Review Summary: The scariest thing is they managed to top this...
For the longest time, Human was my favourite Death album. There was just something about that one album, the raw aggression found in its 34 minute running length that i felt was completely unrivalled. Since listening to their discography multiple times in a row again, however, this album has slowly sunk back to being my third favourite Death release, behind the two albums that would follow. That is NOT to say that Human is patchy at all, however, as it is by no means bad.
Human is, in fact, darn near perfection incarnate. This is a blisteringly fast lesson in aggression, speed, progression and just general absolutely fantastically crafted death metal. Only Death could create this form of unrivalled hatred in music form, whilst still containing riffs so heavy they could take Chuck Norris off his feet. Human was originally 8 tracks long, however this review will be including the ninth track as well, God Of Thunder, a cover of kiss included on the re-release.
Human is, primarily, a string of some of the best riffs found in any genre of music on the face of the earth, of varied tempo, but all containing the rage that characterised Death, and made them stand out so much amongst the pretensive scene that they created. Bands such as Obituary and Cannibal Corpse, with their gore soaked lyrics, could not even comprehend the hate that Death had in their music.
The first three songs on the album, Flattening Of Emotions, Suicide Machine and Together as One, all showcase this perfectly. Together as one has by far the best chorus Death ever put out, with some insightful lyrics and riffs drilled into your head with the force to take a building down. Chuck Schuldiner had one of the finest musical brains of all time, and this is displayed with every single guitar line throughout the album, containing so many influences, and would go on to influence every band ever to come after.
This was also the album where Death changed. Death went from being a raw, brash, in your face death metal band to a more progressive-inclined band, whilst still retaining that death sound that they created almost single handedly. This all comes to its peak on the instrumental of the album, Cosmic Sea, a beautifully composed piece that really does have elements of every style of music that Chuck was influenced by. There are classical tinges in there, hard rock elements, a lacing of blues, and, of course, heavy ***ing metal. This is where everything the band did came together perfectly.
Each and every song found throughout this record is a masterpiece in its own right. They are all completely different, and to explain them all would require a university-length piece. Each and every one is a classic of the genre, and they have all stood the test of time, being 21 years old and still riding high among the wave of death metal masterpieces. The genre has become stagnant, and this was one of the albums that caused this, as very few bands could ever live up to a precedent such as this.
Human may not be the best thing that Death ever put out, being left trailing by Symbolic, and being outdone by following album Individual Thought Patterns, but it remains an exercise in how death metal should be done flawlessly, with furious guitar work throughout. The solos are perfect for the album, and every riff flows into the next one throughout. However, if you thought the talent ends there, you would be vastly mistaken. Sean Reinert is a wizard behind the drum kit, laying down some solid beats upon which the songs are formed, being interesting and complex enough to avoid boring the listener. Steve DiGiorgio is another extremely talented musician, with some bass lines that sink into the listeners skull, and never leave. The bass is audible throughout, which is rare for a metal artist, but to have mixed out talent like this would be criminal.
This stands out as one of the primary reasons why Death will always be number one in the death metal scene, having first created it, then refined it with Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, and then revolutionized it with Human, before leaving the genres defining moment with Symbolic and Individual Thought Patterns. Human is a timeless album that will have as much relevancy and staying power in another fifty years as it had upon its initial release. 5/5