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Death - Spiritual Healing CD (album) cover

SPIRITUAL HEALING

Death

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.46 | 154 ratings

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Xanadu97
3 stars Another 3.5 stars from me, as this one sees DEATH progressing even further but they still aren't quite "there" yet. Most people overlook this one, as it's sandwiched in between the early classic (Leprosy) and the start of the progressive death metal albums (Human). I think this one is slightly better than Leprosy, with all the rough edges of the previous being smoothed out now. We have a second guitarist worthy of matching and complimenting Chuck's ability in James Murphy, whose distinctive lead guitar really stood out on in all the various Florida bands he played with. The rhythm section is still the same two guys from Leprosy, but it's never out of place and keeps up to the standard of the rest fine. It's a more grinding album than previous ones but more polished also, and the songwriting moves up two notches. DEATH had moved forward and could compete with just about any of the leading bands that had stormed the scene in 1989.

Each of these early albums are logical, but still surprising developments, showing that DEATH could not be left behind as the death metal scene reached its peak. Living Monstrosity is the first of many crippling mid-paced numbers, with twice as much meat on the bones as Leprosy executed with twice as much precision. Still standard stuff, but littered with memorable songs, some which are amongst the bands heaviest and direct. Basic thrash structure is all but filtered out here, with the title track serving as an epic telling sign that the band were in for a bright and creative future. None of the songs are weak as a whole, but certain parts of them feel a little "slow" and uninspired. I feel that Low Life is the weakest here, while not bad it kind of leans on its chorus part to keep it going. That Altering the Future and Within the Mind would rank well within top 20 songs by this band says a lot considering how highly I regard the bands later work.

To sum the review up, Spiritual Healing is yet another bold move in a more sophisticated and complex direction from the band but is still not able to be called prog death metal yet. This of course sadly limits its appeal and it's often regarded as the weakest DEATH album by fans which makes me feel this is underrated. It's worth forgetting about the groundbreaking Leprosy and the giant leap that is Human when listening to this one to fully appreciate it.

Xanadu97 | 3/5 |

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