Death

Death

Over the course of more than a decade and seven increasingly accomplished albums, Chuck Schuldiner, the architect behind the ubiquitous Death, became a bona fide heavy metal icon. Now widely recognized as the father of death metal (if a single candidate must be chosen, his resumé is about as good as it gets), Schuldiner's singular drive and ruthless creative vision guaranteed that Death retain a pole position at the forefront of the style's development. Indeed, while the savagely raw aggression contained in Death's first three albums proved crucial to spearheading the first generation of death, and subsequently grindcore bands, the astounding musicianship and increasingly sophisticated songwriting found on their later-day efforts may have influenced even more groups exploring the limits of extreme metal's progressive outposts. By all accounts a force to be reckoned with on-stage, Death also logged more frequent-flier miles than perhaps any other band of their extreme metal ilk, undertaking numerous far-reaching tours despite suffering from continuous and acrimonious turnover within their ranks. Throughout this long journey and drastic evolutionary curve, Chuck Schuldiner was the only constant, the effective mastermind behind Death's continually groundbreaking career, and his near-canonization at the time of his untimely passing only confirmed his unequaled stature at the top of rock's most uncompromising style.