Remembering Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Schuldiner

December 12th, 2011
by Luxi Lahtinen

What do you make of the lasting impact that Chuck has made on Metal?

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Eric Greif (former manager of DEATH and president of Perseverance Holdings Ltd, managing the legacy of DEATH and CONTROL DENIED): I meet Metal recording artists often who say to me how influential Chuck was on their own careers. I think it is impossible to listen to modern extreme music without hearing something that was influenced in some way by Chuck Schuldiner.

Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY, ex-DEATH): The fact that people are still interested in his music to this day says a lot of course. He was right there in the beginning and his influence on the Metal scene cannot be underestimated.

Kam Lee (ex-MANTAS, ex-DEATH, ex-MASSACRE): I always felt Death had the potential to become something of a bench mark in the Metal scene. Although Chuck changed directions of Death many times thru out the bands existence… he did mantain a constant vigilance of striving the band to move forwards and to not back peddle. Chuck pushed himself to the limits and beyond – he always strived to better himself and his music.

Jeff Becerra (POSSESSED): I think that Chuck really was the polar opposite to what many of today’s ‘Death Metal’ bands are all about. He showed that Death Metal could and should be more than what I like to call, ‘a race to the bottom’.  Meaning that there are too many bands out there that think that Death Metal is only about playing as fast as they possibly can, and singing about the dumbest, grossest, most ridiculous shit their small minds can come up with. It’s almost like many of the bands today look at Death Metal as a *joke*. They have extremely un-serious lyrical content with no message or worth. To Chuck Death Metal was something truly deep and meaningful and much more than singing about stupid shit, gore and pussy jokes. I also personally dislike ‘joke’ Death Metal bands and think that they are one of the reasons that some people still don’t recognize Death Metal as an art form.

Laurent Ramadier (SNAKEPIT MAGAZINE): I think it’s great… I think it’s wonderful… he never betrayed his vision, he never betrayed his roots unlike so many musicians from the same era did just because they had to progress. Chuck was able to progress while still maintaining his high ability to come up with crushing material for the biggest part. I can’t think of anybody else besides the Sacrifice guys who were able to maintain this integrity. He never incorporated groovy, moshing, techno, hip hop, nu metal bullshit… he just cared to write great sticky yet super heavy Metallic tunes and that’s why people don’t forget how important he was.

Patrick Evil (SATAN’S HOST): I think Chuck changed the way bands write and structure their music he was way ahead of his time and always looking for perfection in his music. He once told me that he wished he had a singer in the caliber of Ronnie James Dio then he could really capture his vision in the music.

Dave Rotten (AVULSED, XTREEM MUSIC): I think Chuck was more appreciated after we all knew he had cancer and specially after he died. Of course he caused an impact, specially in the Death Metal scene, either on his primitive origins or his later technical approach in Death.

Laurent Merle (LISTENABLE RECORDS): I don’t want to mention copycats that followed as good and enjoyable as they were. I would say he pretty much gave birth to that technical type of Death Metal that is popular in North America, in a sense that it’s not pure Death Metal but it carries the vibe in a more progressive musical envelope - and I’m pretty sure a lot of young artists will reckon that. Many of them have pushed the bar too high and are too extreme and phoney and songwriting / music gets affected I think. The thing with Death is that although the music had many tempos and elaborate arrangements, it was still very catchy because the songwriting was well thought out and balanced. You could hear his Hard Rock / Heavy Metal roots.

Terry Butler (ex-DEATH, ex-MASSACRE, OBITUARY): Good music!!! People of all generations will and do enjoy Death’s music. Death were one of the first bands to show people that you can be heavy and be a good musician as well.

Kelly Shaefer (ATHEIST): He was a true musical visionary – and to me, will always be the godfather of Death Metal music. I am proud to have known him, and proud to say we changed each other in ways that neither of us noticed. But all these years later, I notice and respect the road he carved in Metal that made it possible to even get away with having a band called Atheist. So salute to you Chuck Shuldiner; your music and determination to keep it pure defines your legacy, and will always stand as a benchmark in Metal. Horns way the fuck up!!!

Mem von Stein (EXUMER, SUN DESCENDS): I think that his band’s musical progression is very impressive. Starting off with super raw material and progressing to some insane technical stuff without losing the edge and punch…

Brian Werking (EXMORTIS): Well, he accomplished a lot in the Death Metal genre. As far as a lasting impact, he will always be known as the godfather of Death Metal by anyone who knows their history… I think he will continue to influence musicians in the future with his song writing. But, there are some (a lot) bands out there that took Death Metal to a level that was (is) to me not Death Metal. Sub-genre after sub-genre… Personally, I do not like the cookie monster vocals that a lot of people are into. Anyone can pick up a microphone and grunt into it and nobody would ever know what they were saying. Chuck would turn over if he only knew. Hell, I’m turning right now in disgust.

Bob Bagchus (ASPHYX): What do I make of it? Chuck was the man who was one of the pioneers of Death Metal and he deserves respect for that.

John McEntee (INCANTATION, FUNERUS): Well, I think it’s well deserved. He was one of the first; he was an amazing songwriter, and seemed like he always pushed himself to the limits and push his music to limits. Even on some of the later material that I’m not really a fan of has had a massive impact on a whole newer breed of technical Death Metal bands. Of course it’s sad that he passed away at a young age. But he made a very big impact on the Metal world the short time he was here. Maybe more than any other musician especially for Death Metal.

Mark Jansen (EPICA, MAYAN): Playing his music every now and then live keeps ‘Death’ alive. ;o)

Luis Lara (DIOSDEIRA): There’s no doubt he had – and will have a very important place in the scene considered the inventor of Death Metal. All his work will always be a point of reference for the new generations and Metal history in general. In my opinion he proved that the music can evolve without selling your soul to the music biz. I think he had a lot more to give to people as a musician. He will always be missed. LONG LIVE CHUCK SHULDINER!!!

Mike IX Williams (EYEHATEGOD, ARSON ANTHEM): As far as creating a genre, he played a major part On focusing his character and imposing the sound he wanted into a cohesive variable where change and evolution were not shunned on, which sometimes happens nowadays. Chuck’s take on Death Metal was one where the basics were there, and what ever sprouted from that base was fair to the game. If he had lived, for sure we would grandly be in for a technically expansive sonic treat.

Pest (GORGOROTH): Made a big impact on people like me, who were young Metalheads at the time of their first couple of releases. His progression of the Metal music (specifically making it more technical) also has had an impact on the scene, although I prefer his earlier, simplier and rawer stuff.

Mike Browning (ex-MORBID ANGEL, ex-NOCTURNUS, AFTER DEATH): I would say probably more than anything that Chuck probably has one of the biggest influences on musicians adding more technical riffs to their music.

Esa Lindén (DEMIGOD): He was one of the founders of the whole genre and therefore one of the most important individuals the Death Metal scene has ever known.

Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT, BRUTAL TRUTH): He totally deserves his place as one of the dudes who founded a whole genre, and since Death progressed into a kind of technical / progressive Metal band (although honestly I prefer the earlier stuff) Chuck has influenced bands playing both old-school primitive stuff and the more tech-sounding bands. There are a lot of bands (some too young to even know it) that owe their sound at least in part to Chuck.

Daniel Rego (DEMONIC RESURRECTION): Death remains one of the most influential Metal bands ever, and I think the spirit of Chuck’s music is imperishable, it lives on in the music and minds of so many musicians today and will continue to.

Michael Dorrian (ANATOMY OF I): Whether it’s directly or through other bands that he inspired, Chuck’s legacy will have an impact on Metal for many more years, no doubt about it. Yet, I believe he has never received the recognition he deserves when he was alive or posthumously. I can’t really tell what would’ve been satisfactory; whether he should’ve played bigger stages or festivals, or whether he should’ve enjoyed more financial gains… the fact alone that his surgeries were delayed by months because his family was unable to cough up the downpayments in an earlier stage of his illness is unfathomable. Let’s just say that Chuck simply deserves more credit than having a signature guitar released by BC Rich.

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Lasse Pyykkö (HOODED MENACE, PHLEGETHON): Whether it´s Death Metal in the old fashion or progressive Death Metal, his impact is significant. Hats off for that! I could not give two shits about progressive Death Metal but young Death Metal bands vamping on early Death albums are the ones that keep real Death Metal alive.

Jed Simon (TENET, ZIMMERS HOLE, ex-SYL): Monolithic. Timeless. Epic. He left a legacy of music which will continue to have an impact for generations.

Marko Tarvonen (MOONSORROW, BARREN EARTH): I’d say the whole genre what is called Extreme Metal as we know it today. I think that without him it would be different.

Frank Van Kwartel (SARGON): I’m proud to say that Chuck’s legacy will live on forever and that he will be remembered the same way Randy Rhoads and Cliff Burton are. Chuck’s work was ground breaking not only with Death but also with Control Denied. Once again, it took a lot of balls for him to continue to follow his heart, as he always did, and start up from scratch with Control Denied. His work there continued where THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE left off; Control Denied was the perfect combination of Death Metal and Heavy Metal combined into one. He has influenced a lot of people, and he will continue to do so. His contribution to Metal is impossible to deny, and many of my recent favorite band’s such as Obscura proudly name him as an influence. They covered “Lack of Comprehension” on their first album, and I thought it was great! I’m sure Chuck will continue to inspire and influence a lot of people, and I can’t wait to see how the newer generations take Chuck’s work to new heights.

Tuomas Karhunen (FORGOTTEN HORROR, DEATHCHAIN): He left a great legacy and an example of how great music is timeless, and how one person can really ßmake a difference.

Steve Rice (KILL RITUAL, ex-IMAGIKA): Well you can’t put out that many CDs and have a dedicated fan base without making an impact. He’ll be remembered for going too young and leaving a lot music behind that he never got to write or record.

Toni Weidlich (CRYSTALIC): It’s just incredible how one person can create something so powerful as he did by himself. He’s a gift for the Metal scene and his music lives forever here. He will always remind us of the real Metal and where everything got started from in the Death Metal scene. And the impact he overall made, has also born lots of new bands that respect his work and keep the Metal flowing.

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