DEATH: Leprosy: 2 x CD

Mar 18, 2015

This sounds tame in comparison to what came a short time later in death metal. However, that’s not to discount the importance and impact this album had at the time of its release in 1988. It just shows how fast the death metal genre progressed and has continued to do so to this very day. Not sure if these guys were the first death metal band, but I do know that, from my perspective, they reached a bigger underground audience. At the time I was deeply entrenched in hardcore punk, and anything remotely metal was considered “the enemy” (despite the fact that I loved bands like Iron Maiden, Venom, Nuclear Assault, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Exodus). But if you were part of the underground music scene at the time, you had to at least be aware of who Death were. I had a couple friends who were starting to gravitate towards metal at the time, so Death was something played in the car on our weekend skate excursions about town. Speed metal was one thing, but hearing Death, things started to get a little darker and heavier. No songs about Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Satan; instead it was death and despair—something that really alarmed the hell out of parents and other watchdogs of “good taste.” The guitar sound on here is great: crushing riffs, filthy distortion that buzzes and rings in your ears long after the song ended, and the drums are like a mad chopping machine, held together by the evil low end rumble of the bass. This has all the traits of classic death metal. From the screaming guitar slows and embellishments, rapid-fire drumming, growling vocals, and headbanging riffs that you would have to be comatose to not react in kind to. Relapse has done a pretty nice job with this reissue. Not only do you get the full original LP, there is also a recording of rehearsal nearly a year before the album came out. Then there are the liner notes, a sketch of the cover art, photos, and lyrics. Remember, “Relief does not exist / When you are born to die.” 

 –M.Avrg (Relapse)

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