What would Death's extreme metal riffs sound like stripped of distortion?

It’s been 19 years since Chuck Schuldiner, leader of Florida death metal pioneers Death, succumbed to complications from brain cancer at the age of 34. But the singer and electric guitar player, often called the godfather of death metal, continues to influence and inspire guitarists to this day. 

For the most recent example, check out Leonardo Lux’s The Brilliance of Chuck Schuldiner video, in which the YouTuber takes the riffs from five Death songs – Without Judgement, Spirit Crusher, Flesh and the Power It Holds, Overactive Imagination and, our favorite, Crystal Mountain – and plays them with no distortion, demonstrating the craft and beauty at the heart of Schuldiner’s admittedly dark and aggressive style.

“The reason I recorded this video is simply to show the brilliance of Chuck’s guitar lines, how beautiful and melodic these riffs are and why I’m so influenced by them,” Lux explains.

“I’ve always loved playing these riffs without any distortion because of how beautiful they sound, so all I did was put them together and record them as they are. No distortion, no nothing, just raw beautifulness.”

You can check out the video in full above, and for more on Schuldiner, head over to Guitar World’s in-depth retrospective, Chuck Schuldiner: Lust for Life.

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.