Death - Spiritual Healing

Death metal pioneers’ first foray into sophistication

Spiritual Healing

This three-disc reissue of Death’s third album is a snapshot of where the late Chuck Schuldiner and the 1990 line-up of his ever-changing band were when audiences first started to understand what this death metal malarkey was all about.

As a songwriter, Chuck had matured both musically and lyrically, injecting a newly found awareness of song dynamics into tunes such as Defensive Personalities and Altering The Future. Compare the social concerns of Living Monstrosity and Within The Mind with the raw splatter themes of Death’s earlier albums, Scream Bloody Gore (1987) and Leprosy (1988), and you’ll see where Chuck was coming from. Bear in mind, however, that the full-on progressive metal that appeared on later Death albums, particularly 1991’s Human, was still some way away. As such, Spiritual Healing is a stopgap between musical approaches.

This reissue provides all the data you’ll need about this part of Chuck’s depressingly short career, with a bonus disc of demo and jam tracks and another of a previously unheard live set. As always, a point of discussion raised by reissues such as this is what Chuck would have done with his music had he not been struck down by cancer in 2001 aged just 33.  

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Relapse | RR 71942 (3-CD)

Reviewed by Joel McIver
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