Roundtable: Death's 'Leprosy' (35 Years Later)
Death's second album Leprosy was released on this day in 1988, 35 year ago. (November 16th, 1988)
For our inaugural episode of Roundtable, where we pick one topic monthly and discuss as a group, we look back at on of death metal's best albums. Join our Editor In Chief Jake along with writers Pete and D. Rodriguez as they take a look back at ‘Leprosy’.
Celebrating 35 years of relentless impact, Lambgoat's latest roundtable discussion dives into the depths of Death's seminal album, "Leprosy." With Jake from Lambgoat moderating, staff writers Pete Carparts and David join the conversation, dissecting the album's enduring legacy and its profound influence on the death metal genre.
Regarded as a cornerstone in death metal, "Leprosy" is revered for its groundbreaking approach. As Jake puts it, “This album deserves all the love and all the praise we can heap upon it.” Released as Death's second studio album, it showcased an evolutionary leap in terms of intensity and complexity from its predecessor "Scream Bloody Gore."
Pete Carparts vividly recounts his first encounter with "Leprosy," describing it as an album that “sounded just absolutely pissed off and so aggressive.” This sentiment echoes throughout the discussion, as David reflects on his late discovery of Death, emphasizing how the album’s “raw, raucous death metal sound” left a lasting impression.
The participants delve into a detailed analysis of each track. They discuss "Leprosy," the title track, as a bold opener and a statement piece, with Pete noting its ability to put “a looming sense of dread” on the listener. Similarly, "Pull the Plug" is highlighted as perhaps the band's most iconic song, with its chilling narrative and memorable lines like "Life ends so fast, so take your chance and make it last.”
Themes and Lyrics:
An in-depth look at the album’s themes reveals a transition from the explicit gore of "Scream Bloody Gore" to more introspective and metaphorical content in "Leprosy." The roundtable participants highlight the album's exploration of topics like societal outcasts and existential fears, with David noting how "Left to Die" could be interpreted as an “anti-war song” due to its vivid and horrific imagery.
Influence and Legacy:
The roundtable unanimously agrees on "Leprosy’s" significant influence on the death metal genre. Pete observes how the album’s themes and sound have been echoed in modern bands, stating, “You can’t help but think about movies like Cannibal Holocaust... this is just grotesque.”
The discussion also praises the album's production quality. Pete admires the “glued together sound,” emphasizing the album’s cohesive nature, which he believes sets it apart from other records of the era.
In concluding the discussion, Jake reiterates the timeless nature of "Leprosy," describing it as a definitive death metal album that still feels fresh and immediate. The roundtable session underscores Lambgoat's deep respect for Death's "Leprosy," acknowledging it as a foundational album that continues to inspire and influence the metal community 35 years after its release.
If you are looking for more Leprosy content, Jake did a deep dive in our retrospective piece posted earlier. You can read that here.