Review: The Sound Of Perseverance
Magazine: The Metal Observer / Germany
Written by: Mark McKenna
Published: 2002

This was the first album I wanted to review when I first joined "The Metal Observer", but I wasn't quite sure what perspective to take it from. On my way to school today, I made sure to bring it along with me, and as soon as "Voice Of The Soul" came on, I felt inspired, so here I am, in school writing the review.

This is not an album full of hard rocking metal anthems, this is not an album of pure brutality, and this is not an album of blistering hatred. This is an album self expression, and of hope in a world filled with people who would deny it to you. It truly is "The Sound Of Perseverance".

I wouldn't claim that this is the best (but, it is, of course, still incredible) line-up that DEATH has ever had (consisting of Shannon Hamm on guitar, Scott Clendenin on bass, Richard Christy on drums and of course, Chuck Schuldiner; guitar and vocals) nor is it necessarily the best executed DEATH album. It is, however, the most inspirational. The album begins with "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow", which immediately highlights the talent that the band possesses. From this point on until the fifth song, each song is a powerful work of self-expression, utilizing the wealth of talent in both musical technique, and lyrical prowess.

However, the album peaks when it reaches the sixth song; "Voice Of The Soul". I feel extremely unqualified in attempting to describe this song, but I will do my best. If there is one thing that I remember from DEATH, and if there is one thing I ever take with me from music in general, it will be this song, and the way it makes me feel. The mix of the acoustic and the electric guitar, the soaring melodies, instills a sense of hope and wonder in me unlike any other piece of music can. The changes in dynamics express and instill a multitude of emotions with the greatest of ease. The fact that the song is an instrumental only makes it all the more impressive, as it invokes all of these emotion and feelings without saying a single word.

The end of "Voice Of The Soul" brings out my first of two criticisms about the album, both of which are very minor. The criticism is that, as good as "To Forgive Is To Suffer" is, it seems to be too much of a departure from "Voice Of The Soul". Of course, I'm not saying that DEATH should have attempted to create another song that could have acted as a bridge between the two, but perhaps closing the album with "Voice Of The Soul" would have been a more fitting end. However, "To Forgive Is To Suffer" is a great song in its own right, giving much of the same feelings that the other heavy songs on the album do. This is not to say that the album is becoming repetitive, or at this point has nothing left to offer, but instead that the album has a consistent flow to it. At this point in the album in fact, DEATH offers some of the most interesting riffs of any song.

The following song, "A Moment of Clarity", has some of the more interesting drum work on the album, and is of course filled with involving guitar riffs that encompass the listener into DEATH's world. The song itself, while not as good as "Voice Of The Soul", would still be a respectable end to the album. Unfortunately, there is still one song left.

The final track on the album is my second and final complaint about the CD. Although the cover of JUDAS PRIEST's "Painkiller" is executed without flaw, and in my opinion is better than the original, I feel that the song does not belong on the album, but would have been better suited for a collection of B-sides or something to that effect. The inclusion of this song is an abrupt end to the flow and the feeling that the album had, and unfortunately ends the album on a kind of sour note, whereas it would have ended on a high one had "A Moment Of Clarity" closed the album. However, it does benefit from not being in the middle of the album, so it can be taken on its own, and the first eight songs can be taken together as the album.

Despite its minor flaws, "The Sound Of Perseverance" will always be my favorite of all the DEATH releases. The fact that it is not the most technical album, or that it isn't the heaviest or anything to that effect will never help to sway my opinion for the simple fact that that this album is the most spellbinding, inspirational and beautiful.


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Edited for Empty©Words 01-16-05