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DEATH – Spiritual Healing (2-CD Remaster)

22 years after its originspiritualal release and after shoddy attempts at repackaging, Relapse Records have come to the rescue with a decent package and a remaster. Having bought this album on vinyl from the much missed Shades in London on release, I was surprised at how the impact of this record has not weakened through time. This was the third record by Death and the third line up change, this time introducing guitar wizard James Murphy who also played on Obituary’s 1990 record “Cause of Death”. This record is a major leap forward from 1988’s “Leprosy”, which in turn was a progression on the debut album. Spiritual Healing shifts away from the well trodden path of straightforward horror and shifts to the context of real life horror.

The opening track “Living Monstrosity” goes straight for the throat with a ferocious riff and pummelling double bass, the guitar work shines from the beginning with Murphy and Schuldiner trading mature solos which was on par with the melodic power metal and shredders of the time. There is a definite shift towards more progressive themes in the songwriting, the title track demonstrates all the influences that Death had at this time, the tapping intro, melodic solos and slow crushing parts. Spiritual Healing did not rely as much on speed as they did on Human and Individual Thought Patterns. I always felt that this record was seen as the lesser sibling of Leprosy and Human, they produced a record that was too melodic for the die-hard Death Metal fans but not melodic enough for a mainstream audience.

The band toured the UK on the back of this album supporting Kreator; Schuldiner and Murphy failed to turn up so we got a tribute act with Bill Andrews and Terry Butler. I feel the band missed many opportunities with the lineup changes and Schuldiner’s alleged poor attitude. Along with this reissue is a cd of demo tracks for the album which are interesting in that you hear the real band without the studio trickery and I am sure there will be the usual idiots claiming the demos are much better than the studio album.

There is sonically little change in the remaster from the original release or the combat release. Some say you can hear better clarity in the slow parts. Essentially this is a decent reissue of a classic album with some extras for the Die Hard fans. If you don’t have it buy it, it is an important album in a genre that is slowly suffocating under the weight of hundreds of mediocre bands.

9/10

Line up

Chuck Schuldiner – Lead Guitar & Vocals

James Murphy – Lead Guitar

Terry Butler – Bass

Bill Andrews – Drums

 

Tracklisting

Disc 1 – “Spiritual Healing”

Living Monstrosity

Altering the Future

Defensive Personalities

Within The Mind

Spiritual Healing

Low Life

Genetic Reconstruction

Killing Spree

Disc 2 – “Spiritual Healing” – Rehearsals

Altering the Future
Defensive Personalities
Within the Mind
Within the Mind – Take 2
Spiritual Healing
Killing Spree
Defensive Personalities
Spiritual Healing
Within the Mind
Satanic Jam
Primus Jam
Jon a Qua – Take 2
Jon a Qua – Take 3
Jon a Qua – Take 4
Jon a Qua – Take 5
Jon a Qua – Take 6

About Dave McCallum

Old enough to know better. I have been a metalhead for a long time, I am a lifelong collector of vinyl and cds, the more the better.
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