Review: The Sound of Perseverance
Magazine: Metal Dreams / USA
Written by: Steve Gottlieb
Published: #3

After a three years hiatus, Chuck Schuldiner is back with what is perhaps the best Death album yet. Death is one of those bands that has always been difficult to classify: brutal death metal to a typical metalhead, but lighthearted thrash to the death metal set. Yet, to those who actually know them, Death is a pioneering band, pushing the limits of both thrash and death metal. I tend to think of Death as one of the last of the 80's thrash bands rather than one of the first death metal bands, but that's just my opinion. Progressive death-thrash, if you insist on a label. Whatever you want to call it, just know that it's f**king awesome!

Don't be misled; The Sound of Perseverance is an extreme album, both vocally and lyrically, but musically it's accessible to any fan of thrash or technical metal (emphasis on technical), with a sound somewhere in-between Carcass' Heartwork and Megadeth's Rust in Peace. Schuldiner has matured into an excellent guitarist, and his group of newcomers are among the best line-ups Death has ever seen. Richard Christy (drums), Shannon Hamm (guitar) and Scott Clendenin (bass) may be unknown, but they put out a performance that rivals, or even outdoes, some of the better known Death alumni like Terry Butler, James Murphy, Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan. This is one of Death's most progressive sounding albums, but it also has some of the band's catchiest riffs since Leprosy.

Tracks like "Spirit Crusher", "Flesh and the Power it Holds", and "To Forgive" are technically complex yet immensely listenable tunes. The songs are like rollercoaster rides, changing pace from slow to fast at the blink of an eye, all the while retaining a strong intensity level. Chuck's vocals are a little higher pitched than on previous albums, and may be irritating to a more conservative (squeamish?) listener, but they are generally understandable throughout (the 'big words, small mind' chorus section on "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" is a perfect example). You may have heard about Schuldiner's other project Control Denied, which was to have a more traditional metal approach, and his love of classic metal is evident on a cover of Judas Priest's "Painkiller" that closes the album.

If you've written Death off from a few of their past albums, now is the time to rejoin the club. If you've never listened to them, give this one a try. Don't let an effective yet limiting band name turn you away from some great music. And if you're just absolutely bored with everything else that's coming out lately, The Sound of Perseverance will restore your faith in metal. (SG)


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EmptyWords-Published on February 5 2000 / June 24 2001