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Tracks From the Past

BY ERIC ANDERSEN | AUGUST 20, 2009 7:05 AM

Death: The Sound of Perseverance
Released September 15, 1998

Death metal is a genre of music that often gets put off by music critics as being shallow, disgusting, and over-the-top. It is characterized by distinct growling vocals and extremely technical background music. Death is a Florida band started up by the late Chuck Schuldiner, a guitar-god for the heavy-metal underground.

Schuldiner, known as “The Father of Death Metal,” loved all types of metal music, but Death’s first three releases were pivotal in creating the death-metal movement, which would later spawn a generation of bands and influence the modern metal scene.

The most underrated piece of work in Death’s catalogue is also the band’s last— less than a year later Schuldiner would be diagnosed with pontine glioma, a deadly type of brain cancer. The Sound of Perseverance features a more progressive style of playing than in the past and shows a switch from Schuldiner’s traditional vocals to a more demonic-sounding shriek.

Schuldiner always surrounded himself with amazing musicians, but the lineup of guitarist Shannon Hamm, bassist Scott Clendenin, and Richard Christy on drums is arguably the band’s best. Schuldiner’s lyrics range from the more traditional death-metal fare on “Spirit Crusher” to the philosophical on “A Moment of Clarity.”

Every riff, drum beat, and bass line is complex, and each song serves as a mini music clinic. All the while, the songs never feel boring, because of the intensity of the playing and Schuldiner’s vocal delivery, which is as concise as it is brutal.

Some bands’ unique sound can never properly be recreated, and Death is definitely one of those cases. In the beginning, Death was a fairly straightforward metal band. By the end, it was an amazing example of what the genre could do. The Sound of Perseverance is a must own for not only metal fans, but anyone who loves inspired and original music.


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