Magazine: Metal Hammer / Greece
Article: The Importance Of Being Extreme

Written by: Charis Eukarpides
Translated by: Konstantinos Diamantis
Published: October 1998


Three years of absence are a lot, but they are destroyed when it is worth the wait… The American metallers created another pure pattern of extreme music, “The Sound Of Perseverance”, that has already begun melting our CD players, and is also melting the wire gauges and the titles of ownership that the greedy invoke at the courts of profit… Chuck Schuldiner explains how expectation sounds, describes the point of music and gives the model of an unassuming musician that has a method. Metal Hammer is still asking itself how things come…


The last weekend, Death did, for the first time, two gigs in Greece. What are your impressions?
It was fantastic, we needed a welcome that was as warm as the one that our Greek fans gave us, it was awesome. We had heard these great things about Greece from other bands, but realizing it yourself, is something great, an unbelievable experience.

Did you have any problems with the high temperature and the lack of air conditioning in the clubs of Athens and Salonica?
No, this is a false rumor. I am used to sweat and drying off on infinite stages playing my ass off, I have performed in places twice as hot as the Greek ones. Whoever claimed that, especially in Salonica, that we didn’t finish our set list due to temperature problems is a liar, I want you to write this.

You are considered the father of Death Metal scene. What is your opinion?
This is a complete mistake; I am not the one. People say that a lot, but it is not true. There were bands that played this stuff that we later tried, bands that were presented as extreme metal. I started, considering Death as a metal band, I hadn’t heard the term “Death Metal”. Later, we were categorized as this type. Of course, “Seven Churches” by Possessed came out earlier than “Scream Bloody Gore”. I think that people forgot that Possessed were extremely brutal with characteristics such as easily-remembered riffs and classic construction of songs. That’s what we wanted. I believe that Possessed deserve a lot more mention than Death do. Personally, I consider myself to continue the tradition of metal, I like putting it this way, I am tired of hearing death metal this and death metal that. I don’t want to get stuck in closed paths, this is apparent on our new album. Death moves on, hugging its roots, I am trying to bring melodic elements in extreme music. I grew up listening to bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Raven, Judas Priest, Manowar, the most of these bands are melodic, nevertheless, I always enjoyed the aggression of Slayer, the band that I consider my main influence: Fast riffs, double bass drum and double lines on bass, I always liked all these in combination with melody. Slayer maintain their style, they are the kings of extreme sound, they are faithful to what they are doing.

Do you consider “The Sound Of Perseverance” a lot different, comparing to your older releases?
Not a lot different, it has not been taking away from what our fans are expecting to hear, in the same way that I have expectations from other bands. I look at everything from the fan’s point of view because I am a fan of metal. In spite of playing in a band, I maintain this point of view, it helps a lot; it has helped Death stay concentrated. Definitely, there is stuff on this record that people have not heard yet, like, the instrumental, which is very varied.

Which one of all the albums that you have recorded do you consider to be the best?
That’s a hard question, because every record has a specific meaning, it represents a specific period of time in my life. Every record reflects a piece of my life. I can’t answer, I enjoy every record for what hides behind it. The new album is very special for me, because it took me more time than “Symbolic” did and different stuff was happening to me, like getting a new contract, but everyone is satisfied with the results. I think it was worth waiting.

Are you happy with Nuclear Blast?
Absolutely. Our label satisfies me more than all the others in the past. I had problems with the other labels; Nuclear Blast treats us wonderfully. In combination with the beautiful relationship that I have with other guys of the group, this fact makes me optimistic.

You talked about the other guys of Death and I wonder where did you find so good musicians?
Accidentally… I met Richard (drums) at a party, we sat and drunk a beer, it was the time that I had put Death on, Richard introduced himself to me, he told me that he loves Death and that he knows our records by heart. He added that he is a drummer and exercises by playing “Individual Thought Patterns” and when I heard it, I thought: “This guy has to be good”. Some months later, when I started the search for a drummer, I remembered Richard, we contacted each other, he rehearsed some material, and here he is! This guy is a killer!

How much have you evolved as a musician and as a person after all these years?
Now I am an adult. Some times I go back when I was eighteen and I think how young and inexperienced I was. When you are eighteen, you think you are old enough for anything, but you are not, and that is something you recognize later. I advise people of this age not to hurry to grow up, this will happen one day and they won’t realize how time has passed. Now I am more reasonable, I have much more responsibilities, I learned a lot from the bad side, making a lot of mistakes and wrong choices, but that’s how you get better…




Tell me a decision that you have regretted.
Signing a contract at such a young age, being totally unprepared for what was expected of me.

Tell me the best albums you ever bought.
Definitely, “Destroyer” of Kiss and “Alive I” are two records that changed my life, “The Number Of The Beast” by Iron Maiden, “Kill ‘Em All” by Metallica, “Show No Mercy” by Slayer and “Melissa” by Mercyful Fate.

What do you think makes the difference between Death and the other metal groups?
I don’t know, a big advantage Death has is my experience over all these years, experience helps in everything you do, whether you cut wood or being a musician. Being in the business for so many years fills up your batteries. I have posted some rules for things and I don’t tend to change them at all. I am thirty-one years old and composing music seems to me very normal and natural. The new record came out very naturally.

With what measures did you choose “Zombie Ritual” and “Pull The Plug”?
These are two songs that people love to listen to. We have seven records as a band and when I sit down to make the set list, I have in mind that I must promote the new material, plus, I must not ignore the oldest songs. People will kill us if we didn’t play these two (laughs).

A lot of people were disappointed because you didn’t play anything from “Spiritual Healing”.
If we did, the set list would grow a lot. I think fourteen or fifteen songs are enough, we play a hundred minutes, I think that if we played longer, it would make me pass out, the vocals tire me a lot. As a fan, I can’t stand to see a two-hour concert, even if my favorite band performs. When we come back, we will surely play something. We picked two songs off “Human” because it’s very popular, many people tell me that’s it’s our best album. It’s difficult to satisfy everyone, I understand how someone feels when he doesn’t hear a song that he was surely expecting, it happens to me as well, when I go to a concert and do not hear a song that I wanted. “Lack Of Comprehension” was not played due to plenty of our material and because I like us playing “Suicide Machine” and “Together As One” as it is in the record.

Why haven’t you released a live album until today?
I know it’s very common from many groups; too many live albums are released… I don’t react for any reason. Instead of a live album, I’d prefer live videotape where the listener can watch from his TV set and listen from his headphones of his stereo; that would be better. Today’s live albums are not like the old ones, it’s not like “Alive I”, which is magical. You can’t produce magic. Neither “Peter Frampton Comes Alive”… 70’s was the best decade for live recording, now everything is commercial and typical.

In the past, Death had a lot of changes in the line up. Why? Why haven’t you tried to stabilize a line up?
Why doesn’t Dio or Ozzy do it? It’s the same situation, they have their reasons, and I have mine. That’s life, we have girlfriends and they are no longer with us, the same thing happens to the group. When you are in a band, you have a relationship, that’s why people leave, this does not mean that a human relationship (friendship) is the same with the one that people have in a band. If I had the line up from “Leprosy”, I would never have made albums like “The Sound Of Perseverance”, because they didn’t want to improve as musicians, which makes them no longer be with me.

Did you like the two releases of Massacre, the ones that the line up was made by ex members of Death?
It’s been ten years since then…Yes; it was basic death metal, good at its kind.

Which one was proved to be from your partners all these years, a good friend or an interesting personality?
I feel very lucky that I have worked with the guys of “Individual Thought Patterns”. I’ve known Steve DiGiorgio for like thirteen years, I feel him to be friend, except the fact that he is an excellent musician, he is very unassuming and when we go out together we have a wonderful time, and he is funny. The same thing with Gene Hoglan… you know, I am talking about people who are professionals, they are concentrated.

What are Death’s plans for the future?
To move on…when the tour is over, we will record the Control Denied album with Tim Aymar of Psycho Scream as a singer. The material is ready and it waits to be recorded, I hope in March. Jim Morris will be the producer and it will be out from Nuclear Blast. Everything on its time, I live day by day.

to talks

Edited for Empty©Words 12-13-06