Voices of the Void: Chuck Schuldiner

Last week’s vocalist was Quorthon, the father of black metal vocals. Appropriately, this week we are focusing on the father of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner. While Chuck’s most valuable contributions to the death metal genre were probably his compositions and abilities on the guitar, his vocals are still quite something. Chuck is different than Quorthon in that he didn’t single-handedly invent the death metal vocal style. Other vocalists like Jeff Becerra, Mille Petrozza, and Tom G. Warrior had huge parts in creating this sound too. However, Chuck had a few key elements to his vocal delivery that were especially remarkable. Let’s start at the very beginning.

Death’s Door – July 2017

Welcome to our latest edition of Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat, etc. There’s a lot to discuss this month, though frankly, I had my doubts at certain points about whether or not there would be. You see, July tends to be a musical doldrums for yours truly, with lots of leftover releases that didn’t make it into the prime Spring and early Summer release calendar clogging streaming services with mundane/barely serviceable drivel. Obviously, this makes for some not-so-great listening experiences. Thankfully, July pulled through regardless, delivering unto us another fantastic batch of death metal releases that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of 2017. So much so, in fact, that we are foregoing our new tracks section to focus exclusively on the great records released this month. So prepare yourself for some good stuff and thank your lucky stars, because hell hath no fury like a month without good death metal.

Enfold Darkness – The Adversary Omnipotent

In 2009, shredtastic metal was the name of the game in metal. Between the huge boom in technical death metal, the rising progressive deathcore bands, and the old prog guard releasing some of their best material, it was a great time for guitar wankery. Buried under the popularity of huge albums like Cosmogenesis, Oracles, and The Great Misdirect, was a little blackened tech death album by a band from Nashville: Our Cursed Rapture by Enfold Darkness. Finding a unique niche in their black metal influenced music, Enfold Darkness turned some serious heads with their debut. Unfortunately, their momentum was lost and they ended up not following up their minor underground success until this year with The Adversary Omnipotent.

Decibel’s Toxic Nostalgia – Exploring the Magazine’s Narrow View of Modern Death Metal

The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy.  Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear—we and Decibel (“America’s only monthly extreme music magazine”) agree that 2017 has been an exceptional year for death metal. Jonathan has highlighted countless fantastic death metal albums this…

Stream (And Slam) The New Pathology Album

Just in time for the weekend, we have a full stream of the brand new self titled record from San Diego’s brutal death reps Pathology. With a somewhat familiar lineup back in the midst, Pathology have had their longest break from releasing a full length since inception, but slammin’ riff junkies don’t have to wait any longer. We got the goods. Definitely one of the nastier premieres we’ve had in awhile, over the jump you’ll find the West Coasts most active death outfit, burning through a half hour of typically punishing brutal death material. Put the kids to bed, hide all sharp objects, grab a hammer.

Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi

The journey of Californian death metal stalwarts Decrepit Birth has been an interesting one to follow: from their impetus in 2003 as a relatively straightforward brutal death metal band following the mold set in place by Suffocation, the group’s three albums across the ensuing decade have seen a dramatic shift in their music. Their…

The Metal Explosion: 1983 – 1984

Metal, like any current history, is a neverending story — a songbook perpetually revising its denouement in the storm of new releases shattering our ears and expectations by the month. But as exciting as it is to experience the history unfolding before us, that work is already done by listeners and blogs like this one on a daily basis. Vitally important and critically overlooked, I think, is the history of metal — the first chapters yellowing in the forty-odd years since they were bound in black and leather. This post, then, will serve as a continuation of this article detailing the early days of metal, and particularly the incredible importance of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to the fledgling genre.

Tombs – The Grand Annihilation

Tombs have always been a band of interesting mixtures. Combining several different types of metallic goodness (black, doom, post-metal, etc.), as well as various musicians coming in and out for seemingly each new project, the band has become borderline impossible to categorize, very rarely sit still long enough to revel in whatever iteration they currently exist in. This is often an indication of discord and listlessness in a band, but Tombs have seemed to make it work. Particularly with their previous album, Savage Gold, the band seemed to be firing on all cylinders. It was a cohesive, consistently bludgeoning and artfully structured album that ended up being one of my favorites of 2014. With their latest record, The Grand Annihilation, Tombs seeks to replicate many of the aspects that made Savage Gold such a rousing success. They accomplish this feat with potent (albeit somewhat mixed) results.

Exist – So True, So Bound

The progressive metal “scene” has become more and more insular over the past decade or so as it’s risen to prominence. While the higher profile has lead to more diversity among bands who can reach an audience, as with additional size comes additional bulk, the definition of “progressive” has become blurrier as more bands incorporate elements from the sound into their toolkit, forcing the genre to define itself by contrast. Complexity, self-seriousness, “enlightenment” and a gratuitous focus on music theory and pseudo-intellectualism have become pervasive. While the counter-movement of doubling down on “ignorant”, more streamlined music has also fostered, it’s become easy to be stuck between two extremes. As such, being able to find music that doesn’t stick to tropes has become increasingly difficult. Enter Exist, a progressive metal band that’s almost anti-prog. They take the intricacy of bands like Cynic and their predecessors in Death and combine it with sarcastic disrespect towards prog conventions. The end result is their sophomore release, So True, So Bound, and it’s a clever combination that is confusing in an intriguing way.