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OpEd

Remembering Chuck Schuldiner, "The Father of Death Metal"

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December is a time for remembrance for many metal heads. Three years prior to the on-stage murder of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, metal lost another icon. Today marks nine years since Chuck Schuldiner's death. On December 13, 2001, "The Father of Death Metal" lost his battle with pontine glioma, a form of brain cancer, at just 34 years of age. Schuldiner was modest about his part in the history of death metal, noting "I don’t think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. I’m just a guy from a band, and I think Death is a metal band."

Schuldiner was the singer, songwriter, rhythm and lead guitarist of the band Death, which he founded in 1983 under the name Mantas at just 16 years of age. For an extreme metal band, Death received much acclaim with their releases and Schuldiner was hugely influential on countless metal musicians. The band took a decidedly more progressive and technical turn by their final album, "The Sound of Perseverance" and on Chuck's following band, Control Denied.

While I never had the chance to meet Chuck Schuldiner, see him perform live, and wasn't much of a fan during his life, I would like to take a moment to pay my respects to a hugely influential headbanger who eventually won me over after he was gone. At the time of his passing I was merely a casual Death listener, having picked up a couple of albums including "The Sound Of Perseverance." around that time. It took several years for my appreciation of Chuck's work to set in, however. Finally, with the reissue of "The Fragile Art Of Existence," I discovered something that I liked even more. How did I not hear this album earlier? Thankfully, there's still more to come too.

Control Denied vocalist Tim Aymar recently posted a lengthy statement announcing the planned release of Control Denied's second album. In it, he details his first meetings with Chuck while trying out for the band and more. Aymar says of Chuck: "We first talked over the telephone, and he was not at all like what I had expected him to be. My band-mate, co-writer and dear friend Jimmy Dofka from Psycho Scream had turned me on to Death a few months before, and the picture I had in my mind of Chuck, judging only by how precise and beautifully violent that music is, was of a brutal tyrant. I mean after-all, just listen to Gene Hoglan's drumming and the command of Chuck's blood soaked screaming, and you'll know what I mean. Well, I was delightfully wrong. The voice on the phone was just a guy like me, an easy going, slow talking hippie with a burning passion for metal. We both understood the seriousness of the business at hand, but neither of made it seem anything but exiting and fun, and that was awesome. That's just what professionals do."

While I have acknowledged Chuck Schuldiner's contributions to metal for years, only within the past few years have I grown to truly enjoy his music and understand the scope of his contributions and truly feel his loss as a musician and to the metal community.

With the impending release of a new Control Denied album, featuring some of Schuldiner's last work recorded, as well as the new Death live DVD and reissuing of Death's catalog, the number of fans that discovered Chuck's work after his passing are bound to grow beyond those who knew him when he lived. Whether you're an old-school fan or newer fan of Death and Control Denied, put on your favorite album and pay your respects to "The Father of Death Metal" today.

If you have not had a chance to check out either Death or Control Denied (it's ok, there's a TON of metal out there), today's a good day to do so.


(High quality recording of Death's entire setlist at Dynamo Open Air in 1998 (Courtesy of KillerMetalUploads), the first live appearance of the "Sound Of Perseverance" line-up.)

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A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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25 Comments on "Remembering Chuck Schuldiner"

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Anonymous Reader
1. THRASH TILL DEATH writes:

I was listening to death last night and will continue the rest of there discography today. R.I.P CHUCK!!!

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 10:51 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
heavyhepp's avatar

Member

2. heavyhepp writes:

R.I.P. Chuck. You are such a great role model for an inspiring guitarist/songwriter like myself. You stayed true to metal even when it wasn't cool anymore, just listen to symbolic or the sound of perseverance, you were totally true and passionate for metal. You are truly missed and one of a kind.

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 12:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. craziness writes:

never listened to Chuck or Death...but i have instant respect now after listening, awesome stuff!

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 2:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. cam666 writes:

R.I.P. CHUCK WE ALL MISS YOU

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 3:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
IrishMetal's avatar

Member

5. IrishMetal writes:

Woah, mother of all coincidences - I was working today, and stuck the Death discography on while doing so.

Listened to the whole thing. Completely forgot that Chuck passed away this day nine years ago :/

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 3:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
NW_MetalHead's avatar

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6. NW_MetalHead writes:

No one can express all that Chuck has done for the world of metal. All we can do is listen to his music as much as possible and never forget his musical legacy. RIP Chuck, you are gone but not forgotten \m/

np Death - Zombie Ritual

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 3:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Comment writes:

I remember seeing him in a death metal documentary. never heavily listen to Death but ill pick up an album later on today.

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 5:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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8. metalfan653 writes:

RIP

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 6:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Tivic's avatar

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9. Tivic writes:

R.I.P. Chuck.

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 8:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
sonictherapy's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

10. sonictherapy writes:

I met him back in the 80's and was taken aback by what a sweet, soft spoken man he was. He said "How y'all doing" in that deep Floridian accent of his. Sometimes we expect our thrash metal idols to be brutal or gruff. Not Chuck, but his music definitely was...

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 8:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

11. hellrat writes:

Beers and Burns for Chuck tonight!!!

what a pioneer! what a cool fvckin dude!! what a hell of a legendary guy!!!

Cheers to you Brother....thanks for everything! \m/

NP---Spiritual Healing

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 9:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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12. silvermountains writes:

RIP Chuck! Greatest musician in death metal, and truly a nice man. he died from something we can't control! fvck you cancer!!!

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 9:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. deathmetallarry writes:

been down with death since day one AWESOME is all i can say totally F..KING AWESOME.

# Dec 13, 2010 @ 11:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. yeah writes:

RIP Evil Chuck

# Dec 14, 2010 @ 5:40 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

15. deathbringer writes:

Hope you guys enjoy the Dynamo footage. I must have listened to that whole setlist 3 or 4 times yesterday. Good stuff.

# Dec 14, 2010 @ 9:22 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
METAL213's avatar

Member

16. METAL213 writes:

such a great talent and extremely humble person. R.I.P. Chuck

# Dec 14, 2010 @ 2:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. Vinny the Metalhead writes:

Happy belated, anniversary, Chuck (aka Mr. King of Death Metal)!

Now Playing: The Michael Schenker Group - Armed and Ready

# Dec 14, 2010 @ 3:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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18. OlafBerzerker writes:

\m/ Death has stood the test of time

np: SBG

# Dec 14, 2010 @ 4:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Leprosy101's avatar

Member

19. Leprosy101 writes:

I feel sorry for Chucks mom for losing 2 sons. Her first son at the age of 16 and her second at the age of 34 no parent should go through that

# Dec 15, 2010 @ 5:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. Old skool thrash writes:

My hero for many many years & always will be \m/ you might be gone but your music is in my blood forever & I have ur guitar with some sick roses tattoed on my back to acompany me for the rest of my life! R.I.P Brother of metal

# Dec 16, 2010 @ 8:45 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. vulo writes:

he sadly died but his music stays immortal. and that shows what an exceptional musician he was.

# Dec 16, 2010 @ 9:56 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
\m/codester\m/'s avatar

Member

22. \m/codester\m/ writes:

r i p.mann.

# Dec 16, 2010 @ 6:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. The New MJ writes:

Chuck Schuldiner>; Jesus

# Dec 23, 2010 @ 4:09 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
24. metallix writes:

rip brother

# Dec 24, 2010 @ 4:17 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
25. rosihan writes:

RIP my brother...

# Dec 30, 2010 @ 12:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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