Worship Metal casts its critical eye over 6 Obscure 90’s Death Metal Albums That Deserve To Be Heard!
So, you can forget the big guns of the genre, as we’re focusing on those albums that have a tendency to slip under the radar.
Cruciform – Atavism
Why: To those in the know, Cruciform were one of the formative Australian death metal bands in the early ’90s and with Atavism they played a major part in ushering in the age of death/doom. This could be a surprising statement to those who believe death/doom’s humble beginnings were as a result of Peaceville giving the world Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride but Cruciform arrived on the scene at almost the same time as the Peaceville three….they just happened to be 9,500 miles away! Regardless of location, it’s a crime that Cruciform failed to capitalise on what should be considered a genre defining recording.
Making a relatively inauspicious start, “Prologue” sets the scene but offers precious little but “Sanctuary”, on the other hand, remains a shockingly abrasive and instantly memorable death/doom classic. Unencumbered by the use of violin, strings, keyboards and other familiar death/doom tropes, the minimalist approach served Cruciform well as they simply went about their business of wringing in misery and woe while constantly hovering perilously over the precipice of all-out Death Metal – the increased pace of “Reduced To Dust” and “Proboscis” showcasing Cruciform’s A-grade death metal credentials.
Desecrator – Subconscious Release (1991)
Where: United Kingdom
Why: Dan Seagrave cover art, a raw and aggressive sound, technicality matched by brutality; Desecrator’s Subconscious Release should have been huge! Instead, this cult item is merely a footnote in death metal history but it deserves to be held in considerable high regard for delivering a focused lesson in classic death metal violence.
Following a similar path travelled by Death (Leprosy-era) and Sweden’s Dismember, Desecrator’s groove heavy onslaught revelled in muscular, lengthy and, above all, catchy songwriting.
While a slight sense of repetition sneaks in when absorbing Subconscious Release in its entirety, the same accusation can be made of many a death metal album that bludgeoned the listener with ostensibly the same sound – Deicide being one of them – and nobody gave two shits!
Desecrator’s one and only album should have been enough to endear them to the masses as it’s an outstanding moment of UK death metal mastery; backed by a collection of expertly delivered death metal songs.
Haven’t heard it? Go discover!
Desultory – Into Eternity
Why: 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
Deteriorate – Rotting In Hell
Why: The apocalyptic soundtrack to every human atrocity, Deteriorate‘s Rotting in Hell is a full blown excursion into pure evil from a band who simply wanted to ‘out-heavy’ their peers at every step!
Pure intensity carries this oft-ignored album along at breakneck speed as this pummeling death machine rose to the challenge and eviscerated its peers. Appropriately sloppy, the raw and organic nature of Rotting in Hell disregarded death metal’s mid-90’s penchant for experimentation (think Cynic, Death, Atheist etc) and went straight for the throat; gnashing and clawing its way to the grisly viscera that lurks beneath the skin.
No tears please, it’s a waste of good suffering!
Infester – To The Depths, In Degradation
Why: If degradation and wallowing in the unfathomable depths of human existence floats your death metal boat then the deliciously sick, maniacally twisted, utterly perverted and deeply, deeply disturbing To The Depths, In Degradation is the album for you!
Infester‘s one and only full length album, To The Depths, In Degradation can quite rightly be regarded as one of the most truly evil sounding albums in death metal history. Astonishingly barbaric and completely lacking in formulaic structure, the essence of pure bestial vengeance seeps forth from every track, as each ‘song’ suffocates the listener with endless shape-shifting patterns of ambient, hellish noise, punishing doom metal slogs, shuffling grooves, ear-piercing tremolos, clattering percussive blasts and a technical nerve that belies the primitive nature presented throughout much of the album.
Only the likes of Incantation, Immolation and Morpheus Descends can rival the dark despair of To The Depths, In Degradation and that should be enough of a recommendation to check this album out….if you haven’t already!
Necrosanct – Incarnate
Where: United Kingdom
Why: Proof that the UK did have bands that could deliver the filthiest sound of purist evil imaginable, Necrosanct’s Incarnate still sounds shockingly abrasive today.
Veering dangerously close to total pandemonium, Necrosanct fashioned a death metal album that made up in violence what it lacked in finesse. Brutal, in the strongest sense of the word, and designed for those who feasted on the sounds of hell made flesh, Incarnate is possibly the most timeless album on this list, as ferocious and unpredictable now as it was in 1992.
There’s something so utterly unhinged about the Martin Van Dunen (Pestilence) meets John Tardy (Obituary) vocals that sends Incarnate rushing headlong into the realms of madness. Somehow, frontman Ant Ryan managed to take the tonality of Van Drunen and the unintelligible nature of Tardy’s animalistic gurgles and vomit up something even more disturbing.
The result,when layered over Necrosanct’s blurred riffing, was nothing less than hell incarnate
That was just 6 obscure 90’s death metal albums that we feel deserve to be heard….pop your suggestions regarding some more cult / obscure death metal gems in the comments section below.