Human (Reissue)

Written by: EW on 05/09/2011 23:59:53

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 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 in fact. 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.

Download: Lack of Comprehension, Together As One
For The Fans Of: Atheist, Pestilence, Morbid Angel
Listen: Myspace

Rerelease date: 27.06.2011
Relapse Records

Original release date: 22.10.1991
Relativity Records

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