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The Dramatic Changes Begin - 98%

Anus_Canis, February 21st, 2021

Only a year and eight months after Spiritual Healing was released, Human was released, and in that time, Death's style was beginning to change dramatically. Although Death made subtle changes to their sound up to this point, none of these changes were as dramatic as the one between Spiritual Healing and Human. Although this change wasn't flawlessly pulled off, it was still executed amazingly nonetheless. It is also rather enjoyable, although not as much so as Leprosy or Spiritual Healing.

The album's atmosphere is abrasive and punitive yet exceptionally unconventional and jazzy like Atheist's Elements albeit not in the same way. Although it reminds me of Atheist's Elements in terms of progressivism and its unconventional sound, the guitar tone especially reminds me of the tone from Atheist's Piece of Time, Unquestionable Presence, Cannibal Corpse's Eaten Back to Life, Malevolent Creation's The Ten Commandments, and Immolation's Dawn of Possession. Although this is not my favorite Death album, it managed to draw me in with its strange atmosphere, making it all the more compelling to me. I honestly don't have too much more to say about it, but it's as intriguing and well-executed as the atmosphere found in Atheist's Elements.

As for the musicianship itself, although not perfect, it is executed well and complements the album amazingly. Steve DiGiorgio's (yes, the same Steve DiGiorgio as the one in Sadus and Testament) basslines, whenever audible (and whenever needed), give the album more tone and pack some punch. Unfortunately, Bill Andrews isn't on this album since Sean Reinert (R.I.P.) replaced him, but Reinert's drumming has as much technical complexity and life as Bill Andrews'. Reinert integrates time-signature changes in his drum technique just as well as Bill Andrews did in previous albums and is all-around enjoyable to listen to. Finally, as for Paul Masvidal (who replaced James Murphy on guitars) and the legendary Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.) himself, their guitar work is phenomenal albeit strange in some tracks, though particularly in "Lack of Comprehension", "Cosmic Sea", and "Vacant Planets". I could tell that they, along with the other members, had some jazz influences in their playing, not entirely unlike that of Atheist in their first three albums. Although there is some wankery in their playing, there isn't too much of that since such instances are primarily found in "Cosmic Sea", which is the weirdest track I have ever heard in a Death album. Overall, the musicianship, although not perfect, is executed well and complements the album amazingly.

However, as highly as I rate the album, I still have a few complaints. First, the overall enjoyment factor is a little lower than in Leprosy and Spiritual Healing since it didn't particularly scream flawless to me. So far, it's my second-least favorite album out of the only four Death albums I've listened to, albeit the album I rated the lowest. Next, Chuck Schuldiner's vocals aren't nearly as enjoyable as in the previous albums since the delivery is much weaker than in albums such as Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy; they are comparatively underwhelming, although not as much as Terry Glaze's vocals from the earliest Pantera albums or Kelly Shaefer's vocals from Elements and the abysmally composed piece of garbage that is called Jupiter. Finally, there is a little bit of wankery in some parts of the album, but most notably in "Cosmic Sea", which is a weird as hell track. Fortunately, the wankery isn't too strongly present on the album, so the enjoyment factor isn't completely gone.

By and large, Death's Human is an album that made dramatic changes to the sound previously heard on Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing. Although they didn't pull off this change perfectly, they still executed it amazingly nonetheless. The atmosphere is abrasive and punitive yet unconventional and jazzy in its sound, and the musicianship is executed well and complements the album amazingly. Each member at this time did a tremendous job at drawing in my attention and did just as well at this as Atheist's Elements. However, the overall enjoyment factor is lower than in previous albums, Chuck Schuldiner's vocals are underwhelming, and the wankery in some tracks (but especially in "Cosmic Sea") drags down the quality of the album, albeit not by much. Moreover, Death was beginning to make dramatic changes to their overall sound, and I'm interested to see how it continued to change in subsequent albums. Overall, I recommend that those reading this review listen to this album, even if it ends up not being your thing.