Remembering Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Schuldiner

What is your personal favorite single Death album / song, and why?

Scream front.jpgEric Greif (former manager of DEATH and president of Perseverance Holdings Ltd, managing the legacy of DEATH and CONTROL DENIED): I am partial to SPIRITUAL HEALING because I was there for the entire creation of it, but also because I loved the transition Chucky was going through from the brutal to the technical. “Pull the Plug” for me is the greatest Metal single of all time – it has everything: great riff, cool solos, memorable chorus. Paul Masvidal said it is the first Death Metal pop song.

Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY, ex-DEATH): It’s gotta be SCREAM BLOODY GORE since I played drums on it! Fave songs are probably “Denial of Life”, “Baptized in Blood”, “Infernal Death”, “Scream Bloody Gore”, and the rest of the album as well. Hah! It’s an overall solid brain basher of a record I’d say.

Jeff Becerra (POSSESSED): Anything off of LEPROSY. This album was pivotal to the entire Death Metal genre because of it’s technical aspects and for the fact that it *really* actually raised the benchmark of what Death Metal should and could really be.

Dave Rotten (AVULSED, XTREEM MUSIC): This is not fair. Having to choose between SCREAM BLOODY GORE and LEPROSY is not an easy thing… but I think I would go with S.B.G. because of the first impact – and because it has a more evil feeling on it. Chuck’s voice was in its best shape. My fave Death song, although not on the album, but recorded at the same time, was “Beyond the Unholy Grave”, this one is my fave!! But if it has to be from the album tracklist, then “Zombie Ritual”. That was PURE DEATH METAL!!

Terry Butler (ex-DEATH, ex-MASSACRE, OBITUARY): My favorite Album is SPIRITUAL HEALING. I think it’s a perfect balance of heavy and melody. This was a great time for Death and being part of it was special.

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Bob Bagchus (ASPHYX): My fave Death album is of course without doubt SCREAM BLOODY GORE. It’s heavy, raw and has all the classic songs. I also love Chris Reifert’s drumming there alot. Pounding like a woodchopper… great! My fave song is… uh… all? Hmmh, perhaps “Torn to Pieces” or “Infernal Death”, or “Evil Dead”, or “Baptized in Blood” or “Sacrificial”? It’s all great.

Mem von Stein (EXUMER, SUN DESCENDS): My fav album is SCREAM BLOODY GORE, fav track is “Zombie Ritual”. Most awesome chorus in that song…

Brian Werking (EXMORTIS): My favorite Death album of all time has got to be SCREAM BLOODY GORE. No other compares to the shear Death Metal it represents. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest accomplished Death Metal albums in history. It’s funny but my favorite Death song changes from time to time because I like them all… Right now I’ve been listening to “Suicide Machine” a lot. That song just hit’s home with me. It’s technical guitar riffs and the lead is just classic Chuck… He always had his own style and while the average person can’t hear the difference in song writing from year to year I can surely do so. As far as I’m concerned, when they went more technical, the Death style stayed in tacked. I love to listen to any of his songs and as a technical guitarist and vocalist myself I understand his thoughts and creativity. In hind sight, I look back and wonder why I didn’t move to Tampa sooner to get to know some of the guys from those early days.

Ted Ringo (THE CRYPT RECORDS): LEPROSY because along with Bolt Thrower’s IN BATTLE… I thought that for 1988, it was the heaviest album I had heard to date, way ahead of its time.

John McEntee (INCANTATION, FUNERUS): Well definitely my favorite Death album was SCREAM BLOODY GORE. I think this was one of the most important albums and Death Metal history. As for a favorite song, I definitely don’t have one. I think every song on SCREAM BLOODY GORE is amazing and I’m also a big fan of all the old demo tracks. I think LEPROSY and SPIRITUAL HEALING are also good albums but there’s just some magic on SCREAM BLOODY GORE that makes it the best for me. I’m not a super huge fan of their later material, I started going to more technical direction and a little bit too refined for my taste. But I’ve always had a lot of respect for Chuck for following his own heart music and not just being trendy.

Spiritual front.jpgMark Jansen (EPICA, MAYAN): SYMBOLIC is my all-time favorite, every song of that album is superb. But if I have to pick one song it would be “Crystal Mountain” (that’s why Epica did cover that song in the past).

Frank Van Kwartel (SARGON): It would be difficult for me to pick one favorite Death album or song, for I feel every album has its own identity. Death was a band that always progressed musically, and one couldn’t help but be excited once a new album was announced because you never knew what to expect. Every Death record was something special individually – from the rawness and brutality of SCREAM BLOODY GORE, to the superb musical and songwriting evolution of THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE. I never got upset with the change of musical direction Death took between records. I always thought it was refreshing that Death was a band that reinvented themselves which each release and never stuck to one set formula for making records. Death always delivered a quality product and no matter what change they made, you could always hear the essence of Death in each release. Chuck didn’t believe in musical boundaries or in having to ‘sound’ a certain way to keep fans happy. He simply played the music that came out of him, and I find that to be incredibly ballsy, for he did that knowing that many people wouldn’t understand. Some say the meanest things, but honestly, if he had simply done the same records over and over, then that would’ve been fake because that wasn’t what he was about. Now, there are other band’s who could not have pulled that one off, but I think Death did… We’ve covered “Zombie Ritual” live with Sargon, and I think that now that Kelly Conlon is in the band, we’ll probably try out “Crystal Mountain” on our next show.

Laurent Ramadier (SNAKEPIT MAGAZINE): My fave song would be “Archangel”, always had been and always will be… there’s something going on in this song that it’s just indescribable… it’s just so fuckin’ heavy with the guitars being a massive wall of death and the sort of riffs that sticks in your head forever! As for the album, INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS is the one that I really prefer… I mean if the band had managed to record the album they should have done around early ’85 featuring the Rozz/Lee/Schuldiner line-up with all the classic demo songs, then this would have been my all time fave Death album but it was meant to never become a reality. I’ve never been fond of the first three albums. HUMAN was a big surprise and a killer album… But I.T.P. had the genius from HUMAN, plus Gene’s unique pounding drumming and awesome lead work courtesy of LaRocque. And musically it’s simply for the most part perfect… not repetitive and somewhat boring like SYMBOLIC kind of sounds to me.

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Mike IX Williams (EYEHATEGOD, ARSON ANTHEM): As for the professionally recorded stuff, I love the 1st record obviously and then the LEPROSY LP next, especially the song “Pull the Plug” and of course all the rest, but I can NOT resist the fucking demo songs like “Corpsegrinder”, “Summoned to Die”, “Witch of Hell”, “Zombie Attack”, et al!!! TRUE brutal Death Metal the way it should stay!!

Patrick Evil (SATAN’S HOST): My favorite is “Baptized in Blood”. I think that has been my favorite since that was how I first heard of the band.

Toni Weidlich (CRYSTALIC): It’s definitely INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS. Can’t name a single song cause the whole album is just too amazing. It’s so technical and unique album. Steve’s fretless bass lines are like from the other planet and they just fit perfectly to the songs. I totally agree what Chuck have said in some interview: It’s “Fuck the Limits” type of an album! And it’s so great that Chuck had always courage to do stuff like that – and he obviously never gave a shit what for example labels thought about it. It was real music made with a big heart and breaking all the limits and rules.

Individual front.jpgPest (GORGOROTH): Huge fan of the first two albums. His vocals are especially great on the first one, and songs like “Baptized in Blood”, “Zombie Ritual” – as well as “Pull the Plug” are classic DM for the ages. These two albums brought something new for me as far as music style, something which is evident in early Obtained Enslavement material.

Mike Browning (ex-MORBID ANGEL, ex-NOCTURNUS, AFTER DEATH): For me it’s the whole HUMAN album. Like I had mentioned I was in the studio when they were mixing and I used to have a tape of just the bass and drum tracks for the whole album even before it was finished, so the HUMAN album will always be my favorite of all the Death stuff!

Esa Lindén (DEMIGOD): This is a tough one. If I have to choose only one album it must be LEPROSY. Chuck Composed many great songs and one of the best is “Spiritual Healing” although it’s not being on LEPROSY.

Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT, BRUTAL TRUTH): I guess it would be “Evil Dead” from SCREAM BLOODY GORE. I just really dig that first riff as well as the 2 riffs that follow it.

Daniel Rego (DEMONIC RESURRECTION): My favourite Death album is HUMAN, for its peerless combination of the extreme nature and brutality of pure Death Metal with technical and progressive elements unlike any other band at the time, and the jaw-dropping performances of the musicians involved. Sean Reinert’s jazz-infused, dynamic and virtuosic drum performance remains untouched to this day, Paul Masvidal’s fluid, otherworldly and almost alien-like experimental soloing style, Steve DiGiorgio’s unique and adventurous bass playing and of course, Chuck’s immortal riffs and characteristic vocals. If I absolutely had to pick a favourite Death song, it’d be “Vacant Planets”.

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Lasse Pyykkö (HOODED MENACE, PHLEGETHON): I love SCREAM BLOODY GORE and LEPROSY. SPIRITUAL HEALING was a let down but still okay. In fact it´s awesome compared to their later stuff which I don´t care at all. My favorite album must be LEPROSY because it´s executed so well (yeah, I even like the weird snare sound!) and the songwriting is top-notch. My fave Death song could be almost any track from LEPROSY. “Born Dead” and “Open Casket” come to mind first… but yeah, the album is sheer Death Metal perfection from start to finish.

Jed Simon (TENET, ZIMMERS HOLE, ex-SYL): Tough question. Like I said, I feel that they got better with each release, but if I have to pick an album, it would be HUMAN. That’s the one album to me that fires on all cylinders… well written, technical, melodic, extremely well played. But as for a fave song… man… I’d go with “Choke on It”. Pure fucking classic.

Marko Tarvonen (MOONSORROW, BARREN EARTH): HUMAN without a doubt. The most progressive and extreme stuff they ever wrote. The playing skills of the Cynic members steal the show here really. This album has survived the test of time and now there’s a remixed version of it which is awesome!

Laurent Merle (LISTENABLE RECORDS): I have to say I enjoyed the musical developement over the years and I just got the Relapse rereleases and I think they did an incredible job, salute to them. SCREAM BLOODY GORE was very good but sounded a bit too controlled to me – not polished though – and didn’t carry the same fury compared to the soundscape they had created with the demos. I was flattened out by LEPROSY. “Pull the Plug” really was a super catchy Death Metal song. I remember I liked LEPROSY ‘coz it reminded me of Massacre too as I was a big Massacre fan at the time. So I was happily fulfilled. I like all Death albums.

The Sound front.jpgSteve Rice (KILL RITUAL, ex-IMAGIKA): Favorite song is “Spirit Crusher”, album probably the Control Denied debut.

Michael Dorrian (ANATOMY OF I): HUMAN, INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERS and SYMBOLIC are defintily my favorite Death albums as they presented such a variety of musical elements without losing focus and their production was nicely polished. Of these three, ITP sticks out imo, as it fixes some issues that were present on HUMAN while presenting less predictable song structures and more variety. SYMBOLIC was a natural progression, with an even better production and even more variety, but the songs on ITP are more to the point, in my opinion…

Tuomas Karhunen (FORGOTTEN HORROR, DEATHCHAIN): My favorite album is THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE, but I really can’t name only one song from there, all the material is just so well-written… let’s mention both ‘Scavenger of Human Sorrow’ and ‘Spirit Crusher’. There’s this Nietzschean atmosphere in the whole album which I like a lot. The sounds, the playing, everything just hits the spot and shines in its own league. Even the Judas Priest cover is insanely powerful and doesn’t really need to be ashamed when compared to the original. From other albums let’s mention SYMBOLIC and the song ‘Crystal Mountain’, as that’s one of the best Death songs ever



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