Death
Human


3.5
great

Review

by Spaten USER (8 Reviews)
June 26th, 2016 | 38 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death breaking away from Death Metal

In 1991, when Death Metal was at its creative peak, Chuck Schuldiner recruited fresh members from fellow metal bands Cynic and Sadus to record and release Human after refusing to tour Europe with the band's former line up. With Human, Death went further into the direction they had already taken with their previous effort, Spiritual Healing. Incorporating more progressive elements, these albums mark the beginning of a paradigm shift for the band, that is reflected both in the musical stylings and the lyrical themes of the band's work as well as their overall outlook.

Death Metal, in its classical incarnation, deals with themes such as darkness, violence, occultism and destruction. And it typically does so without judgement or moralization, offering an unfiltered experience to the listener, urging him to see and accept these aspects of human existence for what they are and even let him grow from the experience. On this album however, these experiences are filtered through human consciousness, with all its flaws and preconceptions, highlighting not so much the will to face these threats with courage or even curiosity as the fragility of the human psyche itself, thankfully without falling into all too obvious fatalism. This is not just reflected in the musical content of this album but it is particularly obvious in the lyrics. Just a quick glance at song titles such as 'Lack of Comprehension', 'Flattening of Emotions' or even just the title of the album itself quickly reveals that the band had broken from Death Metal and its ideological underpinnings to take an entirely different route, straying so far from the path of Death Metal that the belonging of this album to said genre could legitimately deemed questionable.

Therefore it may not come as a surprise that Schuldiner drew a lot of inspiration from metal acts of the previous generation. No More Color, the third offering of progressive speed metal outfit Coroner, seems to be an obvious influence, as there is a lot of overlap not only on the more technical side (instrumental approach and riffing style in particular, as well song writing to a minor degree) but also the emotional impact of the music, although Human does not quite possess the same force and creativity as No More Color, which stems from Coroner's more lawless and thus much more flexible song writing approach. This is where Death fail on their fourth album: the song writing is entirely predictable with each track except for the instrumental adhering roughly to the same basic forumla. A linear succession of riffs, often making use of a relatively controlled modal approach with heavy use of palm muting and conspicuous rhythmic breaks between the individual riffs leads up to some sort of climax, typically accompanied by a guitar solo. The solos themselves are usually also rather strictly modal and vary in quality. For example 'Lack of Comprehension' and 'Cosmic Sea' feature great leads while solos on other tracks sound a bit lifeless at times. After the climax the first part is usually repeated in a shortened fashion, rarely offering any surprises to the listener. The aforementioned 'Cosmic Sea' manages to break out of this formula and also offers a more interesting vision than the other tracks, which are all very similar both on the surface and in essence.

As such, the album loses quite a bit of its potential. Perhaps a bit more time would have done the album good. Maybe the additional time Chuck would have had, had he decided to tour Europe already would have been sufficient, but we will not find out either way. Despite the criticism in this review, this is still a solid album even though I do not see it as the Death Metal masterpiece it is often revered as. It is definitely rather easily digestible and might therefore serve as an introduction to extreme metal to people not yet acquainted with these metal subgenres.



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user ratings (3589)
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Greggers (5)
    A masterpiece within the genre, Human is as close to death metal perfection as you can get...

    Necrotica (5)
    One of the best albums in death metal history, Human is essential to any fan of extreme an...

    KSE19 (4)
    ...

    ViperAces (5)
    Human marks Death's first peak, and thankfully, it is far away from being their last....

  • Thor (4.5)
    Featuring the strongest lineup in the band's history, Human struggles to be anything less ...

    BirthRite (5)
    Chuck Lives...

    LaughingSkull (3.5)
    Death's best...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 26th 2016


20213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the first Death album that I can enjoy (chronologically speaking). The remastered version makes it sound even better. Good review, I liked the background on it because I'm not really knowledgeable on Death's early days.

Spacesh1p
June 26th 2016


7716 Comments


Good review and I tend to agree that this album is not as groundbreaking or enjoyable as it often gets credit for. One of the lowest ranked Dath albums for me.

Tunaboy45
June 26th 2016


18429 Comments


Great album but ITP trumps it.

Willie
Moderator
June 26th 2016


20213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely. ITP is a solid 5 for me.

parksungjoon
June 26th 2016


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dam

parksungjoon
June 26th 2016


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

itp is underrated for sure i'll concede that

Ocean of Noise
June 27th 2016


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This, Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic are all pretty well flawless.

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


20213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I pretty much agree. I wonder what Death would have sounded like post The Sound of Perseverance. In my opinion, they were losing their luster. He didn't want to be death metal anymore. He wanted to be Nevermore.

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I pretty much agree. I wonder what Death would have sounded like post The Sound of Perseverance. In my opinion, they were losing their luster. He didn't want to be death metal anymore. He wanted to be Nevermore.



I can't agree with that because they were transitioning styles rather than losing their luster. TSOP was very ambitious, and it pays off well imo.

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


20213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just not a fan. I don't like the production at all, and it feels like such a drop after the previous three releases... and the vocals are mixed way too high.

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't find it a drop, but it surely was a drastic change. The production is acquired taste, especially with the guitars lacking the dense feel of Symbolic, and the vocals are a bit high. I personally like the shenanigans of that record though. It makes stand out for sure. I did 5 it at one point, but even I found that a bit ridiculous. haha

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


20213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha ha. I discovered Death when I heard The Philosopher on the radio, so that's what I kind of 'expect' from them. Human was an okay adjustment one way and Symbolic was an okay adjustment the other, but I just can't seem to adjust any further than that. ha ha.

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Their debut is bad ass as far as raw, heavier-than-planets energy is concerned, Human is my favorite as far as delivering perfectly calculated "change," Symbolic is arguably their strongest sounding release and perfectly produced, and TSOP is their most creative and ambitious (if not their best).

Insurrection
June 27th 2016


24844 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is a cold hard 5

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hell yeah.

Shoegazefan9789
June 27th 2016


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

2nd best album evur

Hawks
June 27th 2016


88105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not even close to my fav Death album, but still one of the best album ever agreed.

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

What's your favorite Hawks?

Hawks
June 27th 2016


88105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Individual Thought Patterns

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2016


5523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Quite good indeed, but I like the production of this album better. Feels less "compressed."



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