The 2016 Death List

It’s over.  Liberals can, at last, breathe out a sigh of relief.  2016 can’t kill any more of their decadent dreams, debauched celebrity heroes, and media trustworthiness.  Everywhere, they disowned 2016—crying out in a voice dissimilar only in accent to their ugly English-reject comedian’s haughtiness, “it’s the current year, b-but, the current year sucks!  I mean, come on!”  2016 took with it their trust in the media pundits, their faith in a system that had been slanted in their favor for years, their ideologically purity of candidate Bernie Sanders and, later, the historical certainty, the fairness, of candidate Hillary Clinton.  It robbed them of the satisfaction that the last eight years of direct cultural warfare under President Obama had tried to tell them they deserved.  It laughed at their attempts to secure moral high grounds and shocked them when they realized that ironic anonymous internet trolls had better senses of humor than they did—or, even, that these trolls had senses of humor at all!  And of course, in its passing, 2016 took a long list of celebrities that many of the more shallow among us modeled our public opinions after. Continue reading “The 2016 Death List”

Death – Individual Thought Patterns (1993)

Chuck Schuldiner – guitars, vocals, production
Andy LaRocque – guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
Gene Holgan – drums, guitars

Two years after the most significant shift in Death’s sound, Individual Thought Patterns hit shelves in mid-June of 1993, marking yet another transmutation of style and direction. Although maintaining the high standard of musicianship set by the last album, the mix of talent and the execution of Schuldiner’s experimental ideas fall short of the heights Death had proven itself capable of. Continue reading “Death – Individual Thought Patterns (1993)”

Death – Human (1991)

Released – 1991

Chuck Schuldiner – guitars, vocals, production
Paul Masvidal – guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
Sean Reinert – drums, percussion

1991 saw the release of Human, bringing Death and Chuck Schuldiner at last into the a realm hitherto unseen before in extreme metal. Aspects of this development had already been foreshadowed by other bands, including Schuldiner’s own output prior—Spiritual Healing precipitated some of it, to be sure—but nothing had come before that saw the level of technical virtuosity, compositional complexity, intensity, and pure pleasure of listening all put together in one package of extreme metal before quite like Human. Continue reading “Death – Human (1991)”

Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)

Recorded – 1989
Released – February 16, 1990

Chuck Schuldiner – guitars, vocals
James Murphy – guitar
Terry Butler – bass
Bill Andrews – drums
Eric Greif – Keyboard

The last of Death’s “pre-prog” period of death metal, Spiritual Healing presents a more refined approach than what was present on the sledgehammer of Scream Bloody Gore or the baseball bat of malice present in Leprosy. This album isn’t a single, somewhat unwieldly bludgeoning weapon of sonic destruction like the last two; it’s a bit more dynamic, better presented, and more complex both in music and in lyrics. Continue reading “Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)”

Death – Leprosy (1988)

Chuck Schuldiner – guitars, bass, vocals
Rick Rozz – guitar
Bill Andrews – drums

Recorded – 1988
Released – 1988

Within the year that Scream Bloody Gore was released, Death had already begun work on songs that would form their next album, Leprosy. A musical product greater than its predecessor, Leprosy was at once exhilarating and entertaining while at the same time less of an achievement or benchmark for the emergent extreme metal genre. Continue reading “Death – Leprosy (1988)”

Death – Scream Bloody Gore

It’s October, so this month I’ll be starting a specific column on Chuck Schuldiner’s famous and esteemed death metal outfit, the aptly-named Death. Every extreme metal listener and fan has an opinion of Death, and generally speaking, most listeners are fans of at least one portion of the group’s outfit. Whether it’s “older Death” or “later Death,” most can agree that the man almost entirely behind the outfit, the remarkably talented Chuck Schuldiner, accomplished feats in the genre that few can boast of, while aspiring still toward what even fewer have attempted since. Continue reading “Death – Scream Bloody Gore”

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