I enjoyed this review of Death’s new remixed and remastered Human album by KPRi Rock Journalist Alex Fidel. There’s also a brief history of Death and future happenings regarding Control Denied.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Human is a groundbreaking record, since it was one of the very first progressive death metal albums, featuring many complex time changes, Reinert’s complex and jazz-influenced drumming, and the insane dexterity and virtuosity of bassist Steve DiGiorgio making Human one of the first death metal albums to feature many bass lines that were independent of the guitar riffs. The lyrics got a lot more personal and deep, a medium for Schuldiner to pour out the pain in his consciousness from the massive fallout of his band members in 1989, such as in the song “Secret Face”, “Vulnerable through trust/Life is a twisted maze of obstacles/Presented by people with a secret face.” The music is also a lot more melodic, giving the music a lot more substance and stronger songwriting qualities, but still maintained much of the visceral heaviness and speed, but in a tasteful, organic manner, as was typical for Chuck, since he always wrote from the heart, and never just for the sake of doing something a certain way to get “cred” in the death metal scene. His famous quote was “support music, not rumors,” regarding all the vicious rumors that had been spreading around since ‘89 when the band almost fell apart. The album title is very suiting for that point in Chuck’s life, describing the very fragile art of existence and the ability to persevere in the face of much dishonesty he experienced from people he dealt with. He was taken from us too soon, but his legacy lives on.
Many of the issues with the original Human mix were fixed. The bass guitar being virtually inaudible was the main thing people would say about Human. On the remix, the bass is at the perfect level where you can hear Steve DiGiorgio’s ripping lines quite clearly and easily, but it doesn’t overpower the guitars. The muddy guitar tones were fixed also, though the guitars still retain the low-end that makes the signature heaviness of the album. The drums are a lot more powerful sounding, and a lot more noticeable. In the liner notes, Jim Morris points out that Chuck probably wanted to give the drums and bass the backseat in the mix, but when Jim worked with Chuck years later on Death’s final two albums, Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance, as well as the two Control Denied albums, he had a different approach and told Jim to give the rhythm section more prominence in the mix. He took all of Chuck’s musical desires in the final two Death albums to heart when he was remixing Human, and it shows. Human 2011 is the Human that Death fans had always wanted it to be.
Its interesting that in the article he points out cool vocal effects in Suicide Machine, I thought those vocal effects were very distracting and unnecessary. Overall though, the remixes I’ve heard sound phenomenal.