The dominant sentient life form* on planet Earth. Being merely sentient is what Gerald Edelman would call primary-order consciousness. Alfred Korzybski jokingly called it Fido-mind, since it's more or less the overlap of experience between us and a dog. Edelman's term for what humans (and dolphins, chimps and gorillas, yes, and I'd even add elephants) uniquely have is higher-order consciousness. Korzybski would describe this same phenomenon as the ability to perform abstractions, pointing to Bertrand Russell's concept of logical type. The pinnacle of such higher-order or rational consciousness is of course language.

Gorillas are only just barely rational creatures. You can teach them primitive sign language, and what they then have really is rational thought, but at the level of a severely-retarded five year old at best. An enhanced vocality is what projects humans (and dolphins) from other primates by leaps and bounds. With our more complex vocalisations and gestures (even this typing being an extention of my gestures), we have evolved to become profoundly social creatures. Which is why I kind of resent the notion that noding is a dubious distinction--to node is human! Seriously, neural networks make us conscious and social networks make us human. (Off my soapbox...)


(*Thank you, graceness, that tightens things up nicely! A wonderful example of how the social nature of humans enhances the quality of life of each of its members!)

Description, Style and Sound

"Human" was the fourth studio album by Death. Death had undergone quite a major line-up change for this album. Following the release of their third album Spiritual Healing, the other members of Death kicked out Chuck Schuldiner (who was the band's founder, apart from his role as its vocalist, lead guitarist, composer, songwriter and indeed the only member who'd been in Death since the band started as a two-piece between him and drummer Chris Reifert) and went on a Europe tour without him. Schuldiner took legal action, since he legally possessed the rights for the band name due to the fact that he was the only remaining founding member.

Musically, the slightly primitive sound found on Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy and Spiritual Healing had been changed in favour of a more polished sound, with more creative use of effects on the guitars. It is also quite obvious that the Human lineup consists of more technically gifted musicians than the previous releases. The lyrical morbidity had been toned down considerably (perhaps because of Schuldiner's philosophical development, perhaps because the album was released by a major label). The composition work on Human is impressive, and the combination of death metal with melodious, atmospheric sequences works well. Human also features the first all-instrumental track by Death, the 4:28 minute atmospheric Cosmic Sea. Schuldiner's ludicrous speed soloing style was also clearly approaching its peak.

Line-up

  • Chuck Schuldiner (lead and rhythm guitars)
  • Paul Masvidal (lead and rhythm guitars)
  • Sean Reinert (drums)
  • Steve DiGiorgio (bass)

Both Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert came from the progressive metal band Cynic, and Steve DiGiorgio played the fretless bass in the thrash metal band Sadus. Human marked the beginning of what Death would be in the remaining years the band existed -- basically, a solo project for Schuldiner, with varying accompanying artists. Understandably, Schuldiner had become wary of playing together with people he didn't trust on a personal level. The entire Human lineup consists of people who also happened to be personal friends of Schuldiner.

Following the release tour of Human, the lineup parted ways (on friendly terms, unlike the previous Death lineups), and Masvidal and Reinert went back to Cynic. DiGiorgio would play on Death's next release, Individual Thought Patterns (and later return to play with Schuldiner on Control Denied's album The Fragile Art of Existence).

Tracklist:

  1. Flattening of Emotion
  2. Suicide Machine
  3. Together as One
  4. Secret Face
  5. Lack of Comprehension
  6. See Through Dreams
  7. Cosmic Sea
  8. Vacant Planets

Release Information

1991, Relativity Records / Sony Music.

Schuldiner would later consider signing with that particular label a big mistake since it effectively meant giving away total control over his own music.

Hu"man (?), a. [L. humanus; akin to homo man: cf. F. humain. See Homage, and cf. Humane, Omber.]

Belonging to man or mankind; having the qualities or attributes of a man; of or pertaining to man or to the race of man; as, a human voice; human shape; human nature; human sacrifices.

To err is human; to forgive, divine. Pope.

 

© Webster 1913.


Hu"man, n.

A human being.

[Colloq.]

Sprung of humans that inhabit earth. Chapman.

We humans often find ourselves in strange position. Prof. Wilson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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