The Sound Of Perseverance


Nuclear Blast Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald


I was browsing around the site one day, and I came across our fearless leader's review of this album. It would be an understatement to say I was surprised. I always thought Death to be one of the more underground bands in the death metal scene. After finishing reading his opinions on the album, I was happy to see that the Vault had paid respect to the greatest death metal band of all time. However, I felt compelled to throw in my own two cents, if only to reinforce Mr. Thelen's views.

Once again, Chuck Schuldiner completely recreated the band from scratch. Unlike previous efforts, his new crew weren't the renowned metal musicians that had been featured on the previous releases, Symbolic and Individual Thought Patterns (which hosted such famous men as Steve Digiorgio and Gene Hoglan), but this doesn't mean they were any less competent. Personally, I found drummer Richard Christy to be one of the most proficient players I've ever heard, and that can be noted by the blistering intros on "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow" and the Judas Priest cover "Painkiller".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There is a great divide between musical technicality, and sonic brutality. For Death, they were able to effortlessly merge the two together. Each song on this album is crushing in its raw power, and, at the same time extremely melodic. A good example would be track two, "Story To Tell". Schuldiner's hoarse rasp devastates the listener, and also wows them with the melodic passages weaved in between the smashing, lightning-fast riffs.

The one surprise on this album (other than the Priest cover at the end) would be track six, "Voice Of The Soul". It is an all-instrumental, mostly acoustic passage. It's quite a surprise to hear a death metal band play such a song, but it's nonetheless awe-inspiring. The guitars are as powerful as words, speaking to the listener. This song is sheer beauty, and one of the best instrumental songs ever written.

Unfortunately for Death, this would prove to be their swansong. A year after the record's release, the mastermind of Death, lead guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner, then with his new project, called Control Denied, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. After a brave battle, he passed away on December 13, 2001. When I first heard this, I was absolutely shocked. It seemed unfair for such a brilliant mind to be taken away, but it seems to happen quite frequently in the musical scene (John Lennon; Warren Zevon; Layne Staley, to name a few). Sometimes, it's hard to listen to tracks like "Voice Of The Soul", "Story To Tell", or even more thrashy songs like "Spirit Crusher", knowing that the man who invented such genius music will not be doing so anymore.

I cannot adequately describe how awe-astounding this album is. From the opening drum beat, to the last guitar riff, everything is perfection. While some of the hardcore Death fans claim that this album isn't their best, it is still worth everyone's time. In an age where disturbingly bad Nu-Metal and crappy Gothenburg acts fill the scene, Death is a breath of fresh air.

Rest in peace, Chuck Schuldiner.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Riley McDonald and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.