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mostly wank - 42%

super_bum, October 6th, 2006

Surely much praise has been bestowed upon Chuck Shuldiner and his legacy. Many people proclaim Chuck to be a brilliant guitarist and a musical virtuoso. People also claim that all of his musical virtues are embodied by this very album. Then as always there are those people that dismiss "The Sound of Perseverance" as nothing more than a technical masturbation exercise. The opinion of the latter is more agreeable, most of this stuff is technical wanking.

There is not even the slightest doubt that Chuck Schuldiner possessed tremendous capabilities as a guitar player. Every single guitar solo is an eruption of notes sequenced in consonant melodic fashion. Certainly one must feel every stream of passionate emotions pouring out of every beautiful guitar solo. It's hard to stress just how jaw droppingly amazing these guitar solos are. They are played at lightning fast speeds and with immense technicality, but yet they are just melodic enough to make them sugary sweet and memorable. If there's one reason to buy this album, it is those damned fine guitar solo's.

However, guitar solos, or even mountainous technical abilities are just not enough to make a great album. Sometimes technical showcasing simply gets in the way and even tends to ruin a great song. Such is the case with this album. Musicianship doesn't necessarily destroy the album, it just leaves a bad impression. There are some sections of a song which were better left off. These sections are, quite frankly, annoying. They exist merely to disrupt the overall flow of the song. Perhaps the worst aspect of this album is the stale song construction. Every single song is written in repetitive fashion. First they play a series of riffs, some of them random and misplaced, then the brilliant guitar solo flourishes, afterwards the song repeats itself. Just about every song follows this cyclical songwriting. The astounding instrumental ability does not save this album from the lack of variation.

This album does have a few positive aspects. There are plenty of memorable guitar licks and riffs. Perhaps due to the fact that this is perhaps Death at its most accessible. Most of the riffs contain sappy melodicism with a touch of percussive tendencies. Guitar riffs are played along side a basking rhythm drum and bass backing. On top of all this is Chuck's rather distastefully ugly vocals. His voice is a high pitched, scratchy snarl, and it is not very pleasant to listen to, even for extreme metal standards. Indeed, Chuck mainly relies on instrumentation.

It is easy to see why one would either enjoy and highly praise this album, yet it also difficult to not see why someone would blast this album. On the surface we have a great deal of astonishing musicianship and barely descent overall song fluidity. However, when one views past this, we are left with wank sections and a lack of atmosphere. And of course no clear artistic intent, just flowery instrumentalism. "The Sound of Perseverance" is to be be far from being crowned a masterpiece.