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Brutal Death! - 95%

Hames_Jetfield, January 16th, 2021

A lot has been written about such cds as "Leprosy" (the question about which Death is not?), and yet this album is still very popular (and again, which Death is not?), and you can still come across those who they describe it with tremendous excitement as if it had just released today (and again, and which Death is not?). I am not surprised there, of course, Chuck's music underwent a lot of changes then and at the same time broke through "Scream Bloody Gore", and they could not make too much effort and record a copy of the debut album. Fortunately, it happened otherwise!

First, a new line-up. Death was then joined by Bill Andrews and Rick Rozz, and the bassist duties were again taken by Chuck (Terry Butler joined after recording "Leprosy"). Both of these musicians, despite the fact that some of the weaker ones who passed through Death, paradoxically fit perfectly into Schuldiner ideas at that time, on the one hand much more technical (which, of course, guitars dominate), and on the other hand, still based on death metal "splitting". A new quality, but also a very important direction in which Chuck developed his music more or less on subsequent albums - so that it would be transparent in terms of genres (i.e. always death metal), and at the same time slightly different (within the known style).

This approach worked on the occasion of "Scream Bloody Gore" (against the background of demos), it also worked for "Leprosy". Songs such as "Left To Die", "Born Dead", "Pull The Plug", "Primitive Ways" or "Open Casket" offer a distinctly different feeling compared to those from the debut, they are more interesting and each of them is completely a different idea (so as not to confuse them with each other). However, I will not elaborate on this in more detail, as the previous paragraph has already referred to it a bit. However, the biggest impression on "Leprosy" is - attention, there are banalies/oxymorons! - not excessive brutality, quite catchy, cool, gloomy atmosphere and even better "vomiting" vocals. Moving on, on "Leprosy" there appeared also Chuck's tendency to combine riffs (but on a much smaller scale than later), which is generally something that can be considered one of the most important determinants of his group's style. Quantitatively, there is not much of it here, although in a few tracks it does add variety to the music.

And all this perfectly shows how much "Leprosy" is a perfectly composed album. It's been a long time since its release, and the release still makes a huge impression and - as you can see from the volume of the review - still makes you think a bit longer. It's clearly visible on this album that death metal is not only a simple playing and a few simple chords, but much more - that this music can be as rich in terms of arrangement as other styles, not necessarily related to metal. The next longplays, which drifted with this "wealth" even further, were also confirmation.

Originally on:

Excellent, The Start of Death's Musical Evolution - 80%

DanielG06, December 31st, 2020

Leprosy was, although not as ground-breaking as Scream Bloody Gore, extremely important in broadening the world of extreme metal. During this time, there was very little out there to offer in terms of metal that went beyond heavy metal, speed metal and the first wave of thrash metal. There was maybe Celtic Frost (and Hellhammer of course), Sodom, Mayhem, Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower, but apart from that, nothing even came close to black or death metal, as I stated in the Scream Bloody Gore review. That album, however, changed everything, and paved the way for Death's future. The result was Leprosy. Despite not being as musically flawless as its predecessor, or as shocking and materialistically explicit either, it certainly took Death to new technical and structural heights, and the songs are just as catchy this time around.

The listener is instantly enveloped in this eerie atmosphere when the title track kicks in, and Chuck lets out one of his best screams in his entire career. His vocals on this entire record are much more transpicuous and in an even lower register than Scream Bloody Gore, and the lyrical content focuses on brutal detail and dramatic adjectives rather than the usual "fuck this fuck that kill the bitch rip out her cunt eat her corpse," and personally I think this really adds to the originality of Leprosy, but the vocals aren't the only thing that has been ameliorated. The riffs are slow, looming, doomy and even progressive at some parts, especially on longer songs such as the title track and Choke On It, both of which evolve really well and feel like properly structured songs that contain substance in their writing. Almost every riff is just pure death metal heaven, and there's an infectious groove on songs like Left To Die that seems to be exclusive to only this Death album. The choruses are also catchy as hell, Born Dead and Forgotten Path have these addictive hooks that are just filled with attitude and elaborate articulation.

The production has been massively improved, the drums sound massive and barbaric, and the drums parts themselves are much more technical here, Bill Andrews was a machine. the bass adds grit and headbangability and the guitars have a piercing echo. It's almost like they optimised the mixing to fit the songs perfectly, it creates this ruined, hopeless, aggressively melancholy atmosphere and I love it. Despite not returning to most of these singular songs that often, except for my two absolute favourites, the album in its entirety is a great experience that I never get tired of, even now after 30 or even 40 listens, it's one of those records you can just turn on and play all the way through easily because aforementioned cohesive production and brutal, unique songwriting.

Open Casket and Primitive Ways have a progressive nature that differed from the majority of extreme music at the time. The riffs diversify at a perfect rate, they're never too repetitive or too abrupt, and the subject matter is cruel and unforgiving, tapping into the morbid side of human nature, and it's such an interesting topic that isn't too samey or cheesy.

As I mentioned earlier, I have two clear favourites on this album : Born Dead and Pull the Plug. Born Dead is just explosive, impactful, memorable and overall competent in getting its message across, and every section is seamless and well-produced. Pull the Plug is on its own level entirely. It's easily one of the absolute best death metal songs of all time, because of the deathly emotion behind the riffs, I'd try to point out highlight riffs but that's just impossible, all of them are completely incredible. The intro riff, the second verse riff, both of the post-chorus riffs, and of course the chorus riff itself, which may be my favourite Death riff that isn't on their last two albums, and the solo, oh my God. Most of the solos on this album are sort of average, they're fine, but lack individuality and substantial quality, but the Pull the Plug solo is just legendary, it's mind-blowingly epic and evil, and cemented Rick Rozz as an essential guitar player that any fan of this style of music should look up to.

To conclude, while it's not perfect, it's a bloody great album that no death metal fan should skip.

Bow to Chuck, part two - 95%

Felix 1666, August 21st, 2019
Written based on this version: 1988, 12" vinyl, Under One Flag

I have read that modern cars do not have a CD player anymore. How I hate the modern times! I am waiting for the day the European Union forbids to produce record players, because an overeager environmentalist has found out that the playing of vinyl releases a dangerous form of particulate matter. However, until today I do not hurt any laws when putting a great album on my turntable. One of the greatest is "Leprosy", the second work of Chuck (R.I.P.) and his then new sidekicks.

The fantastic artwork belongs to the best pictures of Ed Repka, despite or exactly because of the pink sky. I admit that this colour usually ornaments the nursery of a little girl, but here it builds the perfect contrast to the settlement of the lepers. The generation spotify will never understand the majestic might of a holistic approach. Come on guys, just drive your car without CD player and listen to whatever you want.

"Leprosy" appears less furious and spontaneous than the famous debut. Its tracks are more controlled and possess a higher degree of maturity. Nevertheless, the evolutionary process remains manageable. Death do not break out of the frame they have set themselves when starting the band. The compositions just have a smooth flow, but this does not mean that the band has become a toothless monster. Neither the guitars nor the drums lack force. Producer Dan Johnson and engineer Scott Burns have forged a pretty perfect sound. Chuck's somewhat limited yet expressive voice comes into its own, the drums and the guitars meet each other as equal partners. In particular the drumming of Bill Andrews deserves attention, because he works with a high degree of precision, he uses the double bass to the right extent and his fill-ins shine with effectiveness.

As mentioned before, "Leprosy" has never been as impulsive as "Scream Bloody Gore" and maybe that's the reason why it failed to reach the status of a timeless classic. I am listening to an overwhelming work, but it cannot hide its date of birth. Unbelievable 31 years after its release, it is absolutely obvious that it originates from another time. But this supposed weakness is simultaneously the strength of the full-length. While Death's debut can be seen as the initial impulse for an entire prospering genre, their second album stands for its era. It avoids any kind of external influences, because there was just no reason to integrate some. The genre was still young and the approach of Death was highly original. No doubt, the quartet delivered the second blueprint for further publications. They did not focus on extremely low-tuned guitars and there was still a connection to the thrash scene. For example, Chuck's vocals are raw and mean, but he does not growl and so they would have also fit on a thrash album. Death metal was still in its infancy and Chuck's second monstrosity marks a milestone in its evolution. Thousands death metal albums followed, but I don't think that many of them are really comparable with "Leprosy", because they are more "extreme" and recorded by less competent musicians.

By the way, it was not only Chuck who made the album to something special. I have already mentioned Bill Andrews, but Rick Rozz also made a strong input. My personal highlight, "Primitive Ways", is written by him. Its fascinating guitars crush any form of disbelief, the solo is great and the most brutal side of the band emerges. Of course, the title track, penned by Chuck, does not stand in the shadow of this number and the compact "Born Dead" also hails from more or less the same level. Nevertheless, "Primitive Ways" has a very special flavour from my point of view. Yet it goes without saying that the album is filled to the brim with outstanding songs. The closer, for example, starts pretty slow, but it grows constantly and especially the gripping solo part raises a proper storm. Finally, Death were aware of the importance of a catchy part from time to time. The chorus of "Forgotten Past" illustrates this and separated the band from all those fools who thought that sole brutality is a value in itself.

"Leprosy" constitutes a true monolith in view of its homogeneous overall appearance. It takes me back in time. Was everything better in the good old days? No, the Berlin Wall was still standing, I had to do my military service and information about metal bands were hard to find, because nobody already thought of a world wide web. Anyway, "Leprosy" stands for the good part of the past -and it doesn't matter that most cars also had no CD player back in 1988.

Not dead - it's a killer! - 94%

gasmask_colostomy, February 21st, 2018

What is death metal? That's a big question and one that has been argued over countless times. I'm not the biggest fan of the genre, nor do I particularly care about whether Possessed got there first or whether Death's debut full-length Scream Bloody Gore was death metal in the true sense, but what I do know is this - Leprosy has everything that death metal really needs. With almost every type of extreme metal, there is a certain conviction that a band needs to play it and be believed and that conviction comes oozing off the eight songs here.

What tells me that this is really death metal is not that it sounds dark all the time or that the lyrics could be part of a drinking game about how many times you can mention demise, simply that the band rip into every song like tearing a cadaver's head off its softening body. This is brutal and relentless: it needs very little of the slow, sick grind that Autopsy had or the graphic extremism of Cannibal Corpse, nor even the relentless speed of outfits like Sadus and Possessed; Leprosy is just brutal in a way that continues to flay your ears and kick your arse from start to finish. There's definitely something to be said about Chuck Schuldiner's guitar playing, the scythe of his quicker riffs blurring through the air like throwing stars slicing through your curtains and into your bedroom, while the grunting click of the bass keeps relentless pace as Bill Andrews on drums blasts forwards with all the force of a concrete freight train, gaining atmosphere and potency from the reverby mix. That some of the mid-paced riffs on the title track and 'Left to Die' crash in like heavyweight thrash breaks only confirms how right Sodom were on Persecution Mania, because those sections are twice as heavy and ten times as fun as the chaos elsewhere, plus perfect candidates for memorable highlights.

When one gets into specifics about the songs on Leprosy, the development of Schuldiner's formula is simply frightening compared to other bands of the same era. The manner in which 'Pull the Plug' manages to include the hooky churning riff that leads it off, the slower chugging refrain that leads back into the same hook with blasts, and some melodic guitar acrobatics that still sound "other" while making consonant sense in the same manner as Iron Maiden's guitarists is - like this overlong sentence - rather a stretch to fully comprehend, since there has rarely been music made that is both this heavy and so easy to distinguish throughout its progress. All of the songs on the album have something similar to those notable features from 'Pull the Plug', whether that be the astounding guitar + bass solo on 'Born Dead', the climactic riffing of 'Open Casket' as Schuldiner roars out the title, or those skullfucking riffs that I've already mentioned. And, in case you're doubting the overall quality of the album, every song has a riff that would make me punch out Mike Tyson without second thoughts. You know, if he happened to knock on the door.

Other than those features, it seems rather pointless to also froth over the quality of the leads, but for a genre that sets such store by James Murphy and Trey Azagthoth, Schuldiner and partner in shred Rick Rozz (not quite the death metal name one envisages) do a sterling job at whipping up not only the furies of hell with some squealing noise breaks, but also much more intricate leads that leave 'Forgotten Past' unlikely to be forgotten in the near future and lend 'Choke On It' a structuredly chaotic strike towards its end. That final song does deviate slightly from the trend of the rest of the album, focusing on some slower melodies and morbid heavy metal riffing, though it suits the album to end on a different note. The only song that underwhelms in part is 'Forgotten Past', which opens in a style too thrashy and chuggy to match the intensity and mood of the surrounding extremity, though only the first minute suffers in this regard. There are also a few parts of songs that blend into one another, since the faster verses often have similar styles that Andrews blasts through, thus leaving the identity slightly indistinct. For the most part, however, Leprosy is a fearsome and exhilarating album that has barely aged since its release almost 30 years ago. It almost makes me want to shake the cover's hooded figure by the hand.

Death Leprosy - 90%

dismember_marcin, January 22nd, 2017

Let’s visit the past again. Here’s a classic Death album “Leprosy”. Oh, I think it’s the first death metal album which I’ve ever heard and it was 25-26 years ago or something like that. You can imagine how many times have I listened it since then. Hundreds? I know every riffs, every vocals line – this album has no secrets before me anymore. This is a reason why I don’t play it so often these days and I prefer to put something new instead (like Gruesome or Skeletal Remains), because I don’t feel this excitement when I hear “Leprosy” anymore. This album will surely remain a total classic for me and I will always consider it as one of the best death metal records of all time. But not as Death’s finest album, because I like “Spiritual Healing” more. This one is their second best IMO.

Anyway, it’s been one year since the band has brutally mutilated every metalhead with “Scream Bloody Gore” and “Leprosy” was released in 1988. There’s been quite significant line up change – only Chuck Schuldiner remained on the altar of gore. He was joined by his old Mantas pal Rick Rozz on guitar, as well some other Massacre members – Bill Andrews on drums and Terry Butler on bass. But Butler joined the band shortly after the recording session of “Leprosy”, so he’s here just on the photos (Chuck recorded all bass lines). Interestingly, the line up here is almost the same, as on the three years later recorded “From Beyond”, but that’s another story.

“Leprosy” definitely shows a great progression and improvement with songwriting and technical aspects. You can hear that the songs are better composed, with lots of brilliant arrangements, more detailed guitar work, drums parts and everything else. Primitive gory death metal was moved along to Autopsy with Reifert, while Death took a huge step forward. Both Schuldiner and Rozz showed some great guitar work here, came up great heavy riffs, fantastic leads or quite a lot of melody for such an aggressive death metal album. They’ve been both equally responsible for composing “Leprosy”, most of the songs were written by two of them and only two tracks (two BEST songs on the album – “Leprosy” and “Pull the Plug”) were composed solely by Chuck and one song (“Primitive Ways”, which is also my least fave track here) was written only by Rick Rozz. More mature, much more developed and though through – this is what you’ll think, if you compare “Leprosy” to “Scream Bloody Gore”. Every song bursts with great brutal energy, but surprisingly a lot of these riffs are quite catchy and memorable, which is something that will always differ Death from other, more brutal US death metal acts. Obviously it’s not the ultra-progressive and innovatory Death songs yet, so do not expect “Human” from it. This album is closer to such “Pleasure to Kill” for instance than to “Symbolic” and “Human”. It’s aggressive, often relatively fast and still rather harsh sounding, but the production is very strong aspect of this album.

I have two really favourite songs here – first one is the title track, which may even be my favourite Death song ever. Oh, I love the riffs in it, that heaviness, harshness, melodies and the vicious atmosphere of “Leprosy”. This song has also quite memorable parts, it basically is one of those songs, where every riff is nailing you to the ground and crushing immediately. And the second fave piece is “Pull the Plug”, of course! Wow, this is such a killer, I’m sure that everyone knows this track, as it’s probably one of Death’s most popular anthems. This song is relatively easy, when speaking of its structure, arrangements and everything. But it’s so bloody effective, slower parts in it are absolutely fantastic, guitar leads are perfect and yet again the music is very memorable, you will remember its chorus or some of these killer riffs forever.

But there are more exceptional songs, like “Left to Die”, “Choke on It” and “Open Casket”, so the whole 40 minutes always go fast. It’s not a perfect record, it’s not the best death metal album (although an important one in my personal ranking and my death metal history). It has its faults, especially the drums, as I don’t really like the monotonous drumming of Andrews, who especially in the faster parts seem to be playing the same patterns over and over again. But his playing seems to fit that old school death metal character of “Leprosy”, so it is not a major complain. More so, the snare drum sound is almost annoying sometimes, but I can live with that. All in all, it’s been almost 30 years since “Leprosy” was recorded and this album didn’t get old at all, I still listen to it with smile on my face and with a great pleasure. And I am sure that in another 20 years it will make the same impression, because this is a timeless album.

Standout tracks: “Leprosy”, “Pull the Plug”, “Open Casket”, “Left to Die”
Final rate: 90/100

Will Take Control And Bring You To Your Death - 98%

Caleb9000, January 24th, 2016

In the 1980s, Death was a band that was making music that was more extreme and brutal than anything else coming out of its own country. Their demos earned them a contract with Combat Records. This lead to the release of their debut album, "Scream Bloody Gore" in 1987. In the following year, they returned to the studio to record this album. When you listen to this, you can immediately tell that the writing style of Chuck Schuldiner has improved greatly. This time around, the music is more focused. It's a less simplistic album and it has more maturity and variety. However, the album still manages to maintain the raw power and aggression that the band already had, which is important. You can't be a death metal band and not be heavy and aggressive. It just doesn't work that way. When it tries to, you get those shitty bands like Suicide Silence and Asking Alexandria. I don't think that we need too much of that. One thing that this album is famous for is that it was the first of the Florida death metal album and the very first album overall to be produced by the legendary Scott Burns. He was a very skilled producer and for this reason, this here is the album that brought in other bands of the genre. It can be quite difficult to contain fast double-bass in an album and still have it sound good, let alone audible.

Now for the music on the album:

The album's title track was a track that is often praised by fans. I can't say that I get it. Sure, it is very good, but it seems a little overrated to me. It can be a little boring solo-wise and it doesn't really have a whole lot of charisma in the intro. It has grown on me over time, but I still do not find it to be quite as enjoyable as everyone continuously makes it out to be. However, I do love the following track, "Born Dead". It's one of the slower songs on the album and it has a chorus that actually sound a little on the groovy side. "Left To Die" was a song that has a bit of a darker atmosphere and it's actually pretty well-written. It's one of the more technical songs on the album and it has a really awesome solo. It's not quite technical death metal (like their later releases), but it's pretty focused for what it is. The riffs in the song are great as well. Then, there is my favorite song on the album: the roller coaster of a track, "Pull The Plug". This is a track that has some truly awesome riffage and a powerful vocal performance, one of the best that Chuck has ever performed. I had shivers run down my spine.

The scream of the word, "late" just flat out throttled me. I shoved myself back in my chair. "Open Casket" is a cool song. The truth is that there is not anything too special about it, but I find it rather amusing that whenever they would play it live, Chuck would introduce the song by saying this: "This next song is dedicated to those who don't believe in death metal". The song itself has nothing to do with anything like that, but it's still pretty amusing. The last song that I will mention is the last song on the album, "Choke On It". It is pretty much the only track on this album which I did not enjoy all that much. It's generic and the lyrics are pretty fucking stupid. It's not a horrible song, it's just not very good.

One thing that people tend to not realize about this album is that the lyrics have matured. They're still tongue-in-cheek and horror-themed, but the truth is that they aren't quite as gory. Rather than focusing on a zombie risen from the grave with vomit for a mind and maggots for a cock that is out to kill you, they deal with things that can actually happen. "Pull The Plug" is about being on life support and then being sent into depression by it. "Open Casket" is about how brief life really is. Sure, there are still those lyrics that are on the brutal side, such as "Leprosy" which deals with the disease and then "Choke On It" with lyrics about being tortured, followed by swallowing your own tongue, but hey, there are events such as this that have actually occurred or could occur.

This album is quite a target for fans of death metal and I can clearly see why that is. There are so many people that consider it to be the absolute most exceptional album, in its genre. I personally think of it as second (under Death's "Spiritual Healing" and I'm not including technical death metal or other offsprings of the genre), but as I have said in other reviews, I am just one man with one opinion. This is something that I will give to this album: If someone who has not ever heard death metal wants to hear some of it, then the very first thing that I would recommend to him/her is Death's "Leprosy".

NOW that's what I call death metal, vol.1 - 100%

sparklewhooves1, April 9th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Nexus (Japan, Remastered)

Scattered throughout my next few reviews, I'm going to have a series that will be focused on old school death metal albums that I love to gush over. All reviews in this series will be 100%, I hold no shame in the amount of old school death metal albums I consider perfect. So for a capital letter at the beginning of this pathetically long review sentence: Leprosy.

I'll be very honest in that I didn't like this album very much the first time I heard it, being initially exposed to the dreamy and philosophical blaring of "Symbolic" and "The Sound Of Perseverance". This album either moved too slow or too fast for me at all of the wrong times. Though time passes and minds become far less stupid, and I warmed up to this like a hot pocket in a microwave. Leprosy's doomy undertones and blistering groovy riffs made for a sickening, muddy birthing process for extreme metal's most profitable sub genre.

Not only was this album influential for the thousands of greasy idiotic "musicians" like myself and many others, this was a production pioneer as well. Scott Burns dipped his toes into the death metal swimming pool with this album, showing his ability to make death metal sound like actual music. In fact the production of this album was so good, it convinced a healthy amount of extreme metal bands to pack up and head over to hurricane central. That is really showing of how good your production style is, when you're able to create an entire musical scene with your mixing table. Every instrument lies just in place to an audible but earthy level. And for once, you can HEAR the bass in a Morrisound recording! What a concept! Actually, the bass and guitars (both of them) lie even in the mix. The guitars charge in like knives to the flesh of an unwilling victim, while the bass sits and laughs subtly in the corner, shaking back and forth. Drumming is lead-heavy. It lies just between the guitars and bass, giving some steel beams to hold up this death metal pantheon.

Now obviously I'm ignoring a bit of development in Death's macabre formula. Scream Bloody Gore was a masterpiece unto itself. But most consider it to be far too thrashy to be full on death metal. After a few listens to Leprosy, you start to understand where these people are coming from. Where "Scream Bloody Gore" was sickeningly brutal and particularly sticky, "Leprosy" brought on a whole new definition of sick and twisted to the metal dinner table. While it was surrounded by albums that were soul crushingly evil like "Altars Of Madness", or blunt force heavy like "In Battle There Is No Law", "Leprosy" was purely bone chilling. If Scream Bloody Gore was Night of The Living Dead, then Leprosy would have been The Exorcist. There is atmosphere dripping from every pore of this album's disfigured face. It reeks of classic horror tropes, and bleeds all of this out in it's top notch, primal riffing. Which moves us into my personal favorite part of this entire album, the riffs.

Chuck's riffs on SBG were fairly technical and built each song from it's foundation. The riffs on "Leprosy" cater to the needs of the song, they nurture and feed it like a caged beast. They are relentlessly catchy for starters. This comes from how they compliment the vocal harmonies so well. The bridge riffs of the title track just before the solo epitomizes this. Much in the way that the riffs in Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" did the same thing. The riffs trickle along the ground and collect in a sludgy, messy puddle. They're very ghostly, and they move along with an almost spectral like behavior. Flowing by and surrounding your soundscape like a sickening cloud of suffocating rot. They almost make this album feel nauseating in a strangely satisfying way. From the crunchy chugs of "Forgotten Past", to the speed picked monstrosity of "Born Dead", this record makes for a variety pack of hopeless disgust. That's not even bringing up the undertones of doom metal. More specifically in the intro riffs to "Leprosy" and "Pull the Plug". They're slow and dirge-like, and give way to a dust storm of depressed euphoria.

Bass is quite the little bugger on this album. Chuck handles it this time around and it shows. The bass almost never deviates from the guitar-driven riff patterns. But this is another case where less is certainly more. It wisely sacrifices deviation for overall heaviness . I can't get enough of those moments like in "Left To Die" where you can just hear the lines being belted out of the bass to drive the groove. Songs like "Pull The Plug" would be absolutely barren if not for the heaviness and bluntness of the bass lines. The bass guitar is the unsung hero of "Leprosy". Sitting in the background and only making itself known when it knows it's needed, giving so much to the music through so little.

Continuing with the less is more trope is our favorite instrument of abuse, the drums. This is one of the most natural drum sounds I have ever heard in death metal. There is nothing clicky or tinny within a thousand mile radius of this album. The snare drum could bass for a floor tom in any other situation. It has a very crisp and watery sound to it. While the ride and crash have a brassy and tight sound. My favorite part of the entire drum ensemble however, would go to the double bass. Much like the bass guitar, it only peeks it's head out when it's needed. But when you hear it, it rains down like a tornado of hammers. More specifically in songs like "Open Casket". Which, by the way is one of the best tracks on the entire album.

Vocals were some of the most crazed and morbid sounding of their time. Chuck sounded like a rabid, snarling mental patient. And he was hell bent on making a mark on your soft tissues. Each howling tortured bark is executed both sloppily and precisely. Chuck's ability to sound both professional and psychotic is what gives this album so much personality.The gritty and ground down vocal style would go on to influence vocalists for years to come. He isn't extremely guttural, nor is he in his extremely high ranges. His growls sound hacked out and wet. No grating constant lows or ear piercing highs to be found here, just the tortured screams of the damned. This laid a foundation which all death metal vocalists should work off of. Your growls should fit how your lyrics should be delivered. He sounds like a man with leprosy, he sounds like a man left for dead. He sounds like a killer realizing what he did in his past life. THIS is how you do death metal vocals right.

Now you probably noticed I didn't mention the soloing very much at all, that's because it needed it's own paragraph. The soloing on this album is so dirty and technical, yet concise and to the point. No wankery to be found within these tracks. The solos in "Forgotten Past" and the title track happen to be my favorite. "Forgotten Past" for it's jittery spider-like speed crawling solo. And the title track for it's Kerry King like wail, before jumping into some beautifully executed staccato riffing. Every solo has meaning, nothing just gets thrown in for the sake of technicality and show off wank (take notes modern death metal). These kinds of solos would stay consistent with Death up until their final release. No matter how Chuck's riffing would change, he kept his soloing consistently quality-laden.

This album is not only a death metal classic, but a classic metal record in general. From the morbid and cavern crushing riffs. To the tortured, cackled and vomited vocals, to the heavy bass and booming drums, this album is gold. If you are unsure about death metal, trust me and have a look at this record. It's accessible and catchy, yet brutal and unforgiving. It is the definition of everything good in old school death metal, and shows everything wrong with modern death metal. This album gets a well deserved and christened 10/10.

A Timeless Classic - 96%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, January 29th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2006, CD, Icarus Music

"Leprosy will take control" said the late, great Chuck Schuldiner. Those may have just been lyrics or thoughts of his at the period of time that the album was being recorded and produced, but it became a reality in the death metal world. Leprosy did take control and influenced countless metal bands to try and emulate Death's sound on this release. I can't really say that I heard many others bands on this LP due Just like Obituary with "Cause of Death," Death defied the "sophomore slump" that some bands get into after they release an album that is too well done to have a decent follow up. "Scream Bloody Gore" is fantastic, but "Leprosy" takes the cake in my book for the best Death album.

Although obvious that this album is ground-breaking, it is hard to pin point what makes it so great. I definitely argue that it the melodies of the riffs is what sets it apart from the rest. The mix of melodic and the many altered harmonic minor scales and key changes are catchy and very sinister. Every time I listen from 2:49 to 3:19 of "Choke On It" chills shoot down my spine and I'm lost in a state of hypnotism. And one thing that makes this record so interesting is that it is melodic yet not too complicated for a new listener to really get into. Death would continue to become more technical and even more complex but Leprosy would always be what many Death fans would come back to.

I enjoyed Chuck Schuldiner's vocals on "Leprosy" more than any other Death release. They are guttural, deep, and echo after they are screamed. Part of that is owed to the new production of this album. The guitar quality of Schuldiner and Rick Rozz was a gravelly, heavy roar and the plucking smacking of Schuldiner's bass playing was clear, crisp and entertaining. Whoever mixed the drum tracks at Morrisound Recording put way, way to much power to the snare drum of Bill Andrews. On "Forgotten Past" at 0:43 and 1:31 it almost overpowers everything (except for Schuldiner's vocals). Also, some of the song structure is a bit too similar. The most common case of this is definitely the overuse of a guitar intro to introduce the next verse, interlude, chorus, e.t.c.

"Leprosy's" lyrical content is what death metal lyrics are made to be. They are unforgiving, grotesque, and depressing as they depict death, gore, sadness, disease, and suffering. Their delivery matches the songs spot-on. It would be interesting to find out what exactly influenced Chuck Schuldiner to write his wonderfully detailed lyrics and how they evolved over the years to come.

So the question remains: What can you expect from this record? You can expect pure, true, old-school, and flat out mind blowing death metal. "Leprosy" is quite possibly the best death metal album of all time along with great records such as "Cause of Death" by Obituary, "Seven Churches" by Possessed or "Consuming Impulse" by Pestilence. Death did "stake it's claim" and it absolutely made "it last." Why don't some death metal bands of today don't give the deserved credit to Death that they deserve? I don't know. But one thing's for certain: Death will last forever. R.I.P Chuck Schuldiner.

Choke on It - 96%

GuntherTheUndying, September 14th, 2014

I’m assuming it’s safe to call “Leprosy” Death’s finest hour, right? I mean, it pretty much captures the Death tribe retching up some of the sickest staples of primitive death metal ever while the innards of the excellent “Scream Bloody Gore,” another obligatory classic, gestate noticeably on the side. And yeah, all of Death’s records are high in substance (though I don’t care for “The Sound of Perseverance” all that much) and dynamic in their own unique ways, which obviously makes Death the antithesis of a band like Annihilator whose legacy rides on one excellent record while the others fight for scraps. That consistency is a hallmark trait of a superior band; Death’s legacy remains a monumental statement in the world of death metal for obvious reasons.

But that’s old news, and everyone knows that. Death is the Geico of death metal, minus the shitty sense of humor. The great thing about “Leprosy” is that it’s not necessarily the seminal Death album, but for several reasons the seminal Death album of a certain era of the group when the band was undoubtedly at its peak, at least in my opinion. I just think it’s the perfect representation of Death from the blistering title track to the insane madness of its closing number—no frills, fillers, byproducts, or bullshit. “Leprosy” is pure death metal, and a metal masterpiece that remains one of the genre’s finest moments.

The fact remains that “Leprosy” has not depreciated one iota; this has to do with the fundamental traits of death metal itself. Not to give you a history lesson here, but this was released in 1988 when the genre was still stumbling around blindly in a dark room, discovering itself and the world around it. “Leprosy” is important because it’s one of the first clear actions of the death metal identity kicking down the wall and making its presence known; one of few masterpieces that first hit the switch. And really, who could call its blueprint anything but spectacular? It all boils down to a number of parts integrated properly to make complex, structured anthems that bite like razor blades and stick around indefinitely like truly memorable music tends to.

I’m pretty sure there’s a difference between catchy and memorable. I always assumed ‘catchy’ was more of a tangible quality; music becomes catchy through repetition and accessible musicianship. To be memorable requires truly exceptional material that is . . . well, truly exceptional. Memorable music doesn’t need to be tangibly repetitive or intentionally accessible because it already has the necessary components to make itself remarkable, and that’s how “Leprosy” succeeds. The songs dip up and down like a rollercoaster of death metal’s signature moves in excellent progressions that are both complex and mesmerizing.

On the instrumental side of things, “Leprosy” is the best example of unfiltered death metal. These songs are stuffed with what are debatably some of the finest tremolo riffs the genre has ever known and perfectly measured mid-to-slow-paced sections that add huge depth and explosiveness to the mayhem. Percussion patterns are heavy on the bass-snare designs and double bass kicks are given ample room on the backdrop, and the hugely disgusting growling vocals match the flow of the band as they naturally surge from section to section. The album can really be diced up and dissected rather simply, but its few parts make its majesty untouchable.

Chuck and Rick Rozz were a killer guitar duo. Here they throw up dozens of riffs and every single one of them is memorable, even legendary. Not once do the frenzied, slicing tremolo riffs and those sickeningly slow guitar grooves filling these tunes halt, and not once does the magic fade. Hey, these songs are some of the finest death metal staples ever: try to argue the title track, “Left to Die, and “Pull the Plug” are just your run-of-the-mill death metal tunes. “Pull the Plug” is definitely one of the finest surfaces ever built on this unhallowed soil; it’s undoubtedly a classic of the genre. Now add another seven songs that are just as ruthless, vile, maniacal, frenzied and brutal, and that’s “Leprosy” in a nutshell.

Its atmosphere is the little rotted cherry on the sundae of guts. The guitars are thick and ravaging against the explosive bass work and the outstanding percussion. Obviously Chuck’s growls are a wonderful representation of the album at large—uncooked, beastly, horrifying. The drums seem to be a focal point of criticism around the album due to the unmixed, explosive snare drum that sounds like a bomb going off every second, but you know what? I love these blaring snare beats. They’re like a perfect side of garnish to the raw, rotten, primitive sound quality and atmosphere coursing through the bones of “Leprosy,” and I wouldn’t change them for a million dollars. I can’t imagine that bulldozing beat on the introduction of “Forgotten Past” to be any less bold if the snare were properly mixed.

I love “Leprosy.” Is there a ton of variety? No. Are their huge orchestral movements and woodland instruments? No. Is the production shiny and flawless? No. Is your asshole going to be pounded like there’s no tomorrow every time you listen to it? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s filthy, disgusting, vile, repulsive, and mercilessly devilish from the slow opening booms of the title track to Chuck screaming at the listener to CHOKE ON IT! AS YOUR TONGUE GOES DOWN! “Leprosy” is great because it’s unapologetically dirty and honest, a picture of one of metal’s best bands at one of their many heights; it is pureblooded death metal for thirty-eight minutes. So, in sum, you may keep your Fleshgod Apocalypses and your Black Dahlia Murders—I’m good with this.

This review was written for:

Standing the test and decay of time. - 95%

hells_unicorn, December 26th, 2011

Death metal, the refuge of all things brutal and horrific, the pillar of everything considered obscene and repulsive about the latter half of the sub-genre. In recent years, becoming something of a twisted parody of itself, losing any sense of connection to an essential humanizing element that it once carried. Like a blossoming plant with an extravagant array of colors and intricate flowers and branches, today's modern death outfit charges forth with an array of technological wonders and higher mathematical formulas for further mechanizing a once organic and flesh-bound art form. One could perhaps chalk this pretentious aside up to an old fogey looking to admonish the younger generation of their debaucherous abandonment of past dogmas, but this assumes that I was old enough to have comprehended the late 80s origins of the genre (I was born about 6 years too late), and that I consider all strains of modern death metal to be empty expressions of cartoonish brutality or technicality (I don't).

Contrary to what might be assumed, death metal did not begin as a meer mindless, otherworldly venture into rejecting every musical convention ever concocted. Quite the contrary, when looking at the early works of Possessed and Sepultura and Death, present sentiments might simply pass off the death metal designation as a misnomer to categorize a slightly more extreme version of thrash metal (this is a lot more common than one might think). And particularly when looking at the formative demo work and eventual debut in "Scream Bloody Gore", there is something of an argument for Death simply being a thrash metal band when compared against Slayer, Kreator, Sodom or even the recently hatched extreme thrash outfit Morbid Saint. While I reject this viewpoint in actuality, canceling out the obvious vocal stylistic departure of Chuck Schuldiner might lend itself to a Teutonic thrash equivocation in theory.

However, this selective historical revisionism runs into trouble when dealing with the immediate follow up and widely hailed beast of brutality that is "Leprosy". Named for one of the most disgusting and fearsome of fatal diseases that can afflict the human body, this crazed collection of morbid horrors leaves any notion of subtlety or nuance at home and comes gunning for the ears with both barrels blazing. Even by present day standards, let alone the slightly more naive times of the late 80s, this album is pretty damn brutal affair that might challenge some of the younger trustees of Necrophagist and the like to hold on to their flesh sewn hats. Perhaps the best analogy would be to the story of horror/slasher film mastermind Wes Craven being sickened and having to leave a private screening of "Resevoir Dogs" during the infamous ear slicing scene. The scene itself isn't the most gorey thing ever depicted, but the realism factor is enough to sicken the people who did the animation for the closing scene of "Akira".

The mechanics of this album is largely where the realism factor comes into play. Each of it's 8 decrepit chapters mixes the revolting gore elements of the debut with a somewhat more socially aware and, for lack of a better word, real world sense of fear. But the format is very much song oriented, not veering too far away from the established verse and chorus model that was still employed by Venom, Bathory, and most of the thrash metal acts that followed them. At it's peak, it comes off as a slightly rawer and heavier answer to "Persecution Mania", but with a greater element of slower and moderately fast sections in between, complemented with an assortment of deep, chunky guitar work and chaotic double bass rumbles. Particularly when dealing with the longer works in "Choke On It" and the riveting title song "Leprosy", there is a greater degree of doom and mid-paced thrashing sections to complement the crazed tremolo riffs and blasting, bringing along with it an even more elaborate and almost progressive version of the creepy descending melodies and harmonies that were also being explored on "Reign In Blood" and "South Of Heaven".

But even amid a progressing format that sees Chuck honing his songwriting abilities and also exploring a slightly more melodic, though still very shred happy lead guitar character, much of this is album tends to conform to the rapid fire lunacy of "Scream Bloody Gore". "Born Dead" and "Left To Die" both could have easily shared a song set with the likes of "Infernal Death" and "Evil Dead", plowing through a polished collection of speed riffs and ferocious drum beats. Perhaps the only thing that gives this album an edge in the heaviness department when compared to the likes of "Pleasure To Kill" and Persecution Mania" is the bass presence, which perfectly bonds itself to the riffs and makes them twice as meaty. For the most part it is content to double the guitars or simply keep the root during the harmony parts while also mimicking the rhythm of the drums, but the tightness and edge it brings into the equation would definitely be missed had this album taken a production route similar to "...And Justice For All".

While Cannibal Corpse and others in the early 90s may point to Slayer as the principle influence, it's hard to see any of these bands doing it the way they do had this album not been put together to take it to the next level in the aftermath of "Reign In Blood". And while "Eaten Back To Life" definitely upped the ante in terms of grotesque lyrical depictions, this album definitely edges it out in overall presentation. The last album presented a banquet with adorned tankards filled with human blood, this one sees them filled with pus from the lanced boils of a black plague victim, and it's difficult to see a listener (forgive the pun) choke on it, at least the first time through. A masterful effort for a band whose early material may not appeal to the current brutal obsessed crowd, but one that they, along with all other extreme metal enthusiasts, should definitely be aware of.

Still Screams Bloody Gore - 100%

grain_silo, July 24th, 2011

Death is and will always be the greatest death metal band that ever existed in my book. So what did they do the follow up on the gory “Scream Bloody Gore”? With the almost as gory piece of perfection known only as “Leprosy”. Chuck really perfected the death metal formula with this album and this album will forever be held in my heart as the greatest death metal album ever recorded.

As soon as you turn it on and hear “Leprosy” you notice a huge difference in the production. SBG had a very thin guitar sound. This album really stepped it up in all areas. The guitars are heavy. The drums are loud and the snare is extremely loud. The bass is kind of quiet but is still audible almost the whole time. The vocals are Chuck’s best performance. It sounds kind of like he’s about to vomit on the mic which is a very good thing if you think that’s an odd way to describe an amazing vocal performance. His high screams are still here but not nearly as ‘being stabbed to death’ as SBG.

Chuck was and will always be one of the greatest writers in death metal. Every riff on this album is good. They are pretty technical considering this is primitive death metal. The drums play fast a lot of time but have much more variation than on SBG. Bill Andrews receives a lot of flak for being “one dimensional” but I think he did an amazing job. What people have to realize is that death metal was still a pretty new concept at the time this was released in 1988. There is only so much you can do with these types of insane riffs that most people hadn’t heard yet. “Open Casket” is easily the best song on here and probably the best song ever made. This has Chuck’s best vocals by far. He goes pretty deep at some points on this album and especially that song. Just listen to where he says “never to return”; you’ll see what I mean.

The lyrics are still death related. With some mention of guts and gore that would be expected from Death. Not nearly as b-horror movie like SBG. You can see that Chuck was getting ready to abandon his gore roots after hearing this album. They are death related but more mature in presenting them.
This album is a huge step up from their debut and much more primitive than their next album. If you want SBG with better production, better vocals, more variety, and just an all around amazing album, get this.

Buy it, it is just flat out amazing.

Best tracks – “Open Casket”, “Forgotten Past”, and “Pull the Plug”. Well every song is amazing but those are the most amazing

God won't make this go away - 100%

autothrall, April 1st, 2011

Where Scream Bloody Gore provided us with a glimpse of corpse strewn genius, it was Chuck Schuldiner's sophomore monstrosity Leprosy that would hammer in the final coffin nails: death metal had truly arrived, and with it an almost entire musical landscape would either book passage on the funeral barge or sink into the Lethe. Sure, thrash had of brilliance yet to offer, and to an extent, many considered Leprosy itself to fall under that category in its day. But as time has proven, it is by far one of the most expressive, beatific statements of brutality and evil that I've ever experienced, and I enjoy it with the same solidarity today as I did over 20 years ago. In fact, I hold it upon the same lofty plateau of carnage as I place a Consuming Impulse, Realm of Chaos, Left Hand Path, or Altars of Madness: a mastery of the genre's fundamentals, with unanimously catchy songs to boot.

Yes, I said catchy. Many might forget that the inauguration of death metal was not simply a thing of blunt, indifferent brutality or charnel atmospheres, but actual song craft. Such a large ratio of the genre's rabid followers today came into the fold in the 90s or beyond that I fear many might have taken (or still take) an album like Leprosy for granted. For example, you won't hear excess storms of double bass, blasting or technical drumming here where they're not viable. This was well before the market had been cornered by Cryptopsy or Suffocation. Bill Andrews' beats offer nothing more than a concrete foundation for the wondrous, insanely well written riffs and the thick as thieves bass lines, rolling on his bass drums where applicable. And know what? Nothing more is needed for this album whatsoever, because the star side of beef in this slaughter house is without any doubt the guitar riffing and the caustic vocal torments of Schuldiner.

They do not make riffs like this anymore, not often at least. Such simple but instantaneously memorable fare that manages to encapsulate the menace and threat of a worldly change for the worse. In today's climate of brickwalled, ProTools brutality, death metal has transformed into an acrobatic light show in which the most gallantly executed tricks are fawned over by brooding masses that forget them once the following weeks upstaging has transpired. But how many are writing a riff that might actually scare the fuck out of you? I mean, no offense to Deeds of Flesh or Behemoth (I enjoy some material by both), but if you were alone in a morgue during a power outage, would you feel terrified if their music started to play in the background? Fuck no you wouldn't. It's brutal, indeed, but it doesn't possess that same skin crawling atmosphere, conjured directly through its notation. You don't feel that instant repulsion as if being covered in spiders, or that wondrous, jaw-dropping disbelief you might have felt when watching human entrails being exhumed from their corporeal hosts by the zombies in an 80s Romero flick.

I feel that sensation every time I listen through Leprosy, for nearly the entirety of its 39 minutes. Even at its most goofy and uplifting ("Forgotten Past"), I'd need to hold your hand in the theater when the lights go out. The slow, sure chords of the title track de-Christen the album, dire melodies cycling across Chuck's bass lines before that ineffably damning death howl erupts around :40. Jesus fuck, I feel like I'm staring at my own corpse while cold, dead spectral hands are forcing me backwards into the maw of the underworld. Yet, it's all still catchy, in particular where the guitars cut in before 2:00 and the searing velocity of the riff after that. Not many bands can stop/start you this often and hold your attention. This one could. "Born Dead" arrives with almost playful deviance, a gaggle of gremlins and fiends dancing on your hide as they stab it with poisoned barbs, fast and brutal guitars alternating into the escalation of pure chord force in the chorus, and then the clinical tapping sequence after 1:00 which is legendary.

"Forgotten Past", as hinted above, is even more playful with an almost happy-go-lucky muted punk veneer to its introductory riff. However, it soon collides into a graveyard wall, and the lower bridge/groove rhythm at 1:00 is a knockout. "Left to Die" begins with one of the creepiest riffs on the entire album, a surgical thrashing that feels like you're watching some unfortunate be pumped with formaldehyde while still drawing breath. Big, swaggering grooves cede towards another of those glorious, thick rhythms, and I dare you not to explode at the chorus, one of the most tangible and enduring statements of DEATH METAL to date. "Pull the Plug" follows, one of the most popular pieces from this sophomore, another smorgasboard of splatter and horror with at least 5 unforgettable riffs, and a chorus that has probably broken as many bones in mosh pits as anything else in all of thrash or death (excepting "Raining Blood", of course). Listen to that riff at 1:20. That is all I should have to say...

Yet Schuldiner, Andrews and Rick Rozz are not finished with us here, and they burst out the meaty, meandering causeway of "Open Casket", with another monolithic, almost doom metal breakdown bridging the verses. I particularly enjoy the wild nature of the lead in this one, shrill and cavernous and resonant across the pathological plague-scape of the album. "Primitive Ways" has a similar, escalating brightness about it that we were teased with in "Forgotten Past", but once again composed front to end with perfect, plausible guitar lines and Chuck's unforgettable, flesh stalking vocals. "Choke On It" festers with some of the same, slower breakdown segues that populate other songs here, but is marvelously concise and offers another of the album's most malevolent, genius riffs just before 1:30. All of these are seasoned in a lyrical sauce similar to the debut. Still heavy on simplistic imagery, but more consistently composed.

We are living in 'old as new' times, folks, with many younger artists turning back to the past for their inspiration. But I'll be damned if I wouldn't pay a band double for an album that made such flawless use of inspiring, simple rhythms; or one that could conjure such morbid malignancy without simply steering towards the cavernous, deep guttural terrain. The production here is perfect, raw but resonating through the listener's mind like an autopsy on the television set. You want to turn away, you want to squint but you're glued to the gore, fascinating by the fleshy flaws and organs that lie within all of us. Leprosy was one of the most repulsive yet alluring metal experiences I was honored to undertake in the 80s, alongside the over the top Slowly We Rot or Cause of Death, or the thrashing unto death transition of Pestilence. It's probably cool in some circles to rally against Chuck from beyond the grave, and my own feelings on Death are mixed once he transformed into a philosophical cosmonaut on the fourth album (half forgetting what got him there in the first place), but I am sure as a starving bear in a spring thaw that this is one of the best goddamn things I've ever heard in my middle-age nearing existence. Leprosy forever. May the limbs of all unworthy poseurs fester in putrid permanence.


Great, Except for One Thing... - 75%

ImpureSoul, November 12th, 2010

With a band name like that, it's no surprise that they got the death metal genre up and running, through the trading of over 20 piss-quality demos in the southern states of USA. They blazed a trail and got bands like Cannibal Corpse (meh) and Autopsy (woot) started. For me personally, Death's 'Leprosy' was the first straight death metal album I got into... not including melodic death metal acts like In Flames and Arch Enemy. I remember seeing the artwork for Leprosy everywhere and hearing the band name mentioned with great pride.
Eventually, I looked for the album, and I got my hands on it.

Let me just say that I have immense respect for Death as a band. I haven't heard the more 'intelligent' Death albums (Symbolic, Individual Thought Patterns, etc) at the time of writing this review, and so I haven't heard Death's super technical riffs and metaphorical lyrics, either, and I can't testify if Death really became an intelligent band or not. But from what I can tell from Leprosy, Death was headed in a great direction. Leprosy is a dark, guttural piece of death metal, full of plenty of memorable riffs, lyrics, and songs. The chorus to the title song has been engrained into my mind. The atmosphere is very grim, and the variety of song lengths and tempos allow the atmosphere to deepen, unlike a lot of death metal bands around the time that just made dinky little two-minute songs that went for speed rather than depth. There are practically no faceless riffs on here, no chugging... but the guitar solos are blatant Kerry-King worship, going for wammy-bar-streaked solos, wild and messy. There is defenitely more form and thought put into the solos than that of Slayer, but only barely.

And then there's Chuck Schuldiner, the singer. He has a great, great voice, and he complements the album so well with his guttural shout, and his screamy wails, and he sets himself right into the best extreme metal vocalists I have ever heard. It's always a treat to hear him do an extended scream, without once wavering from the power of his pipes. He has a ton of energy and strength in his voice, and best of all, it's extremely distinctive. I have yet to hear any band that has a vocalist anything like his. He's a great frontman. Extremely unfortunate that this guy died so freaking young.

The thing I really like about Leprosy in particular is the fact that it doesn't need to resort to balls-to-the-wall speed in order to be heavy. There are plenty of fast parts to satisfy you (they're brought down by the drums, but more on that later), but the album gives you plenty of slow and mid-tempo sections that prevent boredom and make it obvious that Death is quite unique. And don't worry, the album stays agressive and fierce for most of the time, and even the slowest parts don't get tiring. Leprosy also moves away from the typical ghouls n' zombies theme, going for a more morbid line of lyrics that have more of a psychological effect (look at the lyrics to songs like Open Casket and Leprosy) and the whole album comes off as more mature for these reasons.

Okay, now I've gone on for long enough about why this album is awesome. But I'm sure you're wondering why I would give this album a mere 15/20. The answer is simple: THE DRUMMER.
I loathe that guy. I know Chris Reifert of Autopsy played drums on Death's 'Scream Bloody Gore', and I know Chris Reifert to be a really interesting drummer from hearing Severed Survival. And like I said before, I've also heard one or two songs from Scream Bloody Gore, so I know the drumming was tight and there were a bunch of great fills. I understand that Chuck Schuldiner moved to Florida after recording the album, leaving Chris to his own devices... but I can't for the love of God understand why Chuck would think that this... Bill Andrews guy was a good idea for Leprosy. What was he thinking? This guy can't seem to leave his fucking snare alone. He's always producing the same redundant, boring garbage... especially on the fast parts! There are literally entire songs where this is all he does, and I think it's because he has no other way of keeping up with the rest of the band. What a joke. The only times he decides to do something different is when there's a slow section... Was it really so hard to find a drummer better than this guy? Not only that, but they're SO HIGH IN THE MIX, they're literally just as loud as Chuck Schuldiner's voice. If the drums had been any better, or if they had even been lower in the mix, I would have given Leprosy 17/20. But those drums just bother me SO much... Okay, if you want to know what I'm talking about, listen to 'Forgotten Past'. The drums only vary in tempo, and nothing more. You just hear Bill pounding his snare to death, ('scuse the pun) and I just wish that he would leave the damned things alone for one second so I could hear everything better. There's just no excuse for this guy; he's atrocious. Not only that, but he was on Death's follow-up album Spiritual Healing as well. I don't know if he's any better on it or not, but if he could drag one album down, I'm sure he had the capacity to do it again.

Now, since I happen to have the Century Media digipack of Leprosy, I have the oppurtunity to hear Death playing the big songs off the album live. Chuck's voice is great onstage, and Death really show their guitarwork off here. The solos are great, the live performances are full of energy and enthusiasm, (Pull the Plug especially being played with a ton of entensity and a boosted tempo that sounds great) and it sounds like the band know how to do a great show. The fans are also quite prevalent; they sound extremely enthusiastic (listen to the fans when Death starts playing Left to Die... they're going nuts!) and ready to break their necks moshing. Best of all, the drums are improved. While admittedly there's still a lot of dependence on the snare, it isn't as blatant or annoying, and best of all, it isn't as high in the mix as the studio album. I can also tell that Death must've had some state-of-the-art recording equipment set up, because the production is pretty good. There are a few times when Chuck's voice reverbs quite a bit (they must have been playing on a pretty big stage) but other than that I love the live part of the album.

So yeah, Death's Leprosy is a great piece of death metal, but the thing that keeps me away from replaying it are the drums, and it pains me to see how much they wrecked what would have been a near-perfect death metal album. Leprosy could have been great, but Bill Andrews had to bring it down. I just wish that someone who is good with sound editing decides to edit out the drums and fill the space with someone who is a competent drummer. If you're a death metal fan of any kind you'll probably be drawn to this album one way or another eventually, but I'm warning you now... THOSE DRUMS ARE SO ANNOYING. If you can listen to it without the drums bothering you, you'll love this album. Full of great riffs, great vocal screams, a grim yet agressive atmosphere, and enough tempo and rythm changes to keep you interested right through.

Recommended songs would be Pull the Plug and Leprosy. Both full of electricity and energy, Leprosy being dark, Pull the Plug being fierce and wild, bearing probably the best solo of the album, and both are highly memorable and catchy.

originally written for

Transitional for the band, and more deathly. - 89%

DeathThrasher91, November 2nd, 2010

Leprosy is an album, that in my humble opinion, is severely misunderstood, and in many respects underestimated. Many people will claim that Death's Spiritual Healing was the real transition for the band, and that Leprosy has few stylistic differences from the Debut. I truly disagree, as the difference between Scream Blood Gore, and the follow-up are like night and day. From the production, to the song structures and techniques, Death has made steady improvement, and I would even go as far as to say that hints of Death's later technical and progressive abilities that made Death so popular in the 90's can be in it's very infancy on this disk.

I was on this album that death decided to not only to vary tempos, but talk about more serous topics than zombies and ghouls. The lyrical content adds perspective, such as the title track, and the outstanding Pull The Plug. Issues concerning mortality and even morality can heard throughout. In addition, I believe that songs like Pull The Plug are Death's first real attempts at more complex passages, and even technicality. Frequent tempo changes, as well as more sophisticated riffs are proof of this. In fact, some parts of not only this song, but several others are not at all unlike what would be hear on Spiritual Healing and beyond, although being much more raw and primal sounding.

While I still would not consider this to be full fledge technical material, there are quite of few moments of semi-technical guitar riffs, present in the music on Leprosy, making it obvious that Leprosy was the bands first attempt at a much more serious offering. Still, just like Its predecessor, Leprosy showcases rampaging thrashy death metal, in stark contrast to later, more restrained works, only done which much more skill than before. Even Spiritual Healing sounds like they were holding back in terms of speed, which is the main reason why I have always felt somewhat dissatisfied with much of death's later work; the lack of speed. I'm saying Death is slow, but I believe they would have sounded much better if they would have played at the tempos seen here on albums like Individual Though Patterns.

In conclusion, I believe that this album was the true transitional point for Chuck, and was the first to incorporate features seen on later albums, not spiritual Healing. While just as brutal and as fast as the debut, It has some added complexity, and some moments of semi-technical guitar work. The following album was much to restrained to work, and to me, it wasn’t until their 1993 album that they started to come anywhere close to the speed of their sophomore album. Truth be told, i death would have combined the speed of their early disk, with the complexity of their later works, Death would have been even more amazing than they already are. Sadly, Chuck chose to trade-in thrashing brutality, for complexity alone from this point on instead of mixing the two. While this doesn’t completely satisfy me, I still think Chuck's later material is astonishing and commendable. I just find this album to be the most enjoyable. Death 'till Death!!!!!!!

A Call From The Grave - 86%

OzzyApu, August 24th, 2010

The primitive, chilling rush unleashed by the title track kicks off Death’s most decrepit, cunning offering. The band never treads into wank territory riff-wise, so it’d be logical to prepare for only the rawest of ceremonies. Listening to Leprosy in itself is a journey through dirt-layered crypts to reach the Underworld, stare Death in the face (literally), and leave with a renewed devotion toward the living. Scream Bloody Gore set the foundations for Schuldiner’s master project, but Leprosy exceed the established goals. Death went from kids to ghouls beginning with this album.

Each track progresses with fresh batches of horror-themed riffs reeking of charred cadavers (representative of the guitar tone), all of which contain no amounts of bullshit. Furious and merciless, these riffs strike like razors to the bone, dancing psychotically in tremolo-picked madness. That’s the main style, with the crass, crude, mid-paced / top-down picking leaving ample room for doom and decimation to seep in. While twisty and vicious, harmonies aren’t completely absent. They are treated negatively for conditioning purposes – slick riffs bred with mutated ones. Bass support stalks the guitars consistently in support of the rhythm; autonomous and bludgeoning like a focused version of the rhythm guitar lines (the guitars take up a wide spectrum in a small production field). The brunt of this madness arrives on “Left To Die”.

Rozz and Schuldiner pack a crispy punch as a duo, which only further escalates into headbanging carnage with “Pull The Plug” before retaliating on “Open Casket.” The arid production job flattens the perseverance of profound atmosphere, thus leaving Rozz and Schuldiner to conjure with crusty, nightmarish riffs themselves. Fronting them are Chuck’s throaty, mutilated growls and occasional airy shrieks – you can hear him yearning for blood like a ravaged zombie! I should also add that the high pinches and wailing solos – at the very most making Rozz have an orgasm – do add a cyber rim to the deceased tone (although the effect is miniscule).

Andrews gets the mixed role out of the bunch, and for the most part the flak is deserved. I can’t stand hollow snares, but the snare on these drums is perfunctory – utter shit. These snares are Department Of Defense-approved oil drums sealed with the carcasses of caught KGB spies boiling in necro-nuclear waste. As cool as that description sounds, it only means that these snares sound overly loud and mechanical. The rest of the kit is clearly mixed and blubbery, making the blasts and stampedes let loose by Andrews a true assaulting force. It does get annoying though with those clamoring snares– each hit just feels louder and longer than it’s supposed to be in reality.

So while a dry production job limits some capabilities, Death still manages to eclipse their debut. The musicians brought forth raised the skill level and the songs formulate into mature slabs of carnivorous keepsakes. Rozz may go a little too far with some of his solos and guitar squealing. To me, this offering serves as the ideal early Death album and also stands alone in the late ‘80s progression into full-fledged death metal territory. It isn’t too difficult to look past the flaws, so thrashers and death metal fans would be dumbasses for passing this one up because of them.

Those goddamn drums - 45%

MacMoney, March 29th, 2009

Even though the two albums are only a year apart, there's a definite difference between Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy. While Scream Bloody Gore has a frenetic and frantic thrash vibe to it - like it can't wait until it gets to the end - Leprosy tones it all down a notch. There are fast tempos here as well, but the change of drummers from Chris Reifert to Bill Andrews has a clear effect. If Andrews had been doing the drumming on Scream Bloody Gore, he would have been screaming for Chuck to tone down. He just couldn't have kept up. Especially the fast fills of Reifert are distinctly missing on Leprosy. Andrews is lazily pounding away on the drums, mostly his snare. The man does love that drum. Do not expect anything as marvelous as the chorus of the previous album's title track. What makes matters worse is the fact that the snare sound is very flat and brought to the forefront in the mix. It overpowers a lot of the sound and completely controls the drums. This combined with Andrews's overuse of it makes this one of the worst drum performances I've heard on an album. The other drums don't sound very good either, but all of their flaws can be forgotten in light of the snare. The snare overpowers cymbals pretty much completely, the bass is flat as well, but not as bad as the snare and the tomtoms... Well, it's not like Andrews really uses them anyway. The first few seconds of Born Dead clearly illustrate what is wrong with Andrews's drumming. It has a couple of alternating beats, both rather fast in terms of the album, yet Andrews manages to make them sound lazy, like he was playing for Electric Wizard instead of Death.

Of course, other matters make it differ plenty from Scream Bloody Gores as well. The material is all very recent. Some of the tracks on the debut were older than the band itself, that is if you don't consider Mantas and Death the same entity. The riffs there are very thrashy. However, there aren't many traces of that on Leprosy. There is a riff like that in the beginning of Open Casket. Combined with a pounding double-bass beat with nearly no snare in sight, it makes up one of the highlights of the album. Open Casket also showcases the more advanced songwriting on Leprosy with numerous parts, a lot of changing rhythms and most importantly, the slow and ominous parts. These are the highlights of the songs they appear on. They keep the drumming to a minimum, emphasize the intimidating and usually more intricate riffs as well as bring the vocals to the forefront. The heaviness of the production also showcases its best parts more efficiently. When the drums aren't there to mess things up, you can clearly hear every instrument. The best of these parts are the ones that include some of the rather unique leadwork heard on Leprosy.

Unfortunately, these slower parts are in the minority as Schuldiner only realized their power later on. A lot of the album is fast-paced without actually feeling like it. A lot of blame is on the drums, but the unmemorable riffs that seem to just blend into each other carry most of it. Some of them include a sort of gimmick to differentiate from the others, but usually it just doesn't work and ends up sounding artificial. Chuck's vocals are another aspect which is used to try to save them and while he does an impressive job considering the times, it gets rather monotone by the end. However, his long, stretched-out, high-pitched screams are a treat wherever you can spot them.

So, while there are a lot of differences between Scream Bloody Gore, there are some points where they are alike as well. You have to dig in to find the real gold. Unforunately on Leprosy, it isn't usually focused on just one song, but spread out among them all. You have to listen through a minute or two of lazy death metal to get to the good and ominous part that lasts for barely half a minute. Open Casket and the title track rise above the others as songs that are through and through excellent, but the others just don't cut it.

Gritty, primitive, evil, and most of all, powerful - 90%

BastardHead, April 11th, 2008

For the longest time, I was a card carrying member of the Leprosy-is-a-boring-fucking-record club, but I have recently been converted. The riffs that were boring to me a few months ago, have now become powerful and intense. The songs that plodded and lacked direction have transformed into primal death metal riff monsters. All this record needs is time, and I can now almost understand where the whole "instant gratification" criticism for most modern tech death bands comes from.

Chuck's vocal style was still in the primitive death shout stage as of the year 1988, but it sounds just as good as it did on Scream Bloody Gore. The evolution of his voice wouldn't truly begin until Human, but I am a firm believer that every style he's used throughout the years are executed perfectly. What's even more mind blowing, is when the realization that all of Death's elements have been there since the beginning hits a young'un like myself. I was introduced to Death with Symbolic, so I was a fan of the later works for the longest time, I essentially worked backwards when it came to this band. I find this actually worked to my advantage and allowed me to appreciate Leprosy more than I would have before. Some of the riffs from The Sound of Perseverance sound like reworked riffs from the title track here and Open Casket. What this serves as is an everlasting testament to Chuck Schuldiner's ability, as it has always been there, it just happened to show up in different magnitudes on different albums.

Enough of the Merlin-esque backwards history, let's enjoy ourselves some headbangin'. One of the adjectives I find myself continually using when it comes to describing Leprosy is "primitive". This is one of the most raw slabs of aggression I've heard put to tape. When I say raw, I don't mean it in the way people describe Transylvanian Hunger, I mean it is unadulterated, dirty, unfiltered, and yet at the same time pure, heavy, and domineering. The hatred, the misanthropia, it is all here in force. The attitude is the most prevalent thing here, even when the songwriting isn't horribly strong. Listen to the latter half of Left to Die, the double bass just obliterates everything in front of it. It's this intensity and focus that brings this album above other early death metal acts, and further cements Death's reputation for being one of the most consistently great bands in metal history.

All that said, this album isn't perfect. A few songs are far from memorable, and there are more than a few weak riffs. I'd say the weakest track here is probably Forgotten Past, but it's still a great song, so that just goes to show you.... Anyways, sometimes intensity and aggression isn't enough to ride on alone, the songwriting needs to be there just as strongly. For the most part it is, but it isn't the masterwork that is Symbolic, nor is it the pure fury of Scream Bloody Gore (although it is indeed pretty fucking close). I find it hard to verbalize my gripes with the album, but it is indeed a flawed work, an unfurnished jewel if you will.

Leprosy is another solid Death release, but at the same time it is one of their most pedestrian. This and Spiritual Healing are a bit middle-of-the-road in comparison to their other works, but this is just as worthy of the name as Human or Symbolic. And considering this isn't even in the better half of Death's records, it STILL scores an A-, just another monument to their incredible consistency on the whole. It's not for everybody, as Death is a band that has gone through almost innumerable lineup changes and progressions in sound. Fans of Scream Bloody Gore will eat this up, and any early death metal fan who hasn't heard this should remedy that immediately, or just leave the hall.

Rotten, Brutal but with Improvements - 95%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, February 17th, 2008

This album is the one that signs a more mature death metal approach for this great band after the crushing, violent Scream Bloody Gore. The over six minutes of the title track is an example of this. Anyway the atmosphere is always rotten, obscure and more morbid than in their previous album.

The violence of “Born Dead” with its sudden speed parts and gore mid paced riffs could fit perfectly few years before in the debut. “Forgotten Past” is truly brutal with that monstrous parts on up tempo. The solos are more mature and well structured, full of tapped parts. All the riffs are fucking catchy and some more “melodic” lines are good for the form of the song.

All the tracks are less impulsive than in the past and the guitar intro to “Left To Die” can really make us see the Chuck’s improvement in the way of playing the six strings. This track is surely one of my favourites here. Check out the guitar part at 1:30: if there’s a group that could match this in morbidity, I would like to know him. The solo on this song is unbelievable for obscurity and sick melody.

Chuck's vocals are always so vicious but this time a bit more growlish than in the past. They are very harsh anyway. They are a trademark; they made history. “Pull the Plug” is another total highlight here. The mid paced riffs, the morbid bass drum sound and the ferocious refrain. The guitars riffs at 1:15 is grotesque for its load of sickness, followed by a truly fucking heavy part.

“Open Casket” is total impact with a terrible/awesome atmosphere of decomposition. The tempo changes from rotten doomy parts and bestial fast ones are well done. Here Chuck literally vomits on the microphone…great! The solos are excellent too. After a more “technical” song it’s time for “Primitive ways” to break in and destroy everything. This one is truly violent with just up tempo or fast bass drum and more simple structures that seem to come out from Scream Bloody Gore! Great!.

The hyper fast “Choke On It” ends this great death metal album that, without losing anything from the past, has always a foot to the future. From the following Spiritual Healing the progressive influences will break in, leading Death to always more mature sounds but also less “true death metal”. So if you love bestiality and evilness in an true death metal album, you must own this.

Death - Leprosy (1988) - 95%

Dolf9271986, February 9th, 2008

This is Death's second full-length album, entitled "Leprosy". It was released by Century Media in 1988.

Well, two things I noticed about this album that I didn't see on "Sream Bloody Gore" were that the drums and vocals are now louder than they were on the previous album. By now, I hate to say this, but the drums, to me, are getting very reptitive. Another thing I noticed, is that the bass is not very audible. You can hear it, but not as well as you'd like. But where this album triumphs is in it's vocal work and it's guitar.

The opening track, named for the album, "Leprosy", is like a straight-forward kick in the nuts (a good one, don't worry) that says, "Hey, we're Death, and we kick some serious ass". Whenever I hear that first riff, it makes me feel... like, powerful, like I just want to raise my fist in the air, and nod slowly with my eyes wide open. It's THAT kind of riff and guitar work that make this album so great. Though the drums are fairly simple, just fast, they make up for it by just being, well, good. Great beats, and good patterns. They are a little bit repetitive, in pattern, and the drums themselves. And, I have to compliment the vocals. They are superb. SUPERB. They are clean, audible, and not muffled or anyhing, no strings attached, just great, classic Death Metal vocals. It just... Kicks your ass.

As there are good things with this album, that means there are bad things. Well, not nessicarily bad, but things that could've been approved. A couple things I personally would have liked to see improved are 1) The bass. It's not bad, by any means, but it is not LOUD ENOUGH. 2) The repetitive drumming. I would liked to have seen a little more variety, and a little bit more than a bass and a snare, that's all. I have to say, the vocals make up for a lot of the little nit-pick problems witht he ablum. They are fantastic. Death, man, no body fucks with Death, so go buy this album!

-Dolf (9/27/1986)

Tighter, less filthy, structured - 88%

morbert, May 30th, 2007

The album holds two classic songs, three goods tracks, two adequate ones and one obsolete filler. Furthermore the album holds one briliant musician, one fairly good musician and 2 very mediocre ones.

Okay, let’s elaborate. ‘Leprosy’ and ‘Pull the Plug’ are the best two songs here. Lots of fluent changes in pace, good dynamics, interesting structures an catchiness. The threesome ‘Born Dead’, ‘Forgotten Past’ and ‘Left To Die’ all follow the exact same path (being verse, chorus, middle section including bridge and solo, verse and chorus again) Therefor becoming somewhat compositionally generic. Though the majority of riffs, the chorus of ‘Forgotten Past’ and the solo of ‘Born Dead’ are really great. ‘Open Casket’ and ’Choke on It’ are the two adequate songs here that aren’t great nor bad. Worst part of the album by far is ‘Primitive Ways’ which is a dull and uninspired composition.

The briliant musician here is Schuldiner himself, having written the bulk of the album including the classics and delivering his parts and vocals with filthiness as well as tightness. Rick Rozz is the fairly good one, doing a great job at rhythm guitar but is far from a suitable Death lead guitarist considering his Slayer impressions presented here. Not much can be said about Terry Butler except that he didn’t play a single note on the album. Also Bill Andrews isn’t someone to be happy about. He’s decent in the midtempo section but uptempo he resorts to the same old polka beat over and over without any nuances or bassdrum accents. The production of his snaredrum didn’t do his style any good either.

Still 5 good and excellent songs present here to make it worth having ‘Leprosy’.

Total Old School Devastation - 85%

corviderrant, May 22nd, 2007

"Scream Bloody Gore" is the album the purists always worship at the altar of, but why not this one as well? While it is nowhere near as musically advanced as the direction Chuck went into a couple of albums later, beginning with "Human", it still is worthy of notice. Make that very worthy of notice--this album, flaws aside, still kills most everything in its path with its primitive intensity and vigorous attack.

Dan Johnson's production is excellent, and showcases a good mix where all players are heard well and clearly with plenty of depth and warmth as well. The guitars sound fantastic, both lead and rhythm tones, and you can even hear the bass pretty well, not that it does anything spectacular, but it serves its purpose by making the guitars sound even heavier. I will take this over the Scott Burns "mush tone drone" that became the trademark of death metal for several years, it makes the band sound that much more professional and powerful, for my ears.

Speaking of professional, the band is nice and tight on this release, with the occasional screwup on Bill Andrews' part only slightly detracting from the overall performance. Well, OK, I did mention there were flaws here; Andrews is far from a terribly skilled drummer, and Rick Rozz is the most hilariously incompetent excuse for a lead guitarist I've ever heard, bar none. His horsey noises and squeals get tiresome after a couple songs' worth. But Chuck really started showing signs of becoming a far better writer and player even at this early juncture, with fluid and passionate leads that hinted at the level of melodic virtuosity he'd soon achieve. I'm glad he ditched this sorry lot of morons in favor of the more advanced players he'd soon feature on future albums.

Song wise, virtually every tune on this album features crushing riffs, devastating vocals ("vokills" is a very appropriate term on this album), and a nefarious atmosphere that is menacing and evil at any tempo. The title track, "Pull The Plug", and "Forgotten Past" really stand out the most to these lugholes, though, as they even have memorable choruses! The leads following the first chorus on "Leprosy" are particularly excellent, too. "Born Dead" is pretty standard issue, but still kills anything fool enough to stumble into its path.

Really, this is an important album both for Death and for Chuck Schuldiner, as well as for death metal as it grew into the evil monster it eventually became. It was a watershed in that it showed Chuck at a crossroads where he was faced with the option of becoming a better player and writer or staying the same, and the fact that on this album he'd already made massive strides in both those realms is evidence as to what path he chose. It's a good thing he did, too, as metal in general benefited from this happening. Definitely get this one, for sure, so you can see the roots of where death metal really started kicking it up a few factors, if you're young and need to be educated properly as to what's good and what's not. This is GOOD.

Becoming a little more varied - 88%

Byrgan, May 4th, 2006

Mantas sprouted as a three piece organism, grew into a mutated parasite and eventually recorded songs in their garage. They were openly inspired by the infamous Venom at that stage, which gave them the drive to sound as vile and nonconforming to the general populace as possible. At one point their name was changed to the fitting moniker "Death." Soon enough, drummer/vocalist Kam Lee was replaced by Evil Chuck Schuldiner on vomits. Meanwhile guitarist Rick Rozz left, and Death relocated and played as a two piece at this point on their debut. Their next output was "Leprosy," which yet again accumulated more members but resurrected old time band mate Rick Rozz at this point and maintained core member Schuldiner.

This second full length album started a few new ideas and emotions for the young group. For instance, by them including more technical rhythms and leads. Something like what happened with Sodom's "Obsessed by Cruelty" compared to "Persecution Mania." Likewise, Death's second album is a little more methodological compared to their debut "Scream Bloody Gore." Death elevated themselves as musicians from their demo days, and this recording is essentially a turning point between their past primitive tendencies and a progressive side that would just keep on progressing till their last output.

The music on this album is centered around dual guitars, which layer themselves overtop and often accent each other. Some of the main techniques used range from basic and savage to higher noted melodies. They also use single strummed chords while the drummer plays a faster beat, plenty of extended tremolo riffs, power chord and palm muted combos, harmonic squeals and other varied abilities. The leads come about quite frequently. Sometimes they're chaotic by sweeping as many notes as possible, to letting a few harmonious notes escape the tumult, or they can be inclined to crank that whammy bar up and down with intended malice. The drums are often played simplistically but are compensated by weight and heaviness. His pace is usually halted at a steadied thrash beat. It's less drastic than, say, black-thrashers Sarcofago or death-grinders Carcass with their redlining chops at the time. Some of his drumming abilities range from multiple snare rolls and hits, occasional double bass pounding and even taking advantage of an open and closed hi-hat.

Chuck's vocals are for the most part a more easy to understand delivery compared to later extreme metal vocals. He gives off a characteristic higher scream and wail, something along the lines of an elevated Jeff Becerra on Possessed's "Seven Churches." He manages to change it up, like on the beginning of "Pull the Plug" with a raspy, almost narrative technique. On some other tracks, they can escalate their emotional magnitude as the song builds. It gives them more force compared to some other groups where you can essentially count on them for what they're capable of and where they're most likely going to end up next. Towards the closing of "Open Casket" he repeats the title but by using more of a deep, screaming-through-the-teeth voice contortion to dodge a straight-line.

The production is loud enough to blow the speaker covers right off your cabinets. For an extreme metal band to get this treatment at that time was more of a stepping stone for other recordings that would come after it. The sound quality on the guitars has more of a medium tone since a lot of the guitar lines make the rounds on the fret board, and a lower tone might not have given the particular sharpness they give off when diving below the thicker strings. The drums, on the other hand, are very bassy. For the most part these can be a Godsend and add more weight behind the guitars, but, then again, when he's attacking the snare drum it can sound overloaded in the mix, and almost a distraction compared to giving a single wallop or maintaining a subdued every-other-click beat instead. The bass guitar gets a chance to shine in a few areas, mostly because it isn't strummed lightly, but it gives some back-up to the guitarists using the higher strings as well.

Even in '88, "Leprosy" created some dividing points to thrash and death metal. Some of those extended tremolo riffs are a good example of where the techniques would change over compared to the characteristically played rapid, open and closed method that an abundance of thrash metal groups were still using. Along with some other bands, this is another push closer to what more would know in the '90s as to what death metal would develop into in the next phase.

The song "Primitive Ways," either to not want to contradict themselves in title or lack of drive, is a little more basic. It gets caught in a cycle that needed to be recycled or revamped because it just shuffles around these particular set of notes for a few repeated predictable sections as the drummer hardly deviates with a steady tempo that falls short of unsteadying the listener. It comes across as too aligned for a style of extreme metal that needs more feelings of spontaneity, as if something will reach out and grab you from where you sit or stand.

"Scream Bloody Gore" had measured composition but was more basic with song writing in comparison. Then again, that release was primal and had the bludgeoning savageness that came along with it. It was essentially an effectively mean and crude recording. "Leprosy" carried over some of the music from that output and also became a little more varied in other areas. Upon delivering those variations, Death substituted areas of being more callous and direct for some untapped progression to set themselves apart from other bands who might have caught on to the initial idea. So, I think the strategy was to slightly move on before anyone could catch up. Even in their instrumentally basic moments, it is still layered and thought through, such as having the bass guitar peak out at points, certain vocal effects being used to enhance a certain line, the drums building up a section and, of course, the guitars jumping in for a lead to heighten a moment as well. This release manages to have some sections that put it ahead of its time, and, even to this day, still have a majority of the music be workable and deliver the goods.

Chuck improves steadily... and with good results! - 82%

Wez, October 31st, 2003

Retaining the distinctive flavour that made "Scream Bloody Gore" a notorious release at the time, but having a newly polished and sharpened edge, comes "Leprosy". Leprosy comes across as a more concentrated and controlled effort than before. Pretty much everything has improved: songwriting, musicmanship and even lyrical content. The lyrics show more maturity, but still lack much of the sentiment and philanthropy that would later dominate Chuck's writing. A six minute long title track displays this new found control and accuracy, giving increasing emphasis on the kind of melodic passages that would become synonymous with the band (only hinted at briefly on "Scream Bloody Gore"). The only real annoyance in the music comes in the form of guitarist Rick Rozz's unispired, all to similar lead work. But fortunately, Chuck's solos manage to breathe much needed life into each song, helping to wash away the bitter taste of Rozz. Chuck also has this knack of spicing up the music with imaginative bridges and lead breaks just at the point when the repeating riffs begin to get a little monotonous. Though this is great, and Chuck is developing a style all of his own, it isn't as interesting, together or progressing as much as would hit with full force on their next release "Spiritual Healing". The best examples of promise in the band's ever improving technique come in the title track, "Forgotten Past", the brutal and crushing "Pull The Plug" and "Choke On It". If you enjoyed "Scream Bloody Gore" then this is definitely recommended as it's better in all aspects.