Friday, April 8, 2011

HAIL TO SWEDEN


90's Swedish Black/Death Blowout!!!

Last time around it was Finnish death metal. Now I'm stuck on mutations of the melodic Swedish black/death sound of the 1990's a la Dissection, Sacramentum, et ceterum. Lucky you.
Here are NINE FUCKING ALBUMS, each of them representing a year in Swedish metal between 1991 and 1999. Digest them accordingly.


SATANIZED - Demo 1991



First off we have Satanized, whose 2-song, self-titled demo signalled the beginning of the Swedish Black/Death Golden Age. The most satisfying listen this ain't, with production value lingering somewhere between "toilet bowl" and "sewer full of mayonnaise", but it is particularly notable that Satanized was Mr. Jon Nodtveidt's death metal project directly preceding Dissection. Other members went on to play in such notable acts as Nifelheim, In Flames, Swordmaster, Wolf, Lord Belial, and Sacramentum.
For Satanic Nodtveidt completists only.

Download HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


CREMATORY - DENIAL EP (1992)


On the other hand, we have the crushing majesty of Haninge's Crematory, who, for the most part, went on to form Regurgitate. Definitely a strong grindcore influence on this particular 4-song recording, but the riffs are tasty as fuck and I defy you to not download something with an album cover that looks like that.
The band did little else in their short run, but Denial is a keeper for sure, obscurity be damned.

Download HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


NECROPHOBIC - THE NOCTURNAL SILENCE (1993)


The Nocturnal Silence was Necrophobic's first full-length release, officially launching a career that has spanned (so far) the better part of 22 years. Again, more "death" than it is "black", but the foundation is there, and Necrophobic would build upon it liberally in the years to come. More connections to Nifelheim as well, along with Dismember, Dark Funeral, and Therion.
Excellent stuff.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


SACRAMENTUM - FINIS MALORUM EP (1994)


I should hope that you're all well-versed in Sacramentum lore by now, but on the off chance that you aren't, head over to Cosmic Hearse and read up on their history via 1995's Far Away From The Sun immediately. Sacramentum were a crucial and oft-overlooked element in the evolution of Swedish blackened death, and the Finis Malorum EP was their first post-demo release. Unsurprisingly, it kicks all kinds of ass.

Download HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


LORD BELIAL - KISS THE GOAT (1995)


Lord Belial have been a constant fixture in the Swedish black metal scene since the release of their first demo The Art of Dying in 1993. While the delightfully-named Kiss The Goat was their first full-length, the Belial lads have gone on to release no less than eight albums during the course of their existence, no small feat considering all the other bands and side-projects these guys have. Fronted by a dude aptly named Dark (who was also a part of Satanized and Sacramentum), Lord Belial possess a sound both ferocious and dirty, while still managing to throw in a Contraption-pleasing flute or keyboard solo here and there to keep it interesting. Elven as fuck!

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


DECAMERON - MY SHADOW... (1996)


My Shadow... is an interesting album. Decameron straddle all sorts of lines--between black and death, thrash and trad metal, cheesy and deadly serious. I first came across this band via their song "Satanized" (originally by the band of the same name) off of one of Century Media's early Blackend compilations, and it has stuck with me ever since. These guys produced some razor-sharp, highly dynamic black/death a la Old Man's Child in their brief run, but terrible quasi-ballads like "Mistress of Sacrifice" have kept them from entering the halls of True Metal Royalty since their untimely breakup. Don't get me wrong though: My Shadow... (Decameron's only official release) is totally worth admission cost, and remains an unjustly ignored metal gem/curiosity to this day. I highly recommend checking this album out, but be forwarned: you will have to fast-forward a song or two.

Download HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


MORK GRYNING - RETURN FIRE (1997)


Stockholm blackmongers Mörk Gryning list their lyrical subject matter as "Evil, Hell, Satan, Occultism", and it shows in their nefarious, rippin' jams. High-quality riffage abounds on their second release, Return Fire, which culminates with a truly inspiring, keyboard-laden cover of Slayer's "Necrophiliac".
Basically blacker than the blackest black, times infinity.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


RUNEMAGICK - THE SUPREME FORCE OF ETERNITY (1998)


Again, how can you go wrong with that cover?
Seriously, this album sounds exactly like that cover looks, and finds Runemagick in the magickal stage of their career right before they slowed down and got way too (for my impeccable taste, anyway) DOOOOOM-Y. The guitar tones on Supreme Force are bone-crushing to say the least--somewhere between Bolt Thrower and Brujeria--and it should be mentioned that much like the aforementioned Bolt Thrower, they also count amongst their ranks a bad-ass chick bass player.
You thought Lord Belial's eight albums were impressive? Runemagick have released TWELVE full-lengths since this one right here: one every year and two each in 2002 and 2003. The very definition of epic.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


DEATHWITCH - MONUMENTAL MUTILATIONS (1999)


We end our journey with the mysterious evilness of black/death/thrashers Deathwitch, who share guitarist/vocalist Nicklas "Terror" Rudolfsson with the previously-mentioned Runemagick (the badass chick bass player was in this band for a bit, too). We last checked in with Deathwitch via their excellent 1997 album Dawn of Armageddon, and in all actuality I discovered 1999's Monumental Mutilations only recently. Sporting a much thicker guitar tone and slightly sped-up drumming, I am willing to posit that Mutilations may, in fact, be their finest work, although hindsight may eventually prove me wrong.
Definite Aura Noir/Nocturnal Breed/Nifelheim vibe to this one. Take note, Seanford.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Metallum/Last.FM


I EXPECT A 2,000 WORD, DOUBLE-SPACED REPORT ON SWEDISH BLACK/DEATH FROM THE 90'S ON MY DESK BY MONDAY MORNING.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Woah, man, I just posted Far Away From The Sun the other day on my own blog. I don't even know why I find that weird. Man.

Nekromantis said...

I can't say Swedish melodic death/black thing is really the stuff I know or care about the most but I have always digged Runemagick. A classy bunch with a awesome name.

I'm checking out some of these other bands.

Nekromantis said...

...And it's mÖrk gryning you non-scandinavian wretches!

Shelby Cobras said...

I don't know how to umlaut an upper-case letter. Please note that the lower-case 'o' is properly umlauted.

Nekromantis said...

Explanation accepted. :-)

Pete said...

First came Merciless and then Dawn. Now this?! Dude, I'm digging this trend of yours (i.e. your recent posts in honor of Swedish Black/Death Metal!) This makes me want to go get a six pack, dig out the classics in my collection, and get drunk while listening to them... Nihilist, Unanimated, Liers In Wait, Niden Div. 187, Dawn, Mithoyn, General Surgery, The Black, Sacramentum... Ah, to live the past again. Metal nowadays just ain't the same.

RyGar said...

Once again, Shelby, thanks for the histo/geo Metal lesson. I know that they pointed it out on Metalocalypse, but isn't it funny how all of this great evil, malevolent, gore-obsessed music comes from two countries ranked way up on the happiness and quality of living scale? Too busy being guitar nerds/wizards to go out and commit crimes, huh?

Anonymous said...

At the gates "Red in the Sky..." is a pretty awesome, overlooked album in this style.

Sabin said...

Jag knullar din utsökt metal!

I still haven't waded through that Swedish Death Metal book so I'm completely ignorant other than the big names, but this looks mighty tasty.

SEANFORD said...

you nailed me, of course.

all six are fucking sweet though.

Shelby Cobras said...

There are nine. Nice try though, poser.

Pete said...

Hey, has anyone heard Vinterland before? They're also from Sweden and feature members of The Black, Porphyria, and Tyrant. Definitely influenced by Dissection and Sacramentum but have an element unto themselves.

Nekromantis said...

"I know that they pointed it out on Metalocalypse, but isn't it funny how all of this great evil, malevolent, gore-obsessed music comes from two countries ranked way up on the happiness and quality of living scale?"

Sub-urban middle class boredom I presume. There's something to be said about the happiness though. I am not dismissing any of these quality-of-life studies, for the most part I believe them to mirror reality well enough and I'm sure northern europe isn't the worst place to live in, but at least here in Finland 750 000 people eat antidepressants and it's a huge number if you keep in mind that the whole population of this country is only 5300 000 and some.

RyGar said...

I suppose there is a dichotomy that exists in such a situation, where mediocrity and the fallacy of a "happy" society work to build depression and forlorness amongst its people. Bret Easton Ellis' "Less Than Zero" would be a good example of the situation on a much smaller scale. Wealth and boredom, almost Victorian social values, and complacency can keep the fire of boredom and disgust burning. In such an environment, an individual who displays any feelings, other than the "good" and pleasant, becomes an outcast, which then furthers his feelings of despondency and worthlessness. In "Until the Light Takes Us", Fenriz tries to explain it, but doesn't get into any detail. He mentions something about coming from wealth and comfort, and feeling sick at the pretense of it all. I have heard that suicide and alcoholism rates in Finland are relatively high as well. (On a side note: here in Minnesota, we have the highest number of people of Finnish decent in the U.S.. My lady is part Sami.)

Mister Booze said...

"isn't it funny how all of this great evil, malevolent, gore-obsessed music comes from two countries ranked way up on the happiness and quality of living scale?"

Yes, yes it is.

I would argue that civilizations produce great art at a rate that is proportional to their leisure time. Which is why aside from a few instances in California in the 80s and Florida in the 90s, America the land of long toiling pioneers has always been a cultural backwater compared to Europe. There are no great American symphonies until the 20th century. There are no great master painters from America until painting fell by the wayside as a genre.

So I'd say that producing great metal, like any other great art, would come from a country with plenty of leisure time like Sweden.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ikea-union-20110410,0,5341610.story

Money quote "The big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days — eight of them on dates determined by the company.

What's more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said."

So if you are Joe metalhead in Sweden you can work in a factory and afford Mesa Boogie amps and studio time and take the time off for a mini tour. If you are Joe metalhead in America you can't even afford an Epiphone Les Paul, let alone afford to tour outside your shitty county.

But I could be wrong.