Monday, 7 October 2013

CD Review: Human, by Death (1991)

With a brand new band line-up, Chuck Schuldiner returns with Death's fourth studio album. Human is progressive technical jazz death metal, filled with innovative compositions that defy any form of conventional structure.

With frequent solos and confident, moderate-pitch growl vocals, delivered primarily in two-word increments, Schuldiner is prominent throughout. But he also gets excellent support from his three bandmates. The strong rhythm section features Sean Reinert on a busy and booming drum set and Steve DiGiorgio rumbling away on the bass, while Paul Masvidal shares guitar duties. Masvidal and Reinert were borrowed from Cynic, another Miami-area band, to record this album.

There is no denying the technical excellence of the material, the jazz beats, the numerous signature changes within each song, and the pure innovation in helping to create a brand of death metal with plenty of melodic injections and ambitious structures.

But the songs of Human exist in their own universe of extremely limited attention spans, where a theme is born, nurtured and dismissed within about 20 seconds, the deck always hastily cleared for the next theme to stampede into the song, only to suffer a similar half-life fate. Enjoyment is therefore at the micro-level, and any quest for overarching or sustained themes ends in disappointment. See Through Dreams has the longest cohesive segments, but nevertheless struggles for a unified identity.

It's almost a relief when the cover of the Kiss track God Of Thunder arrives (included on the 2011 re-issue), a reminder that metal compositions can carry a homogeneous melody over 4 minutes.


Chuck Schuldiner – Guitar, Vocals
Paul Masvidal – Guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
Sean Reinert – Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Flattening Of Emotions - 7
2. Suicide Machine - 7
3. Together As One - 7
4. Secret Face - 7
5. Lack Of Comprehension - 7
6. See Through Dreams - 8
7. Cosmic Sea - 7
8. Vacant Planets - 7
9. God Of Thunder - 8

Average: 7.22

Produced by Scott Burns and Chuck Schuldiner.
Recorded and Mixed by Scott Burns. Mixed by Alan Douches.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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