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Chuck Schuldiner, the “Godfather” of Death Metal

Chuck Schuldiner

Drawing Courtesy of John Coyne

Chuck Schuldiner

John Coyne, Staff Writer

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When Chuck was just sixteen years old he formed the first real death metal band ever, “Mantas,” which would later become the most famous death metal band, “Death,” and little did he know, he would create one of the greatest legacies of all metal musicians of all times. He was very humble about having the label “The Godfather of Death Metal” on him, saying, “I don’t think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. I’m just a guy from a band, and I think Death is a metal band.” Like a true death metaller, he was known to like all forms of music except country and rap. But what’s most important is the fact that he was influenced by many metal bands to create the most brutal subgenre of heavy metal. He was inspired by “Slayer,” “Celtic Frost,” “Possessed,” and “Mercyful Fate” for his earlier albums 1987’s Scream Bloody Gore, 1988’s Leprosy, 1990’s Spiritual Healing, and 1991’s Human, but later he started using progressive metal influences as well as 80’s power metal influences, especially inspired by the band 80’s power/progressive metal band “Watchtower.” These influences were especially apparent in his last album 1998’s Sound of Perseverance, where 7-minute-long songs were common. Sadly, on his 32nd birthday in 1999, Chuck was diagnosed with brain cancer. He immediately underwent radiation which worked and had surgery to remove the rest of his tumor which also worked. Yet two years later the cancer came back, and he died. On December 13, 2001, Chuck’s memorial service was held. Dave Grohl of the “Foo Fighters” and “Nirvana,” Mike Patton of “Faith No More” and “Mr. Bungle,” Max Cavalera of “Sepultura,” King Diamond of “Mercyful Fate,” Ville Valo of “HIM,” Trey Azagthoth of “Morbid Angel,” Glen Benton of “Deicide,” Jason Newsted of “Metallica,” and Corey Taylor of “Slipknot” all attended. This shows just how influential Schuldiner was and how many people he influenced, even beyond metal like Dave Grohl and Ville Valo. It has been seventeen years since Chuck’s death, but his music has not been lost for a moment in time and has influenced every new death metal album in some way.  

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