25 Years Ago: DEATH release Human (Lack Of Comprehension video + Making of video)

Released on this day in 1991.

“Human” really says it all for me, personally, and it describes that album, ’cause it all revolves around human nature and my views as a fellow human being, it’s definitely not about some satanic or made-up demons. I just want to make that very clear.

There’s a couple of touchy subjects, just like on “Spiritual….”. There’s a song on it called “Suicide Machine”, which does not promote suicide. It is based around this doctor who invented a machine for terminally ill people. I think people who are gonna die an agonizing death should have a right to get out of that, if they’re religious, then they believe that they will go somewhere better, why prolong the pain when the feel that they can be better off moving on? It’s interesting to me, especially when it comes to elderly people -like maybe those who are stricken by the Alzheimer’s Disease or something- how people don’t give a shit about them, and then when they want to go on to something else, then all the shit hits the fan, then people want to make an issue out of it.. it just amazes me.

about “Siamese Twins”:

I got a book a while back that totally described their lifestyle and how some use it to their benefit, like they entered shows, which is kind of degrading in some people’s opinion, but other people have made a living out of it and have become quite rich off it. But there’s a lot involved in that, there’s a lot of pain behind that, there’s a lot of things that we take for granted…. a lot of things on the new album are based around things that people take for granted in life. An i think that we (all humans) take being single-bodied and -minded for granted. Like, for example, my ability to just walk out of the room. But what if someone was attached to me? It would be a completely different thing. I think that’s so mindboggling to be connected to another human -totally connected! That is just the most unreal thing. I have a lot of sympathy for those people that have to experience that.

– Chuck Schuldiner / Death interview: Thrash n’ Burn, 1991

DEATH, the heavy metal institution founded, realized, and helmed by legendary guitarist Chuck Schuldiner, released its legendary fourth studio album Human (’91) to massive worldwide critical acclaim. The album’s complex and progressive music and introspective lyrics marked a massive stylistic change away from the more primitive early material for the group, and Human went on to become one of the most influential metal records in the history of the genre. – Relapse reissue description



30 Years Ago: DEATH begin recording Scream Bloody Gore in Florida (the aborted first session)

…we actually recorded an earlier version in Florida during the summer of ’86 that came out so shitty sound-wise, that Combat wrote it off as a mistake and sent us to Los Angeles to do it right. I almost wish I had kept my cassette of the old version to look back on, but I taped over it ages ago.
– Chris Reifert, Metal Rules (2007)

Before heading to the Music Grinder, Hollywood in November, DEATH began recording Scream Bloody Gore in Florida during the summer of ’86. Only drums and one guitar track were recorded in that July session. Combat, unsatisfied with the sound, arranged for them to re-record everything at Music Grinder, LA with Randy Burns.
Randy was already well known in death metal circles for being producer on POSSESSED’s Seven Churches the previous year. In 1986 he also produced MEGADETH’s Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? and DARK ANGEL’s brutal classic Darkness Descends at Meat Grinder.

Chuck had returned from Canada (a brief member of SLAUGHTER) to San Francisco and reformed DEATH with Chris Reifert (later forming AUTOPSY).

I was still in high school at the time and had a friend who was a DJ for the school radio station. She told me she was gonna play an ad from Chuck who was looking for band members. I got his phone number from her, called him up and went over to his house. The deal was pretty much sealed right away as I jumped on the chance before anyone else could get a try… ha-ha! Also, I knew about bands like Sodom, Bathory, Possessed and Artillery which impressed Chuck. This was incredible for me because I had been buying Death demos for the past 2 years and was thrilled that not only would I be playing the songs I knew and loved already, but also some new crushers that went perfectly with the old ones.
– Chris Reifert, Metal Rules (2007)

They recorded the Mutilation demo in California, this led to the deal with Combat who would release Scream Bloody Gore – the final version, recorded in LA – in May 1987.


More quotes about the Florida recording session:

Yeah, the deal was sealed and they trusted us to find a studio and go at it on our own, which turned out to be a terrible idea [laughs]! We were enthusiastic, but unaware that the studio we picked was a bad choice, due to the fact that the folks who ran it had NO idea of what metal was. We figured our brutality would shine through, ya know?

It was Combat who realized we were making a mistake. We were happy just to be in a recording studio making death metal. I think we went there for two days. One day for setup and one day for recording. There’s actually a bootleg out there of that session. Someone sent me a copy of it not too long ago which was interesting since I taped over my copy ages ago. Didn’t think it would be important later so I probably taped Repulsion over it or something [laughs]! I’ve heard seven songs from that including “Legion of Doom,” which obviously didn’t make it onto the “real” version of Scream Bloody Gore. Maybe we did more, but I honestly can’t remember… it was SO long ago. And yeah, we only did drums and one guitar track – that’s as far as it got.

Yep, they [Combat] somehow got a listen after that first attempt and wisely said it sounded like shit. We were shocked at first I suppose, but as soon as we found out they were gonna fly us to L.A. to do it right, excitement took over pretty quick. It was time to write it off at a loss and move forward. The best part was we got to work with Randy Burns who had done Seven Churches… score!

– Chris Reifert, Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore (revised edition)