Death – The Sound of Perseverance

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Reviewed: December 1998
Released: 1998, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Joe

The Sound of Perseverance marks the triumphant return of Chuck “God ‘o Death” Schuldiner. Many metal fans feared the end of Death after the disbanding of the previous line-up and Chuck’s formation of Control Denied (which, by the way, is due out sometime in the new year).

With a new band and a new label backing him, Schuldiner has once again single-handedly written an album of melodic, progressive, and mind-blowingly aggressive heavy metal. Songs like “Scavenger of Human Sorrow”, “Bite the Pain”, and “Flesh and the Power it Holds” hook you immediately and make you want to keep listening until you’ve absorbed the entire CD. And while not quite as good as the original, the cover of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” is nothing short of brutal.

One thing long-time Death fans will notice is the change in Chuck’s vocal approach. While he still sounds like himself, Chuck has traded his lower-pitched growl for a slightly higher-pitched (yet still guttural) shriek. Believe me, it only adds to the intensity of the music.

One question I have to ask though is, in a music scene dominated by grunge/hardcore bands, where does Schuldiner keep finding such amazing musicians? The band’s performance on this album will no doubt leave many aspiring musicians reconsidering their career paths. Shannon Hamm (guitar), Scott Clendenin (bass), and Richard Christy (drums), more than adequately aid Schuldiner in bringing forth his musical vision of intelligently written and precision-executed brutality. Hopefully Chuck will keep these guys around for a while.

Despite ever-changing trends, Schuldiner has always managed to push the musical envelope while remaining completely loyal to the heavy metal genre. The Sound of Perseverance is yet another testament to that fact.


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