kcajremmerhcs on December 11th, 2016
Death Changes their Style
Many things after Spiritual Healing was released happened. Chuck Schuldiner lost his lineup after Andrews and Butler ditched Chuck and Chuck took legal actions and fired those two. James Murphy went on to Obituary and other bands. Chuck Schuldiner decided to intend on hire temporary members (session member members mostly). Chuck this time recruited his longtime friend Steve DiGiorgio and Cynic's guitarist and drummer Paul Masvidal and Sean Reifert. This album is obviously the album most famous for being the album Death goes from an amazing death metal band to the apex of Death metal.
The production on this album like Spiritual Healing is tailored for their respective album perfect. It makes the album feel nature for listeners. It also allows all parts of the music to shine (which will be spoken about later on)
The lyrics of the album are like Spiritual Healing in the sense of it criticizing something, but it more general and mature. It is more general because it is like an X in a Math an equation, you can insert to more situations than the last. If you think about it people you interact with in life you can cite someone who wears a secret face or someone who is the sad person whose only pleasure is to be a jerk. You can relate to "Secret Face" and "Lack of Comprehension." This album is the first in Death's discography in which they make songs relatable to almost all people on earth and all times making this album philosophical. It is mature because it thinks out of the box. In songs like "See Through Dreams,you" Chuck explores the idea of about a person that's born blind, yet is able to associate images with the sounds and his thoughts in his dreams. No one in the Death metal at the time had put so much thought into their lyrics. The lyrics also succeeded because it is vivid and you the lyrics can give an image your brain.
Chuck's vocal are great in a few words. Chuck's vocals in this album are matured. Chuck serves as the narrator of the what is happening in the lyrics and is still hard hitting. In "Lack of Comprehension" Chuck describe the person and shreds him to pieces showing people's reception of him. The listener can see the pain of the person in "Suicide Machine" because Chuck perfectly shows in his voice. On this album, Chuck's voice fits The vocals on this album on this album are easy to understand so you have no excuse to not listen to this album.
The bass and drums on this album are good. Steve DiGiorgio on this album accompany the guitar well and don't ruin the album, but serves it well. It shines on "Lack of Comprehension" in the beautiful intro and shows the band's progression and ability to . Sean Reifert is energetic like the drummer on the last album but takes it up a level. It is better technically speaking and more jazz-influenced, which shows his creativity.
The guitars on this album are phenomenal. The riffs fit the mood and pace. On songs like "Suicide Machine," the riff tells you that the song is dark and ominous. It gives you a preview of the song. The soloing on this album shred and are memorable. The solo on "Lack of Comprehension" shows the albums emotion and is memorable. It is more refined than, most death metal albums at the time. This album in the soloing department is still technical but is more cohesive. It is less about showing off on this album and more about the musician. On "Cosmic Sea" both guitarists gives great musicianship and it gives more pleasure. The accuracy and creativity blow my mind. The soloing is melodic, technical, and beautiful, which is what this album did.
Flattening of Emotions
Lack of Comprehension
Iron%20Wizard on November 19th, 2016
Death's first three albums were more or less pretty standard death metal albums that were nonetheless extremely influential to the scene. Human furthers Death's sound into a more cerebral and intellectually conscious form of death metal that would become known as technical death metal. While the progression of the band's technical skills had yet to reach its apex at this point, there is still some obvious change in sound.
The opener, "Flattening of Emotions" is an awesome introduction to Human, and it definitely fulfills the expectations set by Death's previous albums with it's crushing, yet catchy sound. The riffing has become noticeably cleaner and more defined, with more technical prowess being demonstrated. This is the case for all instruments- the lead guitar is cleaner and more discernible, and the rhythm section has become much tighter.
Human is the first Death album where a significant change in Schuldiner's haunting style of vocal delivery becomes noticeable. The vocals are more comprehensible; it is quite easy for a listener with little experience with hearing death metal vocals to make out the words, and he now growls in a slightly higher register reminiscent of the vocals on Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness. His vocals actually sound somewhat sickly, which is a good thing as it creates a more morbid sound.
The lyrics on Human are possibly the album's best attribute. Chuck writes of themes such as politics, philosophy, and suicide. He experimented with this on the previous release, Spiritual Healing, but this fully absorbed itself into Human. The themes of gore have been mostly expunged from the music at this point, but there still are some subtle instances of morbid references.
One of the greatest things about Human is the fact that it is a technical and progressive album, however, this does not take over the music completely. Bands such as Dream Theater tend to write songs purely for the purpose of showing off their musical and technical skills, paying no attention to what kind of atmosphere is produced by the final outcome. This problem that plagues a lot of progressive metal and technical death metal bands results in annoying music with awkward transitions between sections. Death wrote these songs with the actual structure in mind; it seems like the technical sound came naturally, so this issue is entirely avoided.
I will conclude my review by saying that Human is one of the greatest death metal records out there- any extreme metal fan who does not own it should definitely look in to buying it.
Cohesion on November 20th, 2014
A New Era of Death Metal
Death’s fourth album, Human, is considered a masterpiece of technical death metal by many. Up until this moment in time, most bands within the death metal genre focused on being as fast and brutal as possible. As soon as the first song begins on Human, you know you are going to be in for a ride. The song begins with a drum solo that leads into the opening guitar riff, setting the tone for the album. The main factor that makes this album so great is that even though the song structures are extremely complex, the songs never seem to get boring.
First of all, let’s get into the drumming. The drums were the first thing that struck me as being utterly amazing. Chuck Schuldiner had definitely made a great choice with acquiring their new drummer, Sean Reinert. The speed and precision of the double bass drumming in this album is unbelievable. Sean Reinert manages to keep things interesting, even mixing in some jazz fusion and Latin influences into his playing. Personally, the drums are the best part of this album. Seeing live videos of Reinert playing songs from Human is mind blowing.
The bass in this album inspired a lot of future death metal bassists, but the bass could have easily been louder in the mixing. The new bassist, Steve DiGiorgio does a superb job. The mini bass solo in Cosmic Sea is one of the best moments of the album. Cosmic Sea does a great job of displaying the band’s diversity, and their ability to write unique songs. Not many metal bands at the time were utilizing the bass on the same level as Death managed to do.
The guitarists in this album do a great job of utilizing interesting riffs with many odd time signatures. Even though most riffs are extremely fast, the precision of Chuck Schuldiner and Paul Masvidal is striking. The solos on this album NEVER disappoint. Schuldiner and Masvidal have many alternating solos, both with their own unique sound to them.
Chuck’s social and political lyrics on this album show how much the band has matured. Compared to the lyrical content of their first few albums, revolving around gore, zombies, and horror films. Song topics include everything from schizophrenia to euthanasia, and Chuck even explores topics such as the question to whether blind people can see in their dreams. Chuck’s vocals are still growled, but seem a bit more audible than in previous albums.
This album pushed boundaries of speed and technicality in metal music. I never liked death metal until I heard this album, but it totally changed my perspective on the genre. If you take the time to really listen and notice how amazing the musicianship is, it changes how you look at the death metal genre. Without this album, metal today would not be the same. Human is a timeless release that will continue to influence death metal bands for years to come.
psychosisholocausto on February 23rd, 2013
Among the finest albums of all time
For the longest time, Human was my favorite Death album. There was just something about that one album, the raw aggression found in its 34 minute running length that i felt was completely unrivaled. Since listening to their discography multiple times in a row again, however, this album has slowly sunk back to being my third favorite Death release, behind the two albums that would follow. That is NOT to say that Human is patchy at all, however, as it is by no means bad. Human is, in fact, darn near perfection incarnate. This is a blisteringly fast lesson in aggression, speed, progression and just general absolutely fantastically crafted death metal. Only Death could create this form of unrivaled hatred in music form, whilst still containing riffs so heavy they could take Chuck Norris off his feet. Human was originally 8 tracks long, however this review will be including the ninth track as well, God Of Thunder, a cover of kiss included on the re-release.
Human is, primarily, a string of some of the best riffs found in any genre of music on the face of the earth, of varied tempo, but all containing the rage that characterized Death, and made them stand out so much among the pretensive scene that they created. Bands such as Obituary and Cannibal Corpse, with their gore soaked lyrics, could not even comprehend the hate that Death had in their music. This is the sound of a group of young musicians who are completely angry at everything around them and Chuck penned lyrics that speak directly about this hatred. The first three songs on the album, Flattening Of Emotions, Suicide Machine and Together as One, all showcase this perfectly. Together as one has by far the best chorus Death ever put out, with some insightful lyrics and riffs drilled into your head with the force to take a building down. Chuck Schuldiner had one of the finest musical brains of all time, and this is displayed with every single guitar line throughout the album, containing so many influences, and would go on to influence every band ever to come after.
This was also the album where Death changed. Death went from being a raw, brash, in your face death metal band to a more progressive-inclined band, whilst still retaining that death sound that they created almost single-handedly. This all comes to its peak on the instrumental of the album, Cosmic Sea, a beautifully composed piece that really does have elements of every style of music that Chuck was influenced by. There are classical tinges in there, hard rock elements, a lacing of blues, and, of course, heavy fucking metal. This is where everything the band did came together perfectly. Each and every song found throughout this record is a masterpiece in its own right. They are all completely different, and to explain them all would require a university-length piece. Each and every one is a classic of the genre, and they have all stood the test of time, being 21 years old and still riding high among the wave of death metal masterpieces. The genre has become stagnant, and this was one of the albums that caused this, as very few bands could ever live up to a precedent such as this.
Human may not be the best thing that Death ever put out, being left trailing by Symbolic, and being outdone by following album Individual Thought Patterns, but it remains an exercise in how death metal should be done flawlessly, with furious guitar work throughout. The solos are perfect for the album, and every riff flows into the next one throughout. However, if you thought the talent ends there, you would be vastly mistaken. Sean Reinert is a wizard behind the drum kit, laying down some solid beats upon which the songs are formed, being interesting and complex enough to avoid boring the listener. Steve DiGiorgio is another extremely talented musician, with some bass lines that sink into the listeners skull, and never leave. The bass is audible throughout, which is rare for a metal artist, but to have mixed out talent like this would be criminal.
This stands out as one of the primary reasons why Death will always be number one in the death metal scene, having first created it, then refined it with Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, and then revolutionized it with Human, before leaving the genres defining moment with Symbolic and Individual Thought Patterns. Human is a timeless album that will have as much relevancy and staying power in another fifty years as it had upon its initial release.
Orbitball on October 16th, 2012
Death - Human
I decided to get the remastered version of this album because the bass guitar was hard to hear on the original recording of this release. I would consider Human to be Death’s best album ever. There are so many reasons for this claim. Not only is the music wholly original in it’s entirety, but the lyrics also pose so much thought that Chuck put into the words. It isn’t brutal lyrics for the sake of being brutal. It has a lot of thought that some people would especially ponder and say “hmmm, I’ve never thought about this before” or “maybe it’s something that I agree with”.
The music is entirely original on every song. When I say original, I mean that the riffs display sounds that no other band has produced ever before. Chuck was a self taught musician and his writing style progressed over the years and on Human he constructed mind blowing overtures with songs like “Lack of Comprehension” or which later became a video. Yes the music and the vocals were brutal even though the song itself started off with a clean piece, it progressed into a totally hateful death metal output emphasizing music and lyrics Chuck had amassed during the early days when he seemed to be plagued by people that befriended him.
I love the riffs on every some because they’re so diverse and the music always goes along with the vocals. There displays outputs of guitar frenzies featuring tremolo picked guitar efforts alongside chord progressions that are simply mind boggling. The remastered version features a cover of Kiss’s “God of Thunder”, which they do an awesome display of Chuck’s earlier influences and makes into a solid death metal output. I absolutely love the remastered version of this album not only because is the bass better to hear, but the music in general is hear altogether in unison.
Songs like “Secret Face” are lyrically mind blowing with music put together like no other music is done. You can compare that to all of the songs on this album. I think that “Vacant Planets” is my short, but favorite track especially because of the guitars featuring tapping techniques that only the mastermind of metal Chuck could construct. The whole song is aggressive and totally melodic. I’d conclude that the whole album is progressive and melodic. You can’t find a better death metal album that tops Human. It simply goes down to me one of the best death metal releases of our time.
If you’re a Death fan and are lacking this album, you’re missing out on a plethora of tracks that will blow your mind. The music is the highlight of the release and no other death metal album that I’ve heard can compete with this one. The music, solos, vocals, drums and lyrics all fit together to make one hell of a monumental metal release that can never be duplicated. Chuck was an amazing musician who died too young. His music will live on as a legacy in the death metal world. We all hope that he is at peace now and onto the next life. Own this remastered version today and you’ll hear what I’m trying to convey in this review!
hells_unicorn on December 27th, 2011
From society, to the cosmos.
Progression is a risky business, particularly when one is comfortably coasting on a winning niche that few can claim as being at the forefront of before it became the flavor of the early 90s. Nevertheless, that was what death metal as a whole was doing by said time period, progressing into something quite a bit different than the stereotype associated with the genre's name. Sure, a scene focused more on brutality was keeping up this side of things and actually extending it to the point of near ridiculousness. But the likes of Darkthrone (pre-black metal era), Nocturnus, Cynic, and co-pioneer of the style Death were looking beyond the horrors of either the nightmarish world of flesh eating zombies or real world monstrosities, and instead to some place amongst the stars above, contemplating the vast, undiscovered country beyond this island Earth (obligatory dual Sci-Fi film reference).
With this progression came a more philosophical outlook on lyrics and a broader array of atmospheric devices to complement the still firmly established extreme thrash and doom influences. But of all the albums that were brought out by the previously mentioned acts, Death's 4th studio effort "Human" actually comes off as being more conservative. The inclusion of Cynic's guitarist and drummer on this album presented Chuck with a greater degree of technical possibilities, and he does a nice job of exploiting them. The riff work can be categorized as somewhat busier and more prone towards flashy fills and virtuosic solos, not all that far removed from something Dream Theater might use in passing, but it still maintains that thick, thrashing edge, albeit in a somewhat more modern and mechanical fashion. The proficiency Sean Reinert at the kit is the largest shift in sound, bringing in some more elaborate beats than the straight ones that largely dominated the first two albums, and particularly loading up on the double bass work something fierce.
But ultimately what this album accomplishes musically is some stylistic tinkering around the edges rather than an outright genre shift ("Focus") or a permanent atmospheric gimmick that completely alters the nature of the style ("The Key" and "Soulside Journey"). Crushing fits of heavy riffing with a jolting production such as "Flattening Of Emotions", "Together As One" and "See Through Dreams" definitely remind a bit of the Death of the past couple albums, though the melodic tendencies of some of the guitar work almost leans towards a hint at melodeath with a heavy edge. The only real blatant departures from the established paradigm occur during the intro of "Lack Of Comprehension" that sounds like a spacey jazz music outtake, and "Cosmic Sea" which is a really out there mishmash of ambient and progressive elements, bringing in a dense keyboard backdrop, a barrage of fancy lead guitar work, and some busy bass work out to complement the atmosphere.
Ironically enough, this is among the shorter albums put out by this band, bucking the trend of so-called progressive albums being loaded up with 6 minutes plus fits of technical showboating and genre splicing. In fact, it's chief flaw is that it ends way too quickly, as if it could have had 1 or 2 additional songs tacked on to the end. Musically speaking it's not a massive enough of a departure to really warrant the heavy praise and occasional condemnation it receives, it could even be labeled as product of its time in much the same way that "Scream Bloody Gore" was. It's not a mystery that fans of older Death can and often do take to this album, though it does reveal a level of eclecticism amongst death metal junkies that often conflicts with the stereotypes often attributed to their lot. If nothing else, even when progressing in a very gradual and intentional manner, Schuldiner was still setting trends more than following them, and this album's conformity to an existing trend is likely more coincidental than not.
Pratl1971 on October 25th, 2011
A reissue well worth your money
I was sitting the other day thinking about Chuck Schuldiner and these new Death reissues and wondering how cool Chuck would undoubtedly think it is that Death is so revered after all this time. When you hear about the Floridian death metal scene it starts and pretty much ends with Chuck and Death, and there really is no need to go into the history and lineage; if you’re reading this you know who the man was and who he will ever be, not to mention how important he is to all of heavy metal. Let’s talk about the Human reissue, yes? Human was considered by many to be Death’s finest release, and while I find no fault in any Death album there is much credence to this claim. Human followed the flawless Spiritual Healing that was near death metal perfection in the ‘dream team’ of Chuck and fellow shredder James Murphy, but the preceding release would prove that Death simply improved with every subsequent release.
Throughout the entire 35-minutes of Human there is no assuaging of emotions, no settling for second banana; Chuck Schuldiner and newly-added guitarist Paul Masvidal traded riffs like men possessed, seemingly rejuvenated and bent on creating a mass hypnosis within tracks like “Suicide Machine”, “Vacant Planets” and the Steve DiGiorgio bass-heavy “Lack of Comprehension”. What Human represents to the death metal movement is utter respect for detail and attention to quality, traits not too often found in the genre of late. It seems today the easy road is the “KVLT” necro sound which amounts to nothing more than laziness and expedited release dates due to internal concerns, budgetary or otherwise. When Death released an album you knew you were going to get a meticulousness not easily dismissed or fudged. One listen to “Cosmic Sea” and any questions are quickly dissolved in a furious onslaught of scales and pinpoint arrangements that set Death above the board in all facets. Lyrically Mr. Schuldiner set the bar somewhere between fantastical journey and deep inner introspection, providing a vehicle of total subservience to the vastness that is our individual psyche, forcing us to think outside our comfort zones. “See Through Dreams” is the catalyst with which we truly engage ourselves if the mind is so inclined; this piece of intellectual examination is the topical Gibraltar for me. Death is not for the timidity of toe-in-water testing; what you will find here is only to be ingested at full strength of mind and over-estimation of the self and its functionary design. This band is the thinker’s death metal through and through without reservation or equal.
When this album first hit the stores I was amazed driving home from the store at how terrific the production was (remember, this was 1991, people) and how fluid the overall sound was. I remember bringing it over to my band practice and playing it for my friends, who worshipped at the Testament altar, and it just seemed lost on them. That should have been a hint right off, but, alas, this helped prove my theory that Death, while wholly illuminating, can also be wildly intimidating to any musician. Therein lay the beauty of Human; the album castrates the expectations of many and inspires and cultivates even more. Suffice it to say, I didn’t bring any band members to see Death live when I saw these blistering tracks performed live twice on the Human tour. What an amazing spectacle they all missed…
Now that I’ve gushed accordingly over all things Human, I’ll get to the Relapse bonus material. As we’ve come to expect with the Sound of Perseverance and Individual Thought Patterns reissues, the bonus disc(s) are chock full of demo material from the respective albums, which is wonderful for musicians and general fans. As a bootleg trader for many years we would have killed for Death rehearsals and demos aside from the early issued releases. That said it does leave room for inquiry as to why Relapse doesn’t include some video footage, possibly a DVD of some concert clips or interviews conducive to the release. I personally know there’s a lot of terrific footage out there from each tour that could easily be cleaned, mastered and heartily gobbled up by ardent, rabid fans like myself. Granted, I understand the legal maneuvering of such additions and I’m delirious with anything Death-related that has yet to be unearthed, but possible inclusion of a DVD for the mail order-only third disc numbered version would be a sweet addition if agreements can be made with fan-footage holders or fellow band members. With this being my only umbrage to take up, I do recommend the mail-order issues for additional demo tracks simply because they are a truly unique gift for long time fans to hear the basic foundations being laid for what would become iconic tracks that serve as respectful testaments for a young man taken far too early and leaves us wondering what might have been.
Pregnant with informative liner notes and photos, these Relapse reboots are tremendously valuable for the underground that keeps the Death name going strong, as well it should. If anyone can listen to Death and not find perfection and historical significance throughout I strongly suggest he or she venture out to the local mall and seek out the nu-metal section for the new Decapitated, which assuredly reassembles the tag without benefit of explanation to the uninformed among us.
Death is the real deal and will forever remain as such. These reissues are an absolute must.
(Originally written for www.MetalPsalter.com)
ThrashManiacAYD on September 5th, 2011
Death - Human (Reissue)
Had there been any words lacking in eulogy for Chuck Schuldiner and Death in the metal world I sure hope to have filled a few of them in when recently reviewing the rerelease of their final album, "The Sound Of Perseverance", but much is the story the same now with the rerelease of their 1991 masterpiece, "Human". After setting early death metal benchmarks with "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Spiritual Healing", "Human" saw Schuldiner, surrounded by entirely new bandmates, take death metal to technical levels never yet seen and from which today the genre is still in heavy gratitude.
To my mind this record must be in the collection of anyone who dares label themselves a death metal fan, but for newcomers and those who've slipped through the net this re-mastering is your chance to catch up. Eight songs of immense musicianship and, for the large part, blistering speed, create an intense listen which from opener "Flattening of Emotions" and through "Together As One", "Lack of Comprehension" and beyond showcase a band who patently are prodigiously talented and not merely relying to relying on studio tricks to suggest so: exotically fluid solos compete with flexible bass lines, sensational drum patterns and some of the most thoughtful lyrics on any death metal release one is ever likely to hear. Arriving at a time when Atheist, Pestilence and Cynic (of whom Paul Masdival and Sean Reinert performed here on guitar and drum respectively) were all also laying down the law in technicality, as best evidenced on "Human" these bands were not relying on lengthy, proggy tracks to make their point or insane Meshuggah-esque time signature changes but the mere interaction of their standard instrumental line-ups and an ear for creating drama in their music - just check out the soloing in "Together As One" or "Vacant Planets", or the atmospheric interlude of "Cosmic Sea" for confirmation. Worthy of mention is the re-mastering job conducted here, which has brought the drums and bass further to the forefront while increasing the overall clarity of the record, exposing new elements to even well-worn listeners of "Human" like I.
By way of extras we have some interesting liner notes written by Paul Masdival and producer Jim Morrison recalling the recording process, an unexpectedly rocking cover of Kiss' "God of Thunder" and on disc two a veritable plethora of instrumental studio and demo tracks - a whole 20 infect. More for the die-hards those, they do however tell a similar tale to the bonus skeletal tracks that accompanied the recent rerelease of Control Denied's "The Fragile Art of Existence" by way of showing their construction and intense composition.
In the years that followed Death continued on their path of technicality in travelling further from their extreme background, however on "Human" they reached a pinnacle while still resolutely death metal in essence. "Human" is an utterly essential milestone in the history of the genre that could conceivably be reckoned as the all-time greatest. Do not less this top-notch reissue pass you by.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
grain_silo on July 31st, 2011
Thriving On No Cliche
To me, “Human” officially marks the death of the old Death. It’s when Chuck decided to step out of the death and gore stuff and move on to different subjects such as the human mind, spiritualism, and society issues.
This album progresses musically and lyrically but this is still an old school death metal album.
Chuck really began to step up the technicality of his riffs. Not just fast all the time like most of the older stuff. He changes it up a lot on this album; although a lot of it is still fast. His solos have gotten better but they were amazing even on “Spiritual Healing”, so he can’t really improve on something that is already near perfection.
I’m so glad Chuck finally got rid of Terry Butler and Bill Andrews. Terry Butler literally did nothing with the bass when he was in the band. The legendary Steve DiGiorgio replaced Terry and thank God he did. Steve actually does something with the bass! I just wish he was louder in the mix on this album. He does have a few standouts like the beginning of “Lack of Comprehension”. Now for the drums, I’ve noticed on almost every single “Leprosy” review someone mentioned how terrible the drummer was. I thought he did good for true old school death metal with little or no progression in the mix. Now with the natural progression happening on this album, I’m glad Bill was let go. Sean Reinert does an excellent job. His double bass is fast, his fills are amazing, and he is just an all around good death metal drummer.
The songs have progressed but still qualify as old school death metal in my opinion. They are fast and they are extremely heavy. Also, Chuck sounds almost as evil as he did on the previous albums so that just adds to death metal feel. “Lack of Comprehension” starts with an awesome almost elevator music type intro and then goes into a masterpiece. It also probably has the most headbangable part in history. “Together as One” starts out extremely fast and is pretty fast throughout and has a pretty awesome chorus. “Cosmic Sea” is the instrumental on this album and is very atmospheric. It has some pretty sweet bass playing and just has a very eerie feel to it. Every song on here delivers good death metal. My least favorite would have to be “See Through Dreams” because it just doesn’t stick with me after I listen to it.
Production is near perfect. The guitars are insanely heavy. The drums sound amazing. The only complaint I have is the bass. With Steve now playing bass for them, one would think they would have turned it up to put a spotlight on how talented this guy was but no, he kind of sits in the background with a few exceptions.
“Human” is a very good death metal album and every song on here is good; some much better than others. It just doesn’t measure up to “Leprosy” or Spiritual Healing”. Those two albums pretty much put everything else to shame. I would highly recommend this album if you like the old Death or the newer Death.
Best tracks – “Lack of Comprehension”, “Suicide Machine”, and “Together as One”
autothrall on April 8th, 2011
A flattening of my devotions
In all the years I've listened to metal, through all of its mutations, there are few cases where I've felt so at odds with the 'majority' as with Death's fourth full-length Human. I have a number of friends and acquaintances who honestly feel this is the greatest album of all time. Accolades have been written from here to kingdom come and back again, and in lieu of Chuck Schuldiner's tragic passing it has vaulted into even more of a concrete classic status. I suppose here is the point at which I could just claim that they're all full of shit, that it's some kind of conspiracy, 'Body Snatchers', whine like an infant and then go grab some lunch, but it's not that simple. Because Human does not suck. It is not the product of effortless self-preservation, nor a brain addled deviation of form. It is not crass or commercial. It is not a sell out. And it is not uninspired, nor uninspiring.
What it is, is a progression gone awry. A sacrifice of ghastly mood and virtue for ambition. But more importantly, it's a fairly underwhelming piece of music from a band that had to this point been frankly fucking awesome. As early as Leprosy, Death's conceptual motivation (and lyrics) had swerved subtly to a more philosophical standpoint on mortality, which was then brought into social and technological, cultural relevance through Spiritual Healing. In fact, you could see the transition to Human from a mile away. Knowing Chuck's motivations to grow and evolve the terrain of his musical alter ego, it was inevitable. Hints of the sound here were seasoned across Spiritual Healing: a thinner, more processed and by extension less powerful guitar tone, less festering or effective vocal tones, and more frequent flights of instrumental fancy. The 'death' metal that I so loved from the earlier works still survives here, but it's rapidly becoming the subtext of the band's dynamic, rather than its foremost aspect.
With Scream Bloody Gore I had a bloody good time; Leprosy was a genuinely creepy, beautiful and brutal experience; Spiritual Healing less so, but still had the songwriting that hung out in my skull years later. Human is the first case in memory in which I felt I could surgically extract a few individual riffs and feed the rest as scraps to the hounds. But not only does this album mark a shift in aesthetics, but also in how Chuck would select musicians to work among. In what might seem a fit of abashed elitist snobbery, he had begun a revolving door of musicians here that would continue through the rest of Death's career. Bill Andrews, Rick Rozz and Terry Butler had turned towards the lackluster Massacre with another former Death-ite (Kam Lee); so a bevy of technically fluent individuals had been hired on to 'flesh out' this excursion. Steve DiGiorgio of Sadus for the bass guitar. Cynic members Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert for the guitar and drum slots. An impressive quartet as far as individual musical proficiency is concerned, a 'Dream Team' like one might send to the Olympics. So then, why does this album supplant the charm of its predecessors which such a dry, mechanical, mediocre sensation?
Thankfully, Human does not abandon all of the band's prior assertions. "Flattening of Emotions" opens with some tinny sounding muted death and a good number of robotic transitions, spliced in its depths with easily forgotten wanking. I think the only part of this song I enjoyed was the sad current of melody beneath the chorus. "Suicide Machine" is better, perhaps the closest this CD gets to what I so loved on the older albums, with a few creepy old school death rhythms (the chorus) and slices of eerie if predictable melodies. Still, though, the notation here is simply not as morbid and memorable as what had come before. I enjoy the driven, death metal break of the "Together as One" verse, with DiGiorgio plunking all over it and Reinert as taut and puckered as a newly molded sphincter, but I found myself caring less about any of the remaining riffs here. Ditto for the entirety of "Secret Face", which I had entirely forgotten until I dusted off the album to prepare this review.
"Lack of Comprehension" is initially promising due to the desperate interaction of vocals and rhythm, but outside of that opening riff and the mosh breakdown at 1:30 with the frenzied guitar accompaniment its like a boring philosophy lecture, and I'd have to say the same for "Vacant Planets" and "See Through Dreams", with the exception of that epic, melodic swerve at about :50 in the latter. Of course, we also have "Cosmic Sea" the first outright instrumental found on the Death studio albums, and probably the one track on this album that I would actually spin the disc for. The guitars create a meandering scar-scape of sadness and beauty, and I enjoy the synthesizer sounds utilized in the backdrop. The leads are impressive, especially when they start warping through wormholes around 3:30, and DiGiorgio also fashions some mesmerizing effects to anchor the cosmic convocation.
All in all, the tone to this album is arguably its most crippling feature. Scott Burns mixed it, and I'd be lying to say it was one of his finer moments. Razor thin and very much devoid of power. In fact, had this been executed with bolder guitars in mind, and less of a nerdy modernism in the processing of the distortion, the same songs might be somewhat more potent. Not that the actual riffs are exemplary, but they're ironically more mechanistic and less 'human'. Post-human, if you will, as if some band of A.I. infused automata mining Jupiter caught wind of some Spiritual Healing broadcasts and decided to creature a 'spiritual' successor to that album. Hypocritically, I don't mind this diffused digitization so much on the following works Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic. But only because I like the songs on those records more than these.
I have given Human more second chances, third chances, and twenty seventh chances than almost any other record I own, but each time I return to explore it I am left wanting. I've found the material to also be dull in the stage setting a number of times I've seen the band (once even opening for them at Salisbury Beach where a lot of booked tours came through), though they always compensated with older tunes. I'm certainly not opposed to progression in my music: the two other 'major' prog/jazz/death albums of 1991 sat rather well with me (Unquestionable Presence, Testimony of the Ancients). Human is elegant, and never rushed, but neither is it an exciting listen. It's not the worst of the Death efforts, but I'm simply not hard wired to appreciate it beyond a handful of the riffs and lyrics. To me, the Death I truly loved dissolved the year prior, not that Chuck was ever going to brook a wrench in the gears of his evolving musical landscape, but I wouldn't have been opposed to keep him penned up for a few more DEATH metal albums.
ozzeh on August 14th, 2008
"Symbolic" had an undeniably old school heavy metal style present in the power chord riffing; "Human" speeds along at a thrash metal tempo and Death's inimitable minor key dual guitar leads give "Human" character. Production is dirty sounding and a bit thin on the bass. This needs to be listened to about as loud as one can bear to catch all of the nuances of the music and to realize just exactly how fucking hard "Human" rocks.
The album is short and every song sticks out with a massive guitar solo. I love the old school palm-muted death metal riffing found on every song: the rhythmic qualities found on "Human" are absolutely demonic in precision and charisma. All songs have their own individual charm and I absolutely listen to this album from start to finish every time.
Chuck's voice is a bit lower pitched than his later work as well as approaching thrash-like speeds on a lot of songs. The progressive elements are somewhat comparable to Atheist's "Piece of Time" as far as world-class musicians synergistically creating an impromptu segue in each song. While Death would go on to create more progressive-themed albums, "Human" is death metal at thrash speeds with progressive tendencies: and it is excellent.
Dolf9271986 on May 5th, 2008
"Death - Human (1991)"
Holy fucking shit! When you first turn on Death's "Human", you are greeted with three new things. 1) The use of toms, 2) The sheer heaviness, and 3) Odd time signatures. Now, this should say a lot to the old Death.
Ok, now since I am blown away, I am going to start with the drums! And what a fucking surprise! THEY ARE TECHNICAL and they are DIFFERENT! There is a lot of great variation on this album, drum wise. Very, very well done, they are crisp, loud, and technical, and best of all, they keep you going, and they don't make you feel like you're hearing the same song over and over again, trying to figure out which fucking song is playing. I.E. They are not boring, they are brilliant, and a highlight, a big highlight, of this album. I would even say they are thrashy, rather, thrashy, in some parts anyways, like in the songs "Vacant Plants" and "See Through Dreams".
The guitar on the album can be defined with two words: technical and heavy. No doubt in my mind that this is, so far, Death's most technical and heavy record yet. I couldn't believe that it was Death that I was hearing. It's awesome. The solos are insane. EVERY song on the entire album has a solo on it. There is not one stale or boring moment on this whole album.
The vocals are just... God damn, this man is a beast. Seriously one of the best vocalists I have ever heard in my entire life. The vocals are just as you'd expect. Perfect.
The bass has the same effect on me as the previous album does. It's quieter, but it allows the guitars to maintain their clean technical quality while still being loud enough to hear and appreciate. Not much else to say about the bass.
Overall, my favorite Death album. This is just... It's perfect. There is not one thing I do not like about this album. I seriously recommend this album to any Metal fan. It's one of the greatest Death Metal albums of all time. Just.. Wow...
Dedsox on December 5th, 2007
This IS Death
Well.. I'm ashamed to say, this is actually the first full Death album I have ever heard. Sure, I've heard bits and pieces from their early career, but I disregarded it without paying my full attention. Believe me now, I am slapping myself. Death manages to capture every aspect of death metal that I enjoy; technicality, brutality and decent lyrics (something I believe many death metal bands overlook).
From the beginning riff of 'Flattering Emotions' to the closing outro to 'Vacant Planets' this album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Chuck's guitar work is spectacular through out, but are especially breath-taking during 'Vacant Planets' & 'Cosmic Sea'
The vocals remind me a lot of John Tardy (Obituary) but are easier to understand and sharper in my opinion. This kind of vocal style is far from idealistic for me, but still very enjoyable and fits in well with the kind of music that Death play.
The drums and bass are slightly less memorable, possibly due to the listeners attention constantly being directed at Chuck's nifty guitar work. There are a few exceptions however, including the brief bass fill at around 2:45 in 'Cosmic Sea' before Chuck's solo. I also particuarly enjoyed the drum work in the opening song, 'Flattering of Emotions'. On the whole however, the drumming is tight and fast and the bass guitar work seems fine.
As far as production goes, I only have one very small bone to pick. Personally I would have liked to have heard the bass a little higher in the mix.
It's pretty hard to sum this album up using words, because I honestly feel that some of it can only be explained by listening to it. I put off listening to Death for so many years and in some ways I regret it when I think of how many hours I could have spent headbanging along. But to be completely honest, if I had heard this before anything else, it would have totally destroyed my first impressions of almost every other death metal band out there. Definately a must have in your CD collection!
Standout Tracks: 'Flattering of Emotions', 'Suicide Machine', 'See Through Dreams', 'Cosmic Sea', 'Vacant Planets' are my favourites, but the entire album is fantastic.
morbert on May 30th, 2007
On top of things
Yes, a highlight in their career! For one, Schuldiner finally got rid off his worst rhythmsection ever and chose what afterwards can be considered his best, namely Cynic drummer Sean Reiniert and the fretless bandwhore Steve DiGiorgio on bass. On top of things he also got guitarist Paul Masvidal (Cynic as well) which was a improvement to James Murphy (and that is saying something).
Secondly the songwriting skills had improved in terms of writing shorter more logical songs with a clear structure and recognisable chorus. ‘Flattening Of Emotions’ and ‘Lack Of Comprehension’ really stand out here. These are some finetuned compositions which were so transparent of structure that there was plenty of room for the individual instrumentalist to excell within the boundaries. ‘Suicide Machine’, ‘Together As One’, ‘See Through Dreams’, ‘Vacant Planets’’ and ‘Secret Face’ are all catchy powerful death metal songs of high quality diversity and dynamics that equal the best songs from their previous record.
The production matched (topped actually) the heaviness of ‘Leprosy with the definition and tranparency of ‘Spiritual Healing’ resulting in the perfect hybrid. The sound is simply amazing and suitable.
There are however two things for me to complain about. Mostly it’s the instrumental song ‘Cosmic Sea’ which I still find to be rather dull. Even the allegedly impressive solo doesn’t ‘do it’ for me. The last complaint is the length of the album. Too short.
Kingarty on May 25th, 2007
Very few bands have albums that will live on far past their time. Led Zeppelin has it. Metallica has it. And with the release of this album, Death achieved it. Not only a landmark album in Death Metal, but this is Death's best album. "Human" takes the whole Death Metal genre to new heights. The album is musically advanced and lyrically complex.
Some history of the band up to this point: Death, coming off their poorly critical acclaimed album "Spiritual Healing", begins with a fresh slate. Maestro Chuck Schuldiner recruits a new line-up consisting of bass extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio and Cynic band mates Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal. Schuldiner was growing angry by the inconsistency of band members and opted to use studio and touring musicians.
"Human" is musically their best attempt at newfound complexity. Up until this album, their music hadn't been nearly this complex. Each song can be defined with guitars consisting of fast riffing accompanied by complex fills and odd time signatures, bass playing technically complex and out of this world, and drums that blast hard and complement the music to make it well rounded and complete. Early traces of the melody that would be very present in their later albums can be found in songs such as "Lack of Comprehension" and "Cosmic Sea" while still keeping the fast and aggressive pace that was present in their first albums in songs such as "Flattening of Emotions" and "Suicide Machine". Their best example of new found musically advanced complexity can be found in the song "Secret Face".
The landmark record is also a subject to new lyrical themes. Abandoning the gore and death themes of their early albums, "Human" shows the lyrical evolution into reality. Songs such as "Lack of Comprehension" and "Flattening of Emotions" are prime examples of the lyrical adventures exploring into new territory.
This record opened many doors in the Death Metal genre, allowing new skills and abilities to be brought to the table. It created a new dimension for Death Metal. "Human" will love long past its years and has proved to not only be a technical death metal essential, but a metal essential as a whole. Some interesting facts are that this is the first Death album that Ed Repka (most known as being the creator of the Megadeth mascot "Vic") didn't create the cover for.
Nothing is perfect though, this album does contain errors. The album losses points in its biggest error which is in the field of production. The guitar leads and rhythms sound awesome, but you have to look into the less than stellar production to find the awesome bass of DiGiorgio. After one or two listens, you will be able to tell the instruments apart and production isn't a very big issue anymore. But it's a shame that this album couldn't enjoy the production of later albums like Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance. However, given the time period, excellent production wasn't as easily accessible.
Favorite Track: Flattening of Emotions
Least Favorite Track: none. Seriously, this album doesn't contain a track that is less than a 10/10. I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be Vacant Planets because it's the shortest. But that doesn't say a lot.
orionmetalhead on May 3rd, 2007
Mastery in Death metal
Utterly pummeling. Subtely technical and simply brutal. Pure agression, anger and beauty perfectly balanced in a precise unleashment of hatres towards society. Death's "Human" is one of the several albums that all death metal is measured against. It is a genre milestone, a glimpse into the future of death metal. It is the perfect blend of all that was death metal at the time - groove, brutality, and the imminent infusion of jazz elements with the genre's past thrash roots. It is an album that is as relevant today as when it came out almost sixteen years ago. For me, it is hard to be unbaised toward the album that indroduced my once ignorant ears to death metal.
Thousands of words have been used to describe this album. Thousands of hours have been sprent listening to "Human" by fans all across the world. These fans have been drawn into the deep production, master songmanship, incredible musicianship and personality of each song. Listening to Human is an experience. Blasting songs like "Suicide Machine" and "Lack of Comprehension" is almost a spiritual awakening for many. The sheer impact of the music hitting you is enough to make you stop an allow the songs to absorb you and your attention. I once played "Lack of Comprehension" in a school class for a presentation and everyone simply sat and stared for three minutes, completely shocked. To them it was an eternity, for me, it was over too quickly.
As the drums fade into "Flattening of Emotions," you are completely unprepared for the sonic intensity of the guitar tone. I still get chills racing up and down m spine when that song erupts. It's like an orgasm of death metal fury - so powerful and close. One of the most powerful aspects of the album's tone is its depth. The guitars sound as if there are a million guitars playing simultaneously and hitting every note at the same time. Sadly, the bass is generally lacking and even the intro to "Lack of Comprehension," is a bit hard to decipher without close examination. Schuldiner's guitar tone is simply overpowering the bass. DiGiorgio should have been a bit more audible in the mix. Luckily the guitar tone that Chuck and Paul Masvidal discovered for this album is simply incredible. The tone is beautiful and fucking HEAVY. It is absolutely uncompromising.
This production supports one of the strongest song collections that any album has ever had. Ever. Eight songs, thirty-three minutes and fifty-seven seconds of perfection. The album neither lasts too long nor is is over too quick. It beats the crap out of you and then lets you get up only hoping for more abuse; more Death. "Flattening of Emotions" and "Suicide Machine" exists as a brutal opening combination only to be followed by "Together as One" and the intense "Secret Face." Hell, if that was all that was on this record, it would already be worth the price of a full length. Instead however, we get the lethal quartet of previously mentioned "Lack of Comprehension" and three closing tracks that fit perfectly onto the album yet hint at the future direction that death would take with its next three albums: Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic, and Sound of Perserverance. "See Through Dreams", "Cosmic Sea", and "Vacant Planets" are monumentally intense jazz/death hybrids with a hint of jazz more than the pure fusion of jazz and death metal that Pestilence (latter albums) and Atheist would become known for.
These songs are ultimately an extension of the musicians themselves, notably Schuldiner. Reinert's drumming is spectacular and compliments Schuldiner and Masvidal excellently. Guitar solos are superb, each one capturing the essence of the song and existing as seperate memorable entities. These musicians and somewhat absent DiGiorgio - who we don't have to mention due to his undeniably incredibly talent - are masters of subtlety. The quick high pitched noises twenty-four seconds into "Suicide Machine," bassist DiGiorgio I believe, and the vocal effects used later on at the end of "See Through Dreams" are only two examples. The album's charming quality is found not in the music but in the musician's prowess at adding these minscule yet personal touches to the music.
This album, "Human," is a peice of art that all must own. It is an example of metal, death metal and music at its very best. The effort and legacy of the musicians on human is unquestionable as is the strength and legacy of the release itself.
Chrispaks on March 12th, 2007
Puts me in heaven
I don't know why Chuck ended this amazing album under forty minutes, but damn this is one of my favorite CD's. From start to finish, there is nothing but solid riffs and good (cookie monster) vocals. For those who are new to Death, you may want to start on The Sound Of Perseverance, but for those who are wishing to dive straight into the frenzy known worldwide as "Human", be my guest.
What is good about this album? Everything.
Why? Chuck, Paul, Sean and Steve all create an atmosphere that makes this album tingle the inner soul of one's soul. Heres how, by songs:
Its clear, by just listening to the first minute of the first track- Flattening Of Emotions- That you are in for one hell of a ride. The double bass madness, and palm muting my Chuck Schuldiner is out of this world. Sean Reinert puts together some of the most solid beats together, while keeping everything within the limits. Replicating it is near impossible unless you have rock/jazz/funk and years of experience under your belt.
Continuing into Suicide Machine and Together As One, the solid production continues, leaving you with no breaks. Personally, these are done better live, but they are still awesome. I think the first three songs are the cornerstone of Death Metal, as they represent what it stands for: Aggressive, fast, dark vocals which separate us, from the general population.
Now, these following two tracks are LOVED or rejected. Secret face, the next track, tends to lose the people who are not into Death. They do not give the song enough time. The solo is amazing, and I guarantee if you like solos, you will have an eargasm here.
Following this, is Lack Of Comprehension. A great music video (which MTV played only two times in its entire life, because its a fag channel) accompanies this amazing song. I'm sure this song was designed for headbanging/mosh pitting, as Schuldiner and Masvidal pull off some serious 'riffage' here.
Now we get into the See Through Dreams. For most people, who like Death, they feel as if they've had enough. It can start to seem like the same thing at this point. For most though, the speed of Chucks fingers keeps the listener entertained. As this ends, it bleeds into the most infamous Death track ever: Cosmic Sea. This [obviously] 'Cynic' styled track is thanks to Masvidal/Reinert. Dealing with technologies fine insertion, and Chucks amazing 'power metal' like solo, one could feel this as an anthem. Fortunately and unfortunately, it turns into a solid double bass assault. This is bad because the nice Chuck Schuldiner solo ends, but good because now Masvidal can take the shining spot (For once).
The reason this album didn't get 100 is because of Vacant Planets. A solid track, but by now, this song does not do anything special. I will not object to not listening to it, but it feels worn out by now. I'm not saying the style of the album is worn out, because I've easily listened to this whole damn album four times in a row, just Vacant Planets lacks something that separates it from the rest. Nothing new is brought to the table.
Pro and Con time:
Every track is decent, and filled with power chords and superb solos. The backing by Masvidal makes it sound "Alien" by the way he plays his guitar, as he tremolo picks 0's, then 6's, then 3's on the same string to give it a 'duuuuh-diiiiii-deeee" effect.
Too short, and revolves a lot around Chuck. Paul cannot shine as much. Bass is sometimes inaudible.
Songs worth listening to:
Flattening Of Emotions, Lack Of Comprehension, Cosmic Sea
erickg13 on November 22nd, 2006
Defining a genre and a career.
To put it simply, Death's "Human" is a classic album. Of course, this is some 15 years after the album came out and the band's leader, Chuck Schuldiner, passed away, which could but add some emotions linked to this album. However, even when this came out, it is hard to see how it would not be hailed as revolutionary among the metal community.
Many things contribute to this album's greatness. Firstly, it is more mature than most of its contemporaries. While some were singing about guts and gore, these guys had deeper lyrics about emotions and pain present throughout the album. Is it due to maturity? Maybe, but then again, most of the members were barely on the plus side of 20. Another factor is the masterful musicianship. In an era of shred guitar dominance, Death not only matches, but at points exceeds the standard of the time.
The vocals and guitar provided by Chuck Shuldiner are absolutely brilliant! Of course, he has the death metal vocals (cookie monster vocals, if you will), but somehow he communicates more feeling and emotion than you would find in 'classic singers' - not to mention his guitar work, which is absolutely top notch and pushes the boundaries of guitar work within its genre.
Backing Chuck on guitar is Paul Masvidal with his sometimes lead but mostly rhythm work. Being that there are two guitarists in the band, they mold and form the tones and sounds to create a wall of sonic suffocation which you cannot escape.
The rhythm section of Sean Reinert on drums and Steve Digiorgio provides one of the best rhythm backbones featured on any album. Sean Reinert's drumming is absolutely incredible, a drumming junkie's wet dream. On the other hand, Steve Digiorgio's bass work feels more atmospheric and is there more to complete the sound.
At this point, I would normally tell you which tracks are key; however, on an album such as "Human", there is no reason why you shouldn’t listen to each track. If you don't listen all the way, you're cheating yourself. The worst part of this album is that it is only 35 minutes long.
Overall, Death’s "Human" is absolutely stellar. It cannot be reinforced enough on how good this album is, and not only by its contents but what it did to the music around it and the genre.
wachtourak on July 25th, 2006
Death's first really good album
First things first, the production is the only real let-down of this album I feel, while the drums and vocals sound good and also seem to be in the right places in the mix and the guitars have that awesome sharp and crunchy sound to them, the bottom end sounds muddy (somewhat like on Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten, but not that pronounced) and Steve DiGorgio's bass is buried there and it's hard to make out his awesome bass lines (afterall we all know what he's capable of, listen to Individual Thought Patterns) and that is quite a shame.
From those first brooding drum beats you know this is going to be something special. The first song, Flattening of Emotions starts relatively slowly but soon explodes into a cacaphony of double bass drumming and violent riffs. The first thing you notice about this albums is what a great drummer Sean Rienert is. He (as well as the other new members) bought a level of musicianship to Death that had not been seen until now and it pays off.
After Flattening of Emotions we have Suicide Machine, possibly the best Death song ever written. This song has it all, jackhammer double-kick, brilliant riffs and solos from Chuck and Paul Masvidal, and great bass lines from Steve DiGorgio (strain and you can make them out) as well as Chuck's brutal but decipherable vocals. This is also chucks best vocal performance as well, his growl has the right balance between brutal and understandable (they got a bit too high pitched on the later albums, especially on The Sound of Perseverance). Carrying on from excellent openers the album continues in much the same fashion, which is not say the album gets repetitive, just that it retains its high quality all the way through! Together as one has some great technical riffing that showcases Chuck and Paul's skills on the guitar, and Lack of Comprehension is another high point, with it's soft intro providing a bit of a change in scenery, even once it gets going it is a little slower than the previous songs, but soon picks up the pace yet again, with lightning-fast double kick and Sean showing off his fancy, jazzy cymbal techniques. Cosmic Sea is the one real oddity of the album, a slow, almost fusion-ish instrumental track that Reinert and Masvidal no doubt had a large hand in writing, the Jazz influences are very evident here. It has some amazing guitar solos and we finally get to hear DiGorgio's bass properly. The closer, Vacant Planets is everything one would come to expect for song on the Human album, the usual blend of brutality, technicality and melody into one amazing package.
Lyrically this album is great too, with more of Chuck's thoughts and social commentary.
Human definitely marked the beginning of a new era for Death, and what a great change it was. In 1991 not much else came close. One of my favourite albums from Death and and indeed the Death Metal genre as a whole, truly a must have even for someone with the slightest interest in Death Metal.
YYZman on September 30th, 2005
A Leap forward in Death Metal
Some albums just last forever. Sometimes you'll buy a record and, although it is great at first...time passes and it just loses it's impact. But some records are invincable against the passage of time. They not only retain their intensity, but they grow on you and become a record you can always listen to and be amazed at what's inside.
Human is one of those records.
The Production: The production may not be up to the standard of today...but i think the thick, almost menacing sound of Morrisound Studios suits this music just right. The drums, while providing a lot of intricate work, are often overshadowed by the guitars. as for the bass....well, while you can bet that
Steve DiGiorgio is doing some fine work in these songs, you can barely hear the man. But his time to be heard would be on "Individual Thought Patterns"
The Songs: You can't fail here! "Flattening of Emotions" "Suicide Machine" "Together as One" all awesome! "Secret Face" is not completley up to par, but it has wicked riffs nonetheless....You think you might be getting a break when the intro to "Lack of Comprehension" comes in....but....THRASH! No you don't! fantastic song, truly impossible riffs, and one of Chuck's most memorable solos. The real break comes in the unique and experimental instrumental "Cosmic Sea" which is full of creepy (but kinda cheesy) keyboard work, but is host the best of many guitar duels between Chuck's wierd, angular style, and Paul Masvidal's smooth, almost alien runs. this is NOT filler. The album ends on a fine note with "Vacant Planets" which contains some wicked time changes, ripping solos, and a straight to the point ending. "In a world so vast, we sit among the vacant....PLANETS!" then silence. then the album is done. flawless.
The Vocals: I appreciate Chuck's style of screaming, because, although he doesn't use a lot (if any) variation in his vocal style....he makes the effort to make his words clear and understandable, so not only are his words powerful, but the way he delivers them to you can NOT be denied. He doesn't use any of his sick screams like in "Scream Bloody Gore" but he has some fine moments on this record. Most notalbly the Bowel-shaking growl in "Suicide Machine" (or "Suicide Ma..(riff) CHINNEEEEEAGH!)
and when he screams "As they stare!!!!" before sending you to thrash hell in "Together as One"
Overall: I loved this album the first time i heard it, and everytime i play it, i love it a little more. i get to the point where i'm driving in my car and angrily pointing at people while singing the words to "Lack of Comprehension" Intense. I recommend it to any fan of truly unique death metal with originality and a healthy balance of melody and aggression.
meedley_meedley on December 19th, 2004
Deep Death Metal
This album (along with Sound of Perseverance) are the quintessential Death albums. Enough said. This was the first high point for the band. SOP would be the second and highest. Although the songs are not as epic-like as on SOP, the songs are still deep and emotional, while still retaining that progressive sound Death is more noted for. Every song is a highlight and not once does one become bored with the music within.
Once the lead track Flattening of Emotions kicks into full gear, you'd better be prepared to take a beating. This is fucking INTENSE riff work and the vocals are just top notch. What really sends chills down your spine is when you've heard the amazing releases of Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy and realize this is the same band. The difference is unbelievable.
Suicide Machine is just as great. This is 100% perfect technical death/thrash. Every riff is memorable and heavy as hell.
Together as One and Secret Face. Lots of progression and great lead work. This is fast and slow and midpaced and out of control, all in one! Everything flows without flaw.
Lack Of Comprehension is easily the best track here, and one of the best songs Death has ever made. Why? This song represents great musicianship and emotion, still without going soft. The verse is full of emotion and a big strength in the song. HOLY SHIT ON A STICK IS THIS A FUCKING HEAVY AS ALL THAT IS HEAVY SONG!
See Through Dream is the second best track. It's just a full blown attack on the senses. One of the most memorable choruses in all of metal. That's gotta say alot for a death metal band. BEST LEAD SECTION! Melodic, but still kicks your ass in every single place.
Cosmic Sea is a strange instrumental. Dark and moody. This is something you wouldnt expect from your average death metal fare. Great musicianship and overall fun to listen to.
Vacant Planets closes the album and just murders you. Everyone is on top of their game. Guitars, vocals, bass, and drums are all insane. Nothing can stop this album. Nothing untl SOP came out. Hell, even still...
One problem... It's so short! Oh well, i really cannot complain.
Cedric on November 30th, 2004
dig through the fuzzy production to find beauty
Death, the band that has had many of metal’s great instrumentalists. This album probably has the best line up in Death history. Steve Digiorgio basses away, around the riffs of both Chuck Schuldiner and Paul Masvidal, who create patterns of off-time angular aggressive riffs. Sean Reinert, one of my favorite drummers creating insane drum lines and fills under all this madness. Chuck sounds great on vocals too, with a mid range death vocal, not the bellow, but not the scream, it is perfectly balanced.
The mix may sound a little too bassy to people, but it grows on you after several listens, and you may get a more trained ear from it, trying to discern the little specialties in Digiorgio’s playing. The album is Death, The songs well-arranged and the lyrics magnificent. Chuck does not play the music around the lyrics, he adjusts the lyrics so they fit, creating an odd sound that is unique to death, with start-stop vocals everywhere. Song like Vacant Planets and Lack of Comprehension stand out as vocal songs, while of course the instrumental Cosmic Sea with its keyboards is amazing. Oddly Chuck has a knack of creating only 4 minute long songs mostly on this album, but it is not much of a problem, it just makes it sound like the songs are the same in structure, due to restricted time.
stickyshooZ on April 16th, 2004
A death metal classic
When I first listened to this album, I was a bit skeptical and more partial to Death's newer material than the older. However, after blasting this album in my car, I was stunned with awe. Then I realized why this album had received such high praise. This was a turning point for Chuck Schuldiner and Death. Human was Death's first effort to deliver speed, technicality, heaviness, and melody...and they succeeded!
It seems Chuck has matured with his lyrics, while his brutal death metal vocals remain the same. The guitar riffs aren‘t the most complex, but this is still a fairly large step for Death and they still manage to make unique tunes that actually sound good. The guitars have a raw and thick sound with a dosage of melody. Although Steve DiGiorgio is an awesome bassist his bass sounds like total crap in some parts of this album. Listen at around 0:24 into the song “Suicide Machine” and you hear what sounds like a rubber band, but it is supposed to be Steve’s bass.
The drumming is rather burly sounding; nice and thick. Sean proves himself a worthy drummer as you listen to the dismal drums which take you into “Flattening of Emotions,” as well as “Together As One”. Paul shows that he can fill the shoes of metal guitar guru - James Murphy by playing his parts with obvious ease. It sure was nice for the members of Cynic to lend out their two best men. Yet again, Chuck shows that unless the line up is perfect, it doesn’t fly.
Most of the songs are fast, with the exception of the beautifully welded instrumental - “Cosmic Sea,” which more than makes up for lack of speed with carefully placed rhythm and humming melodies. There is even a quick little bass solo in this instrumental. This is a nice fresh listen - it contains expeditious speed, heaviness, with a nice dab of melody while keeping intelligent and unique lyrics in constant presence. Sad enough, music isn’t made like this much these days. This is one of the album I own that I can listen to all the way through without the desire to skip any tracks.
At this point in time, this was a huge step of advancement in Death's existence. I would go as far to say that this album is a classic and should be owned by any and all death metal lovers. Hurry up and buy it if you don’t own it yet.
ironasinmaiden on January 8th, 2003
Death are one band nobody has anything bad to say about. They are just good. I can't get into their old shit as much, but anything Human and beyond is gold. Chuck knew his way around a song, and his ability really starts to show through on Human. There are no unnecessary notes here... just pure progressive death metal bliss, and some of the most talented individuals in recorded music.
Death were always a sort of travelling circus... Schulidner and whatever other guys he could pluck from Julliard. And he did some damn good pluckin, cos Reinert/Digiorgio = rhythm section from hell. Secret Face, Flattening of Emotions, Together as One... these songs are mind boggling when you consider exactly how nice the rhythms are. Not too fucked up (Scavenger of human Sorrow anyone?) or too accessible... somewhere in between. The bass ain't too pumpin, but i like that better than I like DiGiorgio's style on Swallowed in Black (all over the place and annoying)
Lack of Comprehension is probably my favorite Death metal song EVER... you can't beat that riff or solo. Some of the catchiness that was Symbolic begins to rear it's head around this point of the album, to much avail, since I prefer this approach. Cosmic Sea reveals Death's progressive tendencies and collective talent, leading the listener through astrails planes on the wings of a hypnotic bass line.
Death are the archetype for death metal, yet I have heard no band like them. They had an original and everchanging style that is hard to explain. I'll say this.... you =/ death metal fan if you don't have Human. Whoever got their panties in a bunch from that line, pick it up and get back to me later ;)
Human track list
|1||Flattening of Emotions||04:30|
|3||Together as One||04:09|
|5||Lack of Comprehension||03:43|
|6||See Through Dreams||04:25|
|Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P. 2001)||Guitars, Vocals, Songwriting, Lyrics|