|Classic Review: Death - Human|
Label: Relativity Records
Year released: 1991
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: December 2, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.55/5 (91.04%) (67 Votes)
This is, I think, the best album Death ever made. After the firing of longtime guitarist Rick Rozz after Leprosy, Death started to go in a more melodic, progressive direction on the controversial Spiritual Healing. They would go farther with this direction on later releases. Farther, I think, than was good for them. But Human is pretty much the perfect balance point between the aggression of the early days with the tight, focused musicianship of their later work.
Tight would be a good word to describe this album overall, as the arrangements, playing, and production are all sharp and clean, with no mistakes. There is little evidence of the dirty, violent band that bashed out "Pull The Plug" and "Zombie Ritual", and Chuck was later clearly kind of embarrassed by their gorier early songs. That said, this is still a pretty vicious album, with shredding attacks like "Suicide Machine" or "Together as One". Chuck's playing is crisp and precise without being too clinical, and I think this is his best vocal work, combining aggression with clarity. A lot of the songs here do blend together, and there is not a whole lot of distinction between them. The album is also a bit scanty at just over a half hour, but it is an intensely enjoyable half hour, as even the most faceless songs have plenty of chugging riffs and Chuck's signature shredding leads.
I may never enjoy this band's later works as much as I do their first two albums, but Human is a fine album, combining the best aspects of Death's gory early energy and their later progressive intricacy. If you want a Death album to start with, this is probably the one I'd recommend, and it is pretty much an undeniable Death Metal classic.
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