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Old-School Death Metal: 5 Of The Greatest One-Album Wonders

Old-school death metal classics from bands with a ‘one and done’ attitude. 

Presented in order of release as opposed to any kind of ranking…..

Carnage – Dark Recollections (1990) [Sweden]

Dark Recollections, the only album from Swedish death metal pioneers Carnage, arrived fully formed in 1990…..despite the fact that this rag-tag group of individuals had already broken up by the time the album had clawed its way out of the underworld!

This cult classic had a tortuous existence beset by band members habitually jumping ship but the line-up speaks volumes for its overall calibre. Aside from ever-present guitarist Michael Amott (Carcass, Arch Enemy), Carnage also boasted Matti Kärki (Dismember, Therion, General Surgery, Carbonized), Fred Estby (Dismember) and David Blomqvist (DismemberEntombed) in its ranks, resulting in a Swedish death metal supergroup before the genre had even taken hold.

The Dismember connections were incestuous with “Deranged From Blood”, “Death Evocation”, “Blasphemies Of The Flesh” and “Self Dissection” previously appearing on Dismember demos (circa 1988–1989), and yet such pillaging never once threatened the overall cohesion found on Dark Recollections.

A Swedish death metal milestone.

Demilich – Nespithe (1993) [Finland]

A true oddity and an album that sounds like no other, Demilich‘s Nespithe took the world completely by surprise when its cavernous compositions and Antti Boman’s ultra, ultra low gutturals instantly marked them out as technical death metal innovators!

The sounds that emanated from these crazy Finns were otherworldly; tentacled and slimy like a Lovecraftian nightmare made audibly flesh with bass lines and riffs slithering amongst each other without ever actually making contact. The result was an altogether alien experience that shouldn’t have worked but somehow came together to deliver one of the most unique moments in death metal history.

Surrealistic and as bewildering as it was on release, Nespithe may be the only album released by Demilich but it sure as hell left an indelible mark on the technical death metal landscape.

Disincarnate – Dreams Of The Carrion Kind (1993) [USA]

DISINCARNATE - Dreams of the Carrion Kind - Amazon.com Music

After honing his considerable chops with the cream of death and thrash metal, Disincarnateand Dreams Of The Carrion Kind was James Murphy’s chance to prove his status as a death metal guitarist capable of steering his own ship, instead of setting sail with whoever would offer him safe passage.

As it turned out, he was more than ready.

From the exquisite death/doom of “In Sufferance” and the Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) guesting “Monarch Of The Sleeping Marches”, to the pummeling workout’s of “Deadspawn” and “Stench Of Paradise Burning”, the sheer audacity and technical verve on display remains revelatory….but never at the expense of an ingenious hook to keep the neck muscles – as well as the brain – fully engaged.

God Macabre – The Winterlong… (1993) [Sweden]

God Macabre – The Winterlong... (1993, CD) - Discogs

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 sweet and The Winterlong’s occult 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!

Gorement – The Ending Quest (1994) [Sweden]

Gorement – The Ending Quest (2020, Vinyl) - Discogs

Gorement‘s The Ending Quest is god-tier death metal from a band who sadly failed to follow-up this genre defining moment.

Not many albums earn the accolade of being flawless but The Ending Quest is one such album. From production to song-writing, atmosphere to lyrical content, Gorment were masters of their craft and this devastatingly heavy, yet strangely melancholy exercise in sonic brutality is a unique moment in Swedish death metal history.

The perfect companion piece to Entombed‘s Left Hand PathGorement left an indelible mark with their one and only album and its standing as a landmark in the underground Swedish death metal scene remains undiminished.

Also in this Series:

Old-School Death/Doom: 5 Of The Greatest One-Album Wonders

Old-School Death-Thrash: 5 Of The Greatest One-Album Wonders

About Chris Jennings (1986 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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