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Sunday Old School: Paying Tribute To Death And Chuck Schuldiner

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Band Photo: Death (?)

A few weeks ago I was in the metal section of my local HMV branch, when I heard some kids mention a name. "Oooh! Death! What a great band name! Honestly, who would buy an album from a band with such a stupid name? I bet they suck!" All I could think to myself as they wandered away with their copies of the latest Slipknot and Panic! At The Disco albums was, "If you only knew, kids...." Quite honestly, Death's name is about the only thing anyone could ever have a problem with. Everything else about them is pure magic. Death is responsible for some of the best songs, album covers, song titles and musicianship in the celebrated history of extreme metal.

Death was formed in 1983 by vocalist/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner in the city of Orlando, Florida. They released their first album, "Scream Bloody Gore," four years later and quickly established themselves as one of the pioneers of death metal along with bands such as Possessed and Obituary. Their next album, "Leprosy" followed on where "Scream Bloody Gore" left off lyrically, focusing on violence, blood and guts, but the band changed to writing about more social and political issues on their next album, "Spiritual Healing." This album also featured alot more in the way of melodies and musical progression than the previous two albums. The band continued with their progression into the technical side of death metal when they released the album "Human" in 1991, which featured Schuldiner as well as Sadus bassist Steve DiGorgio and Cynic members Sean Reinhert and Paul Masvidal. "Human" also featured the band's first song to be given the music video treatment, "Lack Of Comprehension."

Death continued to release highly acclaimed albums and change band members, with Schuldiner being the only constant member in the band's history. They would release their seventh and final album, "The Sound Of Perseverance" in September of 1998 to great critical success, before the band was terminated by Schuldiner in favour of his power metal band, Control Denied. Sadly, Control Denied would only be able to release one album, as shortly after the record was finished Chuck Schuldiner was diagnosed with brain cancer. Many members of the metal community held benefit shows to help pay for his treatment and his medical bills and a live Death album was also released to help raise funds. After a time, he contracted pneumonia and placed in the hospital. He was discharged on December 13th 2001, the day he was to tragically pass away one hour after returning to his home. He was only thirty four years old.

The legacy of Chuck Schuldiner and Death continue to this day however. Many metal bands frequently cover Death songs as a tribute and he has even been hailed as a musicial genius by members of the Hip-Hop community. Many younger metal fans looking to get more into death metal, are almost always told to check out Death. Many of the alumni of Death have also performed in other acclaimed metal bands such as Iced Earth, Cynic and Deicide and the band also featured metal legends such as Steve Digorgio and Gene Hogland (of Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory fame) as members of the group. While the band's name may be a little corny, there's absolutely no doubt that they were one of the finest metal bands to ever grace the stage. Even eight years after their demise, Death continues to collect new fans every day and they will undoubtedly continue to do so for a long, long time.

Death - "Spirit Crusher"

Death - "Lack Of Comprehension"

Death - "Crystal Mountain"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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22 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Death"

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Anonymous Reader
1. RIP Chuck writes:

Chuck Schulidner made some of the greatest music ever
Death, and Control Denied also
R.I.P. Chuck

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 12:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
...thomas's avatar

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2. ...thomas writes:

RIP Chuck, creater of some of the world's greatest metal!

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 12:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

3. Cynic writes:

I remember being struck by how ballsy it is to call your band name Death before I'd first heard them. After listening to one of their tracks I knew I'd discovered across something big. RIP Chuck, gone but never forgotten.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 3:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
darkA.T.M's avatar

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4. darkA.T.M writes:

never heard lack of comprehension until today, my jaw dropped cuz i thought it was their first power balla-type song...boy was i wrong!

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 3:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
SHREDDER13's avatar

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5. SHREDDER13 writes:

SBG was the first Death album I was exposed to. Even to this day, it is still my favorite Death album along with it's predecessors.

R.I.P. Evil Chuck

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 4:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
TheMidnightCowboy's avatar

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6. TheMidnightCowboy writes:

Oz, i would have loved to tell those kids off for you, man. Another great article brother. I have never seen anything wrong with Chuck naming his band Death, as he, Possessed, and early thrash bands pretty much invented death metal. He was just a bad-ass enough dude to pull the name off. The funny thing is, he wasn't even trying to create death metal, and would never take credit for it. I like to think that, somewhere in the spiritual realm, Chuck, Dimebag, Cliff Burton, and Eric Carr are jammin' out together, writing songs too amazing to be heard in the physical world. Can you imagine THAT band? RIP Chuck, your innovations will live on forever, brother.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 7:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
heavyhepp's avatar

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7. heavyhepp writes:

R.I.P. Chuck. I think Death is a cool band name, but the music is even better. Spiritual Healing, Human, and Leprosy are my 3 favorite albums. What did Diamond Oz mean when he said Chuck has been hailed as a musical genius by the hip hop community?

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 7:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. G writes:

It's hard to believe that one of my favorite guitarists/singers was taken away from this world 8 years ago today. We will never forget and always remember you, Chuck! R.I.P.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 7:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
SHREDDER13's avatar

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9. SHREDDER13 writes:

Necro (a hip-hop artist), says "R.I.P. Chuck" in one of his songs. It's on his album "The Pre-Fix For Death."

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 8:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
SHREDDER13's avatar

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10. SHREDDER13 writes:

Wait, I think that information is inaccurate. Although, Necro has stated in several interviews that Chuck Schuldiner was one of his inspirations.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 8:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HeadbangerHippy's avatar

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11. HeadbangerHippy writes:

You are missed Chuck. I loved all of your music, you were and amazing guitarist. Huge inspiration. My personal favourite album is probably going to sound like an odd-ball, but I like The Sound Of Perseverance the best, the lyrics are so deep, and the muscitianship is fantastic. Your music and legacy will live on Chuck! /,,/

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 8:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. zMETALlica writes:

RIP Chuck :(

Such a messed up story how he died. really says a lot bout our healthcare system, not trying to start a debate on that, but yeah... i'm looking forward to seeing the light of day for Control Denied 2.

Death's best work is on their last two albums if anyone doesn't know them.

I may be one of the few that can say that Chuck's influence is greater to me than Dimebag... this is vocally, guitar wise, and song writing wise.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 9:33 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

13. Cynic writes:

"Death's best work is on their last two albums if anyone doesn't know them." - Them thar be fight'n words :P My vote goes the previous two, "Human" and "ITP".

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 10:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar

Member

14. Hammerheart writes:

lol. Funnily enough, my two favorites are ''Leprosy'' and ''Spiritual Healing.'' R.I.P. Chuck, it's hard to believe it's been 8 years.

# Dec 13, 2009 @ 11:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. stylegurrl writes:

Ironically, I first listened to Death after Slipknot's Paul Gray mentioned Scream Bloody Gore in an interview...

RIP Chuck \m/

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 1:24 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

16. Diamond Oz writes:

Yeah Necro is a rapper who constantly bigs up Chuck and I've seen loads of pictures of him wearing Death merch. There's been other rappers that have stated how much they love Death as well like Goretex and Vinnie Paz.

Thanks for the feedback on the article guys!

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 6:38 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. Fuzzypig writes:

Kids today, tch! If it wasn't for the hard work people like Chuck put in, we wouldn't have the vibrant metal scene we have today! You can bet you bottom-dollar the likes of Slipknot wouldn't be about if it wasn't for people like Chuck and James Murphy!

I remember when I first heard Leprosy back in the 80s, aged 16, my mate got me a copy on tape. I had been listening to the likes of Saxon, Maiden and a little Metallica, then Death turns up! Jeez, I just couldn't believe that human beings could pick up instruments and make something so heavy, yet so amazing. It felt so special, it felt like it was for me and only me! Still listening to extreme metal and still going to gigs, now aged 38, married with kids!

Cheers Chuck, I and thousands of others owe you way more than you could possibly have imagined, when you were still with us! I hope you aren't resting in peace, you had better be ripping it up, wherever you are dude!

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 8:12 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
LordAssenfroth's avatar

Member

18. LordAssenfroth writes:

death is the greatest! i love death so much i got their logo tattooed on my hand. nice article, and i think death is the best name a death metal band could have

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 9:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Nihilist's avatar

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19. Nihilist writes:

I drink from the goblet! The Goblet of Gore!

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 4:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

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20. wilco writes:

damm good story
indeed the deathmetal sceene still misses him
he is amoung one of the best guitar players
rip

# Dec 14, 2009 @ 5:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Necrovomit's avatar

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21. Necrovomit writes:

chuck will always be one of my heroes! no doubt one of the greatest guitarists that ever lived.

# Dec 20, 2009 @ 1:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathfreak's avatar

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22. deathfreak writes:

Death was f***ing cool Id have to go with leprosy though because it was my first death album.

# Dec 20, 2009 @ 7:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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