Review Summary: Death keeps on evolving and evolving, nearing perfect, but perfect would come only on the next album.THE STORY OF DEATH, EPISODE III/VII - SPIRITUAL HEALING:
Spiritual Healing closes the first chapter in Death's book of evolution. Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing are all a great listening material, but the reason that Death are one of my favorite bands of all time, is thanks to their last four albums. Nevertheless, I think Spiritual Healing is an amazing record, filled with many great moments. The sound in here evolved further on from Leprosy, giving a more genuine Death Metal feel, with Chuck dropping almost all of the Thrash elements that he used in the former two records.
Unlike Leprosy, Spiritual Healing contains riffs that would most likely never be found in any Thrash record. A good example for that would be the opening riff in Low Life. The guitar breaks onto two scales wickedly, while successfully maintaining being catchy, and emphasizes the initially weird sounding beats in the rhythm that eventually grow to sound freakish and creative.
Spiritual Healing's intro is also worth mentioning. An epic, dark tapping lick that breaks onto so many scales so naturally and perfectly. In my opinion, it is Death's best intro. I remember when I just started listening to Death; I was just heading home and I shuffled some random songs in my iPod. I haven’t heard much Death by then, but I was absolutely amazed when Spiritual Healing started playing. I clearly remember rewinding the song three times to hear the intro again. It is funny to think that what then sounded like a random collection of riffs and melodies that have nothing to do with each other is now one of my favorite Death songs. One of my favorite features of the mentioned above title track, is the keyboard being played in the bridge. It provides a mysterious, magical atmosphere that turns the song in to a truly epic piece.
Besides having an improvement guitar-wise, with the arrival of the amazing James Murphy, Spiritual Healing also has a crispier, cleaner production. But still, like all first three Death albums, it has its disadvantages.
The bass sounds pretty low in the mix, unlike every other Death album, where the bass is very noticeable. The drums, on the other hand, are mixed way better than in the last two albums, but Bill Andrews plays rather poorly. His replacement in the next album was very welcomed, and I am quite sure that if Death wasn’t a riff-based band this would’ve probably gotten in my way of giving this album a 4.5.
As I said in the beginning, Spiritual Healing marks the end of an era. Death's next album, Human, is about to open Death's second chapter, by being their first 100% pure Death Metal album. Spiritual is still an amazing album, though, and while it is not the purest Death Metal out there, it played a very important part in Chuck Schuldiner's obvious evolution.
- Spiritual Healing
- Low Life
- Altering The Future
Spiritual Healing was released in February 16, 1990. The record label is Combat Records and it is 41:56 minutes long.
All songs written by Chuck Schuldiner.
Chuck Schuldiner - guitar, vocals
James Murphy - guitar
Terry Butler - bass
Bill Andrews - drums
Recorded and mixed at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida, USA
Recorded and mixed by Scott Burns and Death
Assistant engineered by John Cervini and Mike Gowan
Edward Repka - Artwork, Cover Design
David Bett - Art Direction
Brian Freeman - Design
J.J. Hollis - Photography
Eric Greif - Management