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Music: Death
Chuck Schuldiner, Gene Hoglan, and a bunch of other guys.

Death were the first true Death Metal band. While Possessed may have been the first to release an album in the death metal idiom, Death were the first to play the "classic" style of death metal, separating it from Thrash Metal altogether, and their debut album Scream Bloody Gore has been described as death metal's first definitive article.

Initially, Chuck Schuldiner formed the band Mantas at the age of 16; after about a year, he dissolved the band and formed Death. After a lot of members were fired and hired by Schuldiner, the band's first album, Scream Bloody Gore (1987) was released. It is considered a landmark album of the genre, pretty much starting the trend for gory lyrics and brutality. Eventually, though, more "brutal" bands such as Deicide and Morbid Angel came along and out-brutalised Death. So, rather than up the heaviness, Schuldiner continued to grow musically, eventually heading in a more progressive direction starting with the album Human. Their transformation into a progressive/technical death metal band was one of the things that kickstarted that subgenre, along with the bands Atheist and Cynic.

The group, with its ever-changing lineup of members, disbanded in 2001 when Schuldiner died of complications from brain cancer at 34. The band remains one of the most influential death metal bands of all time, and Schuldiner is recognised as the "father of death metal", though he often downplayed the name "death metal" later in his career and regarded Death as a straightforward metal band towards the end of the band's lifetime.

Schuldiner was also one of two guitarists for Control Denied, a progressive metal band, which is considered the continuation of Death. In fact, many of the tracks on Death's final album Sound of Perseverence were originally intended to be Control Denied songs, but Schuldiner caved to studio pressure and used them for a final Death album instead. He intended to disband Death, at least temporarily, to focus on Control Denied, but his long illness ended that plan.

Their albums are:
  • Scream Bloody Gore, 1987
  • Leprosy, 1988
  • Spiritual Healing, 1990
  • Human, 1991
  • Individual Thought Patterns, 1993
  • Symbolic, 1995
  • The Sound of Perseverance, 1998

Not to be confused with Death, the 70s punk band, or Death.


Death has examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Brother Is Watching: Discussed in "1,000 Eyes".
  • Careful With That Axe: The Sound of Perseverance has Chuck doing insanely inhuman screams throughout the whole album.
  • Cover Version: "Painkiller", the final track on The Sound of Perseverance, and a version of KISS's "God of Thunder" on the 2011 reissue of Human.
  • Dead Artists Are Better - Chuck Schuldiner gets this treatment somewhat. While Death's music has always been well-respected, the bad reputation he had (see Insufferable Genius below) for a long period in his career is rarely brought up anymore.
  • Death Metal: The Trope Maker and, alongside Possessed's demo Death Metal, the Trope Namer.
  • Dystopia: "Genetic Reconstruction"; "1,000 Eyes"
  • Epic Rocking: A couple of songs in their early career (the title tracks of Leprosy and Spiritual Healing), as well as several songs off Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance.
  • The Fundamentalist: "Crystal Mountain" was based off of Chuck's fundamentalist neighbors. "The Philosopher" is about someone who acts like a fundamentalist.
  • Garfunkel: Pretty much everyone in the band aside from Chuck Schuldiner. Though he wasn't the only well-known member - Gene Hoglan, Paul Masvidal, Chris Reifert and Andy LaRocque all played with the band.
  • Genre Shift: From death metal to tech-death to progressive death metal.
  • Gorn: The lyrical content on Scream Bloody Gore and, to a lesser degree, Leprosy. However, they moved away from gory lyrics with Spiritual Healing, and never looked back.
  • I Am the Band: Chuck Schuldiner.
  • Instrumentals: Two of them: "Cosmic Sea" off Human, and "Voice of the Soul" off The Sound of Perseverance.
  • Insufferable Genius: Depending on who you ask, Chuck had a bit of a problem with this, stemming mostly from his desire to keep things as professional as possible and a complete lack of tolerance for infighting. When someone wasn't working out, Chuck seldom gave them a second chance and usually just threw them out and burned all associated bridges; as logic would dictate, this didn't exactly give him the best of reputations.
    • IN latter years, this reputation decreased a bit.
  • Jerk Ass: Kam Lee. Between numerous tales of his egocentric, unprofessional, and incredibly unpleasant demeanor and his habit of doing nothing but slamming people in interviews in an incredibly crude, vulgar, and immature manner, Lee's name has been synonymous with "asshole" for a long time. His enmity with Chuck is legendary, but he was burning bridges with others well after he left Death.
  • Lead Bassist: Starting with Steve DiGiorgio, all of their bassists were Type A examples, though DiGiorgio doubled as a Type C due to his immensely influential nature among metal bassists and prolific session appearances.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Originally at 10, later moved down to 9 as they progressed as a band.
    • The mostly-acoustic song Voice Of The Soul is about a 5 or maybe even a low 6.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Chuck performed shirtless on plenty of occasions.
  • New Sound Album: Human and Symbolic. Also averted, as Schuldiner started Control Denied to be more progressive (and change vocalists) without "betraying" fans of Death's Harsh Vocals.
  • Old Shame: As Death matured musically and lyrically, Chuck began to feel a sense of embarrassment towards Scream Bloody Gore, especially the homophobic lyrics in "Mutilation".
  • Progressive Metal: The latter four albums.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Schuldiner loved this trope. His performance in "The Philosopher" turned the word "lies" into a metalhead in-joke.
  • Religion Rant Song: "Crystal Mountain" is a Type 3, about why proselytizing is forcing yourself on other people.
  • Split Personality: "Defensive Personalities"
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Voice of the Soul"
  • Take That: "Out of Touch" is directed at extreme metal bands who sacrificed musical quality for brutality and shock value, "Low Life" was almost certainly aimed at Kam Lee, and "The Philosopher" was most likely aimed at Paul Masvidal.
  • Title Only Chorus: "Scream Bloody Gore", "Zombie Ritual", "Evil Dead".
  • Trope Maker: While Possessed's album Seven Churches is the first full-length death metal album, Death are considered to be co-trope makers along with Possessed, turning death metal into an actual subgenre instead of just an extreme thrash metal variant.


CynicProgressive MetalDecrepit Birth
Dead By AprilMetalDecapitated

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