Pan.Thy.Monium – Dawn Of Dreams [Sweden] (1992)
As progressive a death metal band as they come, Pan.Thy.Monium‘s debut was the polar opposite of the output from Entombed, Dismember, Grave etc. That being said, Dawn Of Dreams was still resolutely Swedish death metal in spirt but you wouldn’t have found L.G. Petrov and co. throwing free jazz saxophone into the mix!
Opening with a 21+ minute track was also against the norm and “Untitled” (all 7 tracks on Dawn Of Dreams are titled “Untitled” incidentally) was otherworldly – alien even – and took death metal into realms hitherto unexplored. The remainder of the album was slightly more accessible, unfolding in a series of six shorter vignettes which were just as progressive but blessed with a stronger sense of groove and old-school death metal / death-doom mentality.
Dawn Of Dreams retains the power to leave you speechless….even 30+ years after the fact!
Amboss – Those Who Have Lost The Right to Exist [Germany] (1993)
Another progressively-minded cult masterpiece lost to the annals of time, Amboss’ Those Who Have Lost The Right to Exist positively overflowed with ideas with relatively straight-forward death metal aggression jostling impressively with Amboss‘ off-kilter sensibility.
Elements of this bewildering beast recalled the avant-garde nature of Celtic Frost’s Into the Pandemonium, and with siren-like female backing vocals working their way into the mix – alongside levels of ambience, acoustic intros and a tenacity for turning the tables on expectation – Those Who Have Lost The Right to Exist was certainly good enough to make waves in the scene.
Fans of obscure cult oddities – which reveal a myriad of unexpected surprises – should relish this release for the ahead of the curve curio hindsight has revealed it to be!
God Macabre – The Winterlong… [Sweden] (1993)
God Macabre’s only album arrived fully formed in 1993, and while they never managed to record a follow-up, it is testament to the quality of this obscure gem that we’re still talking about it all these years later.
God Macabre’s reign may have been short but it was decidedly sweetand The Winterlong’soccult horror atmosphere – enriched with a diversity often found wanting in death metal – means this intricate, varied, complex and bold album retains its allure.
Connoisseurs of death metal know exactly how good this one of a kind album really is….while a welcome surprise awaits the uninitiated!
Section Brain – Hospital Of Death [Czechia] (1993)
Despite a strong Sepultura vibe circa Beneath The Remains, Czechia’s Section Brain are seemingly known only to those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure metal. Which is a crying shame as their one and only album, 1993’s Hospital Of Death, is a certifiable technical death/thrash cult classic!
At only 5 tracks (we’re ignoring the pointless 30 second intro and the odd 7 seconds of “Ja Mamm”), Section Brain were pushing the boundaries of acceptability when it came to classifying this as a full length album….but when “No Anarchy” drops, you’ll care not a jot! Deceptively simple at first encounter, this epic quickly expands into a track with a multitude of tones and flavours; an adage which relates to the entirety of the album.
With so many riffs on this thing, Section Brain probably could of saved a few and released a follow-up but, alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead, revel in Hospital of Death’s obscurity, soak up its intricacy and tell everyone you know to check out this underrated gem of early 90’s technical death/thrash.
Dissonance – Look To Forget [Slovakia] (1994)
Pissing about with time signatures is one thing, but being able to hone such dexterous tomfoolery into brutal yet consistently interesting songs is another thing entirely; and a ridiculously difficult balancing act to master. Which is where Slovakia’s Dissonance come in.
Astoundingly savage and mesmerisingly complex they may have been, but Dissonance were savvy enough to conjure magic from their madness. Weird when they wanted to be – check out the spoken word outro to “Invisible” – and heavy as sin when it suited (the more mid-tempo barrage of “Candid Condolence” will rupture your bowels), Dissonance‘s genius lay in their ever-increasing bouts of sonic savagery laced with subtle melody.
Whatever you do, do NOT forget Dissonance‘s astonishing debut!
Honourable mention: While we’re on the very niche subject of Slovakian technical death metal, we’d be remiss not to mention Systems (1995), the outstanding demo from Mordum. Go check it out!
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