Chuck Schuldiner, at the tender age of 24, reached godlike status.
His band Death had already released three genre-defining albums with 'Scream
Bloody Gore', 'Leprosy' and 'Spiritual Healing', but with 'Human' the band
reached an entirely different level of technicality and song writing altogether.
To this day, although I have listened to this album a zillion times, 'Human'
offers me something new every time I listen. I notice something new, a little
break I never noticed before, an intonation I didn't get before, something Steve
Digiorgio does in the background on the bass that failed my attention, and of
course Sean Reinert's drumming never fails to amaze. And those riffs, ladies and gentlemen,
those riffs will be among those riffs of greatness chiseled into the tomb stone
of metal music when we're all dead and gone and our bones turned to dust.
Even if 'Individual Thought Patterns', 'Symbolic' and 'The Sound of Perseverance'
were continuations of the path that Death took into technical death metal,
'Human' for me remains the greatest of those albums, encompassing all that made
Chuck's music so unique and amazing. This masterpiece was built on a foundation
of heavy metal, thrash and the death metal genre he himself was one of the
progenitors of, and no one else quite cut it like Death. It blew my mind 20 years
ago, and still does today.
The new deluxe reissue of 'Human' includes not only the rough demos of the
album, but also instrumental studio versions of all the songs from the album. It's striking how well they live also without Chuck's vocal. I'd go as far as to
claim that it even underlines the musicality of Chuck and the musicians he'd
gathered around him. It sounds fantastic, no more, no less.
Do yourself the favour, if you haven't already done so, of listening to an album
that changed the view of death metal and metal in general for many of us. If you
know the album as I do, then do yourself the favour of having a re-listen. If
any metal album is worth it, then it's definitely this one.
R.I.P. Chuck - brilliant, yet so utterly fragile as any other...human.