The Angel of Death has come again in 1993. With the release of Individual Thought Patterns, Chuck Schuldiner and Death have once again proved through talent, perseverance, and the commitment to musically progress rather than stagnate, that death/thrash metal is not, as some detractors have claimed, a dying genre. At 26, the "Godfather of Death Metal", with the addition of Steve DiGiorgio (ex-Sadus and the only remaining Death "member" from the Human sessions), on bass, Andy LaRocque (from King Diamond) on lead guitar, and Gene Hoglan (ex Dark Angel) on drums has firmly put Death back on the map and once again, proved to the skeptics that being "brutal" and "heavy" can also mean tasteful, memorable, and classic. I recently spoke with the affable frontman/creator and asked him whether this is, at last, a stable Death lineup.

Magazine: Metal Maniacs / USA
Article: Revolutionizing Death

Written by: Alicia Morgan
Published: 1993


"Definitely! I hope so!" replied the good natured Harbinger of Death. "We're all excited about things, and I think listening to the record, that there is a definite 'metallic chemistry' throughout -it's got a real good groove- I feel that everyone involved got a chance to let loose and really shine. This record, I had been working on material since Human, and I presented tapes to everyone that was going to be jamming out and told them to cut loose and do whatever they were expressing themselves and being able to shine through on their individual instruments. We're all really happy with the result."

Indeed, Individual Thought Patterns contains musicianship that upholds the crafty, well thought out songwriting. Chuck's decision to have all involved "cut loose and jam" is decidedly at odds with his image in the press as some sort of dictating monster who is "difficult to work with," an accusation that Chuck vehemently denies.

"People, who, in the past, have gotten a free ride, once it's over, become very resentful; it's almost like a baby with a pacifier. Once it's taken away, the security, they have to talk shit, and I'm never one to start talking shit, it's always other people. People have been released from this band due to a number of things... when you have someone come into your band you don't even know them really- you set out with hopefully similar goals, but things change. I've always had to go where I wanted to keep improving and bringing this music to new heigths. There are certain people who don't want to improve as far as music goes and that can become a problem, down to people just being overall hard to work with. I am the easiest person to work with, it's funny people think the opposite... Instead of people talking shit, they should just prove themselves with what they have to offer, if they have anything to offer at all. I'm the type of person -hey, people may talk shit- but I come out with another record that's better than the previous one. That's my main goal -to make sure that the LP is just the best one I can put out."


The Death frontman felt so strongly on this topic that he chose to address these 'gossip spreaders' lyrically on several songs on the LP.

"The new record reflects a lot of anger that is definitely shared by a lot of people in this business. Everyone, literally, that I know who is in a band can share the same story -you meet up with greedy, money hungry, backstabbing people in this business, that in my opinion, should be sent to another planet where they all rip each other off..."

Ever the gentleman, Chuck refuses to name names however.

"There are several people that these lyrics are directed at. It seems that everyone has their way of doing things and that is creating gossip, and then there's my way of laying out the reality of things in the lyrics and stuff... the people who have f!cked me over are going to read the lyrics and be highly aware that I'm addressing them. That satisfies me, because I've voiced my opinion. People can be the judge abouth whether they think I'm sincere or not."

So, enough gossip. I was curious as to whether Chuck would consider Death a 'death metal' band in 1993, as the term has somewhat changed meaning from when he first recorded Scream Bloody Gore in 1987.


Chuck feels that "These days, people consider death metal to be satanic, the majority of it is actually turning into that... I would consider Death to be a metal band, and anyone can classify it the way they want. We play metal, I know we play it heavy, and that's what counts. I'm really tired of categories. This whole scene evolved from traditional metal, that's where I get my roots from, as well as everyone else in the band. I like it when I see a band moving forward in the right direction, I mean, you can count on Death not to put out a funk LP, or hop on any bandwagon."


This emphasis on drawing from traditional metal and not other death metal bands is what sets Death apart musically.

Chuck explains, "People need to look to where this all came from. When I started listening to metal in the early '80's there were all sorts of bands, from Venom to Exciter to Metallica, Anvil, Raven... All of those bands had their own special formula. Just like the 70's, all the great bands like Rush, Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Styx (?!?)... all those bands had their own sound and identity. Somewhere along the lines that has gotten put to the side."

Returning to the topic of death metal, I asked whether the song "Out of Touch" was directed at bands like Cannibal Corpse who seem to put "brutality" (rather, cheese) ahead of originality.

Chuck replied "Oh no, I'm friends with them actually... 'Out of Touch' is directed at more extreme people. Certain people are getting out of control, not just in metal either... Rap music, give me a break, it's blatantly racial, insinuating blatant violence. I'm not into that. I'm a positive person -my lyrics seem angry but it's a positive outlet and contains a message, in my belief. I'm not a religious person, but I'm definitely not a satanic person. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs -but- religion should definitely not be about hurting animals (right on Chuck!) or anything like that. I wouldn't consider that a real religion -that's totally screwed. Anyway, I'm not a hater of religion -I definitely finger forms that are corrupt -it shows you that, unfortunately, it's just human nature and it gets worse every year of my life. I come in contact with more and more screwed up people..."


Winding up, I asked what he felt it would take for death/thrash metal to survive, and what kept him inspired.

"I'm here to write music, that's what I set out doing 10 years ago, that's what I wanted to do when I was 8 years old and worshipped Kiss, they were my gods... All I've ever wanted to do was play in a band. I never once thought it would end up being a big gossip, sideshow bullshit situation where people rip you off and you're a victim basically to what anyone says until you prove yourself innocent. As far as the scene goes, people should never underestimate the direction that metal could turn to if people keep it healthy. You keep the scene healthy by annihilating gossip, focusing on music, the support of fans, and progressing. Bands like Psychotic Waltz, Dream Theatre, and Carcass are really expanding musically and providing metal with new sounds."

Add Death to that list. Musically and lyrically, they have done nothing but progress and impress, both classy and classic, adjectives that aren't often used to describe a death metal band. But then Death is anything but your typical death metal band.

As Chuck sums up, "I believe if you work hard at something and you're a good person deep down inside, you'll rise above whatever bullshit you have to deal with."



to talks

EmptyWords-Published on May 13 2003