Through his main band, Death,
Chuck Schuldiner has been written into the history-books a long time ago.
Seven releases chronicle the developing from primitive death-metal to
intricate and technical brutal music. Chuck has been planning to do a
project in addition to his main work for many years now. Finally, the
time has come for Control Denied. We've been waiting for a long time,
but not in vain - "The Fragile Art of Existence" is a masterpiece
which will stand as a milestone for years to come. And knowing that Chuck
has been fighting cancer for the past year, it's clear that this album
is quite special.
CHUCK: I've been waiting a long time to get this done, and it's really been a question of waiting until the time was right for it. Now it's finally completed, and I'm very satisfied with what we've got here. says Chuck S. over the phone from Florida.
Has the project experienced
a lot of change through the years, or is the record as you foresaw it
in the beginning?
CHUCK: I think I've managed to preserve the original idea, but at the same time it contains a lot of music I didn't have in mind originally. Most of the material was completed in 1996-97, and there are only 2 songs I've written since then that made it on the record. I've always felt that the original material was strong enough to withstand time, and that's why I wasn't in any hurry to get the record published. And I promise you the material doesn't seem like it will be outdated any time soon- (it won't be an easy task to maintain objectivity throughout this interview...) The main difference between Death and Control Denied, is that Chuck focuses on the guitars in the latter band.
The vocalist is named Tim
Aymar and has a background in a band called "Psycho Scream":
CHUCK: I was very lucky when it comes to that, and the contact between us was established in a somewhat strange way: I got a demo from the Psycho Scream guitarist, and both he and Tim were interested in joining Control Denied. But I had already promised Shannon Hamm the job (as guitarist). But I was so impressed by the vocalist that I made contact with him anyway. I felt a little awkward when I told him I didn't need any guitar-player, but I'd like to steal his vocalist, ha ha! Fortunately he responded very professionally and told me Tim's phone number. Tim was tried out on three of the songs, and the rest is history.
Chuck told me last year that
he was looking for a hybrid between Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson
to handle the vocals, and he really hit the bull's eye with Mr. Aymar
- we're talking about a great voice here, folks! Chuck agrees:
CHUCK: He's amazing, and the first thing I fell for was the combination of aggression and melody. He can yell 'till you're deaf, and impress you down on your knees.
You should send a copy to
Ronni Dio's wife and thank for the help as well!
Hargh! No, I don't think I feel the need to call her once more, ha ha!
In addition to Chuck, Tim
and Shannon, Death-drummer Richard Christy is in, and the bassist: Steve
DiGiorgio is back:
CHUCK: Things didn't work out with Scott Clendenin, and he didn't seem very pleased. It was the best for all of us for him to leave the band, and it also made room for Steve to join in. If there is a new Death-album, Steve will probably play there too.
Salute to Scott and the job
he did, but it doesn't hurt to hear your guitars and Steve's bass combined
CHUCK: Agree, ha ha! We really fit together musically, and Steve is quite simply the best bass-player I know of. I'm really happy it suited him to co-operate again, and I notice that I'm pleased to have contact with him again.
With Control Denied, Chuck
delivered his first album ever where he's not doing the vocals himself.
He hums approvingly that it's quite relaxing to concentrate on his guitar
A complete relief! I've had a wish to do this for many years now, and
it felt good to direct all the focus into my guitar-playing.
Did you manage to keep yourself
away from the mike in the studio, or did you growl a couple of lines for
old times sake?
CHUCK: No, I was a good boy and kept far away from all kinds of microphones, ha ha! The music presented on this record has, as mentioned earlier, been ready for years.
A title like "The Fragile
Art of Existence", and songs like "Expect The Unexpected",
"Believe" and "When The Link Becomes Missing" suggest
that the lyrics were created during last year?
You might not believe me, but the lyrics have also been ready for years!
A bit strange... but the lyrics does have a lot in common with the latest
Death-album, I suppose. They are mainly free-standing stories that most
of us can relate to. I write more and more about stuff that happens in
reality, and I think it's important to have lyrics one might get something
out of when listening to them. There aren't too many records containing
lyrics like that, unfortunately.
Reading your lyrics is interesting,
and you seem to favour playing with contradictions and at the same time
use an advanced and complicated language. Does it come naturally, or do
you have a dictionary in front of you when writing?
Ha, ha, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you on that one. I don't read
much, and in general I'm a lazy person when it comes to literature. Usually
I only read music magazines if I see something interesting. I just try
to describe my own feelings and thoughts with words. Definitively, I don't
try to think about how to be as complicated as possible. I feel the same
way about the music - I start a recording, and it becomes either adequate
or not. I try not to plan too much in advance, and I'd rather complete
a song with lyrics and everything when I'm creative.
Another thing about the music
is the technical aspect, which is amazingly high when it comes to the
music of both Death and Control Denied. But yet, one doesn't get the impression
that Chuck & co are trying to impress as much as possible - the music
and arrangements are most important!
Thanks a lot! I fully agree with you. I like a lot of progressive music,
but at the same time I feel the song-writing is lost in many progressive
metal bands. The song as a whole is what's important, not how much technical
stuff you manage to perform during it. It's the same thing with leads:
There is a reason why they exist, they are not supposed to come out because
the guitarist wants to show how many riffs he is capable of performing.
I guess the keyword is balance, and I grew up with bands like Maiden,
Metallica, Priest, Kiss and Mercyful Fate, who always had melody as a
keyword for their music. This has definitively influenced my song-writing
Many rumours have been heard
concerning Control Denied, and there were many suggestions when it came
to the type of music the band was supposed to play. "Power metal"
was the most popular, and the record company also labelled it that way.
Chuck's intention never was to make new or ground-breaking music compared
to Death. Control Denied is quite simply Death, but with another vocalist.
We both agree that the only label suitable is S&M - SchuldinerMetal!
What's gonna happen with Death is still not decided, but Chuck already
got five new Control Denied songs ready, and it seems as if this will
be his priority for now. There's been quite a few rumours regarding Chuck's
health, and Chuck tells how things are:
Right now the days are spent on waiting. In December I will go back to
New York for more medical examinations, and they will take x-rays of the
tumors, which hopefully are smaller. I've been through a six week long
treatment. I've been home for about six weeks now, and there's nothing
else to do then let time pass by. I need a great amount of rest and quiet
at the time being, but I write a lot of music. And even if the situation
is far from joyful, there's nothing else to do but cross my fingers and
hope for the best.