This is probably my least favorite Death album. Needless to say, Death is kick ass; always have been and always will be, but this album just felt awkward to me. It seemed to lack a bit of the personal touch that you can usually feel in Chuck Schuldiner's music. The line up on Leprosy kind of bothered me. Rick Rozz and Bill Andrews don't really impress me, but Terry Butler is okay on this album.
I'm not 100% sure, because to me it seems like Chuck was trying to decide on whether he should stay on the hardcore death metal path, or move more into a melodic death with more personal lyrics type of music. The best way I can describe the music on this album is to take the heaviness of Scream Bloody Gore and the speed of Spiritual Healing and mesh a bit of each album together, and you get Leprosy. Leprosy is more technical than Scream Bloody Gore, but Scream Bloody Gore had its more personal moments, I think. Leprosy just doesn�t seem to know where it stands on the lyrical and musical level. I think part of the other thing that makes this album a bit of a less than great album is the fact that the riffs are kind of repetitive.
For me, the few highlights on this album are �Leprosy,� �Pull the Plug,� and �Left To Die�. Just for the sake of sealing the review, I�ll go over all of the songs now.
Track 1: Leprosy
This is probably my favorite song on the CD. It opens heavy with Chuck and Rick�s crushing guitar power. The lead after the opening is pretty cool and gives more to lead to the main riff. The main riff is okay; it�s simple, but still sounds great. The drumming sounds a bit hollow and franticly random on this song, but it doesn�t bother me too much.
Rozz kind of pisses me off, but Chuck�s presence more than makes up for it. Terry Butler�s bass is out there and easy to hear, which pleases me. Chuck�s intro scream is very nice too...it really sets the mood of the hopelessness he�s about to describe, pertaining to the horrible disease - Leprosy.
Track 2: Born Dead
The song starts off kind of heavy, but boring. Eventually it begins to interest me about thirty seconds after the song starts. The only thing is that it sounds too typical and similar to a lot of the other songs on the album. Around the 1:11 mark it begins to get much more interesting with the melodic guitars, but then it falls apart into the boring heavy riffs again. It�s an average song, and not really a favorite of mine.
Track 3: Forgotten Past
Now things are starting to look up a bit after hearing �Born Dead�. It starts of better than �Born Dead,� although the beginning is kind of similar to that of track two. There is a much more planned out rhythm and lead roll in this song. It�s fast, but still heavy. It�s still not better than Leprosy in my opinion though. It�s one of the slightly above average songs on the album.
Track 4: Left To Die
Great opening with the speedy hammer on and offs followed up by a brutal scream from Chuck. I like when Chuck screams out �God won�t make this go away�. The lyrics are good for death metal indeed. This seems kind of like an angry song. Chuck�s guttural screams are really great on this song. The drums always sound the same, but the guitar and bass sound good on this song. I can hear more speed and melody than just chunk riffing.
Track 5: Pull The Plug
This is a classic Death song, and also one of the best highlights on the CD. Chuck seemed to go more personal with this song than to go down the lyrical path of gore and violence. The music really gives a feeling of hopelessness and fear of being left alive as a vegetable, or in a coma. The solo is earth shattering, as if Chuck is screaming to the world with his guitar. The drums are much more interesting on this song, as they aren�t as random and bland as on most of the tracks.
Track 6: Open Casket
Eh, the song itself is okay, but it sounds too much like everything else on Leprosy. It�s good for an occasional listen. It has its good parts all together, but it didn�t move me that much.
Track 7: Primitive Ways
Again, sounds like everything else on Leprosy. At this point it seems like Chuck is either rushing or running short of ideas at the moment. Possibly both.
Track 8: Choke On It
I was fairly bored with this song until it hit the 1:20 mark, then it started to sound kind of groovy. It kind of sounds like early Morbid Angel at some parts. 2:35 is a real interesting part as well. The speed picks up, but the drums don�t suck. Magnificent guitar works in some places. I�d put it above average on the CD.
Don�t think that I�m saying this is a bad album, because it�s not. It�s good, but compared to other Death albums it doesn�t rank high for me. I still think that Chuck was trying to figure out at this point where he wanted to go on the musical path. I can�t say he made a bad choice for the future, because most of it is much better than Leprosy. Leprosy is worth buying, but it gets dull kind of fast if you listen to it too long. Good to pull out when you want some good old heavy death metal.
"To the people who dwell and drown themselves in negative elements (locally and beyond), you will go down alone...you know who you are and what you are. Worry about your own life, then you will know what it is like to live, rather than mearly exist."
-Chuck Schuldiner (1967-2001)