Death (band)

From Academic Kids

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Death logo

Death was an influential death metal band from North America, which was founded in 1983 and dissolved in 1999.



The early History 1983 - 1987

Founded in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner under the original name of Mantas in Orlando, they pioneered the death metal sound along with Morbid Angel, Possessed. They were a part of and helped define the famous Florida death metal scene.

Together with Barney "Kam" Lee, and Rick Rozz, Schuldiner started to compose songs that were released on several rehearsal tapes in 1984. These tapes along with the Death by Metal demo circulated through the tape trader world, quickly establishing the bands name. In 1984, Schuldiner, however, dissolved Mantas and quickly started a new band under the name of Death. New members were found by the same Rick Rozz and Kam Lee. Another demo was released in called Reign of Terror.

In 1985, the Infernal Death tape was recorded and released. Then, Schuldiner fired Lee and Rozz in favour of Repulsion's bassist and guitarist, Scott Carlson and Matt Olivio. However, a drummer could not be found; the band dissolved again. Schuldiner moved to San Fransisco and recruted DRI's drummer Eric Bregt. But he was not happy with this incarnation of Death and moved back to Florida, without a band.

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Chuck Schuldiner

There, in 1986, Schuldiner got an invitation from Slaughter to play on their album, which he accepted and so he moved to Canada. This only lasted two weeks, as he found out it was not his thing. He returned to Florida, but then moved quickly to San Francisco again, where he joined with Chris Reifert. They recorded the Mutilation demo, which led to a deal with Combat Records. This enabled them to record the first LP.

The Scream Bloody Gore album was released in 1987. He teamed up with a second guitar player named John Hand, who however never played anything for Death, but showed up on the album cover. The album was a great success, but nevertheless, Schuldiner decided to move back to Florida, leaving Chris Reifert behind. There, Schuldiner teamed up with former bandmate Rick Rozz, and two members of Rozz's band Massacre namely Terry Butler, and Bill Andrews.

The mid-era 1988 - 1992

In 1988, that lineup recorded the Leprosy album. But soon thereafter, Rick Rozz was fired in 1989 after lots of gigging around. A replacement was found in James Murphy. With whom in 1990 the third album was recorded: Spiritual Healing. Chuck abandoned the "gore" lyrical theme for more social critique and the musical style progressed from simple brutal death metal to complex, technical death metal. More and more melody was added to the band. Soon, in 1990 the entire band dissolved once again. However as part of the disagreement, Andrews and Butler continued Death to tour Europe and recruited Walter Trachsler (guitar) and Louie Carrisalez (vocals) to replace Schuldiner, much to Schuldiner's disgust.

Schuldiner then abandoned the idea of a band altogether and continued working with session musicians only. Chuck hired Steve DiGiorgio and recruited Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal from the underground Florida band Cynic. 1991's Human was their best selling album yet, receiving many accolades and some MTV play.

The final years 1993 - 2001

In 1993, Reinert and Masvidal left the group to continue with Cynic, Schuldiner being unable to persuade them otherwise. Schuldiner replaced them with Gene Hoglan of the recently dissolved thrash metal band Dark Angel, and for Individual Thought Patterns, worked with guitarist Andy LaRocque from King Diamond, LaRocque being obligated to his band, Schuldiner hired Ralph Santolla as touring guitarist. Afterwards, for 1995's Symbolic, Santolla and DiGiorgio were cashiered for Kelly Conlon and Bobby Koelbe, underground Florida musicians. After Symbolic, Schuldiner dissolved the band and all ties with Roadrunner Records and began writing songs for Control Denied. Somehow this did not pan out, and Schuldiner reformed the band with Florida musicians Richard Christy, Shannon Hamm, and Scott Clendenin, to record 1998's The Sound of Perseverance with his new label Nuclear Blast.

After the album and a supporting tour, Schuldiner dissolved Death to pursue Control Denied with Christy and Hamm from his last album. Clendenin was cashiered in favour of Steve DiGiorgio, who was once again available, and an underground power metal singer named Tim Aymar. As Schuldiner finished their debut album, he was stricken with brain cancer, forcing them to scrap plans for a tour. And as he worked on the second release, the disease overcame him, and he passed away. The second Control Denied release is yet to be completed and is mired in a variety of odd legal problems involving their label, Schuldiner's mother, and the musicians who have publicly stated their desire to complete the album. In 2004, Hammerheart Records released a CD made up of both old, pre Scream Bloody Gore demos, and partial demos of the unfinished album, under the name Chuck Schuldiner, not Death. But their markedly unfinished state and lack of vocals led few to pay attention to what was obviously an unlistenable product.

The members of Death have dispersed all throughout the landscape of extreme metal. Some, such as Gene Hoglan from Dark Angel and Andy LaRocque from King Diamond, already had made a name for themselves. Others went on to do so, such as Sean Reinert, who formed the legendary Cynic with fellow Death member Paul Masvidal. Ironically, both of these pioneering death metal musicians have ended up in a sensitive pop band laced with delicate guitars and Masvidal's soft croon, named Aeon Spoke. Richard Christy went on to gigs with Acheron and Iced Earth before joining the Howard Stern Show. Ralph Santolla also ended up with Iced Earth, as did Steve DiGiorgio momentarily. DiGiorgio is now a permanent member of both Sadus and Testament. James Murphy has formed numerous projects such as Disincarnate and has made a name for himself. Murphy also has been stricken with cancer, and is organising a Death tribute album to be released this year.

Band members


See also

External links

de:Death (Band) fi:Death fr:Death pl:Death sv:Death


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