Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interview with Romain Daste of Subset on Chuck Schuldiner!

So recently I had the pleasure of having Romain Daste of the excellent British group Subset answer some questions on Chuck Schuldiner for me. Suffice to say, I can't thank him enough for this and I hope you guys dig his responses as much as I did!

Can you talk a little bit about your experience with Chuck Schuldiners music?
I first heard Chuck's music when I was 19 after buying Death's Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance. I was in a death metal band at the time, in France. At first I didn't particularly liked the vocals on Symbolic but got used to it. On SoP it was bang on my thing. I was very impressed he could sing and play very complex guitar parts in the same time. and after researching into him i realized the guy had worked hard all his life, very tolerant and opened up to many different musicians for each of his projects and that's how I saw music and being in a band at the time. Not only the music touched me (hit me I should say) but the musician ethos was right into what I believed in. Guitar wise Chuck's work blew me away on Zero Tolerance, Crystal Mountain and Empty Words. On SoP Chuck's guitars totally obsessed me, Scavengers' 10-seconds intro became a benchmark for technical guitar intro from the onset of an album to me, a melodic shredding like that will remain in music history. The Spirit Crusher's rhythm has been massive influence to me too, especially the flow changes, the 'kitchen battle' drumming exploding from to time, it's such an entertaining track. When I moved to England and worked with Rob our guitarist in Subset Rob was a huge fan too and we would spend loads of time debating what are our favorite Chuck songs, compare the screaming techniques and so on. Rob is a fan of Chuck's earlier work, a lot more traditional death metal with thrash influence. I could go on forever on this so I'll stop there.

How do you think it evolved lyrically over the course of his career? (1984-2001)
I think his lyrics became a lot more embedded into the music he wrote and performed. I'm not a fan again of his work before Symbolic. Lyrically I love Spirit Crusher, the spelling, the diction and the performance on the record does make one feel Chuck is the Spirit Crusher or he's experienced the Spirit Crusher. Same on Scavenger Of Sorrow, every words he sings with 'S's in it slice and mince your brain like a knife. To me Chuck was at his best lyrically at the end of the Death experience. I love the song titles he picked up, like 'Scream Bloody Gore', it does what it says on the tin. I love the way Chuck got very good at writing precisely in concrete ways about very abstract common notions like on 'Empty Words' and Symbolic', stuff like 'The change to come was undetectable, The open wounds expose the importance of Our innocence', or 'When visions that should be Are tattooed in your mind the power to let go is sometimes hard to find'. Chuck wrote with the authority of experience and the hesitation of humility.

How do you think Schuldiners guitar playing evolved over the course of his career?
Chuck's first albums in Death were brutal guitar riffs constantly accelerated to thrash tempos in minor scales. it matched the purpose and the time was totally new. then things moved on. Chuck had to express more than anger or horror. I personally think he reached his peakk on The Sound of Perseverance with guitar solos both melodic, tormented, technically challenging with insane shredding, but he would also go into breaks and long tapping sections for ambiance purposes. in the 80s Chuck invented, in the 90s he perfected.

How do you think Schuldiners growling style evolved over the course of his career?
To me Chuck's growling technique at the beginning was guttural at best or merely without control (maybe on purpose). My opinion is again on his last Death album he reached the top. Chuck could both scream high pitch with a fading throaty tone like he was being tortured but also take an authoritative stand, letting his 's' and 'sh' again ultra sharp and long. His best growls to be are on Spirit Crusher.

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