Some simply sublime metal albums turned 30 years old this year…..
Afflicted – Prodigal Sun [Sweden]
Released: December 1st, 1992 via Nuclear Blast
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Swedish technical death metal by way of the Middle East anyone?
For reasons beknown only to them, Sweden’s Afflicted took Entombed’s blueprint and flayed it over a subtle Egyptian concept which snaked its way through Prodigal Sun‘s 47 minutes of unpredictable mayhem.
Fortunately, the results were absurdly addictive and while Afflicted remained identifiably part of the early 1990s Swedish death metal scene – the Sunlight Studio production being an immediate giveaway – their fearless attitude and technical skill clearly separated them from Entombed, Dismember, Grave etc.
So much potential, sadly unfulfilled.
Assorted Heap – Mindwaves [Germany]
Released: 1992 via 1Mf Recordz
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal
Assorted Heap‘s second album is a minor masterpiece. Pure and simple.
Hitting the prog ramp at high speed, Assorted Heap finessed their already impressive sound (1991’s far more aggressive The Experience Of Horror is also well worth checking out) and delivered an unsung classic of progressive thrash in the process; the kind of calling card that should have seen them attain more than mere ‘cult’ status.
Transcending genre trappings with ease, Assorted Heap mirrored the wholesale changes and ‘anything is possible’ mentality of Sarcofago circa The Laws Of Scourge, ultimately delivering an album that lived and died by its palpable atmosphere and unique, often ornate, clarity of sound.
Mindwaves is a distinctive, yet obscure, moment in thrash….German or otherwise!
Atrocity – Todessehnsucht [Germany]
Released: September 22nd, 1992 via Roadrunner Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Todessehnsucht (meaning ‘Longing For Death’ if you do not sprechen sie Deutsch) was the second studio album by German tech death metallers Atrocity and it would prove to be one of the pinnacle releases of the genre!
Technical to the extreme and absurdly progressive, the Glen Benton-esque growls and barks of Alexander Krull were efficiently offset by Atrocity’s onslaught of samples, keyboard interludes, woozy song structures and Chuck Schuldiner influenced flights of progressive fancy.
Determined and distinctive, Atrocity were operating at a ridiculously high level on Todessehnsucht and their own brand of vicious yet vicarious technical death metal remains a joy to behold.
An often overlooked masterpiece!
Baphomet – The Dead Shall Inherit [USA]
Released: May 5th, 1992 via Peaceville Records
Genre: Death Metal
Easily one of the finest death metal releases of the early 90’s, it’s utterly unfathomable that Baphomet‘s The Dead Shall Inherit isn’t as revered as it probably should be.
Rigidly sticking to death metal’s fundamental principles, it’s the incessant chug of mid-tempo devastation which hits the hardest; delivering track after track of guttural brutality while keeping one foot in the murky waters of death/thrash and the other in the even murkier wasteland occupied by the likes of Bolt Thrower and Benediction.
While diversity was hardly Baphomet‘s strong point – with the majority of The Dead Shall Inheritmaintaining the same sense of structure and pace throughout – the thrill comes from experiencing an album which lurks in early death metal’s darkest corner, waiting patiently but eager to rip you limb from limb.
An East Coast death metal classic and no mistake!
Chemical Breath – Fatal Exposure [Belgium]
Released: November 1992 via Crypta Records
Genre: Technical Death / Thrash
Precious few bands can match the intensity and skill of these awe-inspiring Belgians and anyone with a penchant for labyrinthine song structures, baffling tempo shifts and the pioneering spirit of early 90’s death/thrash will fall in love with Fatal Exposure, Chemical Breath’s exquisite debut.
Admittedly, Fatal Exposure does have more than a little thrash coursing through its veins – and squeezing it on to this list may prove to be divisive – but any opportunity to wax lyrical about this astonishing piece of work should be grasped with both hands. After hearing it, you’ll thank us for it!
Chemical Breath were incredible and you’d also do well to check out 1994’s follow up, Values.