Sound — 10
"This is much more than a record to me; it's a statement, it revenge" - Chuck Schuldiner, Human linear notes. Following a betrayal by former bandmates Terry Butler and Bill Andrews, Chuck had something to prove. They had toured Europe as "Death" without him and continually insulted him in the press. Even after Chuck fired them, the two rejoined Massacre with ex-Death members Kam Lee and Rick Rozz, and continually insulted Chuck in the press saying Chuck was "washed up" etc etc. In response Chuck recruited a few friends and unleashed what would be the best death metal album of all time. For the album Chuck recruited Cynic guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal and Cynic drummer Sean Reinert. Rounding out the lineup was legendary Sadus bassist Steve DiGiorgio. Of course with such a talented lineup you are just bound to have a bad ass album right? Reinert's playing is truly incredible especially his double bass playing, great drumming can be found on every album track, showing that he would be Death's first virtuoso drummer. Masvidal ain't no slouch either his rhythm playing is solid and on the few chances he gets to solo he lets it rip; listen to his solo on Vacant Planets if you don't believe me. Unfortunately with this being an extreme metal album, the bass is pretty low in the mix, which is a shame because it's DiGiorgio playing. Ironically the only bass solo is actually played by Scott Carino, who would be Death's touring bassist (read in the linear notes it's says Carino contributed to the song). Finally we have "Evil" Chuck himself, playing guitar, handling vocals, and writing all the songs. On this album Chuck takes the band in a real progressive direction, using odd time signatures and technical playing. The production is raw, giving the album a great sound that I just love. The sound of those guitars and double bass speeding along sounds so heavy, max volume is defintley recomended when listening to this. The riffs are some of Death's heaviest ever, like the intro riff in "Together As One" or the riff in the chorus of "Lack of Comprehension." At the same time there are some great melodic moments like the one at about 1:40 of "Flattening of Emotions" or the "Together as One" solo. All in all this album sounds great, some seriously heavy riffs with the occasional melodic moment thrown in makes for a great sounding album.
Lyrics — 10
On this album Chuck really starts to blossom as a lyricist. He focuses more on human emotions and feelings and actions, but fear not because this is not an album of love songs. In "Lack of Comprehension" Chuck attacks people who blame others for their own problems with lyrics like "An excuse to cover up weaknesses that lie within/Lies/Laying your guilt and pain/On people that had no part/in the molding of a life That creates its destruction/Lies." Chuck also talks about not taking life for granted in "See Through Dreams" with these lyrics "Close your eyes and imagine to be without/What we take for granted every time we open eyes." Something Chuck would know all to well about. Anyway this album is filled with great lyrics, the kind that make Chris Barnes and Glen Bentons' lyrics sound like the writings on a 15 year old who just got into death metal.
Overall Impression — 10
So did Chuck get his revenge with this album? Well if you consider making the greatest death metal album in history revenge than yeah he did. My only complaint is that Chuck didn't let Paul Masvidal and Steve DiGiogio show off enough on this album. As we all know DiGiorgio would really get to show his stuff off on the next Death album ITP, and soon Cynic would release an album called "Focus" on which Mavidal and Reinert would get to display their talent. Still this album would be the perfect combination of a great lineup, great song writing, and raw production that would make the album sound great, this album is a true landmark in death metal history.