6 Under-Appreciated Classics Of Swedish Death Metal (Part 1)
Put down your Entombed, Dismember, Grave & Unleashed albums.....and listen to these instead!
Continuing in the vein of our under-appreciated UK, U.S & German thrash features, Worship Metal now casts its critical eye over 6 under-appreciated classics of SWEDISH DEATH METAL and you can forget the big guns of the genre, as we’re focusing on those albums that tend to slip under the radar.
So, you’ll find no Grave, no Unleashed, no Dismember, no Entombed….not even Carnage! Enough has been said about these classics acts already. Instead, this feature is here to highlight those forgotten Swedish death metal classics which deserve far more love!
Desultory – Into Eternity (1993)
Into Eternity was the debut album from the perennially undervalued Desultory and despite its obscure nature, this is an album of considerable importance – and considerable skill – from Sweden’s early 90’s death metal scene!
Sure, Into Eternity essentially repeated the same formula over and over – much like the majority of their compatriots – but when your thrashy, semi-melodic, semi-progressive death metal is as uniformly consistent and consistently impressive as this, variety can fuck off!
At this stage in their career, Desultory were the equals of their more famous peers and with an abundance of soaring, clean leads and expressive bass lines, Into Eternity is an album that should be celebrated for perfectly combining a keen sense of melody with ultimate aggression.
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: The melodic death metal majesty of follow-up album, Bitterness. Beware those vocals though, they’re an acquired taste!
Carbonized – For The Security (1991)
Death/grind masters, Carbonized may be somewhat of a Swedish secret but those in the know understand that few bands from the Swedish scene were embracing such a progressive, polyrhythmic attitude combined with the most primitive, yet organic, blast beats around!
With all 3 members of Carbonized having intrinsic ties with Therion, it should come as no surprise that with For The Security, boundaries were being unceremoniously broken and a progressive attitude to death metal prevailed!
Technically advanced yet wallowing in urbanised filth, Carbonized were a shrieking, guttural shock wave of influences; with this Swedish version of UK d-beat punk – spliced with grind and formative death metal – proving both revolutionary and unique among Swedish death metal bands of the early 90’s.
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: The undeniably eccentric delights of 1993’s Disharmonization.
Sorcery – Bloodchilling Tales (1993)
Heavy on atmosphere, the chilling (some might say ‘bloodchiling’) sounds found on Sorcery‘s debut album should have pegged them as serious contenders. Instead, they fell sadly by the wayside but that’s no reason for dismissing them now!
There was nothing generic or ‘formula’ about Sorcery’s distinct death metal, with the band conjuring magic from their classic horror influenced samples and interludes, ultimately creating a ghoulish blast of Hammer Horror death metal in the process.
That’s not to say that the fundamentals weren’t in place – Bloodchiling Tales was produced by the legendary Tomas Skogsberg at Sunlight Studios and that “buzzsaw” guitar tone is obviously ever present – but Sorcery were doing something different, challenging the status quo with rhythmic gutturals that grooved with the riffs, subtly using keyboards to create a heckle-raising atmosphere and delivering variances in tempo which occasionally bordered on death/doom.
Death metal tales to chill the blood….and the soul!
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: 2013’s Arrival At Six and 2016’s Garden Of Bones are comeback records par excellence!
Necrophobic – The Nocturnal Silence
Breathing putrid air since 1989(!), Necrophobic have diligently toiled away as Swedish underdogs, always delivering the goods but with little to no fanfare when compared to the likes of Grave, Entombed, Dismember etc.
However, Necrophobic had just as much influence on Sweden’s death metal scene, offering something darker, more malevolent and, ultimately, a little more blackened than their peers but still delivering brutality and ingenuity in equal measure.
Ice cold, morbidly sinister and indefatigably satanic, The Nocturnal Silence was at its best when delivering eerie, tremolo-picked soliloquy’s such as “Before The Dawn” and the overwhelmingly intense title track. The most striking aspect is how something this diabolically depraved could sound so damn catchy, an achievement that can only be attributed to the sheer quality of Necrophobic’s songwriting.
With 2018’s Mark of the Necrogram already causing a stir amongst fans of this , the time is right to revisit an underrated masterpiece and an album that ably kick-started Necrophobic’s now illustrious career.
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: As mentioned, you may as well bring yourself bang up to date and check out 2018’s Mark Of The Necrogram….currently receiving rave reviews across the board!
Hypocrisy – Osculum Obscenum (1993)
Unlike many of the bands in this feature, Hypocrisy are by no means a ‘forgotten’ band – nor are they disrespected – but their early material still seems to be overlooked in favour of the usual suspects of Swedish death metal.
Peter Tägtgren’s Hypocrisy were a Swedish anomaly from the start, heavily influenced by the sounds emanating from America (Tägtgren resided in the US in the late 80’s/early 90’s) and delivering a far more focused, technically proficient exercise in barbaric brutality. This was the sound of pure evil, with elements of black metal seeping in via Masse Broberg’s unholy screeches and an intermittent use of atmospheric keyboards.
The result was an album that neither nestled alongside those in the Swedish death metal ranks nor the devilish cacophony (namely Deicide) emanating from the United States, resulting in its ‘black sheep of the family’ status.
Osculum Obscenum: 36 mins of pure genius. Behold the twisted truth!
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: If it’s old school Swedish death metal you’re clamouring for then check out Hypocrisy’s – US death metal influenced – debut album, Penetralia. If melodic death metal is your thing, you need to hear 1996’s Abducted!
Authorize – The Source Of Dominion (1991)
Authorize may have been a flash in the pan (they belched forth just the one album) but The Source of Dominion positively sizzled with primitive, meaty death metal goodness.
After a relatively misguided ambient opening, Authorize fortunately focused on smashing skulls with a typically Swedish knack for melody and groove hidden beneath the relentless chug of driving riffs.
Authorize weren’t really a band who excelled at complex time signatures but their knack for taking thrash tempos and adding an extra layer of diabolical evil carves The Source Of Dominion out as an also ran….but one that deserves to be acknowledged for at least being in the race!
If You Liked This, You Also Need To Hear: This is your lot, just listen to The Source of Dominion again!
Have we forgotten your favourite Swedish death metal album? Pop it in the comments section below but remember, 6 Under-Appreciated Classics Of Swedish Death Metal (Part.2) is already in the works!!
Seance NEEDS to be on the list. Both Fornever Laid to Rest, and Saltrubbed Eyes were incredible albums.
And how about Afflicted’s Prodigal Sun?
And Unanimated? Merciless?
Excellent choices…..and like it says in the title, this is just Part 1, plenty more to come! 🙂 \m/
Gorement Ending Quest has got to be in there as has Winterlong by God Macabre a good curve ball would be Hetsheads We hail the possessed