When it comes to death metal in my books, Chuck Schuldiner had no equals. He was and is a man that had his own thing, did his own thing, and did it better than anyone who later tried to imitate his work. In the world of death metal Chuck rules supreme and will probably and rightfully forever hold the moniker “father of death metal”. His style of infusing tons of melody with crushing brutality created a form of death metal that many dime-in-a-dozen “Christ-is-a-bitch-breubreubreu”-cliché-hacks could take note from. Chucks guitar playing, his singing, the compositions – it was all so unique.
Overactive Imagination kicks it up straight with a bang, with crushing riffs and brutally fast yet precise drumming from Gene Hoglan, one of my favourite drummers. It has been seen from Dark Angel to Death and Strapping Young Lad that having Hoglan playing on an album is a bit like a quality guarantee for fans of more extreme metal. The guy is a machine. Bass player Steve DiGiorgio doesn’t loose one bit in this crowd, as his very original and over-the-top bass lines widdle and keep the backline together at the same time. His use of the fretless bass and solo-like bass parts give the music even more of a special feel. King Diamond-guitar wizard Andy LaRoque helped out on the guitar parts for the studio sessions of the album and by god did it work. The guitar sounds in general on this record are awesome, very thick and cutting like razor blade, whether its during the ultra-speed riffing or widdling solos. And of course one cant underestimate Chucks voice, that voice – the voice of death metal. So brutal, so harsh but at the same time so clear and comprehensive so that the lyrics are very understandable. No one did this in death metal like Chuck.
In Human Form and Jealousy play with the rhythmic patterns, switching from fast to slow chugging and mid-paced mayhem. Along with the final masterpiece TSOP, I would say that this is Deaths most progressive and diverse work, which is saying a lot because Death was never that one-dimensional, even on the more primitive first records. Trapped In A Corner begins with excellent harmonizing lead melodies and builds itself to another progressive brutalizer. Chucks solos are simply amazing. He never did care that much for conventional scales and structures but just somehow he made it all fit and sound damn good. The mark of a true musical genius. The deep and thoughtful lyrics about many personal difficulties and problems in the world also display Chucks abilities. He never went the easy way to just praise satan and blabber about raping virgins with knives in every second song. Chuck was way too talented for that, and good for him. I could start to take the rest of the album apart more accurately but its not that important. A myriad of killing riffs, brutal beats, wild tempo changes, solos to fry your brain cells and painfully emotional screaming from the Evil One are found on all of the songs. This is Death, what would you expect, dammit! Even some keyboards and acoustic guitar come up here and there to create haunting backgrounds and mellow breathing spaces among the moshing hell!
The production leaves nothing to be desired and everything just annihilates.
Along with Human and The Sound Of Perseverance, this is my
favourite Death album. Of course that doesn’t exclude
anything out because Death is one of the few bands that never
released a bad disc. This album also holds my idea of the greatest Death
line-up, well, maybe along with the one on TSOP. But petty details
aside, the man who never followed trends, never failed his own beliefs and never
did anything else on his albums but something that can be classified as sheer
metal bliss – Chuck Schuldiner. Take off your hats and salute, people,
the genius who left us too early deserves ultimate respect. And so do his albums.
You go and buy now, Pronto!
Killing Songs :
Every single one of ´em!
95 / 100
Jeff quoted 100 / 100
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