09-20 Death to release Sound of Pers
03-25 Ex-Death bassist dead at 47
08-07 Death announce winter tour
04-22 Death stream Leprosy reissue

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Unquestionably one of the most important andinfluential death metal acts to have ever emergedfromtheNorthAmericancontinent,Florida'sDEATHcametogether in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalistChuck Schuldiner and guitaristRickRozz(realname:Frederick DeLillo)gottogetherwithdrummer/vocalistBarney "Kam" Lee to formMantas. Drawing musical inspirationfromVenomandSlayer, the trio (no bassist hadyetenteredthepicture!) went aboutcomposing original tunes andmakingvery rough, crude rehearsalrecordingstosend out to various tape-tradersaroundtheworld.Out of these sessionscame acompletelyunproduced five- more

Unquestionably one of the most important andinfluential death metal acts to have ever emergedfromtheNorthAmericancontinent,Florida'sDEATHcametogether in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalistChuck Schuldiner and guitaristRickRozz(realname:Frederick DeLillo)gottogetherwithdrummer/vocalistBarney "Kam" Lee to formMantas. Drawing musical inspirationfromVenomandSlayer, the trio (no bassist hadyetenteredthepicture!) went aboutcomposing original tunes andmakingvery rough, crude rehearsalrecordingstosend out to various tape-tradersaroundtheworld.Out of these sessionscame acompletelyunproduced five-song "demo «entitledDeathbyMetal (mid-1984), which --in spite ofitsprimitivenature--endedup establishing thegroup as one ofthe most promising contenders fortheAmericandeath metal throne, a status that atthetimewasbeing firmlyheld by San Francisco'sPossessed.The recognition theyreceived,however, was noteenough to helpMantas along in theirhometownofOrlando, wherethe group were still notbeing takenseriously byany of theclubs or fellowmusicians. "The local situation was fuckin' nearly impossible,"Schuldiner later recalled. "A lot of people lookeddown upon us. We got alotofshitfromthelocalbandscene; all the bands from around (Orlando)thought we were pure shit. We were noisy backthen,but we were puttingoutbrutaldeathmetal,and itwastoo much for people to comprehend." Thiscomplete lack oflocal support for the band’s musicwas at least partlytoblamefortheconstantinternal turmoilwithin the group andMantas‘eventual break-up in late 1984. Vowing to carry on making music that was "fasterand heavier" than anything he'd done before,Schuldiner immediatelyannouncedhisplanstoformanewband simply called DEATH- and relocateto either Tampa or California after his 18thbirthday(which was to occur in Mayof1985), a movethathefeltcouldimprove his chances of securing astable line-up forthe group. Within weeks, however,Chuck reconciled withRozzand Leeandcommencedthewritingsessions for whatwouldbecome the legendary “Reign of Terror”demo. We have gotten so much heavier (since reforming),it's almost beyond comprehension," Schuldinerstated on the eveofthedemo'srecording.Laiddownovera five-hour period during October 1984"in the back room of a music store wheretheykeeprecordingequipment", “Reign OfTerror” costagrand totalof $80and was never properly mixeddown due to a lack of time ina properrecordingstudio.Despite this, the six-song tapewascirculatedworldwidethrough thevast tape-tradingnetworkand put DEATH on the maps one ofthegenre's mostextreme and brutal groups. On December 30th, 1984, DEATH performed withlocal Tampa heroes Nasty Savage at Ruby's Puband made an audiorecordingoftheshowthattheywouldlater release as an "official" live tape. "We'regoing to trash the (Reign Of Terror)demo, becauseit sucks comparedtoour livetape”,Chuckwasquoted assaying at the time. Three months later, on March 9th, 1985, Chuck, Rickand Kam finally got the opportunity to record a"proper" studio demo, athree- songrecordingmadespecifically for finding a record deal. Not an"official" demo release, the Infernal Death tape (asitwould later becomeknown)wastobethelastrecording made with this line-up, as Chuck slowlygrew apart from the othermembers and began toset his eyes on aMichiganbassistbythenameofScott Carlson (then of Genocide, and laterofRepulsion). "Scott sent us a tape of himself jamming, and heabsolutely kills," Chuck enthused. By the time ScottrelocatedtoOrlando(replacingRozz),hebroughtalongwith him Genocide guitarist Matt Olivo, andthe two joined Kam and Chuck in a short- livedincarnationofDEATH that endedwhenLeefinallyexited, leavingthe remaining three membersdrummer-less. Severalfrustrating months followedduringwhichChuck, Matt andScottattempted tofind areplacement forKam, but the taskprovedimpossible, ultimately causing Scott and Matt toreturntoMichigan and leaving Chuckthedauntingtask offinding anentirelynewline-up. In September of 1985, Chuck relocated to SanFrancisco at the urging of ex-D.R.I. drummer EricBrecht, and the pairsoonhookedupinyetanotherversionof the band, this time with the intent of theirband "being the fastest ever». Ultimately,however,Chuckrealized that afull-speedassaultdid notallow forthe different musical shades and colourswhich madeDEATH such an import musical entity,andin December ofthat sameyear,hereturned toFlorida,bandless once again. It wasaround thattime that he got a phone call from Torontodeathmetal upstartsSlaughter, who justafewshortweeks priortoentering the studio to begin recordingtheir debut album, Strappado, asked himto moveup toCanada and jointheirranks.Frustrated withhis localenvironment. Chuck accepted their offer and in January of 1986moved to Toronto to start rehearsing with thegroup.Althoughinitiallyenthusiasticabouttheprospectofbeing in an actual "band", Schuldinerquickly realized the need to pursue his ownvisionand notfollowsomebody else’s lead,andpromptlyleft Canadatoreturn to Florida, where hestarted plotting his next attack.Within weeks hewas back inSanFrancisco where he hooked upwithapromisingyoungdrummer by the name ofChrisReifert, and in April of that same year, the pairenteredaCalifornia studio to record the infamousthree-songMutilationdemo.By far the best-recorded tape Chuck had laid down up untilthatpoint,Mutilation rapidly made the rounds in metalcircles,andthedemosoon foundits way in thehands of Combat Records, who proceeded tosnapupthe group to a multi-albumdeal. In July of 1986, Chuck and Chris entered a Floridarecording studio to start work on their debut albumfor the label,butduetovarioustechnicalproblems,thesessions didn't go past the initial basic tracksand the whole project was moved overtoHollywood'sMusicGrinder Studios.Pairedupwithproducer RandyBurns, DEATH spent only a fewdays recording the LPbefore Chuck and Chrisreturnedhome,leaving Randy to mixthealbum.Whilewaiting for the album tobe mixedandmastered, Schuldiner and Reifert encountered ayoungCalifornianguitarist by the name ofJohnHand,whom theywelcomedin the band, evengoingso far as to have his photo included on the backcoverof theupcoming record. It was adecisionthatwouldlater hauntthe group, as Hand wouldleavethe group prior to the recording of theirsecondalbumand thus neverrecorded so much asa singlenote withDEATH. Released in May of 1987, DEATH's debut recordScream Bloody Gore was immediately met withpraise and accolades,withmagazinesandfanshailingitasone of the most important death metalreleases of all time. However, with Chuck onceagainhaving returnedto Florida andReifertbasinghimselfinSanFrancisco, Schuldiner, in yet anothersurprising move, decided tojoin forces with three-fourths ofFlorida's Massacre(includingRickRozz).Thismarked thefirst touring incarnation ofDEATH,which made its first major live appearanceat thatyear's Milwaukee Metalfest.Duringthesuccessful clubtour thatfollowed,DEATH airedthree brand-new numbers ("Born Dead", "OpenCasket" and"Pull the Plug") thatChuck hadwrittenforthegroup'ssophomore outing,which showcaseda more mature, focused direction for the bandwhileretaining the brutalitythathad becomethegroup'strademark. By April of 1988, DEATH had returned to therecording studio (Tampa's Morri sound facility) and,under the guidance ofDanJohnson,laiddowntheirmuch- anticipated second album. A polished, yetsavagely heavy effort, Leprosy, like itspredecessor,had itsrootsfirmlyintheSlayer/Venom/Hellhammer schoolofsong writing,but with an increased emphasis on the kindofmelodic passages that wouldlaterbecomecentraltothe group's sound. Notsurprisingly,thispowerful combination was aninstant "hit" in themetal underground and became amajorinfluenceonhundredsof bands hate mergedduringdeathmetal’s"resurgence" in the late '80's, includinggroups such as Entombed andNapalmDeath (whoended uprecordingtheirHarmonyCorruptionalbumat Morri sound Studios to recapture Leprosy'sdistinctive production). Although the DEATH line-up would change onceagain, the band had made an indelible impressionwith their first tworeleases.Indeed,itwasalbumssuchasLeprosy that help to forge a path for thehundreds of death metal bands which would soonriseinsubsequent years, althoughnoneofthemwould beable toerase the importance nor savageryof tracks such as "Pull thePlug". The fact thatsomeof these songs remain fanfavouritesevento thisday speaksof theirtime-tested craftsmanshipandthe importance of the band, not only intheAmerican metal scene butwith animpactwhoseinfluence would soonbewitnessedthroughout theworld. An appearance at the Ultimate Revenge II videoshoot (a live video/CD which also included DarkAngelandForbidden,amongothers)tookplaceinOctober,1988, followed by more touring throughmuch of 1989. By the end of thatyear,thevolatilerelationship between ChuckandRickhadgottenvirtually intolerable for Schuldiner and aparting of the ways becameinevitable."Rickwasbasically kicked out of the band sincewewereallinto progressingas a group and getting betterasmusicians, and he simply was not,"Chuckwasquoted as saying a few months later."Hewasstoppingme from writingthekind of material Iwanted to write due to his inability toplaythesongs, and we all knew it was time fora change." In Rick's place, DEATH enlisted James Murphy, aFlorida resident who'd previously spent time inAgent Steel and Hallows Eve,and beganworkon theall- important third album, entitled "SpiritualHealing". Produced by Scott Burns,Spiritual...representedyet anotherstepforwardinChuck'squesttowardsincorporating an increasedlevel of musicality into the group's songwriting,while at the same time shyingawayfromthe Satanic andlow-budgetgoremovie-type lyricsthat were becomingcommonplace in the genre. "Ithink that Spiritual Healing isverymuchrepresentative of whatdeathmetalcansoundlikewhen it's done with strong emphasis onmusicality and less so on hyper-speedandstupidSatanic lyrics”, Chucksaidafterthealbum’srelease."We believe that we can turn a few more people intodeath metal with this recordandchange a lotofpeople's mindsaboutwhatdeath metalissupposed to sound like." Despite some of the early criticism from the die-hard death metal fans who viewed the musicalprogression onSpiritualHealingasnegativeone,thealbumwent on to be a highly successful one forthe group, with DEATH doing more touring andinfront oflarger crowdsthaneverbefore.Unfortunately,it alsomarked the last time the groupwould record with this line-up, as pressure inChuck’spersonal lifeandinternalbanddisagreements causedMurphy to bedejected fromthe group first,followed by drummer Bill Andrewsand bassistTerry Butler afew monthslater. In the decade that followed, DEATH issued severalmore critically-acclaimed releases whilegraduallygravitatingtowardsamuchmoretechnicalmusicalapproach, one that would inevitably alienate someof the group's long-time fans. Alongtheway,Chuckcame to berightfullyregarded asone ofthepioneers of the death metal genre, while SpiritualHealing came to earn itsplace intheannals ofdeath metal history as onethefinestalbumseverreleased under the banner. TL;DR This website will kill you if you don't knowwho these guys are. « hide

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