Review Summary: One of death metal's finest.
Death will always be known as one of the founders of the genre called "death metal." The origin of the term is quite heavily debated and it's an interesting subject. Nonethless, Death is the top-selling death metal band in the world, and was one of the best. What we have here is their last recording before the beloved Chuck Schuldiner died. The Sound of Perseverance is a grand recording in the name of death metal, and most will strive to achieve it's quality.
(On a side note, it's also heavily debated whether this is their best. Most go with Symbolic, Human, or this one. Individual Thought Patterns and SBG can also be mentioned).
This album puts the styles of many bands into a giant mixing pot, including Cynic, Dream Theater, Atheist, Opeth, etc. However, Death's style still remains thoroughly in the album, as heard in the opening track, "Scavenger of Human Sorrow." A massive drum solo kicks of the track, with a blazing, yet short, guitar solo to follow. The composition that comes after is a blindingly technical showcase of the band's talents, most notably Chuck Schuldiner (who else?) and drummer Richard Christy, who has become a fan favorite for Death's drummers.
A notable change in this album from previous records by Death is the inclusion of EXTERMELY high vocals, especially for a death metal band. Chuck's vocals have improved from Scream Bloody Gore, and have gotten high to the point of nearly being black metal screeching. It shows here, especially in the Judas Priest cover Painkiller, quite a highlight on the album. Chuck combines those aforementioned screeches with clear(er) vocals (also very high-pitched).
The bass work also is phenomenal here at points, mainly during Spirit Crusher, a, bass-driven number with one of the coolest choruses in metal. Also, another highlight in the album is the melancholic ballad "Voice of the Soul," an instrumental piece that only features electric and acoustic guitar, yet is such a beautiful song that switches tempos frequently.
This album is quite awesome, but a bit of a problem is that the vocals can get quite overbearing at times. Painkiller, while it's a highlight, is particularly a big casualty here. The musicianship is excellent, but Chuck's vocals get repetitive and annoying after a while.
However, this is not a big problem, just minor. We still have one hell of a record here, and it shows the pinnacle of how hard Death worked over the years. This is truly one of death metal's finest.
R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner