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09-20 Death to release Sound of Pers
03-25 Ex-Death bassist dead at 47
08-07 Death announce winter tour
04-22 Death stream Leprosy reissue


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Death

Unquestionably one of the most important andinfluential death metal acts to have ever emergedfrom theNorthAmericancontinent,Florida'sDEATHcametogether in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalistChuck Schuldiner and guitarist RickRozz(realname:Frederick DeLillo)gottogetherwithdrummer/vocalistBarney "Kam" Lee to formMantas. Drawing musical inspirationfrom VenomandSlayer, the trio (no bassist hadyetenteredthepicture!) went aboutcomposing original tunes andmakingvery rough, crude rehearsal recordingstosend out to various tape-tradersaroundtheworld.Out of these sessionscame acompletelyunproduced five- ...read more

Unquestionably one of the most important andinfluential death metal acts to have ever emergedfrom theNorthAmericancontinent,Florida'sDEATHcametogether in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalistChuck Schuldiner and guitarist RickRozz(realname:Frederick DeLillo)gottogetherwithdrummer/vocalistBarney "Kam" Lee to formMantas. Drawing musical inspirationfrom VenomandSlayer, the trio (no bassist hadyetenteredthepicture!) went aboutcomposing original tunes andmakingvery rough, crude rehearsal recordingstosend out to various tape-tradersaroundtheworld.Out of these sessionscame acompletelyunproduced five-song "demo «entitled DeathbyMetal (mid-1984), which --in spite ofitsprimitivenature--endedup establishing thegroup as one ofthe most promising contenders for theAmericandeath metal throne, a status that atthetimewasbeing firmlyheld by San Francisco'sPossessed.The recognition they received,however, was noteenough to helpMantas along in theirhometownofOrlando, wherethe group were still notbeing takenseriously by any of theclubs or fellowmusicians.

"The local situation was fuckin' nearly impossible,"Schuldiner later recalled. "A lot of people lookeddown upon us. We got alot ofshitfromthelocalbandscene; all the bands from around (Orlando)thought we were pure shit. We were noisy backthen,but we were putting outbrutaldeathmetal,and itwastoo much for people to comprehend." Thiscomplete lack oflocal support for the band’s musicwas at least partly toblamefortheconstantinternal turmoilwithin the group andMantas‘eventual break-up in late 1984.

Vowing to carry on making music that was "fasterand heavier" than anything he'd done before,Schuldiner immediatelyannounced hisplanstoformanewband simply called DEATH- and relocateto either Tampa or California after his 18thbirthday(which was to occur in May of1985), a movethathefeltcouldimprove his chances of securing astable line-up forthe group. Within weeks, however,Chuck reconciled with Rozzand Leeandcommencedthewritingsessions for whatwouldbecome the legendary “Reign of Terror”demo.

We have gotten so much heavier (since reforming),it's almost beyond comprehension," Schuldinerstated on the eve ofthedemo'srecording.Laiddownovera five-hour period during October 1984"in the back room of a music store where theykeeprecordingequipment", “Reign OfTerror” costagrand totalof $80and was never properly mixeddown due to a lack of time ina proper recordingstudio.Despite this, the six-song tapewascirculatedworldwidethrough thevast tape-tradingnetworkand put DEATH on the maps one of thegenre's mostextreme and brutal groups.

On December 30th, 1984, DEATH performed withlocal Tampa heroes Nasty Savage at Ruby's Puband made an audiorecording oftheshowthattheywouldlater release as an "official" live tape. "We'regoing to trash the (Reign Of Terror)demo, becauseit sucks compared toour livetape”,Chuckwasquoted assaying at the time.

Three months later, on March 9th, 1985, Chuck, Rickand Kam finally got the opportunity to record a"proper" studio demo, athree. songrecordingmadespecifically for finding a record deal. Not an"official" demo release, the Infernal Death tape (asitwould later becomeknown) wastobethelastrecording made with this line-up, as Chuck slowlygrew apart from the othermembers and began toset his eyes on aMichigan bassistbythenameofScott Carlson (then of Genocide, and laterofRepulsion).

"Scott sent us a tape of himself jamming, and heabsolutely kills," Chuck enthused. By the time Scottrelocated toOrlando(replacingRozz),hebroughtalongwith him Genocide guitarist Matt Olivo, andthe two joined Kam and Chuck in a short-livedincarnation ofDEATH that endedwhenLeefinallyexited, leavingthe remaining three membersdrummer-less. Severalfrustrating months followedduring whichChuck, Matt andScottattempted tofind areplacement forKam, but the taskprovedimpossible, ultimately causing Scott and Matt toreturn toMichigan and leaving Chuckthedauntingtask offinding anentirelynewline-up.

In September of 1985, Chuck relocated to SanFrancisco at the urging of ex-D.R.I. drummer EricBrecht, and the pair soonhookedupinyetanotherversionof the band, this time with the intent of theirband "being the fastest ever». Ultimately,however,Chuck realized that afull-speedassaultdid notallow forthe different musical shades and colourswhich madeDEATH such an import musical entity,and in December ofthat sameyear,hereturned toFlorida,bandless once again. It wasaround thattime that he got a phone call from Toronto deathmetal upstartsSlaughter, who justafewshortweeks priortoentering the studio to begin recordingtheir debut album, Strappado, asked him to moveup toCanada and jointheirranks.Frustrated withhis localenvironment.

Chuck accepted their offer and in January of 1986moved to Toronto to start rehearsing with thegroup. Althoughinitiallyenthusiasticabouttheprospectofbeing in an actual "band", Schuldinerquickly realized the need to pursue his ownvisionand not followsomebody else’s lead,andpromptlyleft Canadatoreturn to Florida, where hestarted plotting his next attack.Within weeks hewas back in SanFrancisco where he hooked upwithapromisingyoungdrummer by the name ofChrisReifert, and in April of that same year, the pairentered aCalifornia studio to record the infamousthree-songMutilationdemo.By far the best-recorded tape Chuck had laid down up until thatpoint,Mutilation rapidly made the rounds in metalcircles,andthedemosoon foundits way in thehands of Combat Records, who proceeded to snapupthe group to a multi-albumdeal.

In July of 1986, Chuck and Chris entered a Floridarecording studio to start work on their debut albumfor the label, butduetovarioustechnicalproblems,thesessions didn't go past the initial basic tracksand the whole project was moved overtoHollywood's MusicGrinder Studios.Pairedupwithproducer RandyBurns, DEATH spent only a fewdays recording the LPbefore Chuck and Chrisreturned home,leaving Randy to mixthealbum.Whilewaiting for the album tobe mixedandmastered, Schuldiner and Reifert encountered ayoung Californianguitarist by the name ofJohnHand,whom theywelcomedin the band, evengoingso far as to have his photo included on the backcover of theupcoming record. It was adecisionthatwouldlater hauntthe group, as Hand wouldleavethe group prior to the recording of their secondalbumand thus neverrecorded so much asa singlenote withDEATH.

Released in May of 1987, DEATH's debut recordScream Bloody Gore was immediately met withpraise and accolades, withmagazinesandfanshailingitasone of the most important death metalreleases of all time. However, with Chuck onceagainhaving returned to Florida andReifertbasinghimselfinSanFrancisco, Schuldiner, in yet anothersurprising move, decided tojoin forces with three-fourths of Florida's Massacre(includingRickRozz).Thismarked thefirst touring incarnation ofDEATH,which made its first major live appearanceat that year's Milwaukee Metalfest.Duringthesuccessful clubtour thatfollowed,DEATH airedthree brand-new numbers ("Born Dead", "OpenCasket" and "Pull the Plug") thatChuck hadwrittenforthegroup'ssophomore outing,which showcaseda more mature, focused direction for the band whileretaining the brutalitythathad becomethegroup'strademark.

By April of 1988, DEATH had returned to therecording studio (Tampa's Morri sound facility) and,under the guidance of DanJohnson,laiddowntheirmuch-anticipated second album. A polished, yetsavagely heavy effort, Leprosy, like itspredecessor,had its rootsfirmlyintheSlayer/Venom/Hellhammer schoolofsong writing,but with an increased emphasis on the kindofmelodic passages that would laterbecomecentraltothe group's sound. Notsurprisingly,thispowerful combination was aninstant "hit" in themetal underground and became a majorinfluenceonhundredsof bands hate mergedduringdeathmetal’s"resurgence" in the late '80's, includinggroups such as Entombed and NapalmDeath (whoended uprecordingtheirHarmonyCorruptionalbumat Morri sound Studios to recapture Leprosy'sdistinctive production).

Although the DEATH line-up would change onceagain, the band had made an indelible impressionwith their first two releases.Indeed,itwasalbumssuchasLeprosy that help to forge a path for thehundreds of death metal bands which would soonrisein subsequent years, althoughnoneofthemwould beable toerase the importance nor savageryof tracks such as "Pull thePlug". The fact that someof these songs remain fanfavouritesevento thisday speaksof theirtime-tested craftsmanshipandthe importance of the band, not only in theAmerican metal scene butwith animpactwhoseinfluence would soonbewitnessedthroughout theworld.

An appearance at the Ultimate Revenge II videoshoot (a live video/CD which also included DarkAngel andForbidden,amongothers)tookplaceinOctober,1988, followed by more touring throughmuch of 1989. By the end of that year,thevolatilerelationship between ChuckandRickhadgottenvirtually intolerable for Schuldiner and aparting of the ways becameinevitable. "Rickwasbasically kicked out of the band sincewewereallinto progressingas a group and getting betterasmusicians, and he simply was not," Chuckwasquoted as saying a few months later."Hewasstoppingme from writingthekind of material Iwanted to write due to his inability to playthesongs, and we all knew it was time fora change..

In Rick's place, DEATH enlisted James Murphy, aFlorida resident who'd previously spent time inAgent Steel and Hallows Eve,and began workon theall-important third album, entitled "SpiritualHealing". Produced by Scott Burns,Spiritual...representedyet another stepforwardinChuck'squesttowardsincorporating an increasedlevel of musicality into the group's songwriting,while at the same time shying awayfromthe Satanic andlow-budgetgoremovie-type lyricsthat were becomingcommonplace in the genre. "Ithink that Spiritual Healing is verymuchrepresentative of whatdeathmetalcansoundlikewhen it's done with strong emphasis onmusicality and less so on hyper-speed andstupidSatanic lyrics”, Chucksaidafterthealbum’srelease."We believe that we can turn a few more people intodeath metal with this record andchange a lotofpeople's mindsaboutwhatdeath metalissupposed to sound like..

Despite some of the early criticism from the die-hard death metal fans who viewed the musicalprogression on SpiritualHealingasnegativeone,thealbumwent on to be a highly successful one forthe group, with DEATH doing more touring andinfront of larger crowdsthaneverbefore.Unfortunately,it alsomarked the last time the groupwould record with this line-up, as pressure inChuck’s personal lifeandinternalbanddisagreements causedMurphy to bedejected fromthe group first,followed by drummer Bill Andrewsand bassist Terry Butler afew monthslater.

In the decade that followed, DEATH issued severalmore critically-acclaimed releases while graduallygravitatingtowardsamuchmoretechnicalmusicalapproach, one that would inevitably alienate someof the group's long-time fans. Along theway,Chuckcame to berightfullyregarded asone ofthepioneers of the death metal genre, while SpiritualHealing came to earn itsplace in theannals ofdeath metal history as onethefinestalbumseverreleased under the banner.

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Similar Bands: Atheist, Cynic, Venom, Coroner, Control Denied

LPs
The Sound of Perseverance
1998

4.4
2,701 Votes
Symbolic
1995

4.5
3,269 Votes
Individual Thought Patterns
1993

4.3
2,135 Votes
Human
1991

4.5
2,750 Votes
Spiritual Healing
1990

3.9
1,530 Votes
Leprosy
1988

4.1
1,782 Votes
Scream Bloody Gore
1987

3.9
1,734 Votes
EPs
Mutilation (Demo)
1986

3.6
39 Votes
Back From The Dead (Demo)
1985

3.8
3 Votes
Infernal Death (Demo)
1985

4
4 Votes
Reign of Terror (Demo)
1984

4
29 Votes
Death By Metal (Demo)
1984

4
66 Votes
Live Albums
Live in Eindhoven
2001

3.9
82 Votes
Live in L.A.: Death & Raw
2001

4.1
154 Votes
Compilations
Vivus!
02/28/2012

4.4
42 Votes
Fate: Best of Death
1991

4.1
61 Votes

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