When it comes to death metal, Death is in the front row. With Scream
Bloody Gore ('87) and Leprosy ('88) the band around "evil" Chuck
Schuldiner set the standard two times already on which the other
bands had to live up to. In the meantime there are a lot of other
supermen and some of them (Morbid Angel and our own Pestilence)
surpassed the "Leprosy" level.
Childish as it may sound, it's
Death's turn again to take the lead. It's obvious that "Spiritual
Healing" is a big leap forward in the musical development of Death
and the death metal genre. Without losing aggressiveness Chuck
drives his band to great creative heights.
It took some changes to get this
far. First of all, Chuck's notorious death grunt has been adjusted.
For the first time you actually can hear the lyrics. Then the
speed guitarist Rick Rozz had to make way for the technical more
gifted James Murphy (ex- Hallows Eve and Agent Steel). The result
of this personal change is breath taking.
Sparkling solo's as well from James
as Chuck make up a great contrast with the snarling riffs. The
biggest difference compared to the other CD's however are the
more varied and far better thought through compositions. A torrent
of tempi, moods and unexpected breaks make Spiritual Healing an
up and down experience compared to a roller coaster.
Songs like "Altering The Future",
"Within The Mind" and the title song are full of phenomenal riffs,
raging accelerations and dazzling lead guitar parts. And Chuck
may growl less, the horrifying distorted vocals in "Low Life"
sent shivers down your spine more than ever before.
It is amazing how Death offers
so much more on Spiritual Healing in a musical way without betraying
the death metal fans, not even once.
Rating : 9,5 out of 10