"The statement above (the title) describes the lyrics of the album, which involve Chuck's views on various social issues such as the death penalty, cloning, and vigilante justice among other things. Due to this the lyrics are a step forward from the clichéd gore lyrics that were present on the first two albums. Along with the lyrics, the music took a change in direction on this album, beginning to go in a more technical direction with less focus on brutality, (a style which would later be explored further in Human and the future albums to a much greater extent) and although most of the past brutality remained, there was a step up in the quality of the song writing, along with improved musicianship, which was complemented with more complex riffing, many (meaningful) tempo changes throughout the album, and better guitar solos. And the addition of James Murphy as a second guitarist didn't hurt, either. The production gets the job done, but is somewhat flawed. The good aspects are that it's relatively clear, but not so too clean for a death metal album, nor does it sound sterile, the bass is too low in the mix, though. The main problem in the production is with the drums which are pushed too far back resulting in some of the potential power of the album being lost.
Personally, I find this album to be highly under-rated; even though it was a landmark for Death it lives in the shadow of the next album, Human. However it's also a great album.
The album starts off with Living Monstrosity, which is a great opening track. A very aggressive, high speed intro leading into Chuck's unique growling vocals, and then switches between mid and high speed riffing, leading into dueling solos by James and Chuck about half-way through the song, before reverting back to the pattern that the song started in, and all of this is topped off with socially conscious lyrics about drug addiction.
Altering The Future is next, one of the highlights of the album musically and lyrically, this song relies primarily on mid-paced riffs, up until Chuck comes out with a solo, which is followed with a faster one by James, then once again reverts back to the riffing style that was in the beginning of the song. It's hard to say exactly what makes it a stand out, so the best thing I can say is to listen for yourself.
Next up is Defensive Personalities, one of the weaker songs on the album, although it's not a bad song, it simply doesn`t stand out, it has good drumming, riffs, and solos, but it just doesn't have anything that makes it stand out from the rest of the album.
Within The Mind is similar, however, somewhat more memorable.
Next up is the center piece of the album, the epic title track, and the highlight of the album: Spiritual Healing. A slow, epic sounding riff opens up the song, which shifts up into a higher tempo, more aggressive riffing, and vocals come in. From this point the song continues on at the same pace, until settling back down into the slower riff, and then two solos emerge around the four minute mark. Afterwards, the song reverts back to a very slow paced riffing, until another tempo change, which leads back into the faster riffs from earlier, which the nearly eight minute long epic ends on.
Low Life, is the next track, and is a very aggressive and angry song with more great riffing and six solos in a row, plus some clichéd but well written lyrics, making it another highlight of the album.
And now, as the album nears a close Genetic Reconstruction is up, with a very interesting mid tempo riff leading into the song, until another tempo change comes along, while Chuck spews out lyrics about cloning and it's affects on a fantasy. This, like every other song on the album (they tend to follow a pattern), leads into some good guitar solos by both James and Chuck, and then going back into the riffing, the bass coming through yet again, until the song ends with a mid-paced riff.
The final song is Killing Spree, with lyrics dealing with school shootings. The song employs very aggressive riffing, although it slows down into mid-tempo as a set up for the two solos, which then reverts back to the aggressive ending before, until the end of the song, which bookends the album nicely.
If you're looking for an under-appreciated classic in early death metal, give this album a try."
As good as it gets
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I agree that every album of Death is special, except unsuccessful, weak debut album. But Spiritual Healing, in my opinion, is the best work that Chuck Schuldiner and his companions ever produced. Spiritual Healing contains my favorite songs of this band: "altering the future" and "within the mind", and by the way, simply, due to this album I started to listen death-metal music [long time ago]. Playing with James Murphy, Death sound with more consonance than before. Believe me, killing riffs with awesome solos bring you the peak of unearthly pleasure. This album is full of intellectual music and just of beautiful melodies. Lyrics performed in smooth verse, which are very attractive. Schuldiner showed to the whole world how pretty death-metal music sounds, think that none of the bands have the same high-level album in this style."
Dylz | New Jersey | 06/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Spiritual Healing is oftentimes seen as the black sheep of the Death catalogue. It doesn't seem to have it's place anywhere. There are the first two Death albums, Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy which show the original, raw and heavy side of Death. Then there are Symbolic, Human, Individual Thought Patterns and The Sound of Perseverence which display a very heavy and technical side to death.
In between these two phases of Death lies Spiritual Healing, Death's third offerening. It's rather a transition album. Instead of Chuck writing about horror and gore, he starts talking about more wordly and political issues. The musicianship also starts to change a bit. Chucks voice becomes a little bit higher as displayed in the latter generation of Death albums and everything becomes more technical.
This album is a great album and it is seemingly ignored by most. The fact is that the musicianship has improved since Leprosy and all of the songs are Killer tracks.
Basically, Spiritual Healing is a cross between Leprosy and Human, and it is great. This is probably the hardest to find of all Death albums, so get it if you come across it."
A hint at future greatness
Pennington Loomis | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With their first two albums, Death established themselves as death metal pioneers. Their sound was raw and brutal, but with Spiritual Healing, they proved that there was more than meets the eye when it came to their music. Here, the band begins to add a bit more depth to their music and lyrics. There is a bit more melody as well, which would pave the way for their more progressive albums in the next few years.
We get off to an amazing start with Living Monstrosity. This is probably one of my favorite Death songs. I love the riffs in this song, and that melodic section around two minutes in is wonderful indeed. Definitely a hint at the melodies on their future albums! Amazing solos as well, with James Murphy taking Rick Rozz's place, the solos got about ten times better. My favorite lines are "Never knowing love or hate/ Only pain the drug creates." Now that is powerful. Altering the Future moves at a bit of a slower pace. However the song does pick up a bit around the middle and the solos are very melodic on here. Read the lyrics and you can tell how much better the songwriting is on here. Defensive Personalities picks up the pace. There is some killer drum work on this song. About two minutes in, there is a killer melodic section with more awesome solos. Spiritual Healing is the "epic" of the album, it clocks in at over seven minutes. It starts off with some killer riffs with a bit of melody thrown in. At first, the song has a slow pace but it soon picks up and gets heavier. The solos on this one are f*cking intense. They go on for about a whole minute! You gotta hear Chuck when he sings "No changing your mind, your life you should PAAAAAAY!" Truly a sickening scream. Low Life is a dark and angry song. Think of someone that you really hate and dedicate this song to them! It starts off with a very catchy riff. You can really hear the anger in Chuck's voice on this one, especially when he pulls off those unsettling screams. Now that is what I call power! I like when Chuck growls "A pathetic excuse for a human being." And then the catchy riff that started the song is played again.
Within the Mind begins with an odd and somewhat melodic riff. This song moves at a bit of a slower pace. Chuck gives off some more incredible screams and the solos have somewhat of a sad, emotional feeling. Genetic Reconstruction is another cool metal song with heavy riffs and some more fantastic solos (are we sensing a pattern yet?) A very haunting song, or at least it is to me. Killing Spree closes the album. It is a dark and heavy song, possibly the heaviest song on this album. The lyrics to this song are very sombre, but with a song called Killing Spree, what would you expect? The lines "Getting bored with his current life/ Rearranging with a knife." seem to stick with me. The solos on here are some of the best, very emotional indeed, you have to hear them. A very unsettling closing song.
This is a terrific album that really needs to be heard! It paved the way for future masterpieces such as Symbolic. Here, the band didn't go for all out brutality like they did with Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy. They focused more on the riffs and threw in some (GASP!) melody. Or maybe I should say that Chuck focused more on riffs and melodies because we all know he was the creative force in this band. In 1990, there wasn't a whole lot of death metal that sounded like this. This album truly was ahead of its time. I would definitely recommend Spiritual Healing to metalheads worldwide. Combine all of this with the fact that you have James Murphy on here, and you have yourself one hell of a metal album!
It is so unfair that we had to lose Chuck..... "
A Death Metal Classic
D. Grant | Bridgewater, New Jersey United States | 10/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Technically, Spiritual Healing cannot hold a candle to the amazing Death albums that would come after it, but I find it just as pleasent to listen to. For me, this album is just a classic. It defines what straight up Death metal should sound like. When the double bass kicks in on "Defensive Personalities" I just get goosebumps. Every riff on this album is just pure classic death metal. There are plenty of other bands recongnizable as death metal, but this is what I'd play if someone asked me what the sub genre sounds like. There are a lot of other things to like here too. There are Chucks vocals which are in top form. You won't find better death vox anywhere than the title track. Plus, as always, Chuck's classic vocals can actually be understood! Then there are the lyrics which show class and maturity. Especially "Within The Mind", which is a great song to show the lyrics to without even playing. No one would ever dream those lyrics would be connected with the ultra creepy heavy music on that track. In short, album has a classic sound that defines death metal and yet it shatters the negative stereotypes people have about it. Best of all, when I listen to it, I know that Chuck hadn't even warmed up yet. There were still 5 more amazing albums to come that would make this effort look like it was done by a garage band. When brain cancer claimed Chuck, we may have lost the foremost musical geneous of the last 25 years. He's gone, but he left a truly awesome musical legacy behind. RIP Chuck."