Album – Human by Death
These are the rare breed: albums that I like from beginning to end with no duds or fillers.
I am not a massive fan of death metal, it’s never been a style I’ve been entirely comfortable with, nor been able to get into and enjoy. However, there are a few songs that I’ve heard which have resonated eg Left Hand Path by Entombed.
Human by Death, released 1991
At the time I was probably listening to XFM Radio and didn’t have Sky TV so knew about the rock/heavy metal show on Headbangers ball on MTV but didn’t have access to it. So where else could I have heard music from Death? There definitely was a late night Rock show on ITV, that I watched (more likely recorded on VHS).
But in a way it doesn’t matter where or when you found music you liked.
It just matters that you did.
The only album in this genre that I can say I’ve heard, love and come back to periodically is Human by Death. This album was released in 1991. Like I said, I’m still not sure where I’d heard one song and liked it enough to decide to get the album. Because that was a big outlay on the pay of a Saturday job. I must have thought that I would like the rest of the album/heard more songs or otherwise, I’d only have purchased the single.
Regardless of the details, I am totally grateful for it. 34 minutes and 21 seconds of greatness. It’s one of the few CD’s I own.
Still, even now it’s the lyrics that hold me close. They are introspective yet observant, insightful, challenging and meaningful.
The only clear first memory that stands out for me about this album is me listening to it while at Sixth Form College, so I must have purchased it shortly after it was released.
I remember being in a group at lunchtime, a vague request about what I was listening to and me trying to explain, before deciding that the music would be a better communicator. I’m not sure which song I choose but would probably been Lack of Comprehension. After pushing over my discman, handing over headphones (something, I wouldn’t do now ?) and having that person saying ‘it’s just noise’. Well, honestly I was stunned and still am.
Why it made the cut
Loud, Fast and layered. The blend of bass and drums is amazing. Technically brilliant, driven and focused. (No one can drum like a metal drummer)
But I digress…
Didn’t they hear the words? Didn’t they comprehend the magnitude of what they’d listen to, the truths revealed?
That didn’t hurt as much as the cavalier and dismissive attitude of ‘it’s just noise’, which cut the most. This person could easily have said that they couldn’t hear or understand the lyrics, the singing style was off-putting, etc. However, that wasn’t the comment. It was if they didn’t like the song; it wasn’t good enough and so wasn’t actually music.
They didn’t appreciate the artistry involved in bringing these sounds and lyrics together to make eloquent songs, they couldn’t see beyond the stereotype of the genre.
I don’t think I even argued the point beyond refuting their bullshit response. I’m a firm believer in not belaboring a point once made. I am all for a difference in option providing that a fair assessment or evaluation has been made. If there hasn’t been, then your opinions mean nothing to me.
That wasn’t the first or last time, that I’d tried and failed to share music that I love. However, I’m always glad that I’ve tried. Even if it’s awkward and people look at you differently because you listen to ‘that!‘
It can take me out of myself and remake me.
Where should you start listening
There are no favorite tracks, there is no picking one song over the other. It’s one of the few albums that with no hesitation, I listen to from beginning to end. It flows as a story being told, a mood that develops and equally as individual songs that make you sing along with, nod your head to, then mosh because it’s inevitable and necessary.
I hear an intro and I know it immediately, each song is distinctive and memorable.
So I would say, start at track 1 and take it from there. However if you are really insistent on a recommendation, I will leave you with the single that you might have heard before: Lack of Comprehension and another you are less likely to have heard: Vacant Planets
Do give it a try, you may not like the music, you might be annoyed by the singing style, you might not understand the words – Google the lyrics – it isn’t 1991 anymore! or click on the links above.
Then, you can love it or hate it for innumerable reasons based on a listen – the facts. Rather than reject it out of hand based on the genre, preconceptions or whatever excuse comes to mind.
Where are they now
It’s sad that the band is no more due to the demise of the founder, singer and guitarist Chuck Schuldiner in December 2001. However in the short time that they were active they made exceptional music. Reminder: I need to broaden my horizons and get listening to their other albums.
That this album remains the only death metal album that I really know, always makes me wonder what else I’m missing. Invariably I can be too restrictive in my listening and rarely listening to anything new.
Taking baby steps, 2021 has been the year, where I’m increasingly following the link which says, because you’ve listened to XXX, you may like YYY.
- You might Like
- Songs For You
- Because you follow this band
- Because you liked this song
- Playlists For You
- More like this artist you recently played
Which leads to my final point, watch out for posts mentioning established bands that are new to me, they are on the way.
I see you IDLES
My Soundtrack this week looks like…