The granddaddies of death metal, founders of the genre, and destroyers of ear drums, Death, are back. Well, sort of, as the band’s critically acclaimed fourth album, Human, is to be reissued on both CD and vinyl as a limited run. With the re-release of Death’s classic and widely influential album, we here at The Moshville Times decided it was about time we had another listen to one of the genre’s defining albums.
The album’s introductory track, “Flattening of Emotions”, almost lulls you in to a false sense of security, with Sean Reinert’s drums slowly growing louder before Chuck Schuldiner and fellow guitarist Paul Masvidal cut in, playing in a duet. Bassist Steve DiGiorgio groovily plays underneath the guitar tracks, with the entire ensemble remaining uncharacteristically composed, as if they are holding back. This is exactly the case, as what is soon unleashed is an onslaught of ear-shatteringly heavy guitar riffs, and harsh, throaty sounding screams.
Human really offers a look in to the intricate mind of the late frontman Chuck Schuldiner, with each track offering something new and different. “Cosmic Sea” opens with a bizarre, yet soothing, synth which carries on throughout a large chunk of the song, while Reinert plays at a moderate tempo, and Schuldiner blasts out a solo which is nothing short of a technical masterpiece. The song even has a brief moment of quiet before roaring back into action again, this time playing in a completely different style from before, essentially creating a different song in the middle of the one already being played.
Don’t be fooled in to assuming that Human is simply an experimental album however, as it is still packed with classic death metal tropes. Tracks like “Together as One” and “Lack of Comprehension” are laden with fast-paced guitar riffs, incomprehensible screams, and furiously fast drumbeats; everything you need to start a moshpit. “Suicide Machine” has always been a personal favourite of mine, primarily due to DiGiorgio’s small bass solo at the 24 second mark, providing a short, but sweet, dosage of bass brutality. His continued progressive riffs throughout not only this track but the album as a whole clearly paved the way for other bass-centered bands, such as Obscura and Cynic.
At its heart, death metal is an attack on the normality of music, and even that of the heavy metal scene as a whole. Death in particular always strove to be different and try different things, and it was this attitude which inspired countless bands to follow in their footsteps, ultimately leading to the genre of death metal being what it is today. Human is perhaps the band’s greatest release, and certainly one that needs to be heard. For those of you who have never heard of Death, allow Human to be your starting point in to an education of one of history’s most extreme bands.
Human’s reissue will be released on March 31st and is available to pre-order at Relapse.