Thursday, 12 April 2012

DEATH - The Sound Of Perseverance (1998)

01  Scavenger Of Human Sorrow
02  Bite The Pain
03  Spirit Crusher
04  Story To Tell
05  Flesh And The Power It Holds
06  Voice Of The Soul
07  To Forgive Is To Suffer
08  A Moment Of Clarity
09  Painkiller

'The Sound of Perseverance' is the seventh and final album by American death metal band Death. The album was released on September 15, 1998 via Nuclear Blast Records. The average song length on this album is around six minutes and it also features 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 vocals and also singing for the first time with a clean voice toward the end of the song.

The production of 'The Sound of Perseverance' was one of the best in extreme metal, and the remastered version shines an entirely new light on this factor. Jim Morris & Chuck Schuldiner created a sound here that was raw and unpolished, but extremely effective and powerful. I like the sound of 'Symbolic' and 'Human' a bit more, but the production of this album is still amazing nonetheless. This album would also feature a new Death line-up comprising of Shannon Hamm on guitars, Richard Christy on drums and Scott Clendenin on bass. The moments that I personally enjoy more are the changes between classic heavy/thrash groovy riffs in tracks like "Scavenger of human Sorrow" and "Spirit Crusher". The diversity of creative moments is evident throughout: more sophisticated mid-tempo riffs appear in "Story to Tell" while the beautiful acoustic "Voice of the Soul" is a pleasant surprise; an expression of virtuosity, passion and musical brilliance. "Flesh and the Power It Holds" has a stunning progression of arpeggios before settling into an almost groovy, jazz-infused beat and the solo demonstrates how this album contains Chuck's finest fretwork.

Also, this may simply be apophenia in action, but there seems to be a serious concept album approach to the first half of the record. The first five tracks all seem to have a central theme, discussing something that feeds on pain and the suffering of others, with tracks one and three describing the creature, track two describing the reaction of a victim, and tracks four and five being told from the perspective of the monster. Track five seems to suggest that the thing gains its power by eating other people (this always makes me think of old legends that suggested you could possess the power of another by consuming them). It's a very bizarre touch if that was the intended concept.

All in all, Charles "Chuck" Schuldiner is a legend and this progressive thrash/(death) metal masterpiece of his is going to go down into history as the very definition of prog-thrash(death) metal. As Chuck said: "For anyone with a dream, this album is for you!".

"Spirit Crusher" was the single from this album. It featured a music video that was taken from their Live in Eindhoven performance.

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