Sadly, the news that Death's Chuck Schuldiner, the best extreme metal guitarist in America, was hospitalized and diagnosed with cancer in the brain both shocked and humanized the metal industry. Overshadowing Chuck's most recent successes including the career-defining album, Sound of Perseverance, which appears as an eerie specter that copiously reminds us of how our subconscious strangely discerns more than one can even imagine about oneself. This crisis so lessens the impact of a monumental release like Control Denied that it nearly renders it insignificant in light of life's true reality. Why does news of Chuck's disease make one sad? A fitting response would be that the life of a wonderfully brilliant artist hangs in the air. Control Denied might be the final musical epitaph of one of music's most extraordinary modern guitarists. Combining the progressive musical prowess of the last few Death albums with Tim Amar's Dickinson/Halford styled vocals creates a power/progressive metal hybrid the likes of which, the industry have never experienced. Powerful, brilliant, and subversively catchy, Control Denied have a unique and lofty vision, the likes of which have not been seen since, well...Schuldiner's last musical output! Looking to tear down the conventional walls of the tired power metal genre, Control Denied raises the stakes of the music to a fresh level. With Death's drummer and guitarist, bassist Steve Digiorgio, Amar and Schuldiner serving as the mythical line-up, they are poised to conquer the metal world. Florida's favorite son, shines as usual with his trademark high pitched, emotionally aching solos, (free jazz meets metal guitar God, maybe?) but one shouldn't ignore Digiorgio's finest hour behind the bass. Simply put, he is a skilled technician who adds a progressive bite to songs like "What If..." and a galloping throb to "When the Link Becomes Missing." However, this is not your run of the mill Hammerfall power metal, no there is something far more elaborate here. Whether it is the Nevermore vibe on the title track or the shuttering first 30 seconds of "Consumed," Control Denied are charting new territory. Buy this album not for the remarkable music and compounded energy it contains, and not because it surpasses Sound of Perseverance (which it does not), but because it shows the uncanny ability of life imitating art. Why were songs such as "Expect the Unexpected," "Believe," and "The Fragile Art of Existence" penned, only one man knows?
AllMusic Review by Jason Hundey