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Death - Leprosy CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.09 | 187 ratings

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4 stars "Leprosy" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US death metal act Death. The album was released through Combat Records in August 1988. After releasing "Scream Bloody Gore (1987)", band founder Chuck Schuldiner opted to move back to Florida, and as Death was essentially a two-man band at the time, and drummer Chris Reifert decided to stay in California (he would later found Autopsy), a whole new lineup had to be assembled. Rick Rozz who had been a member of Death in their formative demo years joined as the bandīs second guitarist, and drummer Bill Andrews was also added to the lineup. Although Terry Butler is credited for playing the bass on the album, Schuldiner stated in several interviews over the years, that it was in fact him who performed bass in addition to guitars and vocals. As the case also was on the predecessor "Leprosy" is graced by one of the distinct looking cover artworks by Edward J. Repka. The album was recorded in April 1988 at Morrisound Recording with producer Dan Johnson, and is one of the earliest examples of a death metal album recorded at that now legendary studio.

While the music style on the album is old school US death metal, which was also the case on "Scream Bloody Gore (1987)", and the music on "Leprosy" is unmistakably the sound of Death, there is still a huge difference between the two albums in terms of the quality and complexity of the songwriting, the sound production, and the musicianship. "Leprosy" was not only the next logical step for Death, it was also a transformation from a rather primitive and raw death metal act to a more sophisticated (yet still brutal and raw) ditto. This is not technical death metal by any means though, and some of the transitions between sections are still a bit amaturish and abrupt, but itīs obvious that Schuldiner had grown as a composer/musician since the debut, but also that the rest of the lineup was relatively technically skilled.

The material on the 8 track, 38:51 minutes long album is generally well written and for the most part quite catchy for the genre. The riffs are brutal yet intelligent, the guitar solos delivered with fierce intensity, the rhythm section is solid, and the intelligible aggressive growling vocals are performed with passion and conviction. Highlights include the title track, "Pull the Plug", and "Open Casket", but "Leprosy" is a solid release through and through.

The sound production is raw and brutal, yet detailed, and suits the music perfectly. So "Leprosy" is in any way possible a step up from the debut, and overall a great quality release. Itīs the perfect transition album between the old school death metal of "Scream Bloody Gore (1987)" and the more technically focused death metal of "Spiritual Healing (1990)". A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 4/5 |


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