Death - Leprosy
After a seemingly infinite number of demos released by Death (or Mantas), they finally gave a full length in 1987, entitled Scream Bloody Gore
. The follow up to this landmark full length debut was 1988's Leprosy
. With a new drummer (Bill Andrews), a second guitarist (Rick Rozz) and a bassist who would end up not playing a note on the album (Terry Butler) Death were pretty much a new band, but still with Chuck Schuldiner as the driving force behind it all.
However, I preffered the line-up on Scream Bloody Gore
to be honest; Bill Andrews is a good drummer but he doesn't really display much creative drumming here. Rick Rozz doesn't shine either; when you think of the guitars on this album, you think of Chuck Schuldiner. As I said before, Terry Butler doesn't actually play on here as he wasn't techincally able and the bass duties are actually handled by Chuck himself.
Chuck is of course innovative and exciting as usual. There's the expected dosage of good riffs, intresting leads and those oh-so-harmonic-minor solos that we've come to anticipate with every Death album. The music is uptempo as usual with lot's of palm-muting used throughout the great riffs. The vocals are harsh but not gutteral death metal growls, more of an agressive tenor voice than the typical screams or growls. The vocals are delivered well though, and fit the music perfectly as usual. The lyrics are a bit more mature than Scream Bloody Gore
but only touch on the political issues that Chuck would dig into deeper later in his career.
The fourth song on the album, 'Left To Die' starts off with a flashy guitar introduction before the drums come in and the guitar is used a little more melodically. Then the riffs start, which are of course good, and there's a nice touch in the chorus when the bass comes through a little louder and compliments the guitar riff. The riff following the solo is fast and agressive, typical of Death, and a fill from Andrew's at the end of the section sounds good, unfortunately he doesn't do this kind of thing enough on the album and sticks to the usual blast-beats. The song continues with some whammy bar soloing from Chuck before the abrupt ending.
The opener, 'Leprosy' starts out with the guitars banging out some chords in a dragging tempo before a more intresting section takes place with Chuck's riff-work. Chuck's vocals sound painful and fit the music well when he comes in over the typical palm-muted riffs. The tempo is increased a little for the next section and there is a good riff following the chorus, then a really good riff following that (good riffs are everywhere incase you didn't notice!). The chorus is fast and agressive and proceeding it is an excellent legato riff. One of Death's landmarks is a riff that starts off unaccompanied before the rest of the band comes in, which always has a nice effect. The solo isn't much special, it just seems to be there for the sake of having a solo.
Another stand-out track for me is 'Forgotten Past'. It starts off with a typical palm-muted riff that is spiced up a little by the turn that thrown in at the end. The tempo increases for the next section, but the memorable part follows this in the chorus. A nice chord progression with some good double-bass work from Andrews and a memorable vocal performance by Chuck. The riff following this hints at how Death would progress into a more technical and progressive band in their later career, and the whole instrumental section is well done. There's a good solo from Chuck on here, or at least it starts off well until he gets carried away with his whammy bar. Following this it goes back to familiar territory with the palm-muted riff from the first verse, which again leads into the agressive, uptempo section; then into the powerful chorus.
is another good album by another good band. It's enough good riffs to keep everyone happy, but it's somewhat lacking in comparison to their other works. It's not particularly diverse but there are still some great songs to be heard. Not as mature as later releases, not as immature as Scream Bloody Gore
, but a good album nonetheless recommended to fans of metal in general (maybe look at some other Death albums before this one though).