Death metal is great. Technical death metal is so much better!
To that end, we’ve selected ANOTHER 6 Of The Most Mind-Blowing Old-School Technical Death Metal Albums Ever Recorded…. with more to come!
Presented in order of year of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Obliveon – From This Day Forward [Canada] (1990)
A thrashier version of Death circa Spiritual Healing / Human, Obliveon’s debut album was an immediate game-changer upon release and has become an all-time technical death/thrash classic from the golden era of forward-thinking metal.
Obliveon were part of the natural Canadian evolution that first began when Voivod crawled from the primordial swamp before, over time, casting aside the shackles of conformity and entering cyberspace. While they weren’t alone on embracing the more technical side of death/thrash, Obliveon‘s take on Voivod‘s early-doors experimentation was undoubtedly heavier than most; informed as much by death metal as it was traditional thrash.
As far as debut albums go, From this Day Forward was leagues ahead of the competition and you’d be hard pressed to find a more technical old school death/thrash album which delivers on so many levels. Speed, technicality, atmosphere, diversity, aggression….Obliveon‘s From This Day Forward has the lot!
Afflicted – Prodigal Sun [Sweden] (1992)
Swedish technical death metal by way of the Middle East anyone?
For reasons beknown only to them, Sweden’s Afflicted took Entombed’s blueprint and flayed it over a subtle Egyptian concept which snaked its way through Prodigal Sun‘s 47 minutes of unpredictable mayhem.
Fortunately, the results were absurdly addictive and while Afflicted remained identifiably part of the early 1990s Swedish death metal scene – the Sunlight Studio production being an immediate giveaway – their fearless attitude and technical skill clearly separated them from Entombed, Dismember, Grave etc.
So much potential, sadly unfulfilled.
Death – Individual Thought Patterns [USA] (1993)
Individual Thought Patterns was the fifth studio album from Chuck Schuldiner and his hired hands and, on this occasion, Death were a veritable supergroup whose individual parts formed a considerable, world-beathing, whole.
With Chuck surround by guitarist Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel) and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus / Autopsy), Death were a formidable death metal force whose intricate ensemble resulted in one of the most creative forces in death metal.
With highly technical guitars, Steve DiGiorigio’s one-of-a-kind bass lines (which operated in another dimension and were more like a third guitar as opposed to traditional bass) and the kind of full-force drumming which comes as standard from the veritable powerhouse that is Gene Hoglan, tracks such as “Overactive Imagination” and all-time classic “The Philosopher” proved particularly potent.
With Individual Thought Patterns, Death fully cemented their status as both pioneers and leaders of the genre.
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.
Oppressor – Solstice Of Oppression [USA] (1994)
Perfectly balancing brutality with technical audacity and pioneering verve, Oppressor‘s Solstice Of Oppression remains an early to mid 90’s milestone of technical death metal without ever receiving the accolades afforded to Death’s Human, Cynic’s Focus and Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence etc.
An accomplishment easily equal to all the classic albums listed above, Solstice of Oppressioncarved its own particular niche with ultra low gutturals, unyielding brutality and the melodic, experimental, progressive and jazzy influences expected of a 90’s progressive / technical death metal album.
Once you get over the fact that this band eventually became nu-metal chart-botherers Soil(with Oppressor’s Tim King, Tom Schofield and Adam Zadel recruiting Broken Hope’s Shaun Glass in the late 90’s), you’ll be confronted by an album which defines the very nature of 90’s tech death – a shining example of metal evolving at an alarming rate without forsaking its core principles!
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