Death
Human (reissue)

Metalheads could and will argue about which Death album is the band’s best effort, although to no avail, because arguments could be made for all of them (I’m kinda partial to Spiritual Healing). However, I’m not sure many people would argue that the lineup on 1991’s Human was the best one of  Chuck Schuldiner’s rotating band of mercenaries, and the fact is, Human is the band’s best selling CD. Bringing in Cynic‘s Sean Reinert on drums and Paul Masdival on guitars (who were only 18 and 19 at the time!) as well as Sadus bassist Steve Digiorgio simply opened up a whole new world for Chuck and Death, enabling him to create, write and play death metal on a technical level that (no disrespect) Rick Rozz, Bill Andrews and Terry Butler simply didn’t allow. And regardless of where you rank  Human, few can deny it’s the album that truly saw Chuck and Death lay the ground work for modern technical death metal.

It’s kinda pointless reviewing the actual material on Human. There’s nothing that hasn’t already been said over the 20 years since its release. It’s a classic; ’nuff said. Considering the drastic lineup change, the material is a natural and expected,  technical progression from Spiritual Healing. Yet, it manages to retain some sense of Death‘s early bludgeoning sound while adding  intellectual, masterful and complex strokes.  Human served as a bridge between the band’s past and future with tracks like “Flattening of Emotions”, “Together as One”, “Lack of Comprehension” and basically every track on the album are blueprints for virtually every technical death metal album since.

But lets focus on on whether this reissue is worth picking up. If you don’t already own Human (shame on you), this is your chance to finally own a classic, there’s no question. However, if you own the original or some version of Human, Relapse has done an excellent job of making this reissue of Human a must have. Though the artwork is unchanged, this 2 disc affair is chock full of goodies. The  CDs come on 2 gorgeous black and gold embossed discs and a mammoth insert booklet. The said booklet is stuffed with candid pictures and lengthy notes from Reinart, Masdival and Jim Morris, who remastered this effort. Touching on subjects like the recording and writing process, working with Chuck, Eastern Mysticism, and seeing a dying motorcycle accident victim, the booklet is truly an interesting read. It has even more impact since Chuck Schuldiner’s passing.

Of interest are the notes from Jim Morris. First off, his remix/remaster is superb, and actually sounds a lot different than the original, unlike a lot of reissues. This is blatantly obvious from the opening percussive salvo of “Flattening of Emotions” where you can hear that the drums have been given a whole new level of oomph. But Morris’ notes actually talk about the technical process,  being around original producer Scott Burns in the legendary Morrisound  studio for the original recording and the humbling experience of trying to remix a classic. It’s an insightful read.

As well as a much fuller version of Human, you get a second CD that’s bound to make collectors salivate. Containing 20 tracks, disc 2 gives you all the basic instrumental studio tracks from the original recording sessions as well as actual Human demo tracks. I’m not one for instrumental music but to hear these songs in such a raw , pure form is enthralling and makes an already must have reissue even more of a must have, and one of the rare reissues that’s a perfect addition/complement to the original.

 

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Written by Erik T
July 11th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Plasmaterial

    Got the 3CD edition. Worth every cent.


  2. Commented by: skodag

    The drum and bass tracks are fucking awesome!!! Steve Digiorgio is the Jaco Pastorius of metal.


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