Dec 132011

On December 13, 2001 — ten years ago today — Chuck Schuldiner died of a brain tumor after a two-year battle to survive. To honor his memory, NPR writer Lars Gotrich persuaded eleven metal musicians to pick their favorite Death song, and write what it and Schuldiner have meant to them. The list of contributors includes three former members of Death — Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory), and Richard Christy (Charred Walls of the Damned), all of whom, interestingly, chose songs from the 1991 album, Human.

The list of contributors also includes Arthur von Nagel (Cormorant), Elizabeth Schall (Dreaming Dead), John Dyer Baizley (Baroness), Stephan Gebedi (Hail of Bullets), Matt Harvey (Exhumed), Kevin Conway (East of the Wall), Anthony Buda (Revocation), and Steffen Kummerer (Obscura).

It’s an interesting read (and includes streams of the chosen songs), and I thought Gotrich’s introduction eloquently captured the wonder many of us have experienced as we listened to Death’s music from different albums over time — as an artist, Chuck Schuldiner was not only a great talent, he was also constantly moving in new directions. Here’s an excerpt from Gotrich’s introduction (which continues after the jump). To read the whole thing, go here.

“There’s something to be said for the visionary who dismantles the very movement he’s created or pioneered. . . . For a humble guitarist from Florida named Chuck Schuldiner, his metal band Death (not to be confused with the proto-punk band of the same name) was a mere instrument. Along with the Bay Area’s Possessed, Death not only helped spawn an entire extreme genre around gore and technical guitar wizardry, but like horror movies sometimes do, Death also challenged our notions of life.

Jan 292011

The March issue of DECIBEL magazine arrived a couple days ago at the NCS island. There on the cover was a photo of a smiling Chuck Schuldiner licking blood from a nasty cut on his finger. And to commemorate the magazine’s 12-page oral history of Death, the issue included a “Flexi” disk recording of Boston’s Revocation covering “Pull the Plug” from Death’s 1988 album, Leprosy.

I stared at that Flexi disk for a few minutes, trying to think what to do with it.  I tried to shove it into my computer’s CD drive, but it was too big. I shook it really hard and held it up to my ear, but no music came out of it. I even chewed on it, but it still wouldn’t give up its secrets. Slowly, it dawned on me that this thing was meant for a turntable — y’know, those things that make stuff spin around and around, with an arm that holds a needle that somehow makes sound come out of the spinning things?

Problem is, we don’t have any turntables here at NCS. So that Flexi disk is destined to go through life as a coaster.

Then, just as I was resigning myself to having to imagine what “Pull the Plug” would sound like as performed by Revocation, that dim bulb in my head flared briefly and I remembered an e-mail I’d gotten earlier in the week from NCS contributor BadWolf telling me that the Revocation song was streaming over at MetalSucks. I hadn’t been anyplace where I could listen when that e-mail arrived, and then I just forgot about it. So I guess that Flexi disk served a purpose after all.

If you happened to miss that song-stream over at MS, don’t make the same mistake twice — you can stream the song here, right after the jump, and you should, because, to use a journalistic term of art, it’s hot shit.

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