Leave your Deicide, Suffocation, Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse albums at the door. These 6 death metal obscurities demand to be heard!
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any sort of ranking….
Authorize – The Source Of Dominion (1991) [Sweden]
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 settled 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 Dominionout as an also ran….but one that deserves to be acknowledged for at least being in the race!
Blaspherion – Rest In Peace (1991) [Belgium]
Blaspherion‘s brand of atmospheric death metal may not have extended its reach far beyond its European neighbours, and had these Belgians not split up a mere 2 years after Rest In Peace‘s release, there was enough talent on display here to warrant attention further afield!
With a dark, oppressive and slightly muffled sound (certainly in the vocals department),Blaspherion‘s eerie and unnerving take on early 90s death metal appeared to draw inspiration from Morbid Angel‘s off-kilter clatter and Autopsy‘s love for a lumbering death / doom riff.
To be fair, we couldn’t label Blaspherion‘s Rest In Peace as ‘essential’…. but as far as old-school death metal obscurities are concerned, this is well worth an hour of your time!
Carbonized – For The Security (1991) [Sweden]
Grinding Swedish death metal 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.
Dissonance – Look To Forget (1994) [Slovakia]
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.
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!
Morgue – Eroded Thoughts (1993) [USA]
Morgue‘s only full-length album sure ain’t the perfect old school death metal album – with originality not exactly its strongpoint – but Eroded Thoughts still retains its power to pummel you into submission with it’s Autopsy-esque excursions into crushing death metal supremacy!
The slowest, heaviest grooves informed much of Eroded Thoughts 7 tracks; with an Asphyxmeets the aforementioned Autopy approach adopted for the majority of the album. However, the 90’s burgeoning obsession with technicality soon reared its head on the ferocious likes of “Plagued Birth”, as Morgue proved that they could deliver speed, precision and contorted riffs to rival the work of Pestilence and early Gorguts.
A melting-pot of influences, Eroded Thoughts may lack clarity in its compositions but its disparate charm still lies in its ability to deliver high-density riffs with a schizophrenic sense of dynamics!
Morpheus Descends – Ritual Of Infinity (1992) [USA]
New York death metal par excellence, Morpheus Descends may not be as well known outside of niche death metal circles as Immolation but in 1992, these guys were the superior act, with Ritual Of Infinity proving to be a proto-tech death album of unrivalled complexity and shattering talent!
Dank, dark and decidedly devilish, Morpheus Descends were capable of nerve-severing ferocity while still maintaining a level of ‘catchiness’ which would appeal as much to the neck-muscles as those over-stimulated cerebral’s. With one foot in the old-school and one in the still-opening door of technical death metal’s future, Morpheus Descends certainly paved the way for those bands who morphed traditional death metal into ever-changing sounds as the decade drew on.
Morpheus Descends were there at the beginning though, and Ritual Of Infinity – their only full length album – remains a milestone of relentless, jaw-dropping intensity.