Ex-Death guitarist James Murphy and bassist Terry Butler will perform Death‘s 1990 album Spiritual Healing in full on December 11 and 12 at The Brass Mug in Tampa, FL. The duo will be joined by drummer Gus Rios (Gruesome) and guitarist and vocalist Matt Harvey (Exhumed, Gruesome, Expulsion) for both performances.

Murphy played in Death between 1989 and 1990, while Butler played in the band between 1987 and 1990. The shows are meant to commemorate Death mastermind Chuck Schuldiner, who passed away on December 13, 2001.

Ex-DEATH Members To Play Spiritual Healing In Full This December

Chuck Schuldiner never wanted to be The Godfather Of Death Metal. It was a genre tag he could never shake off during his short life, and one that’s only grown in stature in the years since he passed away.

Chuck played it very ‘by the books’ when it came to soloing. Sure, he might not have known theory, but he wasn’t ‘making up scales’, he just didn’t have a reference point for the notes he played. He pretty much used the minor/harmonic minor scales exclusively in his soloing.

[Chuck Schuldiner] showed the foresight and courage to not only help create the rules of death metal, but to demonstrate how to break them. — Arthur von Nagel (Cormorant)

There’s something to be said for the visionary who dismantles the very movement he’s created or pioneered. John Coltrane left behind hard bop to scatter sheets of sound, always knowing there was something more to explore. After joining the Communist Party, composer Cornelius Cardew rejected his prominent role in the English Avant-Garde to protect populist folk music. 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.

From the 1983 Death by Metal demo by a pre-Death band called Mantas to the hollering banshee wail of Scream Bloody Gore to the early jazz-metal fusions of Human to the glorious 1998 swansong, The Sound of Perseverance, Schuldiner lived the Leonardo da Vinci creed: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Not one Death album was the same, but they were very much all connected; the non-linear narrative continued through Schuldiner’s formation of the scream-less progressive heavy metal band Control Denied.

Schuldiner died after a two-year battle with brain cancer.

Remembering Chuck Schuldiner Of Death

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Death- Individual Thought Patterns

Today’s album pick is Individual Thought Patterns (1993) by Death. This one has caused me to do some deep thinking about what “influence” truly means. In most cases, I would consider the term to be an artist who has influenced my style of playing music, or who inspires me to play music in general. In the case of Death, I am influenced by Chuck Schuldiner, who was a pioneer in the genre of extreme music that just so happens to share the name of his band.

Chuck set out to create something in memory of a brother who passed away and to make it a positive thing. I find this to be massively inspirational.

Against astronomical odds, Schuldiner navigated his muse with an ever changing cast of musicians in pursuit of his personal mission, never compromising his integrity, and leaving behind a powerful legacy that has guided countless musicians and bands over the years.

On Individual Thought Patterns, Schuldiner shared guitar duties with Andy LaRocque from King Diamond’s band, and had the impossibly ferocious rhythm section of Steve DiGiorgio on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums.

I am embarrassed that I am just now really acquainting myself with Death, but everything I have heard is just phenomenal and I believe that is one of the beautiful things about music…the discovery.

Whether it is a new release or an old gem awaiting new sets of ears, music can always be brand new for someone searching for that ever elusive “influence.”

I salute the life of Chuck Schuldiner and thank him for his creative fearlessness and imagination. I look forward to delving deep into his catalog of treasures from this moment forward!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind


Scott Gries, Getty Images

The metal community was turned upside-down on Dec. 8, 2004. On the twenty fourth anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon, music fans across the globe were bombarded by instant messages, emails and phone calls from friends and family informing them or wanting to know if the rumors that Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell had really been killed onstage. Was his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul still alive, and what happened to everyone else?

As the hours passed, the horrible truth was revealed and the metal scene was irrevocably altered. Dimebag had, indeed been shot and killed while performing onstage with his band Damaegplan. Not only had the world lose a charismatic wildman, a generous soul and a stellar musician, the game instantly changed for nearly every other musician. No longer were fans rushing the stage viewed as welcome participants; they became potential assailants.

“After something like that happens to one of your best friends, how could you ever feel safe, anywhere, ever?” said Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. “The few times that kids have made it up onto the stage during our show, no matter how friendly the scenario, the first thing I think is, ‘Dude, you should not be on this f—ing stage. You should know better.’ To me, everything changed after Dime was killed. The stage became off-limits for everyone but musicians. I don’t give a f–k how much fun you’re having. Stay the f–k off the stage.”

At the time of the tragedy, Damageplan were two shows away from the end of a tour to support their debut album, New Found Power, and Dime and his brother drummer Vinnie Paul were looking forward to celebrating the holidays and then getting and getting back into the studio to work on a follow-up record.

The afternoon of the shooting, the band arrived at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio. Soundcheck went without incident and then Dimebag, who remembered playing the place in Pantera’s early days, thanked the club owner for booking Damageplan, the group he and his brother formed when they put Pantera on hold. After soundcheck, Dime went back to the band’s bus to get ready for the show. Then the two brothers stood by the side of the stage to watch the opening band.

“They were doing Parliament songs heavy metal style and they were all dressed up like G.I. Joes,” Vinnie Paul told me in 2006. “We were catching such a nut on them. We were back there doing shots and peeking out and cracking up about the whole thing. So, we were all in a good mood and we had a full house that night and went up on the deck and right before we went on Dime was warming up his hand and putting his lip gloss on. The last thing I ever said to him was ‘Van Halen?’ And he gives me five and says, ‘Van f–in’ Halen!’ That was our code word for letting it all hang out and having a good time. And that’s the last thing he ever said to me, man. It’s insane.”

Just a few bars into the opening song “Breathing New Life,” a six-foot-five inch former marine, Nathan Gale, burst out from behind a seven-and-a-half foot-high wall of amps and ran across the stage with a Beretta 9mm handgun. He stopped directly in front of Dime and fired three shots at the back of the guitarist’s head and one that hit his hand. Gale kept firing as members of the crew charged him. The gunman killed four and injured two before putting Paul’s drum tech, John “Kat” Brooks” in a headlock and taking him hostage. That’s when officer James Niggemeyer, responding to a 911 call less than three minutes after it was made, arrived on the scene without backup and shot Gale dead with a single well-placed shot from 12-guage Remington 870 shotgun. Gale had 35 rounds of ammunition left when he was killed. “I knew from that distance I could shoot the suspect, as long as I aimed high enough and wouldn’t hurt the hostage,” Niggemeyer told MTV News in 2005. “At that point, almost immediately, I fired.”

While he was proclaimed a hero, Niggemeyer suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety and eventually quit the police force. In 2011 he got a civilian job and was still seeing a counselor because of the emotional distress he suffered in 2004.

At first, the police thought Gale shot Dimebag because the he was convinced the guitarist was responsible for breaking up Pantera, his favorite band. The news widened the already huge gulf between Vinnie Paul and Pantera vocalist Philip Anselmo, whose continuous pursuit of side projects and lack of communication with the other members of Pantera contributed to the Abbotts’ decision to stop trying to get Pantera back together. During that time, Anselmo and the Abbott brothers exchanged verbal barbs in the press and Vinnie Paul was especially miffed by a comment Anselmo made to UK magazine Metal Hammer that Dime “deserves to be beaten severely.”

“There’s no doubt the guy who did this was out of his f—in’ mind,” Vinnie Paul told me. “He’s somebody that should have been incarcerated. When you’ve got somebody with obvious mental problems, it’s not a great idea for his mother to go get him a gun that’s used for killing people in the military. And obviously, he knew how to use it. He wasn’t just some ragtime dude who grabbed a gun. I saw what happened, and I knew exactly that the dude was on a mission, man, for whatever reason. And the kind of s— [Philip] said [to Metal Hammer] is the kind of s— that might incite the guy that did this to do the kind of things that he did.”

A thorough police investigation following the shooting determined that Gale was a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of Pantera were stealing his thoughts. Although Anselmo hasn’t spoken with Vinnie Paul since before the shooting and was told he wasn’t welcome at Dime’s funeral, the vocalist continues to speak highly of his former close friend Dimebag and insists “it just keeps getting tougher and tougher” every year without him. In addition, he continues to extend an olive branch to Vinnie Paul.

“He can come through that door with fifths, a handshake — any of the above — just as long as he comes because I love the guy,” Anselmo told me in 2010. “I love him. I love Vince. He’s a big part of my life, man. I just want to say on my end, I am an open door. I am an open door.”

As the first decade since Dime’s death passed in 2014 it became clear that Vinnie Paul isn’t ready to welcome Anselmo back into his life and he may never be. “It’s just not important to me,” Vinnie said during a Hellyeah interview. “If you had an ex-wife and it was a pretty bitter split, you might not ever want to talk to her again. Who cares if everybody in the family and your friends want you to say hello again. It’s your choice whether you want to do it or not.”

While time has helped heal the wounds of seeing his brother and bandmate killed in front of him, whenever he stops and thinks about Dime, Vinnie starts to get depressed. That’s the main reason he bought a house in Las Vegas, where he spends much of his time.

“Texas will always be my home, but me and my brother used to go to Vegas all the time to escape,” Paul said. “When my brother was taken from us, there were so many ‘I’m sorrys.’ In Dallas that never stopped. It’s always a reminder of what happened when it comes up. People don’t understand that. They mean well, but I could be out somewhere watching a show, having a good time and I’ll hear, ‘Hey, sorry about your brother, man,’ and I’m right back to thinking about that night and him. It was hard to deal with. So I started going to Vegas for a few weeks at a time and I didn’t hear that as much. Then I found out you could buy houses for nothing because the housing market crashed. So I got a really nice house and now I really enjoy spending time in both places.”

By Jon Wiederhorn

13 Years Ago: Dimebag Darrell Slain Onstage


Emperor of Sand (Reprise)
On a playlist with: Baroness, Crowbar, Devin Townshend Project
Listen “Sultan’s Curse” (here)

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a raging Mastodon fan, but every album they put out always has at least a few songs on it that I can jam to. For example, “Blood and Thunder” will always have a special place in my heart because of the clown pit in the music video (and because I murdered gnomes to it back in my World of Warcraft days), and “Divinations” is a killer song too. This time around, Mastodon slightly broke away from their normal mold of music and the results are something that should please any fan of the band new or old, even if the record itself isn’t quite perfect.



Body Count
Bloodlust (Century Media)
On a playlist with: Hatebreed, Suicidal Tendencies, Biohazard
Listen “No Lives Matter” (here)

If political hardcore music isn’t your thing, then you should stay far, far away from this album. However, if you’re not a sheltered fuckhead who can handle a message about the shitty state of our country, then this album will be quite the fun listen. Ice-T’s lyrics here center around the themes of racism, police brutality, class warfare and the like as the always have. Although it’s shitty that he’s been making music about these things for more than twenty years, this album is easily the band’s best in quite some time.


Woe to the Vanquished (Napalm)
On a playlist with: Havok, Slayer, Exodus
Listen Full album stream (here) Review (here)

The fifth album from the Los Angeles thrash outfit is much more refined than their previous effort, IV: Empires Collapse. This album cuts out all the bullshit and gets straight to the point, which is to whip your ears into a maniacal frenzy of double kicks, fast riffs and shouted vocals. As our very own Maximus put it, “in an era of overly-serious and excessively-performed metal music, Warbringer are one of the most refreshing bands we have.”


demonhunteroutlive1-150x150Demon Hunter
Outlive (Solid State)
On a playlist with: Killswitch Engage, Trivium, All That Remains
Listen “Cold Winter Sun” (here)

Everyone needs a little bit of metalcore in their life, right? Now if you’re one of the few people who didn’t just skip to the next album after reading the word metalcore, then props to you for being a trooper. Although I wouldn’t really call myself a Demon Hunter fan, they’ve never really put out a bad album and considering this one is their eighth, that’s quite the achievement. I do have to say though, I’m not really sure what was going through their heads when the line “We are come undone” was written.


diabolicalmessiah-150x150Diabolical Messiah
Weapons Against the Sacred (Dark Descent)
On a playlist with: Death, Behemoth, Belphegor
Listen “Unmerciful Campaign of Hate” (here)

How great is that album artwork? Nothing says Satan quite like rampaging demons murdering angels with huge tits. On the likely chance that you’ve never heard of Diabolical Messiah, they’re a Chilean blackened death metal act who last released an album in 2010 called Satan Tottendemon Victory!!! (yes, with three exclamation points). Weapons Against the Sacred has the recording quality that black metal elitists will love and the death metal heaviness to bury the weak-minded who stumble upon it.


The Elysian Fields Adelain (Vinyl) (Nuclear War Now) listen
Agatus The Eternalist (Hell’s Headbangers) listen
Autopsy Severed Survival (Picture Disc) (Peaceville) listen
Astral Doors Black Eyed Children (Metalville) listen
BackWordz Veracity (Stay Sick Recordings) listen
Bereft Lands (Prosthetic) listen
Bestial Warlust Blood & Valour (Hell’s Headbangers) listen
Bolt Thrower Realm Of Chaos (Full Dynamic Range) (Vinyl) (Earache Records) listen
Chevelle Wonder What’s Next (Vinyl) (srcvinyl) listen
Darkthrone A Blaze In The Northern Sky (Picture Disc) (Peaceville) listen
Darkthrone Dark Thrones And Black Flags (Peaceville) listen
Darkthrone The Underground Resistance (Peaceville) listen
Death Human (Remastered Reissue) (Vinyl) (Relapse) listen
Falls Of Rauros Vigilance Perennial (Bindrune/Nordvis) listen
Gruesome Fragments Of Psyche (Relapse) listen
Imminence This Is Goodbye (SharpTone Records) listen
Invidia As The Sun Sleeps (SPV) listen
Nightrage The Venomous (Despotz Records) listen
One Last Shot The Death Of A Poet & All Of His Friends (N/A) listen
Saturn Beyond Spectra (Rise Above) listen
Sinner Tequila Suicide (AFM) listen
The Artificials Heart (Tragic Hero Records) listen
The Moth Gatherer The Comfortable Low (Agonia Records) listen
The Royal Seven (Long Branch) listen
Troubled Horse Revolution on Repeat (Rise Above) listen
Windswept The Great Cold Steppe (Season Of Mist) listen

The New Music That Comes Out Today March 31, 2017