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 and influential death metal acts to have ever emerged from the North American continent, Florida's DEATH came together in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner and guitarist Rick Rozz (real name:Frederick De Lillo) got together with drummer/vocalist Barney "Kam" Lee to form Mantas. Drawing musical inspiration from Venom and Slayer, the trio (no bassist had yet entered the picture!) went about composing original tunes and making very rough, crude rehearsal recordings to send out to various tape-traders around the world.Out of these s more

Unquestionably one of the most important and influential death metal acts to have ever emerged from the North American continent, Florida's DEATH came together in late 1983 when guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner and guitarist Rick Rozz (real name:Frederick De Lillo) got together with drummer/vocalist Barney "Kam" Lee to form Mantas. Drawing musical inspiration from Venom and Slayer, the trio (no bassist had yet entered the picture!) went about composing original tunes and making very rough, crude rehearsal recordings to send out to various tape-traders around the world.Out of these sessions came a completely unproduced five-song demo entitled 'Death by Metal' (mid-1984), which - in spite of its primitive nature - ended up establishing the group as one of the most promising contenders for the American death metal throne, a status that at the time was being firmly held by San Francisco's Possessed. The recognition they received, however, was not enough to help Mantas along in their hometown of Orlando, where the group were still not being taken seriously by any of the clubs or fellow musicians. "The local situation was fuckin' nearly impossible,"Schuldiner later recalled. "A lot of people lookeddown upon us. We gotalotofshitfromthelocalbandscene; all the bands from around (Orlando)thought we were pure shit. We were noisy backthen,but we wereputtingoutbrutaldeathmetal,and itwastoo much for people to comprehend." Thiscomplete lack oflocal support for the band’s musicwas at leastpartlytoblamefortheconstantinternal 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,Schuldinerimmediatelyannouncedhisplanstoformanewband simply called DEATH- and relocateto either Tampa or California after his 18thbirthday(which was to occurin Mayof1985), a movethathefeltcouldimprove his chances of securing astable line-up forthe group. Within weeks, however,Chuck reconciled withRozzandLeeandcommencedthewritingsessions 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.Laiddownoverafive-hour period during October 1984"in the back room of a music store wheretheykeeprecordingequipment", “Reign OfTerror” costagrand totalof $80andwas never properly mixeddown due to a lack of time ina properrecordingstudio.Despite this, the six-song tapewascirculatedworldwidethrough thevasttape-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 anaudiorecordingoftheshowthattheywouldlater release as an "official" live tape. "We'regoing to trash the (Reign Of Terror)demo, becauseit suckscomparedtoour 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 laterbecomeknown)wastobethelastrecording made with this line-up, as Chuck slowlygrew apart from the othermembers and began toset his eyes onaMichiganbassistbythenameofScott Carlson (then of Genocide, and laterofRepulsion). "Scott sent us a tape of himself jamming, and heabsolutely kills," Chuck enthused. By the timeScottrelocatedtoOrlando(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 monthsfollowedduringwhichChuck, Matt andScottattempted tofind areplacement forKam, but the taskprovedimpossible, ultimately causing Scott and MatttoreturntoMichigan 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 pairsoonhookedupinyetanotherversionofthe band, this time with the intent of theirband "being the fastest ever». Ultimately,however,Chuckrealized that afull-speedassaultdid notallow forthedifferent musical shades and colourswhich madeDEATH such an import musical entity,andin December ofthat sameyear,hereturned toFlorida,bandlessonce again. It wasaround thattime that he got a phone call from Torontodeathmetal upstartsSlaughter, who justafewshortweeks priortoentering thestudio 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 withthegroup.Althoughinitiallyenthusiasticabouttheprospectofbeing in an actual "band", Schuldinerquickly realized the need to pursue his ownvisionandnotfollowsomebody else’s lead,andpromptlyleft Canadatoreturn to Florida, where hestarted plotting his next attack.Within weeks hewas backinSanFrancisco where he hooked upwithapromisingyoungdrummer by the name ofChrisReifert, and in April of that same year, the pairenteredaCaliforniastudio to record the infamousthree-songMutilationdemo.By far the best-recorded tape Chuck had laid down up untilthatpoint,Mutilation rapidly made therounds 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 thelabel,butduetovarioustechnicalproblems,thesessions didn't go past the initial basic tracksand the whole project was moved overtoHollywood'sMusicGrinderStudios.Pairedupwithproducer RandyBurns, DEATH spent only a fewdays recording the LPbefore Chuck and Chrisreturnedhome,leaving Randy tomixthealbum.Whilewaiting for the album tobe mixedandmastered, Schuldiner and Reifert encountered ayoungCalifornianguitarist by the nameofJohnHand,whom theywelcomedin the band, evengoingso far as to have his photo included on the backcoverof theupcoming record. It wasadecisionthatwouldlater hauntthe group, as Hand wouldleavethe group prior to the recording of theirsecondalbumand thus neverrecorded so much asasinglenote withDEATH. Released in May of 1987, DEATH's debut recordScream Bloody Gore was immediately met withpraise and accolades,withmagazinesandfanshailingitasoneof 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 touringincarnation ofDEATH,which made its first major live appearanceat thatyear's Milwaukee Metalfest.Duringthesuccessful clubtour thatfollowed,DEATHairedthree brand-new numbers ("Born Dead", "OpenCasket" and"Pull the Plug") thatChuck hadwrittenforthegroup'ssophomore outing,which showcasedamore 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/Hellhammerschoolofsong 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 hatemergedduringdeathmetal’s"resurgence" in the late '80's, includinggroups such as Entombed andNapalmDeath (whoendeduprecordingtheirHarmonyCorruptionalbumat Morri sound Studios to recapture Leprosy'sdistinctive production). Although the DEATH line-up would change onceagain, the band had made an indelible impressionwith their firsttworeleases.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 remainfanfavouritesevento thisday speaksof theirtime-tested craftsmanshipandthe importance of the band, not only intheAmerican metal scene butwithanimpactwhoseinfluence would soonbewitnessedthroughout theworld. An appearance at the Ultimate Revenge II videoshoot (a live video/CD which also included Dark Angel and Forbidden, among others) took place in October, 1988, followed by more touring through much of 1989. By the end of that year, the volatile relationship between Chuck and Rick had gotten virtually intolerable for Schuldiner and a parting of the ways became inevitable. "Rick was basically kicked out of the band since we were all into progressing as a group and getting better as musicians, and he simply was not," Chuck was quoted as saying a few months later." He was stopping me from writing the kind of material I wanted to write due to his inability to play the songs, and we all knew it was time for a change." In Rick's place, DEATH enlisted James Murphy, a Florida resident who'd previously spent time in Agent Steel and Hallows Eve, and began work on the all-important third album, entitled "Spiritual Healing". Produced by Scott Burns, Spiritual... represented yet another step forward in Chuck's quest towards incorporating an increased level of musicality into the group's songwriting,while at the same time shying away from the Satanic and low-budget gore movie-type lyrics that were becoming common place in the genre. "I think that Spiritual Healing is very much representative of what death metal can sound like when it's done with strong emphasis on musicality and less so on hyper-speed and stupid Satanic lyrics”, Chuck said after the album’s release. "We believe that we can turn a few more people into death metal with this record and change a lot of people's minds about what death metal's supposed to sound like." Despite some of the early criticism from the die-hard death metal fans who viewed the musical progression on Spiritual Healing as a negative one, the album went on to be a highly successful one for the group, with DEATH doing more touring and in front of larger crowds than ever before. Unfortunately, it also marked the last time the group would record with this line-up, as pressure in Chuck’s personal life and internal band disagreements caused Murphy to be ejected from the group first, followed by drummer Bill Andrews and bassist Terry Butler a few months later. In the decade that followed, DEATH issued several more critically-acclaimed releases while gradually gravitatingtowards a much more technical musical approach, one that would inevitably alienate some of the group's long-time fans. Along the way, Chuck came to be rightfully regarded as one of the pioneers of the death metal genre, while Spiritual Healing came to earn its place in the annals of death metal history as one the finest albums ever released under the banner. TL;DR This website will kill you if you don't know who these guys are. « hide

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