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.