Review Summary: Leprosy was essentailly the first sign of Chuck's interest in producing more complex work, and is very transitional for the band.
Leprosy is an album, that in my humble opinion, is severely misunderstood, and in many respects underestimated. Many people will claim that Death's Spiritual Healing was the real transition for the band, and that Leprosy has few stylistic differences from the Debut. I truly disagree, as the difference between Scream Blood Gore, and the follow-up are like night and day. From the production, to the song structures and techniques, Death has made steady improvement, and I would even go as far as to say that hints of Death's later technical and progressive abilities that made Death so popular in the 90's can be in it's very infancy on this disk.
I was on this album that death decided to not only to vary tempos, but talk about more serous topics than zombies and ghouls. The lyrical content adds perspective, such as the title track, and the outstanding Pull The Plug. Issues concerning mortality and even morality can heard throughout. In addition, I believe that songs like Pull The Plug are Death's first real attempts at more complex passages, and even technicality. Frequent tempo changes, as well as more sophisticated riffs are proof of this. In fact, some parts of not only this song, but several others are not at all unlike what would be hear on Spiritual Healing and beyond, although being much more raw and primal sounding.
While I still would not consider this to be full fledge technical material, there are quite of few moments of semi-technical guitar riffs, present in the music on Leprosy, making it obvious that Leprosy was the bands first attempt at a much more serious offering. Still, just like Its predecessor, Leprosy showcases rampaging thrashy death metal, in stark contrast to later, more restrained works, only done which much more skill than before. Even Spiritual Healing sounds like they were holding back in terms of speed, which is the main reason why I have always felt somewhat dissatisfied with much of death's later work; the lack of speed. I'm saying Death is slow, but I believe they would have sounded much better if they would have played at the tempos seen here on albums like Individual Though Patterns.
In conclusion, I believe that this album was the true transitional point for Chuck, and was the first to incorporate features seen on later albums, not spiritual Healing. While just as brutal and as fast as the debut, It has some added complexity, and some moments of semi-technical guitar work. The following album was much to restrained to work, and to me, it wasn’t until their 1993 album that they started to come anywhere close to the speed of their sophomore album. Truth be told, i death would have combined the speed of their early disk, with the complexity of their later works, Death would have been even more amazing than they already are. Sadly, Chuck chose to trade-in thrashing brutality, for complexity alone from this point on instead of mixing the two. While this doesn’t completely satisfy me, I still think Chuck's later material is astonishing and commendable. I just find this album to be the most enjoyable. Death 'till Death!!!!!!!