Well, have you listened to Wolverine Blues?

January 19, 2010

I live with a pal, and he is my best pal. Slowly but surely, I have been turning him on to the wondrous world of Death and Black Metal. Though he doesn’t realize the genius of Arising Realm by Ragnarok, he is getting there. Unfortunately he has been duped into thinking Entombed are really good, specifically Left Hand Path. I don’t know if this is my doing, but I don’t think so. I hardly listen to Entombed, because they aren’t that good. I mean, Left Hand Path is a cool record and a Sunlight staple (but clearly, the best thing recorded there was Soulside Journey by Darkthrone), but Sweden has been home to more than just Bergman, gorgeous women, and ikea: It has had many essential DM bands come out of there, but a lot of bad ones too (I think its referred to as the Gothenburg sound? [See: At the Gates]). Because I love my friend and because I hate you, I’m going to present to you:

5 Swedish DM Releases that are Better than Left Hand Path.

I present this in no real order, so here we go!

1.)Therion – Of Darkness
This was the first full length serving from a band that would go on to make a couple great DM albums, and then move on to the icky world of Operatic and Symphonic Metal. If we ignore than and just focus on “Of Darkness”, we will find ourselves with 40 minutes of violence. Something about this record, probably the production and strong vocals, make it sound overly vicious and chaotic. Released in 1991, around the time that DM was becoming more technical, there is a bit more here than just straightforward riffage, but its not overblown or fretless bass (See: Individual Thought Patterns). A highlight of the album is the intro to “Time Shall Tell”, a slow brooding intro (a little typical of Swedish stuff), but with an excellent interruption by the vocalist. A suburb to Hell has some amazing gurgle vocals, but “Asphyxiate With Fear” is probably the highlight of the record. The intro sounds like an outtake from Human, but is sent over the top with breakneck speed to follow. (Further Listening – “Beyond Sanctorum”)

2.)Megaslaughter – Calls From the Beyond
I always forget this band is from Sweden. That is because every time i put on this record and hear the second track “Raise the Dead”, I swear they’re from Finland. Not to worry, because some of the fast riffage gives this the Swedish seal of approval. Speaking of the second track, it shares the name of a Bathory song, and the vocal pattern where they say the title is on par with the Bathory track. Probably on purpose if I had to guess. This album’s pace is all over. They have some incredible mid paced parts that sound like a heavier Celtic Frost or muddier Obituary. The slow doomy parts are what make it sound Finnish, the guitars sound tuned low, and that can be fun. They never dwell, and keep it going, making returns to previous riffs within a song but that’s typical of metal and sometimes welcomed, but they stay on top of it. The only problem you could find with this record is the Metallica-length, with the half of the songs clocking in at over 5:30. This record is absolutely crushing and (at the risk of sounding cheese), sounds evil. The first 1:30 of Raise the Dead will you have you moshing, as will the intro to “Death Remains”. (Similar Artists – Convulse, Accidental Suicide)

3.)Necrophobic – The Nocturnal Silence
Even though they took their name from a Slayer song, they play top tier blackened death metal. Released in a high time of Death Metal (1993), the production of this album is exceptionally well done without sounding overdone or hammy. Their lyrical content has more in common with black metal or at least other DM bands that sing about occult subjects and hell. Its one of those albums in the genre (along with world without god or the ending quest) that truly creates an atmosphere that is talked a lot about among all BM bands. (Don’t listen to the song which they take their name from, Slayer are not a good band)

4.)Gorement – The Ending Quest

The only LP by this band, much like Calls From the Beyond, it sounds heavy. The memorial is a perfect example of fusing technical aspects with amazing melody, but still maintaining a huge sound without wimping out. The lyrical content is also quite melancholic. A lot of the lyrics have to due with despair and isolationism, which is a refreshing change. Apparently the band filed bankruptcy after this record was made, but I don’t know why. I’m not sure if this album is overlooked but an album like this is what Swedish Death Metal should mean to people. A lot of doomy parts in these songs. They took the idea of melody and used it just right, and didn’t just become a metalcore version of Iron Maiden (See: At the Gates). You’ll be hard pressed to find similarities in this to Tampa Death. (For fans of : Middle era Bolt Thrower)

5.)Merciless – The Awakening

Anti-Mosh 001. Strange that this would be the first release on Deathlike Silence because there’s nothing blackened about it. Just straight up Death Metal with a hint of trash in the mix (a hint is the only amount that should ever be present). Not to mention, you’d think Euronymos would want to put something Norwegian to begin with on his label. Oh well, he made a good call. This record has riffage that reminds me of something out of Brazil or early German thrash (You can’t deny how violent Kreator sounds on record sometimes). Anyway, the drums have too much echo and the guitars sound a little weak (like before slayer met Rick Rubin [when they could have been good]), but somehow when its all put together, it’s just right. The more I listen to it, the more it does remind me of Kreator. I guess that’s ok. That would help make sense as to why Euronymos would want to put it out, since he felt Kreator was one of the best black metal bands ever (Just go with it). This album is fucking fast, and thats why I wanted to include it. 27 minutes of carnage. (Further Listening – Kreator)


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