"Don’t think that birth becomes death. Birth is its own time with its own past and future. Thus in the Teachings of Awake Reality, birth is known to be “unborn”. Death is its own time, with its own past and future. Thus death is realized as “deathlessness”. In birth there is only birth, in death there is only death. Thus, when birth comes realize birth. When death comes realize death. Do not avoid or desire either of them.

This birth and death is itself the life of Awake Awareness. If you struggle to escape it you will lose the life of Awake Awareness. Also if you try to grasp it you will lose the life of the Awakened One and all you will have is the husk. Only when you don’t crave for or despise birth and death will you enter Awake Awareness Do not try to measure it with your mind or describe it in words. Just cast body and mind into the realm of Awake Awareness. In this, you are free from birth and death and, without effort or worry, you become Awake If you realize this, there are no obstacles in your mind. This is simply becoming Awake. Refrain from unwholesome acts, do not grasp at birth and death, respect seniors and be kind to juniors, give up hope and fear, worry and grief. This is called Awake. Do not look elsewhere."

from Eihei Dogen zenji, Shobogenzo: Shoji, Birth and Death, translated by Yasuda Joshu Dainen and Anzan Hoshin, Progress Into the Ordinary, Great Matter Publications, 1986; used with permission

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone -
Man has created death.

-- William Butler Yeats

A poem by Emily Brontë

Death! that struck when I was most confiding.
In my certain faith of joy to be--
Strike again, Time's withered branch dividing
From the fresh root of Eternity!

Leaves, upon Time's branch, were growing brightly,
Full of sap, and full of silver dew;
Birds beneath its shelter gathered nightly;
Daily round its flowers the wild bees flew.

Sorrow passed, and plucked the golden blossom;
Guilt stripped off the foliage in its pride
But, within its parent's kindly bosom,
Flowed for ever Life's restoring tide.

Little mourned I for the parted gladness,
For the vacant nest and silent song--
Hope was there, and laughed me out of sadness;
Whispering, "Winter will not linger long!"

And, behold! with tenfold increase blessing,
Spring adorned the beauty-burdened spray;
Wind and rain and fervent heat, caressing,
Lavished glory on that second May!

High it rose--no winged grief could sweep it;
Sin was scared to distance with its shine;
Love, and its own life, had power to keep it
From all wrong--from every blight but thine!

Cruel Death! The young leaves droop and languish;
Evening's gentle air may still restore--
No! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish-
Time, for me, must never blossom more!

Strike it down, that other boughs may flourish
Where that perished sapling used to be;
Thus, at least, its mouldering corpse will nourish
That from which it sprung--Eternity.


This is public domain
I walked down the stairs into the Delancey St. subway station. It was 4 AM.

The station seemed dead. I walked slowly down the platform to the very end, where I wait. Past the long abandoned and closed public restroom, with its ornate paint-and-tile encrusted entry. "WOMEN." Past the thoroughly embellished poster advertisements.

Nearing the halfway point, I was aware of activity across the tracks, on the northbound side. Track workers, I guessed. They were on the platform and down on the tracks themselves. I settled in for a long wait.

However, track workers do not wear bad suits, or gym slacks. Nor do they wear surgical gloves. Finally, I saw a badge. Across, on the platform ledge, a polaroid picture of something indistinguishable lay on the ground. I looked ahead; there was another one, and another, irregularly, every few feet or more. Other things; an empty wallet, some paper cards, pens and pencils, were scattered on the platform here and there. The police wandered back and forth, looking at them in turn. Another man in a cheap suit with an ID tag, obviously the station manager, went from policeman to policeman, talking quickly in low tones, pandering. I barely made out what he was saying. It was about "the schedule."

Down in the dark, infectious space between the tracks, it was brilliant, kool aid red. The color was impossible, way too bright, and it went on as far as I could see in either direction, stretching off into the southbound tunnel and clear to the middle of the platform, brimming halfway up the sides. The police carelessly avoided stepping in it as they shone maglites around under the lip of the platform, searching for things that they then picked up and dropped on the yellow painted edge above them. They joked with each other, and laughed, but in low tones.

Amazingly, the Brooklyn-bound train came. I got on and went home and turned on the local news. Nothing about a death in the station. How many people had died today? Perhaps, the news desk would only consider it worth knowing about if it were a celebrity or a particularly gruesome murder. Or both. Perhaps, perhaps no one had actually died at all. Although I remembered the pictures, and the police - there had been 8, maybe 10 cops fishing through the muck. It was not the level of effort they went to for an assault or a mugging.

The next morning, as I sat, eating toast, I watched again. Still nothing.

It was just a death - nothing special about it. It would not make the news.

Anyway: I'm not blessed, or merciful. I'm just me. I've got a job to do, and I do it. Listen: even as we're talking, I'm there for old and young, innocent and guilty, those who die together and those who die alone. I'm in cars and boats and planes; in hospitals and forests and abbatoirs. For some folks death is a release, and for others death is an abomination, a terrible thing. But in the end, I'm there for all of them.
Death, in Dream Country

Death is a manifestation of The Endless, a family of metaphorical personifications created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman series of comic books which told the story of her brother Morpheus aka Dream. The others are Destiny, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium who used to be Delight. Of all the characters from Gaiman's stories, perhaps Death has triggered the most favoritism and positive response, because of the incredibly sensible and ideal approach he took with the character.

In one way or another, so many fear the idea of death; shuffling off this mortal coil and venturing off either into an unknown afterlife or just fading away into oblivion. There are countless beliefs throughout Mankind's history about what awaits us when we die. It is admittedly a combination of guesswork and blind faith because objectively speaking, we just don't know. We think we're right, and where we question our own beliefs, that's where the faith comes in. Though this character is the embodiment of death, she's not exactly what one might expect; instead she is what most people probably hope to find waiting for them after they've closed their eyes for the final time.

In Gaiman's world, there is no Grim Reaper. Gaiman's approach was to personify Death as a sensitive female with tender-hearted compassion for the individual, humor, and a very careful but not fastidious respect for her work. To her, it's a job. It is not something to relish and cause horror. It is not an opportunity to give each person a mad This Is Your Life presentation. She has a function to perform in the universe. She meets the person at the time of their death (sometimes a bit of time before) and tries to ease their shock a little bit, as she helps them get to where their soul is supposed to go.

You lived what anybody gets. You got a lifetime.
Death, in Brief Lives

She dresses provocative, but casual. She prefers black, but not out of mourning or to make a fashion statement. Contrary to popular opinion, she is not Goth; or rather if she is, she has been for a very long time, and the designation would not mean anything to her. If ever asked, she'd probably just shrug and explain she happens to like black.* She wears an ankh necklace, which is her sigil. She can change clothes in an instant to appeal to whomever is her charge at the time, but prefers a simple black tanktop and jeans if given the choice. She is easy on the eyes but not flashy, and her personality is one of an individual you would like to meet, but not necessarily get to know too well. **

Death is the oldest sister of the seven Endless, but she has one brother older than she: Destiny. She perhaps has the best relationship with each of the others, and rarely involves herself in the complicated politics of her family. She is also ironically enough, the most centered and psychologically stable of her family. Considering what her character would have to go through every day, one would think she'd be quite mad. Perhaps one of the reasons why she's so centered is because once a century she sort of takes a vacation. She walks among human beings as if she were one of them, and just appreciates their view of life. This keeps her in perspective, and allows her to approach her work in a kind and compassionate way, without being too cheesy about it. The comic book mini-series Death: the High Cost of Living shows her experience for the 20th century.

Quoting from Neil Gaiman about his creation: "Death {is} skinny and pale and elfin and sweet, with long dark hair and black clothes, and a silver ankh... There's a tale in the Caballa that suggests that the Angel of Death is so beautiful that on finally seeing it (or him, or her) you fall in love so hard, so fast, that your soul is pulled out through your eyes. I like that story."

In the end, Gaiman didn't want to create a Death that enjoyed her work too much, or who was painfully distressed and morose about her role. In his eyes, Death is simply someone who cares about the people whose lives she touches at the end, but not so much she can't detach herself and live her own existence. Though the second of The Endless to be bourne into existence, it is said in the Sandman series that she will be the last to go. When the final sunset has fallen on the final globe in space, and when the last star blinks out of the night's sky...

When the first living thing existed, I was there waiting. When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I'll put the chairs on the tables, turn out the lights, and lock the universe behind me as I leave.
Death, in Dream Country

Y'know what? I like that story.


* If you want to see what she looks like, there's some great fan-art over at http://www.best.com/~teleute/fanart/index.html
** Personally I'd like to get to know her very well, but then I'm a little loopy.
In the Marvel Universe, Death (who is more commonly referred to as Mistress Death) is one of the so-called abstract beings that embody various aspects of the universe. This means she is in the same class as Eternity, Infinity, Oblivion, Lord Chaos and Master Order, etc. Her face was first revealed in Captain Marvel #31, but let's face it, even in comics, Death has always been around.

She is always seen wearing a purple cloak, and generally takes two forms. She is seen either as a female or a skeleton, which is more in tune with the traditional Death image. She is always silent, preferring to speak through her minions. And of course, she is responsible for every death in the Marvel Universe.

As a general rule, the writers use her well, rather than oversaturating stories with her. She embraced Captain Marvel when he died of cancer, and met him on the other side. She is often seen standing passively by during universe-threatening conflicts, such as The Infinity Gauntlet, or when Adam Warlock confronted the Magus.

Perhaps the only mortal she gives any sort of special consideration is Thanos, who loved her. She actually brought him back from the dead in an improved form so that he might do her bidding. Still, she maintained her silence with him, which infuriated the Titan. When he obtained omnipotence with the Infinity Gauntlet, he thought she might finally speak to him since they would be equals. That was not the case, for the Infinity Gauntlet had actually made him her superior, and as such, she would not address him out of respect. As of now, Thanos doesn't much care for Death, but some writers love that angle quite a bit, so it may be resurrected at any time.

As far as other mortals Death has affected without killing them, Deadly Earnest kills everything he touches now because he spurned Death, so she made it so that he could never touch another living thing.

Death is easily one of the best characters in the Marvel Comics roster, one that writers can't mess around with too much, because Death is constant.

Death is something that happens to other people.

Just something to ponder -- it is, after all, the innate nature of the living to be unable to grasp the idea of Ending Someday. The idea that any one of those random horrible things that happen to "other people" could just as easily happen to you. The idea that if you were to die in your sleep, you wouldn't know as you closed your eyes that night. Your very last thought could be of what to put on your bagel tomorrow morning...or you could suddenly go out on a scream through a throatful of blood as your own intestines slither hot and wet through your fingers.

Not you, right? That won't happen to you. That kind of thing only happens to other people. You can't help subconsciously assuming that you'll get to gripe about old age; that'll you die of cancer, perhaps. Or a heart attack, after several warning attacks so you'll know to get your affairs in order. You can't help feeling that you'll have time to finish your plans and say your goodbyes before you check out.

Death, however, does not work around your schedule.

Think about how many, many ways there are to die. Think hard. One of them will happen to you someday.

Place your bet.

Death (the physical or incopereal, at least visible embodiement of our mortality) came in many forms across the globe. Man or woman, gaunt, pale farmers whose approach was heralded by the creaking of his cart (used to convey the dead) or a shadowy figure ghosting throngs of mortals. The former incarnation (sometimes known as the Ankou) likely gave the origins of the wicked-edged scythe, now seen in virtually every description of the (now named) Reaper of Souls. Perhaps a link to the Ankou's farmer-like appearance, the scythe indeed became a fitting tool in later years, as the plague cut a swathe across Europe. Swords were also favoured by the Ankou, as well as by other heralds of oblivion, oft seen at the head of some terrible hunt.

Such visions of ones mortality hardly instill a feeling of optimism, as shown in these examples of poetry (possibly written around the time of the 1665 plague epidemic of England, but just as likely to have been written at a later date).


The lantern bearer lights the way
For those who no more seize the day;
Blind eyes peer out of every head
That crowds the carriage of the dead.

A miser thought to keep his gold
As shield against the coming cold.
But what cared Death for mortal gains?
He smiled upon the misers pains.

Nor crown nor coin can halt times flight
Or stay the armies of the night.
King and villein, lad and lass,
All answer to the hour glass.

Her hour had come; his mother smiled
And sighed beside her infant child.
But he too, answered to the curse
And found himself an older nurse.

A gentle hand will help the dead
To find the way to their last bed;
Who engineers the mortal's end
Will tell you he is man's best friend.

"THERE'S NO JUSTICE. THERE'S JUST ME."

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, anthropomorphic personifications have at some point started to take on a life (or, in DEATH's case, an existence) of their own. And thus creatures such as the Hogfather (scary version of Santa), the Hair-Loss Fairy, and, naturally, DEATH have come into being as soon as there was people who imagined them into existence. Although there always was people dying, DEATH did not exist before people started to attribute traits to him. Actually, he's almost the oldest creature in the universe (obviously something had to die first...).

In fact, Death looks just like humans would think he would: Death is a seven-foot tall skeleton of polished bone with pinpoints of blue fire in his eye sockets. He wears a long black robe (in fact, black is his favorite color) which appears as if it has been woven from darkness itself (and probably has), carries a scythe, and usually appears just around the time of a person's death to sever the line that connects the body and the soul in order to send them on to whatever afterlife they believed in when alive. He is seen only by cats, professional practitioners of magic, and those who are about to die or are already dead. Where ever someone dies, he is already waiting, usually even taking the time for a quick chat (he prides himself on his personal service). His voice carries authority; in fact he speaks in capitals only, and he doesn't make bargains with his "clients." Well, not usually.

"When it's time to stop living, I will certainly make Death my number one choice!"
-- Rincewind in Terry Pratchett's The Last Continent

However, he is not the ruthless destroyer of legend, but rather a timeserver who has all Eternity to serve. He also "long gave up using the traditional skeletal horses, because of the bother of having to stop all the time to wire bits back on," so he now rides a real, living white steed named Binky. As one of the horsemen of the apocalypse, he is expected to ride out at the end of the world:

"It's going to look pretty good, then, isn't it," said War testily, "the One Horseman and Three Pedestrians of the Apocalypse." -- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse encounter unexpected difficulties in Terry Pratchett's Sourcery

He tries very hard to understand mortals, but this effort is largely negated by his utter lack of anything even remotely resembling a sense of incongruity or a sense of humour. He does care for them, and in Reaper Man he defended them to Azrael against the soullessness of bureaucracy and also works against and finally fights the order-loving Auditors.

Despite rumour, he is not cruel. He is just terribly, terribly good at his job.

At one point (in Mort) he decides to become more human by living the life, finding a job and experiencing human existence in general, which doesn't really work, and simply confuses him further. He also quits his job (in Reaper Man), takes up farming and cooking, adopts a daughter, takes on an apprentice, becomes a grandfather (of Susan), stars in a movie, replaces the Hogfather for a short time, etc...

I USHERED SOULS INTO THE NEXT WORLD. I WAS THE GRAVE OF ALL HOPE. I WAS THE ULTIMATE REALITY.
I WAS THE ASSASSIN AGAINST WHOM NO LOCK WOULD HOLD.
"Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?"

-- Death consulting a job broker in Mort

He lives in a residence, outside normal space and time, which he has attempted (with variable success) to model on a human house. Of course, it is bigger on the inside than on the outside, the arched doorways are decorated with skull-and-bone motifs, and everything is black, including every plant in the garden. This house contains, among other things, a large room filled with shelf upon shelf of hourglasses. One hourglass for every living thing on Discworld. When the sand in an hourglass runs out, that particular individual will receive a visit from The Anthromorphic Personification Himself.

Galder: I said I hope it is a good party.
AT THE MOMENT IT IS. I THINK IT MIGHT GO DOWNHILL VERY QUICKLY AT MIDNIGHT.
Galder: Why?
THAT'S WHEN THEY THINK I'LL BE TAKING MY MASK OFF.

Death can be summoned by the Rite of AshkEnte, which requires either:

  • a) eight eighth-level wizards, a ceremonial octogram, rams' skulls, and dribbly candles
  • b) three small bits of wood and 2cc of mouse blood, or
  • c) two small bits of wood and a fresh egg.

I HOPE WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY OF THIS 'FOUL FIEND' BUSINESS AGAIN.
-- Death gets summoned by the college council in Terry Pratchett's Eric

In my view, DEATH is one of Pratchett's funniest characters, the ultimate fact of life struggling with his own identity, watching the world of humans (and Dwarves, Trolls, Vampires, four Elephants on the back of a giant turtle) with great interest, but ultimately not understanding it, no matter how much he tries to. He is used for interflection of the human nature, but also for comic relief. Death appears in every Discworld novel (and game: he even stars in the second one), and most some other books by Pratchett as well, such as in the wonderful Good Omens:

"You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"
REVELATIONS, CHAPTER SIX.
-- Death in conversation with a biker in Terry Pratchett's & Neil Gaiman's Good Omens

Please excuse my lavish use of fair use quotes, but they help to illustrate the character better than my words ever could. Go buy the books, all of them!

Pre-history

One of the pioneers of the 80's death metal scene, the band simply named Death was not the band who invented the genre, although the genre was named after them by music journalists who felt that yet another subgenre of metal was necessary to describe this strange new music. Formed by guitarist, vocalist, composer and songwriter Chuck Schuldiner in 1984 (he was 16 years old at the time), Death was originally a continuation of the band Mantas (a simple two-guitars-and-drummer metal band in which Chuck was a guitarist), and originally consisted of Chuck Schuldiner and his old Mantas bandmates Rick Rozz (guitars) and Kam Lee (drums). The band's first release was the demo tape Death By Metal, which was recorded on an old tape recorder in Schuldiner's mother's garage. At this point of time, it would have seemed ridiculous to think that this tiny project would eventually become one of the most influential metal bands of all time.

Scream Bloody Gore

From 1984 to 1987, the band underwent a number of lineup changes because Schuldiner wasn't getting along with his old bandmates, although Death kept a steady stream of demo tapes coming out. One of these demo tapes was Mutilation, recorded while Chuck briefly lived in Toronto, Canada, where he had access to a decent studio. It was there he first met bassist Steve DiGiorgio, who would become a close friend of his, and would later be featured on two Death records. A small record label (Combat Records) eventually got hold of Mutilation, and offered Schuldiner a deal. He eagerly accepted, and in March 1987, Death released its first album, Scream Bloody Gore. SBG featured a two-man lineup consisting of Chuck Schuldiner on guitars, vocal and bass and Chris Reifert on drums and a crude, enormously heavy sound. Schuldiner's vocal style, the characteristic "death grunt" for which he became famous, took its form on this album. The lyrics were excessively morbid and brutal (and highly politically incorrect), and were based on bad 80's gore flicks the two young men had seen. The two parted ways on friendly terms shortly afterwards, and Reifert went on to form his own band, Autopsy.

Leprosy

In 1988, Death released its second album, Leprosy. Leprosy featured a full lineup (Chuck Schuldiner on vocals and guitar, Rick Rozz on guitar, Bill Andrews on drums and Terry Butler on bass). It contained some of the songs that would develop into Death classics, notably including "Pull The Plug" which would become the song Death would end every single one of its later concerts with. Unfortunately, Rick Rozz and Chuck Schuldiner still had a strained relationship, and Rozz was kicked out of Death shortly after the end of the Leprosy tour. The sound on the album was less primitive than the Scream Bloody Gore one, although it has often been criticized because Rick Rozz apparently can't leave his guitar's whammy bar alone. The drums appear to be heavily inspired from early 80's heavy metal, while the bass follows the formula used by Schuldiner himself on Scream Bloody Gore.

Spiritual Healing

The next album of the band, 1990's Spiritual Healing, saw the debut of lead guitarist James Murphy, who would later become famous for his melodic and technically advanced soloing style. The lineup for Spiritual Healing consisted of Chuck Schuldiner, James Murphy and the rhythm section featured on Leprosy. The sound of the album differed much from the two earlier releases in that it was the first Death album to feature clean production, as well as a marked increase in musical complexity. It is also the first Death album where it is possible to hear the hyperspeed soloing style that became Schuldiner's trademark taking form. James Murphy didn't last long in Death, leaving the band shortly before it was scheduled to go on a US tour. Personal struggles followed, as the other band members decided to go on a tour of Europe against Schuldiner's wishes. Schuldiner was kicked out of the band that he himself had formed, and replaced with former Devastation drummer Louie Carrisalez for vocals and Walter Trachsler for guitar. During their Europe tour (in which they played as a support act for German thrash legends Kreator), his former bandmates started spreading a number of false rumours about him. Some claimed he had started a glam poodle rock band, others claimed he was in a mental asylum. When they returned, Schuldiner took legal action to get his band name back. He won the case, but by 1991, he was left with a band with no members. Bill Andrews faded into obscurity, Terry Butler would go on to play the bass in Six Feet Under, and James Murphy would end up becoming a very succesful session musician, playing guitars for Obituary, Testament, Konkhra, Cancer and a moderately successful solo project.

Human

Determined to rise again, Chuck Schuldiner decided that he would only recruit band members who he also trusted on a personal level. Contacting his friends Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert (who played guitars and drums in the bizarre death metal/jazz-fusion cross-over band Cynic) and his old studio mate and close friend Steve DiGiorgio (who played the bass in Sadus), Schuldiner put together an entirely new Death lineup which was considerably more technically gifted than the former ones. In mid-1991, the band releases an album named Human (released by Sony-owned Relativity Records), which featured a completely different sound than its predecessors. The guitar work by both Schuldiner and Masvidal was nothing short of stellar, and drummer Sean Reinert was the first Death drummer to bring extremely fast-paced double bass drum work to the band. Unfortunately, bad production led to DiGiorgio's bass lines being drowned out in most of the album. The morbid lyrics had largely been replaced with social commentary. Following the Human tour "The Inhuman Tour Of The World", the band parted ways on good terms. Reinert and Masvidal returned to Cynic, although DiGiorgio would stay with Schuldiner for one more album. Death's first video, "Lack of Comprehension", was produced for the Human album.

Individual Thought Patterns

Finding musicians to replace the talents of the likes of Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal is not an easy task, but the eventual result of Schuldiner's long search for their replacements led to Death's first and only "all stars" release, 1993's Individual Thought Patterns. On second guitar, he recruited King Diamond's guitarist Andy LaRocque, as well as Dark Angel drummer Gene Hoglan to pound the skins. Individual Thought Patterns is by many fans regarded to be the peak of Death: The drumming performance was nothing short of excellent, both guitars pumped out enormously complex riffs and solos, and Steve DiGiorgio's five thick strings rang out loud and clear. It was the first death metal album ever to feature a fretless bass, an instrument more commonly associated with jazz. Lyrically, the album followed in the footsteps of Human, consisting largely of philosophical and social commentary.

After the Individual Thought Patterns tour, the band once again broke up, also on good terms. Hoglan stayed with Death for one more recording, but Andy LaRocque and Steve DiGiorgio had commitments with their other bands. Both would become highly influential session musicians, LaRocque (who was also a producer who practically lived in his studio) being featured on a large number of Swedish death metal albums. DiGiorgio would go on to play bass in Testament, Autopsy, Control Denied, Vintersorg, Dragonlord, Iced Earth and many others.

Symbolic

Recruiting his old high school friend, the jazz-fusion and heavy metal guitarist Bobby Koelble for guitars, as well as Kelly Conlon (yet another male metalhead with a girl's name) on the bass, Death's 1995 release Symbolic was nothing short of a total redefinition of the death metal genre. Intensely melodic and technical, it can basically be described as some strange form of progressive jazz-fusion played through distortion and with the speed of death metal. Schuldiner's vocal style changed from the low, guttural "death grunt" to a somewhat higher, more hiss-like voice. More importantly, Death left Relativity Records and Sony Music behind, because Schuldiner said that the recording industry was intent on controlling his music. Symbolic was released by the less-traditional label Roadrunner Records (which is, however, an RIAA member). After the release of Symbolic, the lineup broke up, since all members had responsibilities elsewhere. I don't know what Conlon and Koelble have been doing since then, but Hoglan has been a very successful drummer and has performed in Testament as well as some of Devin Townsend's projects, notably including the maniacal hybrid metal band Strapping Young Lad.

The Sound of Perseverence

The last Death studio album, 1998's "The Sound of Perseverence" was released by the independent label Nuclear Blast Records. The lineup consisted of Schuldiner on vocals and guitars, Scott Clendenin on bass, Shannon Hamm on guitar and Richard Christy on drums. Also going in more progressive directions, the compositional style of The Sound of Perseverance is highly symphonic, and it is obvious that classical music had the same influence on this album as jazz had on Symbolic. While the three other members were more or less completely unknown, the TSoP lineup nevertheless managed to pump out some of the most advanced music Death ever created. Richard Christy's drumming performance was easily as fast as both Hoglan's and Reinert's, and while his style was different (characterized as it is by very heavy use of cymbals), he certainly wasn't worse. As a side project, Chuck Schuldiner had formed a progressive metal band named Control Denied (in which he played the guitar), and both Hamm and Christy would also perform in that band (the Control Denied bass was handled by Steve DiGiorgio, although Scott Clendenin had composed some of it). The TSoP lineup did several tours and played at several metal festivals, and was possibly the most stable of all the Death lineups.

The end of Death

In 1999, Chuck Schuldiner left a jam session with a bad pain in the upper part of his neck. Believing he had strained a muscle, he visited a doctor and was diagnosed with a severe tumor in his brain stem. Financially ruined because of legal battles with the recording industry after he left the RIAA labels behind, he was unable to afford treatments for his disease. In 2001, Nuclear Blast Records started the Charles Schuldiner Medical Trust Fund, an attempt to rake in enough cash for Schuldiner to have the medical treatment he needed, and the label released two live albums ("Live in L.A.: Death and Raw" and "Live in Eindhoven"), both of which saw the profit donated to the fund. In late november 2001, the fund finally managed to raise enough money for Schuldiner to have his surgery, but by then, it was already too late. He died in his bed on December 13th 2001, two weeks after undergoing attempted treatment. Death was no more, although the band left a musical legacy that can't be denied. Their influence can be heard in just about every single band in the harder end of heavy metal.

Discography

  1. Scream Bloody Gore (1987)
  2. Leprosy (1988)
  3. Spiritual Healing (1990)
  4. Human (1991)
  5. Fate (compilation, 1992)
  6. Individual Thought Patterns (1993)
  7. Symbolic (1995)
  8. The Sound of Perseverance (1998)
  9. Live in L.A.: Death and Raw (2001)
  10. Live in Eindhoven (2001)

References

  • http://www.emptywords.org/BAND.htm
  • http://www.emptywords.org/PAST.htm

Death (?), n. [OE. deth, dea, AS. de�xa0;; akin to OS. d, D. dood, G. tod, Icel. daui, Sw. & Dan. dod, Goth. daupus; from a verb meaning to die. See Die, v. i., and cf. Dead.]

1.

The cessation of all vital phenomena without capability of resuscitation, either in animals or plants.

Local death is going on at times and in all parts of the living body, in which individual cells and elements are being cast off and replaced by new; a process essential to life. General death is of two kinds; death of the body as a whole (somatic or systemic death), and death of the tissues. By the former is implied the absolute cessation of the functions of the brain, the circulatory and the respiratory organs; by the latter the entire disappearance of the vital actions of the ultimate structural constituents of the body. When death takes place, the body as a whole dies first, the death of the tissues sometimes not occurring until after a considerable interval. Huxley.

2.

Total privation or loss; extinction; cessation; as, the death of memory.

The death of a language can not be exactly compared with the death of a plant. J. Peile.

3.

Manner of dying; act or state of passing from life.

A death that I abhor. Shak.

Let me die the death of the righteous. Num. xxiii. 10.

4.

Cause of loss of life.

Swiftly flies the feathered death. Dryden.

He caught his death the last county sessions. Addison.

5.

Personified: The destroyer of life, -- conventionally represented as a skeleton with a scythe.

Death! great proprietor of all. Young.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that at on him was Death. Rev. vi. 8.

6.

Danger of death.

"In deaths oft."

2 Cor. xi. 23.

7.

Murder; murderous character.

Not to suffer a man of death to live. Bacon.

8. Theol.

Loss of spiritual life.

To be m is death. Rom. viii. 6.

9.

Anything so dreadful as to be like death.

It was death to them to think of entertaining such doctrines. Atterbury.

And urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. Judg. xvi. 16.

Death is much used adjectively and as the first part of a compound, meaning, in general, of or pertaining to death, causing or presaging death; as, deathbed or death bed; deathblow or death blow, etc.

Black death. See Black death, in the Vocabulary. -- Civil death, the separation of a man from civil society, or the debarring him from the enjoyment of civil rights, as by banishment, attainder, abjuration of the realm, entering a monastery, etc. Blackstone. -- Death adder. Zool. (a) A kind of viper found in South Africa (Acanthophis tortor); -- so called from the virulence of its venom. (b) A venomous Australian snake of the family Elapidae, of several species, as the Hoplocephalus superbus and Acanthopis antarctica. -- Death bell, a bell that announces a death.

The death bell thrice was heard to ring. Mickle.

-- Death candle, a light like that of a candle, viewed by the superstitious as presaging death. -- Death damp, a cold sweat at the coming on of death. -- Death fire, a kind of ignis fatuus supposed to forebode death.

And round about in reel and rout, The death fires danced at night. Coleridge.

-- Death grapple, a grapple or struggle for life. -- Death in life, a condition but little removed from death; a living death. [Poetic] "Lay lingering out a five years' death in life." Tennyson. -- Death knell, a stroke or tolling of a bell, announcing a death. -- Death rate, the relation or ratio of the number of deaths to the population.

At all ages the death rate is higher in towns than in rural districts. Darwin.

-- Death rattle, a rattling or gurgling in the throat of a dying person. -- Death's door, the boundary of life; the partition dividing life from death. -- Death stroke, a stroke causing death. -- Death throe, the spasm of death. -- Death token, the signal of approaching death. -- Death warrant. (a) Law An order from the proper authority for the execution of a criminal. (b) That which puts an end to expectation, hope, or joy. -- Death wound. (a) A fatal wound or injury. (b) Naut. The springing of a fatal leak. -- Spiritual death Scripture, the corruption and perversion of the soul by sin, with the loss of the favor of God. -- The gates of death, the grave.

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Job xxxviii. 17.

-- The second death, condemnation to eternal separation from God. Rev. ii. 11. -- To be the death of, to be the cause of death to; to make die. "It was one who should be the death of both his parents." Milton.

Syn. -- Death, Decrase, Departure, Release. Death applies to the termination of every form of existence, both animal and vegetable; the other words only to the human race. Decease is the term used in law for the removal of a human being out of life in the ordinary course of nature. Demise was formerly confined to decease of princes, but is now sometimes used of distinguished men in general; as, the demise of Mr. Pitt. Departure and release are peculiarly terms of Christian affection and hope. A violent death is not usually called a decease. Departure implies a friendly taking leave of life. Release implies a deliverance from a life of suffering or sorrow.

 

© Webster 1913.

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