"In need of a fix called innocence"...
Such meaningful words from Mr. Schuldiner, don't you agree? It's hard to objectively review an album that I have such a sentimental attachment with. If anyone can find any flaws with this album, let me know so that I can shoot your opinion out of the sky, cause there AREN'T ANY! What we have here are nine Metal-blessings to feed the soul. Fifty-two minutes of intangible, melodic genius, crafted by one of Metal's most gifted minds.
The mind-numbing technicality of "Individual Thought Patterns" has been toned down here a bit, in favour of more majestic harmonies and melodies that are heavy, yet at the same time you can still call them "ear candy". The opening title-track is easily on my "Top 10 Songs of All-Time" list, with all the DEATH-trademarks tailored to perfection: constant tempo-shifts, relentless double-bass that mirrors the equally-relentless double-picked riffs, leads that practically force you to break out the air-guitar (yeah right, just TRY and play those leads homeboy), this is what Metal was meant to be. There are few albums I've ever heard that embrace the true intent of Heavy Metal as this masterpiece.
"Zero Tolerance" is another earth-mover, and it's a departure for DEATH, with some excellent jazz/fusion-drum-patterns from Hoglan, a slower tempo overall, and a lead section that is so goddamn genius it brings tears to my eyes. "Without Judgment" is a melody-infused goblet of cosmic brilliance, "Misanthrope" is a euphoric journey into the unknown realm where space-time becomes the backdrop of your imagination, and closer "Perennial Quest" is the soundtrack to a pristine tale of wonder and discovery, laden with mountains of harmonious riff-glaciers. Each song is just a gift!
Chuck's vocals are also the epitome of brutal here, much more high-pitched than on the preceding albums, not as annoyingly shrill as on "The Sound Of Perseverance", but right in the middle. They fit the music perfectly, and bring a nice element of "clarity" to the expression of his powerful lyrics.
Albums like this will remain a gorgeous, glimmering statue in the museum of Metal's Timeless Masterworks, in Valhalla......No...let me rephrase.......This album............fucking rules.