Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche is a well-known philosopher from the nineteenth century who, in a way or another, revolutionized the way of thinking about God, about religion, faith and the overall way of thinking of a lot of people. With affirmations in the lines of "God is dead", many people thought he was out of his mind or a complete freak.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
This quote, taken from Nietzsche's book "Beyond good and evil" serves as introduction as well for the album you are currently reading about, and in some way, is both an abstract and confusing way of viewing this album: Transformation.
The band Death had evolved up to this point from being a basic-grindcore band to a more experimental, ground-breaking group of men, whose music was meant to trascend times and ages beyond what they could have expected, maybe all cause of the soon departure of lead guitarist and vocalist, Chuck Schuldiner. But on ahead with...
DEATH The sound of perseverance...
To start off, I have to say my overall opinion on this album. To me, this is one of the best achieved movements by Death in its career. First of all, as Symbolic
once did, or Scream Bloody gore
, this represents a leap in what Death had done up to this point. The most obvious "change" is the vocal department. Instaed of using the lower, more bassey vocal style, Chuck decides to highten the pitch of his voice into a style similar to Rob Halford, or some 80's metal bands. In terms of technique and musicality, the instruments have a bigger impact, especially bass (which was turned up from Individual thought patterns
and beyond, and this is the pinnacle of Death, musically speaking.
You know this album has a different vibe from the get-go: In Scavenger of human Sorrow
, the drum intro leads to the opening. For some reason, the drums seem much more complex that their first couple releases. The vocals enter for a verse, and the vibe of the song is changed, to a much more "relaxed", if you'd like to see it that way. The blend of different styles can be reminiscent of progressive Rock, if you'd like to see it that way. Three minutes into sthe song and the pace changes, once again. The song itself drags on for a moment after this "break".
Bite the pain
, a personal favorite, kicks in with a great guitar riff, followed by vocals. After the first verse ends, as it will happen in the rest of the album, the speed augments and is the speed that remains for most of the song. The lyrics talk about humanity's nature of survival, and how sometimes if someone gets on our way he might end up stepped down, or so I think.
Drums and bass introduction? Instant winner. Spirit Crusher
, the first song I really liked from this album, starts that way. With a pace that remains for the first verse, then changed slightly. The chorus rhythm is what caught me. The solo of this song is also a big favorite of mine.
The next song, Story to tell
, is more in the fashion of the older Death releases, but keeping the "progressive structure". The fills in the verse are worth being looked at. Nothing else really stands out on this song, I don't particularly like it, although the backing instruments are quite nifty. It has a very long instrumental part until the end of the song comes: You may think you own the end, take another close look at the script, of sadness etched in the book...
The most complex song lyrically, The Flesh And The Power It Holds
, also has a collection of very interesting riffs once again, talking about how people tend to pay too much attention to the outside matters, and not worrying about internal development. Nonetheless, this wasn't either a big favorite of mine, and I just play it randomly once or twice. The interlude for this song is also worth listening.
The instrumental track of the album, Voice of the soul
, mentioned at the end of the track Spirit Crusher
, starts off with an acoustic riff, accompanied by a lead guitar behind it. The second part, with the strummed guitar riff and double harmonized guitar is a quite orgasmic part of the song. If you feel like wetting your pants only, of course. Great song to listen to.
A more upbeat song comes along, To forgive is to suffer
, within the same line of the preceding songs. This one is also a great track, but nothing is really outstanding about it: I mean, there's no solo or particular riff I prefer over the other, they all go great altogether. Probably a little bias towards the solo with the finger tapping before it ends.
Despite the fact that I don't like the intro to this song, I have to give credits to A moment of clarity
for picking up quite quickly. Slowly, but it does. the breakdown between the first verses/choruses is my most favorite riff throughout the album. The solo is also a highlight on this track. The drumming, although being quite impressive in the whole album, shines particularly in this song. And just when it seems it's over, the best moment of the whole album, coming last but not least, the fantastic cover from Judas Priest, Painkiller
Chuck and company managed to make a magnificent cover of this song, without leaving any elements that could make the cover garbage. This is Death's finest moment.
The technicality in this album is superb. There's a real evidence of the progress from album to album, and this is another huge leap, as I already said, in Death's discography. Lyrically, this album goes around humanity's nature and the reasons, means and purposes of men in order to progress, and this is where the abyss looks at you as well.
This is an excellent album, if not Death's finest moment, because the quality in recording is superb, the lyrics are fantastic and the overall feeling while listening to this is quite accomplishing. Nonetheless, there are some moments in the album in which the riff may seem repetitive, or bland if you may want to say it that way. Therefore, I'm giving this album a 4.5, which is my honest opinion. Hope you enjoyed the read, please drop a line to comment on the album, the review, Nietszche. Anything goes.
: Nuclear Blast Records
Original Release Date
: September 15, 1998
: Chuck Schuldiner
: Shannon Hamm
: Scott Clendenin
: Richard Christy