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DEATH
DEATH
Spiritual Healing
(Century Media Records)
43:16min

Out of all the albums Chuck Schuldiner recorded with DEATH, only one seems to have received less attention than the other six. That was "Spiritual Healing", originally released in 1990. The early 1990s was a period of dramatic change for DEATH, particularly towards the end of the decade when fans were introduced to "Symbolic" and "The Sound Of Perseverance", both of which, though they were DEATH albums, hardly had anything in common with the earlier material. "Spiritual Healing" is one of the evolutionary gaps that fills the void between 1988 and 1995. When stacked against the decayed, depraved savagery of "Leprosy" and "Scream Bloody Gore", "Spiritual Healing" is a fair step down though it is not a bad album. It's a far sight better than the flood of derivative crud that spewed out of Morrisound soon thereafter in fact. What sets "Spiritual Healing" apart from its predecessors is the change in speed and the amount of breathing room between heavy riffs. The beginnings of DEATH's later musical journey can even be heard on "Leprosy" if one listens closely enough. However, "Spiritual Healing" is where the changes are most apparent in the early discography. To the album's discredit, it lacks the kind of moving forward feel that gave "Human" its legendary status and elevated "Individual Thought Patterns", and "Symbolic" to equal notoriety. The lyrics, and concept of the album too are a serious deviation from what was then, the DEATH norm. Gone was gore, in was anti-evangelical preaching which, I'm sure, we've all heard before but will secretly never tire of. One may say "Spiritual Healing" was a kind of demo, where Chuck and the other members of DEATH got their feet wet in very different waters. This re-release has no bonus tracks, but was remastered and comes as a limited edition digipak. The booklet features a new layout, has all the lyrics and liner notes by Borivoj Krgin. www.emptywords.org, www.centurymedia.com.

Nathan Shapiro

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