plenty of new elements after predecessor Leprosy help this album succeed the way it does. First things first, the music is way more technical and intricate; many of the speed metal sections of Leprosy and Scream Bloody Gore, while still present, are toned down and usually replaced with rapid tempo shifts and frequent time signature changes. That, and the rhythms are usually quite unorthodox; the riff during the verse of the title track still throws me off now and again. More specifically, though, everything has tightened. The production sounds cleaner, the songwriting is actually more focused than people give it credit for, and Schuldiner was finally starting to ditch the gory lyrics in favor of more social and philosophical issues.

With that said, how are the songs? They follow the typical Death "verse/pre-chorus/chorus/solo/verse/pre-chorus/chorus/sudden stop" formula fans have come to expect by this point, but with the sort of forward-thinking attitude that makes this a great predecessor to Human. Schuldiner and co. were interested in progressing the band's sound, and it shows. It's probably best to start with the opening number "Living Monstrosity" because it's the first impression. As the mid-tempo riff starts up, you may realize the aforementioned tightness in the sound compared to Leprosy. One other thing to note is that Chuck's vocals are a touch odd, and are my main issue with the album. While they're not bad, there's an unsettling echo effect used on his voice that sounds pretty off-kilter compared to how organic the rest of the music is. However, going back to the song, it's an exceptionally strong opener, combining thrashy riffs, an emotional chorus that repeats the beginning motif to great effect, and an emotionally poignant solo that leads to Schuldiner's climactic lyric, "Some say she's naive; she's a stupid bitch." Blunt, but effective.

The other tracks are of a similar nature to "Living Monstrosity," but all have certain moments that set them apart from each other. For instance, after a rather complex riff pattern in "Low Life," a solo battle between Schuldiner and other guitarist James Murphy comes out of the blue. They both let their playing styles clash as a galloping thrash riff illustrates the background behind the two leads. Also worthy of noting is the doom-laden intro to "Altering the Future"; while the rest of the song is Death doing business as usual, the beginning sets a completely different tone, one of despair and a loss of hope. Even when the mid-tempo riff for the verse appears, the atmosphere set by the first thirty seconds continues to loom over the music long after it has concluded. Finally, there's the title track. Good God, the song is great. After a very Halloween-esque (seriously, it sounds eerily close to something out of the main theme from the Halloween movies) intro, the rest of the song is absolutely jam-packed with those "certain moments" I mentioned, the ones that set it apart from other songs on the album. How about the unorthodox riff that manages to be in 4/4 time, and yet has some of the most off-kilter drum work in Death's discography? How about the constant tempo-switches during the speed metal portions? How about the chilling chorus with rapid guitar runs and Schuldiner screaming the song's title? Great moments are littered throughout the song, making the whole thing an absolute highlight.

There's not much else more to say, really. Spiritual Healing is a delightful slice of death metal, as well as a great illustration of how Death were progressing as a group and an entity. While later albums like The Sound of Perseverance and Individual Thought Patterns would come to surpass it, the album has aged very well and remains an early technical death metal classic even after twenty-three years.

P.S.: What the hell is up with that silly album cover?

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Leprosy by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.04 | 157 ratings

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Leprosy
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 The Sound Of Perseverance by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.19 | 403 ratings

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The Sound Of Perseverance
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

5 stars I have a slight history with this album. I remember back in the day when Virgin Megastore was still open. Oddly enough in the metal section, they where having a massive sale on all albums from Nuclear Blast. I must admit, because of this sale I did get into a lot of good music. I also got this album, which is the only album released on Nuclear Blast. And wow...I am so glad I got this album.

Personally I think this album is one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. It is also one of the greatest metal albums of all time. I also think it's one of the greatest albums of all time. If anyone ever disses metal or death metal and tries to say it isn't art or it's just noise, I usually just blast this album at them. Either they are impressed or they run away. Either way, I win.

One of the biggest changes in the Death sound is the bigger and longer songs. On average each song is around 6 minutes, with one or 2 changes throughout. The albums sound is definitely a lot bigger. Each song is almost like a piece of classical music, with certain musical ideas being pushed together and worked upon.

As usual the band line up has changed, but this time with a difference. This time, the new line up is a bunch of new faces, who funnily enough seem to have no past experience from being in big bands. Richard Christy is definitely one of the main attractions, being one of the best metal drummers alive, and funnily enough, it's this album that kind of put his name on the map.

Vocally, Chuck has now gone into Dani Filth territory, with his screams being so high that it's hard to even wonder if they are even human. Overtime he was getting better with his vocals, but this album is definitely him at his pinnacle.

The album opener "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow" is like a mastodon toppling over you. The drum intro alone can you send you into a coma. An absolute classic song with some really impressive instrumental work.

"Bite The Pain" starts off rather beautifully before exploding into a dark and twisted song. Brilliantly arranged and full of exciting twists and turns.

The albums lead single "Spirit Crusher" is just a Death classic. Having covered this song in one of my old bands (vocals and guitar by the way), I know how much of a hard song it is to play and I was honoured to cover it. Just a classic really.

The album's real crowning achievement has to be the 8 minute epic "Flesh & The Power It Holds." The layout of this song is really smart with loads of build ups and break downs throughout and a powerful vocal performance from Chuck. Lyrically the song is just brilliant...it's about sex, which always makes me happy.

The album's instrumental "Voice Of The Soul" is a rather beautiful moment on the album and really shows off how much of an amazing guitarist Chuck was. One of the most insane moments on the album is the bonus track. Now, covering Judas Priest and doing it well takes a lot of skill indeed, especially with a song like "Painkiller". I have to admit, when I first heard this cover, I was completely blown away. Musically of course the song is slightly faster than original and a little bit heavier, but vocally, it's very different. To out do Rob Halford takes a lot of power and impression, and Chuck is able to accomplish this. His vocals are just insane and easily topple the shrieks of any power metal vocalist.

In conclusion, this album is just an absolute classic. The only people who I've ever heard criticisms from usually are not death metal fans, but for death metal fans, this album is like Valhalla. Pretty much flawless in it's design and sound, this album's power and impact will never die. Sadly the band are no more due to Chuck's untimely death, but as a swansong, this album really does pack a punch.

9.4/10

RIP Chuck Schuldiner

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the artist addition. and to CCVP for the last updates

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