Magazine: Metal Hammer / Germany
Article: Music? Nicht immer, aber immer öfter.

Writtenby: Robert Müller
Published: July 1993

Some time ago, when we met in Florida, Chuck defined the message of the new Death album, "Individual Thought Patterns", as a credo for the music and against the industry of the music business. First of all the album is technically brilliant and complex, yet very heavy and aggressive.
And furthermore....?

If I see things the right way, Death, since their last album "Human", developes as a "normal", musically orientated band. "Psycho Monster" Chuck Schuldiner actually has deserved nothing less than headlines with style, defining Death Metal, but until recently, the magazines only have been filled with tour cancelations. "Death will never come to Europe", was one of the many heard sayings. But in the meantime, 3 tours proved it not to be true. So it's about time, by means of the new CD "Individual Though Patterns", to let the music speak for itself. It is in every way, very worth the effort. The words coming out of Chuck's mouth must be seen as accompanying notes. Let's start with the just ended festival-tour in Germany.

Point-blank: how was it this time?

"It was amazing! For me, personally, it was the best time I ever had being on tour. During the last tour there was just only one concert that we didn't have under control. Overall, I had the impression that the people just wanted to enjoy an evening with good music."

Wasn't it somewhat odd to just have finished recording a new CD and to go on tour before the album was released, and accordingly to play new stuff?

"Of course we were keen on playing the new material too, and in the end we added four new songs to the setlist. I sort of saw the whole thing as a test case, an opportunity to get familiar with the live qualities of the new songs, to enjoy it, and of course to hear the first reactions. "Carcass" played even much more from their next album, and we all agreed it would be insane to fail the chance of playing this stuff live. You know, we don't play to sell the albums, we play because we greatly enjoy doing it."

How does the new line-up, (next to Chuck, also Steve DiGiorgio (b), Andy LaRocque (g) and Gene Hoglan (d)) look like? Is it a lasting one, or is there talk of the so called characteristic Death decomposition symtoms?

"Up till now it lasts. I can't look in the future unfortunately, but as it appears and as I see how the mood is in the band at the moment, it will last. I hope so, because it is, as well musically as personally the best I ever had. This album gives me much more a round off feeling. The songs flow over in each other easily, it's very organic. It's much less straight forward than "Human", and there are many sneaky bends on it"

Summarized: "Individual Thought Patterns" is a chain of musical elements. Was it from the start your intention, to sacrifice the straightness of "Human" to more complexity?

"Well, not directly. I just never want to make the same album twice. I love to, with each album I make, improve myself personally. An indication for me is that I have to feel good about it. Well, this time I've done that, and now the songs are more refined and more complex."

Should this line-up appear to be stable, would it be an improvement in the future if the other bandmembers would also join in the songwriting?

"I don't know. One of my main goals is to let Death be Death. This band is working according to a steady formula for years now, and it is hard enough to understand this formula for outsiders just like that. But concerning the recordings: I never strived after total control, but I always left each person free in their own interpretation."




Right, now about the former mentioned message of this album....

"In the music bussiness there are a lot of things, that really make me sick. It's very easy to get angry quickly and I used the songs to let off some steam. I have to make clear that every band, past the demo-stage, gets to deal with an aweful lot of horrible people. It doesn't only concern me, but almost every band sooner or later gets robbed. I just want to make music, but as soon as it becomes your job, the doors are wide open to big catastrophies. Often enough fans wonder why certain bands break up. Often enough the answer is, they became victims of the system!"

Maybe he is right about this, although I think most of his lyrics are based on personal experiences. But about the partly half-hearted character of the music business, there truly is no doubt about it indeed.

"I hope that I won't have to write this kind of tedious lyrics anymore. But I truly went through hell, and that just had to come out once. Besides, there are so many other musicians feeling absolutely the same. Everbody is fed up with the whole fucking business, with all the rumours and media pranks, always forgetting that it's about the music."

Did you find a way, in the meantime, to deal with all these kind of things?

"I have a good lawyer."

Are you still feeling misunderstood by a great part of the press?

"You know what's funny? A lot of people read this crap, but when it comes to a point, it doesn't matter to them at all. The press has to understand, that their consumers can rise above it as well. The fact that I ran into a lot of people at the concerts, with nothing but positivity towards the music, gives me a lot of courage."

To continue some more about the music, and especially about the name given to it. In the meantime, Death gets recognition not only from the death metal side, but maybe there still is a certain scepticism. Are you striving to leave the term "death metal" behind you one day?

"I believe that everybody has another opinion about what death metal is supposed to be. I would like everybody to look at us as a band, where it's about the music and that we are serious about it. That's the key. For me, the biggest compliment is when somebody says that the music appealed to him. I have nothing against it being called death metal, but I have something against bands that think they have to restrict this genre. "If you don't do this, or don't do that, than it's not death metal." That's nonsense. It maybe is somewhat exaggerated to say that I am co-founder of death metal, but way back in time I already loved metal like from: Maiden, Anvil, Kiss or Exciter. If this is showing through more and more, it doesn't have to change my original opinion on this kind of music, because it has always been a part of it. If ever somebody would say: "Death? that was a damned good metal band!", I would be happy."

As far as I'm concerned, no problem Mr. Schuldiner. Death, good band -- really. And whoever missed them on the Easter festivals, has another chance of seeing them before the summer, on one of the big festivals in The Netherlands. Together with Voivod, Suicidal Tendencies, Psychotic Waltz etc.. In fall, the new tones should also be overwhelmingly scattered over the people.

Robert Müller


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Translated by YK/CM for EmptyWords-Published on February 26 2000