Nuclear Blast has gloriously reissued the last, and perhaps one of the best, recordings from Death, The Sound of Perseverance. Had leader Chuck Schuldiner not passed away at an early age from a brain tumor, there's no telling what he and the rest of Death would have accomplished, especially given the advanced, sophisticated, and complex sounds on this album. It's true that the band had been working towards the sound they would perfect here, as album's like Human, Individual Thought Patterns, and Symbolic all are great examples of the technical and progressive styled death metal that they were creating. However, The Sound of Perseverance sees the fruits of their labor come full force, yet sadly it would be the last recording they would make. This reissue includes the original album, full lyrics, artwork from Travis Smith, and a bonus DVD with a live concert from Cottbus in 1998 as well as a photo gallery.
Those not familiar with this classic album will be treated with crisp, tight, metal riff monsters that contain the perfect amount of brutality and complexity. The guitarwork of Schuldiner and Shannon Hamm work in perfect synergy with each other, offering plenty of stop/start rhythms, mind boggling solos, and intricate melodic passages.Tunes like "Flesh and the Power It Holds" and "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" are wonderfully melodic yet contain plenty of savage aggression. The arrangements of each track, which I should mention most are in the 6-8 minute range, are littered with multiple time and meter changes, and while by this time Gene Hoglan had left the band, his replacement Richard Christy turns in a breathtaking performance here. Schuldiner and Hamm really shine on the brief yet intense instrumental "Voice of the Soul", a blistering piece featuring acoustic and electric guitars weaving sprirals around each other, while Christy and bassist Scott Clendenin form nimble and intricate grooves on the heavy "To Forgive is to Suffer" while the guitar duo blast the listener with thunderous riffs and uncanny fills. Chuck's vocals as always are of the harsh death metal wail, and you can make out every word in most cases, especially his punctuated shouts on the Egyptian tinged "A Moment of Clarity" and the rampaging death metal number "Spirit to Tell". A perfect marriage of death and progressive metal can be heard on "Story To Tell", a brutal yet complex piece that sees the whole band completely locked in with each other, offering some truly amazing riffs and intrumental passages. The cover of Judas Priest's "Painkiller" is a great rendition, but I'm sure most fans would have liked another original piece.
The live DVD, while pretty raw, is a near 60 minute show from 1998 containing 10 songs and shows the band really ripping it up on a large stage in front of a sizeable audience. Seeing the two guitarists up close really lets you appreciate just how talented they both are as well as how complex the songs are. The DVD is a very nice addition to this reissue and warrants all fans of Death to pick this album up again. If you have never experienced the sounds of Death, this is a good place to start, especially if you like brutal and technical death metal. We miss you Chuck!
1) Scavenger Of Human Sorrow
2) Bite The Pain
3) Spirit Crusher
4) Story To Tell
5) Flesh And The Power It Holds
6) Voice Of The Soul
7) To Forgive Is To Suffer
8) A Moment Of Clarity
Bonus DVD-Live at Cottbus 1998 + photo gallery