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Death were the first true Death Metal band. While Possessed may have been the first to release an album in the death metal idiom, Death were the first to play the "classic" style of death metal, separating it from Thrash Metal altogether, and their debut album Scream Bloody Gore has been described as death metal's first definitive article.
Initially, Chuck Schuldiner formed the band Mantas at the age of 16; after about a year, he dissolved the band and formed Death. After a lot of members were fired and hired by Schuldiner, the band's first album, Scream Bloody Gore (1987) was released. It is considered a landmark album of the genre, pretty much starting the trend for gory lyrics and brutality. Eventually, though, more "brutal" bands such as Deicide and Morbid Angel came along and out-brutalised Death. So, rather than up the heaviness, Schuldiner continued to grow musically, eventually heading in a more progressive direction starting with the album Human. Their transformation into a progressive/technical death metal band was one of the things that kickstarted that subgenre, along with the bands Atheist and Cynic.
The group, with its ever-changing lineup of members, disbanded in 2001 when Schuldiner died of complications from brain cancer at 34. The band remains one of the most influential death metal bands of all time, and Schuldiner is recognised as the "father of death metal", though he often downplayed the name "death metal" later in his career and regarded Death as a straightforward metal band towards the end of the band's lifetime.
Schuldiner was also one of two guitarists for Control Denied, a progressive metal band, which is considered the continuation of Death. In fact, many of the tracks on Death's final album Sound of Perseverence were originally intended to be Control Denied songs, but Schuldiner caved to studio pressure and used them for a final Death album instead. He intended to disband Death, at least temporarily, to focus on Control Denied, but his long illness ended that plan.
Their albums include:
- Scream Bloody Gore, 1987
- Leprosy, 1988
- Spiritual Healing, 1990
- Human, 1991
- Individual Thought Patterns, 1993
- Symbolic, 1995
- The Sound of Perseverance, 1998
Not to be confused with Death, the 70s punk band, or Death.
Death has examples of the following tropes:
- Author Existence Failure: He initially underwent radiation and surgical treatment in late 1999 and early 2000. However, the cancer recurred in May 2001, and a series of powerful chemotherapy treatments weakened him to the point that he contracted pneumonia and died in December 2001.
- Careful with That Axe: The Sound of Perseverance album has Chuck doing insanely inhuman screams throughout the whole album.
- Cover Version - "Painkiller", the final track on The Sound of Perseverance, and a version of Kiss's "God of Thunder" on the 2011 reissue of Human.
- Death Metal - The Trope Maker and Trope Namer.
- Dystopia - "Genetic Reconstruction"; "1,000 Eyes"
- Epic Rocking - A couple of songs in their early career (the title tracks of Leprosy and Spiritual Healing), as well as several songs off Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance.
- Garfunkel - Pretty much everyone in the band aside from Chuck Schuldiner. Though he wasn't the only well-known member - Gene Hoglan, Paul Masvidal, Chris Reifert and Andy LaRocque all played with the band.
- Genre Shift - From death metal to tech-death to progressive death metal.
- Gorn - The lyrical content on Scream Bloody Gore and, to a lesser degree, Leprosy. However, they moved away from gory lyrics with Spiritual Healing, and never looked back.
- I Am the Band - Again, Chuck Schuldiner.
- Instrumentals - Two of them: "Cosmic Sea" off Human, and "Voice of the Soul" off The Sound of Perseverance.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness - Originally at 10, later moved down to 9 as they progressed as a band.
- The mostly-acoustic song Voice Of The Soul is about a 5 or maybe even a low 6.
- New Sound Album - Human and Symbolic.
- Also averted, as Schuldiner started Control Denied to be more progressive (and change vocalists) without "betraying" fans of Death's Harsh Vocals.
- Progressive Metal - The latter four albums.
- Split Personality - "Defensive Personalities"
- Surprisingly Gentle Song - "Voice of the Soul"
- This Is Sparta - Schuldiner loved this trope. His performance in "The Philosopher" turned the word "lies" into a metalhead in-joke.
- Title-Only Chorus - "Scream Bloody Gore", "Zombie Ritual", "Evil Dead".
- Trope Maker - Death were the first actual death metal band. Their first demo was the first ever recording of anything death metal. Though Possessed's Seven Churches was the first official death metal album.
- What Could Have Been - Before settling on Tim Aymar, two of Chuck Schuldiner's choices for the vocalist of his Control Denied project were Warrel Dane and Rob Halford.