Chuck Schuldiner / May 13, 1967 - Dec 13, 2001

This one is not going to be up the alley of most people but since it's my project to write these little bios of some musical icons I am feeling no shame to include the Father of Death Metal, the late Chuck Schuldiner.

While I completely understand that death metal is not to everybody's liking, I am disgusted with the proclamations about it being "shit music" or that these bands glorify negativity. As far as the former, death metal is in my opinion some of the BEST rock music ever made. Bands like Atheist, Cynic, Sadus and Chuck's band Death are HEAVILY influenced by jazz and the musicianship in these bands is incredible, albeit high-velocity and extreme. The truth is that these bands can play circles around every piece-of-shit rock band out there. As far as the lyrical imagery, the best of these bands range from horror-movie kind of non-serious stuff to well-constructed verses on a variety of social and philosophical matters.

A jazz fan from the beginning, Schuldiner formed his band Death in Tampa as a teen in 1983. He spent some time in both Toronto and San Francisco before solidifying the concept back in Tampa, the city in which the genre would come to be associated with. (In fact, there are death metal bands on the island of Cuba after hearing the music on the radio transmitting from Florida).

Utilizing various studio and live musicians he proceeded to create the most extreme metal band of its time, and not for the lack of a still-growing international popularity. Death's 1991 album Human set new standards of extreme progressive-rock and left every metal band in the (burnt corpse) dust.

Schuldiner died from a tumor in 2001, removing one of the most important figures in heavy metal from the scene. Death still stands as the pinnacle of the genre of death metal, in much the same way that Public Enemy is the pinnacle of rap or the Bad Brains with hardcore. In fact, the genre lives on with the name he gave it.

Tagged: Celebrate Icons, Chuck Schuldiner, classic albums, Death, guitar, metal, prog, rock

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