Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Death - Leprosy (1988)

Cool and iconic album cover aside, for the life of me I just cannot get into this album. Granted, Death were an important stepping stone in my life when it came to early death metal, but there were always better things out there lying in wait.

First off, the songs are just fucking boring. Sure, there's a moment or two where things get fairly interesting, such as the beginning of 'Left to Die', but it doesn't take long before the 'womp womp' kicks back in. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know, I know... Chuck's this "awesome" lead guitar player, yada-fucking-yada. Oh well. Guess what? Never gave a fuck about leads, so 'blam'... once you take that out of the equation what have you got left? The drums? Ha! An amputated midget could've come up with more interesting fills and beats and holy-fucking-shitballs... what the FUCK is up with that annoying god-damned snare? This guy's barely past the Lars Ulrich stage. I mean, dude, c'mon... skank beat after skank beat. And they're not even like the Slayer-style skanks filled with anxiety and aggression. These just sound like the drummer is bored out of his fucking mind and can't wait to go sit in traffic for an hour.

The actual riffs/songs themselves are not much better. I swear, even for an older, "catchier" album the tracks on 'Leprosy' have a tendency to bleed into one another and I begin to think I'm listening to some epic song of unparalleled and rage-inducing boredom until I realize that three tracks have already skated on by. Believe me, as a fan of funeral doom I am no stranger to redundant droning and the like, but this...

About the only thing of worth here, to me, are the vocals, which were quite the tasty morsel in their day and still sound very convincing even now. Unfortunately, they do very little to make the rest of this album interesting to me. To be honest, I've always been on the fence with Death, even back when I first heard them in the late '80's, which is saying something as death metal as a genre was still in the cradle sucking on a pacifier. For me, the band didn't truly begin to "cook" until their 3rd LP, 'Spiritual Healing', which even then carried many of the same lackluster traits that made it so hard for me to get into their first two albums. Sure, the nostalgia factor is not lost on me and I respect the band's historical standing but again, I have never been able to transcend the notion that in the beginning, despite the novelty of being THE pioneering death metal band, Death was on the losing side of a battle with tepid mediocrity and it wouldn't be until the homos from Cynic hopped on board that Death truly came into their own. As far as the early sounds of death metal are concerned and the long-standing debate of the beginnings of the genre, I'll take Possessed any day of the week.

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