After two landmark albums that helped establish death metal as a distinct genre, Schuldiner was looking to combine the brutality of death metal with technical virtuosity, thereby giving death metal a new level of musical respectability that had been largely been lacking up to that point.
The new musical direction required a lineup change, as guitarist James Murphy was brought in to replace Rick Rozz. Murphy would later go on to be an instantly recognizable, highly respected figure in the Florida death metal scene, and Spiritual Healing played a big role in establishing Murphy as a desired musician to have in the fold. As they say, the rest is death metal history.
Relapse Records’ re-treatment of Spiritual Healing is a sight to behold, coming in multiple formats as a two or three CD release. The first disc is a completely remastered version of the album, and is partnered with extensive liner notes penned by Murphy and the Schuldiner family.
The second CD includes rehearsals, studio outtakes, and even a few joke tracks occurring between Schuldiner and his bandmates. In a very limited deluxe release, the third CD contains a rare live performance from 1990 featuring the Spiritual Healing lineup, as well as featuring a few rough cuts of material for the follow up album, Human.
If there ever was a time for you to upgrade your collection of Death albums, the continuing reissues from Relapse Records will either convince you to do so, or nothing else will.
(released November 20, 2012 on Relapse Records)