DEATH – The Sound Of Perseverance (Reissue)
December 23, 2016, a year ago
Relapse Records continues to resurrect classic Death albums, this time with the act’s last studio album The Sound Of Perseverance. Relapse originally reissued the album in 2011 as deluxe 2CD/3CD sets with revamped artwork (done by original artist Travis Smith), but with the resurgence in vinyl it was time for Death’s last album to receive a proper record reissue. Relapse has put a ton of great effort into these reissues and this is no exception with crystal clear sound on two LPs, an insert with a collage of photos that includes lyrics with the gatefold opening up to a band photo with comments taken from the artist Smith and guitarist Shannon Hamm from the CD reissue five years ago.
Onto the music itself, Perseverance seems to be the most divisive amongst fans with some thinking this is their best work while others claim it is a disjointed mess. Let’s get this out of the way first: the Judas Priest “Painkiller” cover hasn’t gotten any better with age. Evil Chuck’s vocals are certainly a far cry from the harsh growls from the first few albums; his voice now being screechy and scratchy. It takes a getting used to, but it works well with the manic music.
The Sound Of Perseverance is a frenzy of rhythm and tempo changes, and timing patterns that it’s going to take a few times for a new listener to have sink in. Chuck was still exploring ways to expand the sound of death metal with music sounding progressive at times and looking towards the future with his power/progressive act Control Denied. The tune I keep going back to is “Spirit Crusher”; man this one literally “crushes” with the doom infested riff in the chorus; it’s just a perfect part that sticks in your head. The thrashy “Flesh And The Power It Holds” and “Bite The Pain” hit the right marks too. There is just so much coming at you that the light instrumental “Voice Of The Soul” is basically used a “breather” for the all the technical madness delivered.
TSOP is a worthy last will and testament of the mighty Death. While some might prefer the pure smashing of Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, this technical, progressive experience is something to behold with the barrage of riffs and fiery display of passion from Chuck and his bandmates (great showing from drummer Richard Christy on this one). He was clearly looking forward to his new project Control Denied and that album really shows what he was feeling at the time musically, but make no mistake The Sound Of Perseverance will go down as one of the greats and rightfully so.