Death The Sound Of Perseverance
The Sound of Perseverance is the seventh and final studio album by American death metal band Death, released on August 31, 1998, by Nuclear Blast. The album features a whole new lineup of members except Chuck Schuldiner; it is the only album to feature guitarist Shannon Hamm, drummer Richard Christy, and bassist Scott Clendenin. It is also Death's final commercial release as in 2001 founding member, lead singer and primary songwriter Chuck Schuldiner would die due to brain cancer-related issues and subsequently Death disbanded.
Death The Sound of Perseverance
It was a breakthrough album for drummer and later radio star Richard Christy, in the tradition of previous drummers like Gene Hoglan and Sean Reinert. The album features "Voice of the Soul", an instrumental track that contrasts with almost every other work of the band in its inclusion of softer guitars and lack of percussion. In an interview done in March 1999, Chuck Schuldiner stated that the acoustic guitar-driven "Voice of the Soul" was actually written during the Symbolic sessions. Death has produced only two instrumentals (the other being the more electric guitar driven "Cosmic Sea" from Human). The album also featured a cover of Judas Priest's "Painkiller", which shows Schuldiner attempting a different, high-pitched style of death growl more reminiscent of Rob Halford's original vocals and also singing for the first time with a clean voice through the end of the song. All the solos in the song are rewritten.
The original album offers us nine incredibly complex and riveting tracks which sit way outside of the usual death metal soundscapes. Chuck enlisted the talents of guitarist Shannon Hamm, bassist Scott Clendenin and drummer Richard Christy, and the visceral vortex they created is one so unique, that it stands alone.
Apparently, a few of these tracks were written a few years before, and yet more than a decade later they sound as fresh as a daisy, existing outside of any category, but inhabiting some cosmic cavern alongside the likes of Atheist.
It doesn't get much better than this: the best album of the best death metal band ever. The ironically titled 'The Sound of Perseverance' is Death's seventh - and possibly final - studio album. Death is a legendary name in metaldom. Formed in the early 80's by Chuck Schuldiner, they were one of the first death metal bands and have consistently produced top-quality albums with the help of a rotating cast of some of the most well-respected names in heavy metal. The only constant member is "Evil" Chuck. Most members usually stay on for only one or two albums; and they don't have to stay because Chuck writes all of the music, lyrics, plays lead guitar, and does the vocals.
Why is 'The Sound of Perseverance' the greatest Death album? It seems everything Chuck has been trying to achieve simply fell in place when this album was recorded. The songs are still heavy, fast, and brutal yet the precise, technical feel Chuck loves is still strongly in place. The production job is excellent - probably the best I've ever heard for any metal album. The album sounds very clear and polished, but doesn't have that over-polished almost pompous-sounding production that removes all of the rawness. To add to the rawness is Chuck's new harsher vocal styling. Gone are the cookie-monster vocals of 'Leprosy.' Enter the more modern, progressive soar-throat shrieks of the new death metal.
Hopefully this masterpiece will not be the final call for Death. Chuck has put Death on the back burner for his experimental power metal band, Control Denied. Control Denied has basically the same members of Death as are on this album - and they sound exactly like Death with the exception of a new, high-pitched, operatic vocalist. After the Control Denied album was recorded Chuck was diagnosed with a rare form of brain-stem cancer, but has survived experimental surgery to remove the malignancy and he is now in recovery and working on another Control Denied album. Hopefully he will revive Death sometime soon, because Control Denied just doesn't do it for me.
Travis: The music on the album itself didn't have so much of an effect on it as I didn't hear it until the Main body of the art was complete, but I knew what Chuck was trying to say and achieve with the album, and I had the rest of the catalog to listen to as well. The first time I heard it, I liked it, of course, although it did catch me off guard a bit as the vocals were a bit higher than I was used to and I was sort of expecting it to sound a little more like "Symbolic", I guess, with that being the previous one.Reign In Art: Was it your choice to update "The Sound Of Perseverance" cover art or the record company's?
It isn't. It's metal, and whether you want to call it Death Metal because it's by a band called Death, or whether you want to face the facts and wake up to the fact that it's a bunch of over-elaborate, calculated and memorised riffs and tangential changes, it makes no difference. One could be generous and call it "technical" metal, but that's a technicality really, as there's nothing technical about the songwriting."Scavenger of Human Sorrow" begins with a crisply executed drum solo, that feeds into a bit of widdley-woo, then the main (hiccuping) drum riff that underpins the guitar riffs which seem to have been adapted from a Kreator album. Even the vocals these days have stopped being Chuck's trademark gutteral grunts that gave the Death edge to the sound, and are more a diluted version of Kreator's, with an extraordinary similarity to Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth. There's another riff, in which the bass does something different to the guitar, presumably to indicate that it can, then another riff, another riff, another riff - clearly someone had a lot of riffs they wanted to use...Then there's a quiet bit, apparently led by the bass, which concentrates like mad on keeping an odd time signature going using really boring steps in order to help keep count, I'd wager.This plethora of simliar riffs soon gets very old, and really, this piece is at least 3 minutes too long and lacks any kind of real drama or build up, and the re-emergence of the earlier bundle of riffs is all too apparent, proving that the structure here is a bog-standard rock song structure.There is no vision here - the last 3 minutes could just as well have been copied from the first 3 and pasted in here, with a few details changed here and there."Bite The Pain" is similarly non-progressive. Melody - there is none in the vocals, but the guitar parts occasionally shine through with some catchy fragments. Rhythm - you hear sooooo many bands writing riffs with rhythms that are intended to baffle that it all ends up sounding pretty much the same, and I fail to be impressed with these - they're all repeated anyway, so there's no development. Harmony. Hah! There is no harmony to speak of. Slabs of open 5th power chords, with noodling guitar solos and monotonous vocals means a complete dearth of harmony. Form. Standard Rock song with more riffs than it really needs in the name of so-called "complexity" - this is wearying, not exciting. Timbre - There are really loud bits and not so loud bits, but the overall sound is pretty much unchanging throughout."Spirit Crusher" begins with a bass riff. That's a really nice tone on the bass, but I'd bet the guitar is just going to pick it up in unison... Oh, yes. It does. Then there's another riff...None of these riffs are instrinsically bad - they're actually quite good on the whole, but nothing that you can't find on a large number of albums from the late 1980s, but done with a clearer vision of how the pieces are going to pan out, and a sense of song development instead of this really annoying tendency to just go off at a mad tangent with a new idea constructed in order to sound bogglingly complex while it just isn't. Even the impressively fast guitar flurries don't save this piece from sinking into the same monotony as its predecessor."Story To Tell" begins like part II of "Spirit Crusher" - the riffs in exactly the same soundscape. The overall feel is slower, but the monotony is exactly the same."Flesh and the Power It Holds" begins with striding guitar riffs in complete step movement: Obviously, it's difficult to do odd rythms when you're playing striding features - it's much easier to do that when you're playing power chords that are close together, and that is exactly what happens next.Some good riffs in here - and I like the starts and stops, particularly the one around 3:40, that drops into a nice chunking riff. However, the annoying tangential change to a striding bass riff coupled with noodly guitar solo around 30 seconds later is just dull, dull, dull. And it sounds like the bass player is playing the wrong notes most of the time. A clear demonstration of why understanding harmony is a good thing."Voice of The Soul" starts promisinglyish, with an acoustic guitar riff and bass pedal notes with soaring guitar - straight out of the NWOBHM text book... This is actually the most interesting track on the album, as the drums stay out of the picture, and the piece is built up with guitars alone. But it's still just a collection of riffs. To hear how this should be done, buy "Canterbury" by Diamond Head."To Forgive Is To Suffer", apart from having a very negative title that makes me tut with annoyance, is another collection of riffs - I like the main riff a great deal, but find the slowing down and speeding up a continual irritance."A Moment of Clarity" is anything but... Can't tell you how long I've been waiting to trot out that little chestnut ;0) The focus is, well, non-existant and the tangents obfuscate everything except the band's lack of understanding of how to put together a developing piece of music. Again, a standard rock structure with elongated solo passages is exactly what Rock bands have been doing for decades - so null points on the Prog scale yet again."Painkiller" is anything but... (Yay! I got that one in again!) - a raucous piece that begins far more in Kreator mode than anything thus far - it could have been lifted from "Extreme Agression" - maybe it's the title track... I need to go back and listen to it. What a great album that is... er... back to the album in hand...A fair summary really - if you liked Kreator, then you probably own all of their material, so there's no point buying this.If you liked early Death and wanted to find out what they were up to recently, then you might like this - but there's none of the originality of their original outings, even though the standard of playing has improved considerably. Note that this does not apply to the standard of musicianship, which is meandering and contrived at best.An album for collectors of "brutal" metal, but safe to ignore if you're into Prog.There's no Prog here.Just Metal - and if you ignore the squeaky-clean production, technically precise playing and over-fiddly riffs, there's not much left.Report this review (#66815)Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 Review Permalink[email protected]track 1: Scavenger of Human Sorrow - The song starts off with a polyrhythmic drum solo in 24/8 and leads up to a Death signature guitar lead, then continues to dazzle with spiraling melodies and odd choice of notes (good thing). 5/5track 2: Bite The Pain - Great song, some great drumming by Christy and some great guitar lines by Hamm and Schuldiner. 5/5track 3: Spirit Crusher - Actually I'm not too much of a fan of this song, it's generally a bass oriented song. Christy does well on this. 4/5track 4: Story to Tell - Great solo's, great song structure, very powerful song. 5/5track 5: Flesh And The Power It Holds - Great song, begins with a with a weaving arpeggio and transitions into some groovy guitar lines, and melodies. The solo is great as well, gives great contrast to the song. 5/5track 6: Voice of The Soul - A very good instrumental, great choice in acoustic tone, the counterpoint soloing adds great atmosphere to this song. It is epic and heartfelt. 5/5track 7: To Forgive Is To Suffer - Begins with a drum solo that leads up to the intense guitar work, the lead work is nothing short of spectacular. The main solo is full of emotion, Chuck Schuldiner could make his guitar speak, and in this particular song the guitar cries and bursts with emotion. 5/5track 8: A Moment Of Clarity - Amazing song, excellent structure and melodies, good harmonies as well. A emotive song, the first solo leads up and climaxes towards the second, very melodic song. Full of twists and turns, and dynamics. 5/5track 9: Painkiller - Cover of Judas Priest's Painkiller, the drums are spicier than the original, and the guitar lines have more edge to them, the solo is more coherent than the original. 5/5 Summary: A very good album, a must for any progressive metal fan that is has a open mind. Very unique album. This album sits upon the apex of the metal genre, few bands can hope to reach something of this magnitude and very few will ever reach it.Everything about this album is top notch. From the precise, technical attack of the bass, to the precise, technically proficient, melodic, and harmonious guitar lines, to the odd, syncopated drum beats, this album has it all. All the songs on this album are very unique and emotive. Highly reccommend progressive/technical classic. Very original, as are all of Death's albums. Report this review (#68907)Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 Review PermalinkEl_ProgreProg Metal is really no my thing but a band playing like this really caughts my attention. Now, I find the other albums by Death not so interesting despite some interesting moments on "Symbolic", but when I heard this album I was instantly blown away by Richard Christy's drumming! He has Hogland's speed but also he puts a lot of brains in his playing, making little arrangements with the hi-hat or some little fast notes on the snare drum, I mean, he does some stuff that jazz drummers do, but with rototoms and double bass drum!! Now that's pretty cool, also some great time signature changes along the album sound quite interesting. Mr. Schuldiner's guitar is not the best I've ever heard but still quite good although I was a little dissappointed with what he did with Painkiller. But only the drums are worth checking this one out really! And well, if you're into prog metal you'll like this pretty much!Report this review (#68944)Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 Review PermalinkWarholizerChuck Schuldiner (Death's "heart") has developed a long and intense path to thisalbum, which represents his apex, and also his last work before his sudden death.His sound is consistent and convincing along all of his works (with the exception ofhis early extreme recordings).The complexity of this album's songs is however tightly bounded into a rigid classicmetal structure, which can bore at times, and which has been also the main defect ofall his previous albums.In this latest, however, the ever-changing flow of the music is so great that thestructure will hardly disturb you.This is my favourite metal album ever, which should be of great interest to a lot ofprogressive rock fans too.Report this review (#68947)Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 Review Permalinkdarkdeciple25Actually Death and Kreator took different paths on their musical evolutions. Death does not sound anything like Kreator, or owe their sound to them at all, but Kreator eventually drew influence from bands like Death. Death is the godfather of death metal, the band Possessed wanted to have in charge. Death was a very innovative band, all of their albums reaching new highs not known to the metal world. Death also spawned a slew of technical metal bands; Necrophagist, Arsis, Spawn of Possession, ect.This album is amazing, especially with drummer Richard Christy scattering cymbols and polyrhythmic beats everywhere.The guitar is nothing short of phenomenal, it is very virtuosic. I'm kinda curious as to why Chuck Schuldiner never got the respect and fame he deserved, he had a very unique playing style not heard anywhere else, and he was a true guitar virtuoso, comparable to Vai, Petrucci, Yngwie, Cooley, Satriani. But he has a stronger and more evolved melodic sense than all 3, technical ability is a different thing, on that basis he is more comparable to Vai, Satriani, Petrucci and Yngwie. Extremely fast and clean alternate picking, odd time signatures, exotic leads, technically proficient everything, and ultra precise playing. Just amazing guitar work. He needs to get the allocades he deserves, as he is one of the best in the metal field.The bass deserves a mention as well, it is rhythmic and changes quite a bit, very unpredictable, and virtuosically played.The drums, nothing short of amazing. This guy can smoke Portnoy anyday. Polyrhythms, syncopated beats, its just a drummers dream come true. This guy can pull off stuff you havn't ever heard.I highly reccommend this album to anyone who likes Virtuosic guitar players, bassists, and drummers. Very technical and emotive classic.The cover of Painkiller is better than the original, IMO. More spice.Report this review (#68954)Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 Review PermalinkAnthony.SaviaThis is obviously one of the most amazing metal albums of all time. It's basically the perfect all-round metal album, and is a perfect representation of metal as a whole. It does an excellent job of combining many disparate styles into one: jazz, death metal, black metal (mostly in the vocals), thrash metal, progressive/technical metal.No one plays like Chuck. No band sounded like Death. Their early work made them perhaps the most important death metal band around. Their later work made them one of the most important progressive bands around. The musicianship is extremely tight. And while some (very few) might view that as a bad thing, it actually works well in the case of this album. This music wasn't meant to be played legato. It's complex, but it's not overdone or hard to follow. And Death's song structure is anything BUT ordinary. The music doesn't often go in predictable routes. It's enough to keep you guessing. But at the same time, it's not overdone to the point where each song has has parts that are too unrelated. Each song on this album is still a song, and forms a coherent musical musical thought without wandering off track just so the musicians can show off. In other words, every riff and melody in each song fits the meaning and direction of that song.This album is heavy, yet filled with intense emotion and meaning. Death has always done their own thing, and is not derivative in any way. Cheers to Chuck for writing an original and intensely well orchestrated masterpiece for the metal world to remember for years to come.Report this review (#69021)Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 Review PermalinkAtLossForWordsPROG REVIEWERDeath metal's contribution to progressive music. Death's Sound of Perseverence is probably one of the most progressive attempts at a straight up death metal album. Death is well known for their extreme metal innovation in the late '80s and early '90s. Sound of Perseverence is quite different, it's not about blasting heavy guitars with blast beats, this album is much more structured, musical, and technical than most death metal albums of it's time.The vocals are not the gutteral growls that Chuck Schuldiner became so famous for, but they are much more like screams heard in melodic death metal bands like At the Gate