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While their are divisions among fans of Death as to which period of Death they like, I am one of those who loves all Death albums and is able to appreciate each one for their different sound. This album seems to focus less on the technical aspects of albums such as Human and Individual Thought Patterns and focuses more on the melody as was the direction on Symbolic. Now onto what makes this album so excellent.
Firstly there are no filler songs on this album to be found. Starting with Scavenger of Human Sorrow and ending with an excellent cover of Painkiller, this album is yet another masterpiece album in the Death discography and unfortunately the last. The cover of Painkiller also features what I would call the most amazing scream of all time, the vocals sound a little forced but overall epic. This album is melodic featuring many great riffs, amazing drumming and some great sounding bass lines.
The drums are a major standout point on this album. On drums is Richard Christy giving one of the best drum performances on an album in metal history. He plays with style and effectively makes every second of every song tasteful yet technical. I really love how he does the drums in Scavenger of Human Sorrow.
Now for the vocals, the vocals are very high pitched and almost sounds like Schuldiner is straining himself to make this last Death album as if he knew what would happen in a few years. While I personally prefer his vocals on Spiritual Healing to Individual Thought Patterns, these vocals fit right in with the rest of the music.
As for the bass, well its audible and manages to add a lot to the music, especially on Spirit Crusher. And me as a bass player, I like it when I can hear the bass very well. Another thing to love about the bass is that it doesn't just follow the guitar or have a very simple beat like the majority of what is put out the radio, it manages to have its own identity while following the guitar at times when it would flow best.
The only downside to this album is that the guitar solos seem to be lacking but overall, all the songs are beautiful. However, I just feel like the solos could have had some more effort put into them. I don't know what it is that makes me feel this, but I can remember all the riffs on this album but hardly any of the solos.
This album in a way has deep emotion put into it, especially in the lyrics as well as the instrumental Voice of the Soul. This instrumental makes use of two electric guitars and an acoustic which is kind of used like the drums on this song. It evokes a sense of beauty and makes you miss Chuck when you hear it.
While not my favorite Death album, I still consider this to be a masterpiece and a great last breath of life for Death (no pun intended).
Standout tracks: Scavenger of Human Sorrow, Spirit Crusher, Voice of the Soul, Moment of Clarity