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Death - The Sound Of Perseverance


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Albums grow on you for different reasons.  As an avid fan of most of Death's earlier releases I didn't find the same levels of entertainment in much of anything after Spiritual Healing.  Whilst I could more than see the talent and skill involved in the direction that Chuck was taking Death's sound, progressive elements of metal have only recently become of interest to me - over the last 12 months say - so for a number of years the majority of the bands later releases gathered some dust on my shelves.  I now find myself oddly in the reverse mindset where I prefer the later output to the initial three releases.  For me The Sound of Perseverance is the crowning glory in this more progressive style of death metal, largely because the whole thing just feels so natural and effortless.

Oddly for death metal, there are lots of feel good vibes for me on this record.  The chords sound more open but the riffs are just as cutting as you would expect from one of the founding fathers of death metal.  Whilst obvious, the time changes are not intrusive and feel clean and polished.  Again these are traits i would not attribute to me gleaning enjoyment from in terms of my more extreme tastes but they work so well with the confidence and aptitude of Schuldiner, Hamm, Clendenin and Christy.

Death - The Sound of Perseverance

The band sound like they enjoyed making the record, such is the warm feel to proceedings.  They almost tease the listener during Story To Tell, with their stop/start playing leaving you wondering if the track is over or whether another time change is due.  There's an accessibility to proceedings that is reminiscent of almost rock music proportions, only Chuck's grim vocals and the chugging riff passages keep you of the understanding this is still a death metal record at its core.  The creepy atmospheric bass and guitar interlude during Flesh and The Power it Holds also adds the necessary levels of menace you'd expect.

In terms of criticisms I have two.  Firstly, the cover of Priest's Painkiller is both out of place in the greater context of the album and also not a very good cover either.  Secondly, the album is a tad too long with the cover on here.  In terms of flow it is all mapped out superbly as an album but it just falls at the end unfortunately.


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This one's a longtime favorite of mine, and Death's later stuff (Human onward) has always held the most appeal for me out of their discography. I find the songwriting to be less focused on TSOP than the previous albums, but the abstract and occasionally disjointed nature of it doesn't come off as a flaw to my ears - as you say, they have both the precision and the energy to pull it off. It gives the whole thing a bit of an epic quality. The album is also Chuck's best vocal performance IMO. Glad you're enjoying it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

SoP has always been my favourite Death album. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a Death fanboy, they're perhaps the only band I personally consider to have a flawless discography. SoP is the culmination of everything Death had been doing in their later work. It's technical without falling into the trap of focusing purely on technicality for the sake of it, melodic without losing any of the heaviness, and progressive perhaps due to the abstract songwriting. It's truly a shame Chuck passed because the world needs more Death Metal like this.

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I was introduced to Death with the Human album and followed Chuck's shifts up until his untimely end, so I have a specific connection to the more progressive material. Out of the catalog, I play Scream Bloody Gore and Individual Thought Patterns the most, but I enjoy Sound of Perseverance to its predecessor, Symbolic. That one has always felt a little forced, and since Chuck had been openly talking about wanting to disband Death and do more Classic Metal/Prog hyrbid stuff (which of course became Control Denied), it wasn't surprising that Symbolic was a little hollow. That said, I enjoy both of those albums, but SoP tears their collected heads clean off.

SoP lives up to its title, in a lot of ways. Perhaps it feels a little rushed? Perhaps it's a little frantic? Perhaps Chuck just wanted to shut all the doubters up once and for all with an album that, to this day, stands completely on its own. Who can say? It's all subjective. Someone thinks only the first Mantas demo has value. So what the fuck?

The live footage I've seen/heard from the Sound of Perseverance-era is nothing short of ferocious! Underrated line-up, certainly.

I do agree that the Priest cover is filler, in a manner of saying.

A worthy album in any Metal collection!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 years later...

When I discovered SoP, it was for me "that weird album" for a long time. Every time I wanted to demonstrate its weirdness to someone, I played the beginning of the opening track "Scavenger of Human Sorrow". It wasn't a good-weird or a bad-weird, just objectively weird, but that was why I was so hooked on it. There was something so deep and mysterious about it.

I should say I am a prog-metal fan, and so the time signatures shifts and the harmonies caught me really hard, and I found myself listening to this album a lot. Furthermore, it has this magical strange feeling to it which I've never known existed. I wasn't consciously enjoying listening to it, I just wanted to listen to it over and over again without knowing even why.

Now I can confidently say this album expanded my perception of music, and now I understand that I didn't know then what to expect when listening to it, but now when I do know what to expect I can truly appreciate it.

In my opinion, to understand its genius you have to dig really deep into the multiple layers of harmonies, into the beautiful way that all of the instruments interact with each other, and into the strange emotions it evokes in you.

It is a masterpiece in its strangeness.

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