Sound — 9
This was my first Death album and it has been a regular in my stereo since the day I bought it.I think the line up for this record really says it all for me; Chuck Schuldiner, Gene Hoglan, Steve DiGorgio and Andy LaRocque, it dosent get any better than that lads! This was Deaths fifth album, and it really expanded on the technicality and progressiveness of the previous releases, it introduced a real jazzy feel to the songs with odd tempos and off beat rhythms. The recording quality was extremely raw but maintained clarity. It also featured DiGorgios beautifull fretless bass playing using it almost like a third guitar, creating a real unique sound throughout.
Lyrics — 9
The album focused on life and Chucks personal experiences. The Philosopher, possibly Deaths most reknowned and well known song, was a lyrical slam against former guitarist Masdival. The album covers emotion, feeling and thought, something Chuck has aimed to do from the start, to try end the trend of Death Metal bands focusing on evil, death, gore and the underworld! I loved the way many of the songs were open to different perspectives and were metaphorical. Chuck used pure death metal growls filled with emotion, agression and intensity but still withheld the reason and intellect. To truly appreciate this album you must read the lyrics and contemplate the meanings of the songs.
Overall Impression — 9
I loved this album. It was a blessing from the metal gods. It was very creative and introduced something new for the Death back catologue, a new level of progression, technicality and experimentation. Chuck had a lot to prove after heavy criticism, and his vision and sheer genius clearly prevailed. This is a must for any metalhead. I cherish my copy of it. Long live metal and the spirit of the mastermind that was and always will be, Chuck Schuldiner.