Death : Leprosy

Leprosy DeathThere are a hell of a lot of albums being re-issued/re packaged/remastered all the time. Some labels seem to be living off that practice and their re-issues get more fanfare than their new releases get.

Some albums are genuinely worth celebrating however, and Death’s ‘Leprosy’ more than deserves the ultra-deluxe treatment it’s received here from Relapse Records. Try the top-line vinyl box set for example:

“The remastered core Leprosy album on exclusive coloured vinyl; a 2nd LP containing unreleased rehearsal material from the Leprosy sessions housed in an exclusive jacket with original flyer art on exclusive coloured vinyl; an exact replication of the original Combat newspaper print LP insert, and; a Leprosy turntable slipmat.”


Anyway, the core album itself needs no introduction. The album cover alone is one of the most iconic heavy metal images out there. The second album from Death laid down the blue-print for Death Metal; adding some true brutality and raw aggression to what the big Thrash icons of the time (1988) were doing. We’ve a lot to thank them for really, but let’s not get soppy.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of this album, stop reading this and go to your local streaming site and hit up ‘Leprosy’, ‘Open Casket’ and ‘Pull the Plug’. Then come back, we’ll still be here.

So, the album is a fantastic example of some early Death Metal. It’s been remastered by Alan Douches to bring it a little more up-to-date, but not over polished; a large part of this albums attraction is the primitive rawness and energy. You lose that and you’re missing the point. He’s done a splendid job, it certainly hasn’t lost any magic.

Depending on which package you opt for, you’ll get a varying amount of bonus material too.

First up there’s fifty minutes of previously unheard rehearsal material. It goes without saying that this is for the more seasoned Death fan but there is plenty to get your teeth into. The footage is raw, it hisses in places and rattles and vibrates in others, but the sheer aggression on display is captivating. The primitive sounding recordings capture a band working out the ideas that would go on to inspire and spawn a whole sub-genre of heavy metal. Pretty special when you think about it that way.

Finally there’s the live material. Again, very raw recordings but once again capturing the band delivering some relentless material. It’s bootleg quality at best but then that adds to it really. There is enough smoothly polished computer-precise Death Metal knocking around these days if that’s what you want. This is another warts ‘n all look into the birth of a truly great and inspirational band, and the odd crackle and pop can’t spoil that.

A meticulous effort has been put in to give this album the full works and it seems to be a success. A vast array of packages and bundles ensure that nobody is left wanting. A monumental album given the treatment it deserves.