Review: Spiritual Healing
Magazine: Deadtide / USA
Written by: Eric Stucke
Published: February 2007

As a very critical music fan, I can see where people have talked down Death's "Spiritual Healing" in favor of all of their other material. The band was going through a stylistic change, and some might argue that they lost some of their best elements while not yet refining the elements that made them great on later releases.

To me, Spiritual Healing represents great things from both worlds. Thanks to the production, the newfound complexity, and of course the grating vocals of Evil Chuck, this album is arguably the most punishing release in their catalog. Chuck's vocals at this point seemed seething with a homicidal rage, every song's lyrics a personal mantra. His points may not have been spot on, the issues were quite debatable... but you knew he meant it with every ounce of him when he said them, and unlike the first two albums you could understand them all. "Low Life" is as close to a death threat as we might get in music.

At this point, the ever-changing Death lineup included James Murphy (Testament, Obituary, Cancer), and with the combination of him and Chuck the band found a new complexity, while still sticking with their base death metal formula. Chuck was getting better and better at guitar (and at songwriting) and James helped bring it out in him; the duo's riffage was confrontational, powerful and devoid of catchy pretentious fluff, just like the lyrics that they complimented. I call it honesty. The flair was saved for the solos; this album is where they started to become the band's legendary trademark.

Bill Andrews' drumming and Terry Butler's bass playing on Spiritual Healing were probably the most consistent features remaining from the Death lineup that recorded the first two albums. They're decent, but they're not really the focal point of the album like the vocals and guitars. The impressive bass that Death was known for was later to come with DiGiorgio joining the lineup.

All in all the album has focus, and that's what I love about it. The whole of the album is challenging people's perceptions, and shoving them in their faces. This album is my "I want to destroy the world" album, my "shove it in their faces" release, and I can only hope that it gets the recognition it deserves over the years.


to views

Edited for Empty©Words 03-10-07