Although he did not like the title, he is with no doubt "The Godfather of death metal"! here are some interesting facts about Chuck Schuldiner.
(Photo: Catherine McGann)
1. Chuck Schuldiner was born Charles Schuldine on May 13, 1967, in Long Island, New York.
2. His father Mal Schuldiner was the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants. His mother Jane Schuldiner was from the American South and had converted to Judaism.
3. When he was 1 year old his family moved to Florida.
4. Schuldiner started playing guitar at the age of 9.
5. He was originally inspired by "Black Sabbath", "Judas Priest", "Iron Maiden", "Kiss" Billy Idol and classical jazz.
6. Later he was influenced by "Slayer", "Celtic Frost", "Possessed", "Mercyful Fate", King Diamond and "Metallica".
7. He also cited French band "Sortilège" and Prog-Metal bands such as "Watchtower", "Coroner" and "Queensrÿche" as an influence.
8. In the early 1980s, when he was just 16, Chuck formed his first band, called "Mantas", which later became "Death".
9. In January 1986, he moved to Toronto for a short time and joined "Slaughter".
10. Schuldiner soon came back to Florida and reformed "Death", which released it's debut album - "Scream Bloody Gore," in 1987. It is considered one of the first Death Metal albums.
(Photo: Catherine McGann)
11. Chuck was known for his innovative guitar playing and songwriting, which blended technical and progressive elements with brutal death metal. He was also a skilled vocalist, often switching between growled and clean singing.
12. "Death" continued to release highly influential albums, such as "Leprosy" (1988) and "Spiritual Healing (1990), which was the first "Death's" album to show Schuldiner's lyrics moving away from the gore and horror themes to themes of society and real life horror, serial killers, drug addiction, genetic reconstruction and faith healers.
13. After "Spiritual Healing", Schuldiner stopped working with full-time band members, preferring to work with sessions musicians. This earned him the "perfectionist" reputation in the metal community.
14. in 1991 "Death" released its breakthrough album "Human" which saw Schuldiner evolving to a more technical and progressive style, displaying his guitar skills more than ever.
15. This progression continued in the next albums "Individual Thought Patterns" (1993) and "Symbolic" (1995) which was another breakthrough since Chuck managed to sign a record contract with "Roadrunner" releasing the latter album.
16. In 1993 Chuck formed "Voodoocult" - a Supergroup side project including Dave Lombardo of "Slayer" and Mille Petrozza of "Kreator". The band released one album, "Jesus Killing Machine," in 1994.
17. In 1996 Schuldiner signed a contract with "Nuclear Blast" to produce two albums as a side project, named "Control Denied".
18. "Control Denied" was based on the band members of "Death", but the band went more towards Progressive materials after Schulinder wanted to create more melodic music as well. To achieve this Schuldiner added Tim Aymar to sing more softly.
19. But then, Chuck decided to shift back to "Death" and worked on their seventh and last album "The Sound of Perseverance" (1998), where Some of the songs on the album where intended for "Control Denied".
20. "The Sound of Perseverance" becomes one of "Death's" greatest albums and one of the greatest Metal albums of all time. Schuldiner took all he did in the previous albums one step further, in a more melodic more progressive, but still very powerful direction.
21. After "The Sound of Perseverance" Chuck returned to "Control Denied" and released its only album "The Fragile Art of Existence" in 1999.
22. Schuldiner started working on a second "Control Denied" album, but then in 1999 a cancerous tumor was diagnosed in Shuldiner's brain.
23. Concerts and fundraising evenings were organized to help Shuldiner pay for medical treatment expenses, since he did not have medical insurance. He continued to work on music while undergoing treatment.
24. Schuldiner was even asked to be one of the guest vocalists on Dave Grohl's 2001 "Probot" project. Grohl, "Napalm Death", Ozzy Osbourne, and "Anthrax" were making efforts to raise funds for Schuldiner's medical bills, while Grohl trying to involve Schuldiner on an album.
25. Kid Rock, "Korn", "Red Hot Chili Peppers" and more, got together during the summer of 2001 to auction off personal items with the funds assisting Schuldiner's medical expenses.
26. Matt Heafy of "Trivium" also stated that the band had played a benefit show for Schuldiner while he was in the hospital.
27. Chuck passed away on December 13, 2001, at the age of 34, due to complications from pneumonia, leaving behind a big void.
28. Chuck's dedication to his craft and his perseverance in the face of illness have also inspired many fans and fellow musicians.
29. In 2019, a Chuck Schuldiner documentary titled "Death by Metal" was released, which chronicles his life and career.
30. Chuck's influence on the metal genre is still felt today, and he has been cited as an inspiration by many bands and musicians.
31. Since then Schuldiner's mother has been involved in perpetuating his memory and legacy to the metal world.
32. After Schuldiner's death a legal battle began on the rights to the material completed for the second "Control Denied" album, "When Man and Machine Collide". Demos of these unreleased "Control Denied" songs, as well as early "Death" demos and live recordings, were released in the "Zero Tolerance" two-part compilation bootlegs.
33. In 2002 "Kerrang!" magazine stated that "Chuck Schuldiner was one of the most significant figures in the history of metal".
34. In 2004 Chuck was ranked No.20 in "Guitar World's" "Greatest Metal Guitarists" list.
35. In 2009 Schuldiner was ranked No. 10 in Joel Mclver's book "The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists".