Death - Leprosy Review

Death - Leprosy
Death - Leprosy. Relapse Records

Considered one of the greatest death metal albums of all time, Death’s Leprosy receives a modern update with this re-release, while maintaining its original integrity. This re-issue by Relapse Records is a reminder of how well this record has held up since its original release in 1988.

What separated this album from many in the genre was its unapologetic delivery. The intricacies of the sounds come to life with meticulous time changes and seamless attacks that are indisputable.

Thrash and punk influences are apparent throughout the record’s eight songs, but it is the band’s willingness to push the boundaries of their influences to the next level that set Death apart.

The late Chuck Schuldiner’s voice is also very much an important aspect to Death’s sound, as it lacked gut growling screams, and are clear in delivery, making the lyrics as much a focus as the brilliant playing the all of the musicians.

The Leprosy lineup was rounded out by co-writer and second guitarist Rick Rozz, bassist Terry Butler and Bill Andrews on drums. While many have argued for years what is the classic Death lineup, given the status of this album as a genre redefining effort, it is apparent that this collective of musicians merits a place in every discussion. The release also features a second disc containing rare rehearsals of the album’s songs, inviting fans to the early stages of the record.

Standards from this record include “Left To Die” and “Pull The Plug,” which are among many songs that epitomize the band’s sound, and remain staple tracks from Death’s impressive catalog. Their sound, their deliver, their energy, and their legacy are epitomized by the exact reverence to which Leprosy holds ground.

With all that has happened to extreme music during the past twenty years, it's no wonder that Leprosy is remembered, and with one listen to the reissue, it becomes apparent why this record has held up so well. Extreme metal was still in its infancy when this record was released, and many critics and fans alike cite Leprosy as the perfect example of this genre’s game changer.

Over twenty years later we are able to reflect and note how much this record means to not just extreme metal, but to heavy metal as a whole. This band, this record and its legacy are timeless. Leprosy is heavy metal brilliance at its very best.

Death - Leprosy Deluxe Reissue Track Listing:

Disc 1

01. Leprosy
02. Born Dead
03. Forgotten Past
04. Left To Die
05. Pull The Plug
06. Open Casket
07. Primitive Ways
08. Choke On It

Disc 2

Leprosy - 9/23/87 Rehearsal

01. Open Casket
02. Choke On It
03. Left To Die
04. Left To Die - Take 2

Leprosy - 12/05/87 Rehearsals

05. Left To Die
06. Open Casket
07. Pull The Plug
08. Choke On It
09. Born Dead
10. Forgotten Past

Disc 3

Live at Backstreets, Rochester, NY - December 13th, 1988

01. Leprosy
02. Open Casket
03. Zombie Ritual
04. Pull The Plug
05. Left To Die
06. Mutilation
07. Forgotten Past
08. Born Dead

Denial Of Life
10. Primitive Ways
11. Infernal Death

Live at The Dirt Club, Bloomfield, NJ - December 11, 1988

12. Leprosy
13. Pull The Plug
14. Forgotten Past
15. Primitive Ways

Digital Deluxe ONLY Bonus Tracks - Live at The Dirt Club, Bloomfield, NJ - December 11, 1988

16. Open Casket
17. Mutilation
18. Infernal Death

(released April 29, 2014 on Relapse Records)