Some simply sublime metal albums are turning 30 years old this year…..here’s 6 of ’em to get you started!
Aspid (Аспид) – Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) [Russia]
Genre: Technical Thrash Metal
Right time, wrong place. That’s the situation Russian technical thrashers Aspid (Аспид) found themselves in when they released their technically audacious debut album, Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) in 1993.
Had this monster of an album been released by an American or a German band we suspect that Aspid’s name would be mentioned in the same breath as cult legends Intruder and Deathrow. Instead, Extravasation is but a footnote in a scene that – with wider exposure – would surely have embraced these talented individuals with open arms. Blame the distribution (originally a limited vinyl release) for its relative failure but don’t the blame the performances and the song writing, because Aspid were equal to their lauded peers in every respect; often pushing their progressive/technical thrash into death metal territory while remaining resolutely committed to surprising the listener at every turn.
Uniquely dark, aggressive, mesmerising and menacing, Aspid’s one and only release deserves far more than to rot in obscurity…..it demands to be heard!
Cathedral – The Ethereal Mirror [UK]
Genre: Doom Metal
Art that will eventually be lauded as ‘classic’ often meets with hostility at first and Cathedral were no exception to this rule. By following up their Sabbath-worshipping debut, Forest Of Equilibrium, with further experimentation, a sea of fans who were expecting Lee Dorian’s new band to be Napalm Death Part 2 or a bonafide doom n’ gloom band were left all the more perplexed by yet another shift in direction!
The Ethereal Mirror showed utter contempt for convention with its dark fairy-tale landscape filled with crushing grooves, psychedelic leads, acoustic guitars and outrageous disco-funk gifting adventurous metal fans something truly unique to cling on to.
Songs like “Ride”, “Midnight Mountain” and “Grim Luxuria” were the work of craftsmen at the peak of their creative prowess and the doom metal scene – considered to be all but obsolete at the time – took a quantum leap forward into the unknown with this release.
God Macabre – The Winterlong… [Sweden]
Genre: Death Metal
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 it’s allure.
Connoisseurs of death metal know exactly how good this one of a kind album really is….while a welcome surprise awaits the uninitiated!
Gorguts – The Erosion Of Sanity (1993)
Genre: Technical Death Metal
In hindsight, Gorguts‘ debut album, Considered Dead, was a rather meat n’ potatoes death metal release. In comparison though, their sophomore release, The Erosion Of Sanity, was the first true indication of the colossal avant-garde genius that would arrive later in the decade via 1998’s bewildering Obscura. But, for now, they were a band bravely forging their own path with the progressively-minded, technically-savvy, The Erosion Of Sanity.
Both tenacious and terrifying, Gorguts mastermind Luc Lemay was already unleashing unsettling rhythms on an unsuspecting death metal audience with just his second release, and the intricate, powerful riffing of “Condemned to Obscurity” still has the ability to promote shock and awe to this very day.
With Luc Lemay already utilising his now trademarked anguished roar to full effect, it was left to The Erosion Of Sanity‘s intricate interplay (with pinched harmonics and unexpected time shifts aplenty) to do the talking. Suffice to say, we were all listening with gratefully open – yet brutally savaged – ears!
Mortification – Post Momentary Affliction [Australia]
Genre: Death / Thrash
Post Momentary Affliction was the third studio album by Australian Christian metallers Mortification and it found the band returning to their thrash roots, while still retaining much of the death metal that informed their first two albums.
Heavy as hell (so to speak) and spliced with death, thrash and doom influences, this fucker had the lot and remains an absorbing and intriguing amalgamation of all things ‘extreme’ in the early to mid-1990’s.
Mortification‘s next album, Blood World, would further embrace ‘the thrash’ but it’s not nearly as good as Post Momentary Affliction.
Protector – The Heritage [Germany]
Genre: Death / Thrash
With their 3rd album, The Heritage, Protector paid homage to their own legacy while managing to release a quality thrash album in 1993 – a time, if you recall, when thrash had all but died on its arse.
As ferociously frantic as ever, Protector’s deathly leanings remained rampant and the band had lost none of the vicious bite that made A Shedding of Skin and Urm The Mad so damn appealing.
From the opening salvo of “Mental Malaria” and “Scars Bleed Life Long” sprang death / thrash of the highest order – informed as much by Deicide as Kreator and Destruction – and the pedigree of this late in the day thrash opus was clear to hear. The Heritage would prove to be Protector‘s heyday swansong – not a bad way to go out we would wager!