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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Metal Louvre: Death - Leprosy

I remember when Death's Leprosy came out, I was transfixed by this gruesome cover. Perhaps not as horrid as the Scream Bloody Gore artwork and not spectacularly bloody, but Leprosy's cover is vivid, stark and remiss of the somewhat-comical nature of its predecessor.

This is one of the most striking death metal album covers of all-time and I remember oddly thinking of Ben-Hur upon greeting, then getting blown away by the album itself as one of the most technically-sound albums of its style. Chuck Schuldiner's genius had blossomed at this point in his career and Leprosy remains one of his signature bodies of work, Human and The Sound of Perseverance notwithstanding.

I recall grossing out one of the female employees at the mall record store when picking up Leprosy and staring at it for minutes. Her grunt of repulsion still echoes in my ears today. Almost as fun as terrorizing my high-school girlfriend by taking her to see A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Good times, indeed...


metalodyssey said...

It's always hard to believe Chuck Schuldiner is no longer with us. This "Leprosy" cover is nothing now... when compared to the covers we see today in the Goregrind genre, along with movies like the Saw series.
Always a fabulous album to revisit!

- Stone

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Oh, I know this tame stuff by today's standards, cover-wise. Cannibal Corpse may have the market on the nastiest gore covers, though I've seen worse than them, too. And if you're seeing a lot of the recent horror flicks like the new I Spit On Your Grave, Autopsy and Neighbor, the gore is ten times worse and more offensive than what we had in the eighties. You can vouch with me that the eighties' gore was always spectacular but subliminally tongue-in-cheek so we didn't take it very seriously. Today's gore is out to make you squirm and puke on purpose. Fuck reality, you know?

metalodyssey said...

Well stated. I tell my wife all the time... how come I can handle Death Metal and all Extreme Metal lyrics and album covers, yet I have to close my eyes during certain scenes of say, "The Devil's Rejects"? Ugh, I guess the "realism" of todays movies just strikes that certain "nerve" with me.

I can listen to Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask" and I can't stomach seeing one actually being worn in "The Devil's Rejects"!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Actually, I have to say The Devil's Rejects is Rob Zombie's finest hour film-wise, though I was surprised Priscilla Barnes subjected herself to what she did in the flick. I love the "Freebird" finale of that film, but yeah, it's brutal. If you think that one's tough to digest, then stay away from the ones I mentioned. I just think that Hostel has set horror upon a course it can't return from, and I like the concept Eli Roth introduced. Unfortunately, everyone feels the need to outdo him and it's become worse than the Grand Guinol, which inspired modern gore to begin with.

I have to say that even though it's a remake, Let Me In is the best pure horror film I've seen recently. Gory at times, but never losing sight that there's a STORY that presents its true horror. Graphic teeth pulling, penis puncturing and stuffing down mouths? That's not horror.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

And in answer the question you gave your wife, we've always known since Venom that death metal and satanism are hokey jokes of the genre...or they WERE. We knew it was humor-intended, except for some really hardcore satanic bands. Satan in Fantasia was much scarier than anything Venom released. Now, the fine line between laughable fantasy is gone with satanism since there are so many true practitioners of it and death metal? Please. There's so much of it and I've already stated in publication that death metal could never handle the reality of what it sings and barks about.

metalodyssey said...

I understand your points. My take, on a personal level, is the older I've gotten, the more I have become sensitive to "real life" horror I see on the nightly and network news.

Death Metal and Black Metal can/does mirror the dark side of humanity through lyrics and album artwork. Yes, there is a "flood" of Death Metal bands out there... like anything else though, the best rise to the top.

It's all about how it's presented to "my senses", when Extreme Metal presents horrific topics through music, I just seem to accept and handle it better. The music/Metal must be what "calms" it all down for me. Sounds crazy, yet that's my own interpretation as to why I handle the Extreme Metal better than gore flicks. :)

I remember back in college, there was a "reality" film called "Faces Of Death" that everyone watched all the time. After seeing it... my nerves were cooked!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

All good points, and yep, I'll never forget "Faces of Death." We hounded the crap out of our video store to get it in because the owners wanted nothing to do with it, but the younger employees worked on them until they got it. A handwritten label stating you had to be 18 (period) to watch it (along with the original I Spit On Your Grave and Make Them Die Slowly) was on the box, but we had an "in" who slipped them to us when we knew the owners weren't on shift. :)