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Death - The Sound of Perseverance - 90%

Orbitball, March 25th, 2010

Originally formed as Mantas in 1983, the late musical legend Chuck Schuldiner decided to change the band's name to Death back in 1984. Their older material was considered to be straight forward death metal. This would include "Scream Bloody Gore", "Leprosy", "Spiritual Healing" and "Human" (1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991 respectively). Their later releases shy away from this death metal only approach, and would be considered to fall under genres of death/progressive metal. That seemed to be the aim for this final Death album. Chuck's progression in his songwriting really steered in the direction of this more melodic sounding song types, and a lesser focus on death metal only, as was previously mentioned.

The music on this album showed another very skilled and creative form of metal song writings. This displayed how Chuck focused more on melodic/technical guitar parts, and was opposed to being simply tied down to one particular genre. The guitar riffs on here reflect the mastermind's ideas put forth into action. This release is problably Death's most technical one; I'd say more so than any of their previous albums. The tracks such as "Scavenger of Human Sorrow", "Bite the Pain", "Spirit Crusher" and "Flesh and the Power It Holds" are extravagantly written songs. The reason I say this is because they seemed to be more reflective on melodic riffs and high screeching vocals, instead of the past heavier riff writing styles alongside a hoarse or guttural throat. Everything on here featured Chuck at his best in terms of songwriting capabilities; each track has its key moments, especially on the instrumental entitled "Voice of the Soul."

The song tempos are moderately fast and explosive, with the exception of a few tracks. The metal just flows on this album, and each track demonstrates guitar parts that are totally original sounding and awe inspiring. There aren't any tracks on here that are boring or repetitive. The songs are so well thought out, and it's an amazing album to listen to. Analyzing each song, it's clear that every one of them are so original in their entirety. Some pieces seem to shine more so than others when it comes to their unique qualities, but overall the embellishments are remarkable. It's true that Chuck didn't like categories of metal; this was featured on a past interview via www.emptywords.org. But anyhow, his musical abilities really shined the most on this Death album; Chuck took metal to a new exploration here. For the most part, the songs are less brutal but still very catchy.

The sound quality was brilliantly mixed with each instrument well heard throughout the album. This was arguably one of the best produced Death releases ever thanks to Jim Morris. On a few different notes, I must say that the overall playing of each member was awesome. For example, Shannon Hamm, their last rhythm/lead guitarist was a little more technical than Chuck on his leads. He had a unique picking style, which was featured on Death's live DVD. Overall, this is one of the best lineups Chuck arranged to be featured here on this album. At the time, these musicians were hardly even known. Chuck was always notorious for selecting a different lineup on pretty much all of Death's releases. Each of the musicians on here are very talented, and Chuck did another good job of selecting the right people to perform on here.

Death's lyrical concepts focused more on topics such as spirituality and society, as opposed to mainly just gore. They are the most thought out than previous releases, and reflect these newer focal points. However, on most Death albums, Chuck's lyrics are very well done, especially on "Individual Thought Patterns" (1993). This final Death album is again arguably the best Death release, lyrically speaking. The focus was more spiritually driven, with less of an emphasis on other previous topics. A good example of this concept was on the track entitled "Spirit Crusher." In addition, this album features a cover for Judas Priest's "Painkiller" on the last track, which was because of Nuclear Blast's re-released version back in 2001. A really good cover to say the least.

In conclusion, "The Sound of Perseverance" is Death's most technical and one of the most brilliant releases out of their entire discography. There aren't any tracks on here that don't show Chuck's brilliance in songwriting in terms of musical and lyrical capabilities. Chuck was metal's Mozart for sure, and death metal was pretty much founded by the band, at least during their earliest days. Don't miss out on this release, because it demonstrates so much diversity and originality. Chuck will be missed, but his legacy lives on through his music, in which he was able to put forth while he was living.