Yes. It has been ten years since the Metal scene lost the creative energies that influenced so many with the passing of singer/guitarist/inspiration Chuck Schuldiner. The musician is rightly credited as being one of the founding forces for the Death Metal genre on the whole and is without question its leader when it came to the US Territory for sure. His band Death while popular across the genre at its time has now become one of those groups that is always cited as being a favorite influence or key factor in their own beginnings by many of the Extreme Metal musicians of the day. That my friends is impressive. Sadly after battling it for a couple of years, the world would lose Chuck to brain cancer at the far too young age of 34. Today we raise the horns in his memory for what he gave to Metal.
When Death formed in 1983 I was not a fan of the format at all, and was listening to the “safer” side of Metal in my classic stuff. It would be in the late eighties and nineties that I braved the heavier waters but still the kind of thing that Chuck was doing with Death eluded me. Sometimes it takes awhile to reach your musical psyche but hey, I am not afraid to admit that. I refuse to be one of those people who says “oh dude I was listening to them since their first demo came out” just to impress someone. Of course I do realize that some of you are out there when it comes to this particular band.
In 2001 when Metal lost Chuck to cancer I was not yet doing my music scribe thing and while I had been going to shows for years I was never fortunate enough to have caught them in concert before. Sometimes taking the “safe” route finds you missing out. Looking back on this circumstance I have to say that it saddens me because I really like what I find on the various YouTube pages in terms of the concert footage, audio recordings and interviews with Schuldiner. Listening to Chuck in today’s world of Metal is an interesting thing because you can literally hear his influence in a wide number of Extreme bands. That’s an amazing thing to behold and it means that his legacy is carrying on in the truest sense of the word. I know that you are nodding your head in agreement with me on this point because without the influence of Schuldiner we might not have seen the level of technical Metal coming about as soon as it did. The genre is in good hands with those who applied Chuck’s teachings to their own sound and moved ahead with it. I’m sure he approves.
Fans will always wonder what kind of stuff Schuldiner would be offering them today had he survived the terrible battle and while that line of discourse might seem interesting to some fans, I always found the “What If” case scenario to be something better left to the comic books. Real life does not offer us “what if”. We get what we get and we best make the most positive use of our time here while we can. I realize that I am getting spiritual here and I apologize.
Relapse Records recently re-issued some of the classic Death material with
Individual Thought Patterns,
The Sound Of Perseverence with expanded packaging and bonus tracks. These new editions are a great way to indulge the senses in the masterful workings of Mr. Schuldiner.
Learn more about his life via his Wikipedia entry HERE.