Sunday, 1 April 2012

DEATH - Leprosy (1988)

01  Leprosy
02  Born Dead
03  Forgotten Past
04  Left to Die
05  Pull the Plug
06  Open Casket
07  Primitive Ways
08  Choke on It

Leprosy is the second album by death metal band Death, released in 1988. Notably different in tone and quality from the 1987 debut, it is the first example of Scott Burns' work heard on many of the death metal and grindcore albums of that era. Cover art was provided by Ed Repka.

Leprosy makes Chuck Schuldiner seem like he was holding back musically on Scream Bloody Gore.  Stripped away is the monotony and endless chug, and added is an emphasis on harmony, musicianship and songwriting overall. Rick Rozz and Chuck Schuldiner blow up the guitar spot, solos and the riffs throughout the album are amazing. Everything about Leprosy is a huge step up on Scream Bloody Gore, it seems that after every line of lyrics a new riff is pummeled around the main theme. Transitions and solos are very well-placed and very well executed. The intensity and ruthlessness of Death remains but with a much more intellectual and virtuoso edge. Lyrics cover topics like innocents trapped in disease and situations of certain death. This is perhaps one of the most well-done and consistent death metal albums of the 1980's (although there weren't many).

It's important to understand the difference between this album and what was to come of Death in the future. It's not really comparable since they in reality represent different styles. It's no big secret that Chuck later gathered a group of musicians that were far more talented and thereby taking a major leap forward musically (lyrically too, actually - but that's another issue). This means that there are (or should be) different scales in use for rating the first three Death albums. This album may not be as gleefully gross and savage as "Scream Bloody Gore", nor as technical and melodic as "Human", but it is still a heavy, catchy classic of the genre. Stand-outs include; "Born Dead", "Pull The Plug" and the title cut.

*The title track "Leprosy" was covered by the blackened death metal band Akercocke on their 2007 album Antichrist. Dutch melodic death metal band Callenish Circle covered "Pull the Plug" as a bonus on their Flesh Power Dominion album. Finnish thrash metal band Mokoma covered the track "Open Casket", with lyrics in Finnish and titled "Avoin Hauta", on their EP Viides Vuodenaika. "Pull the Plug" was also covered by American band Revocation.

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