So you’re into Gatecreeper…

As I get older, my tastes in music have expanded into territories I never thought I would get into. Conversely, I am more aware of what I don’t like, and that likely gives some the impression I am a crabby old man that hates everything. Recently, I saw the band Gatecreeper on a bill, and I feel like I was one of the few people there who wasn’t buying into the hype of this band. I did enjoy their s/t EP from a few years ago, but their debut full length leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, they’ve got great production and they’ve really nailed that HM-2 sound made famous by so many Swedish death metal bands in the early 90s. But where are the riffs? Obviously, Gatecreeper is made up by former hardcore kids who have discovered Entombed, but they’ve missed the point of what makes death metal so great – riffs! Yeah, they have a few parts that are cool, but much like a bad hardcore band, they’ve suffocated their songs with breakdown after breakdown, and that’s not death metal.

I’m probably coming off like quite a snob right now, but that’s not the intention of writing this. I have no problem with punks/hardcore kids getting into death metal. My favourite death metal bands tend to use punk beats. The reason I’m writing this is because I want to give some exposure to some Swedish death metal records that I think those getting into bands like Gatecreeper will enjoy. Some of these recommendations will be painfully obvious, and more seasoned death metal fans can probably add plenty other releases. Either way, I hope some readers find something worth listening to here.

Entombed
entombed
Previously known as Nihilist in their formative years, Entombed are pretty much seen as the band that ignited Sweden’s death metal movement. Taking influence from Autopsy, Carcass, and the blooming punk scene in Sweden, Entombed’s buzzsaw guitar tone has been a staple in metal audio production ever since. Their first two records Left Hand Path and Clandestine are certified classics, but don’t miss out on the Crawl EP (which features the singer of Nirvana 2002 on vocals).

Dismember
dismember
Another classic staple alongside Entombed, Dismember’s first two albums, Like an Everflowing Stream and Indecent & Obscene (and the Pieces EP) are totally worth your time. They have a lot of ties with Entombed (Nicke Andersson drew their logo, played the leads on the debut, among other things), and even used the same artist for the debut.

Carnage
carnage
Carnage and Dismember have a history that is intertwined together and feature a lot of the same members in each band. In fact, some of the songs on Dismember’s debut appeared on Carnage’s only album, Dark Recollections. Carnage was the brainchild of Mike Amott, who later moved to England and joined Carcass for a couple records. This is certainly one of the most savage albums to come out from the initial wave of Swedish DM.

Unleashed
unleashed

When the previously mentioned Nihilist broke up, the one member who was left out of Entombed formed his own band – Unleashed. Their debut, Where No Life Dwells certainly sounds like it came out of the same school as Entombed, but there’s a little more emphasis on heavy metal than punk in its base influence. Unleashed also sang about vikings/Norse mythology and were the first death metal band to explore such themes.

Edge of Sanity
edge of sanity
One of the more ambitious death metal acts to come out of Sweden, Edge of Sanity was fronted by Dan Swano who has performed and engineered an endless amount of records since. Edge of Sanity were never afraid of combining other influences into their music, which became more evident over time as they had some 80’s goth and 70’s progressive rock sounds come in. Nothing But Death Remains is a solid debut, Unorthodox and the Spectral Sorrows expanded on this, and their progressive songwriting came to its peak for Crimson, a 40 minute single song.

Grave
grave
Another long lasting band in Sweden that formed in the 80’s and are still going today. Their songs are simple and too the point but will knock you on your ass with their thick, heavy riffs drenched in buzzsaw tone. Into the Grave is the obvious classic but don’t forget its follow up, You’ll Never See.

Hypocrisy
hypocrisy
After spending time in Florida with the band Malevolent Creation, Peter Tagtgren returned to Sweden infected with the death metal bug. The first two albums, Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum, are more in the Floridan style of death metal than their peers in Sweden. With their third record, The Fourth Dimension, they took on science fiction themes, and incorporated a little more melody and doom into their music. Tagtgren is a popular audio engineer these days, and Hypocrisy is more of a melodic death metal band now, but the early stuff cannot be denied.

At The Gates
at the gates
Following the demise of Grotesque, At The Gates burst onto the scene with their complex style of melodic death metal that would later be simplified into a more accessible sound. Many state that along with Carcass, ATG were responsible for creating the melodic death metal sound. The Red In The Sky Is Ours and With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness are masterpieces of dual guitar work playing off each other in intricate form. Members have since gone onto a variety of metal and punk bands including some favourites like Disfear and Skitsystem.

Therion
therion
As the name suggests, Therion were influenced by the great Celtic Frost. They wrote some pretty epic death metal songs before becoming some lame symphonic metal band later in their career. Beyond Sanctorum is quite an ambitious album full of raw aggression and complex arrangements.

Carbonized
carbonized

Members of Therion also played in this band that started out as a grinding death metal band on their debut For the Security but then got really weird with their Voivod influenced follow up, Disharmonization.

Furbowl
furbowl
Strange band name, stranger music. Furbowl was founded by former Carnage vocalist Johan Liiva (who also later fronted Arch Enemy). Their music contains a lot of left field influences, from Swedish d-beat to 80’s industrial/goth sounds. Those Shredded Dreams is a strong debut that not enough people talk about, but will be sure to get stuck in your head with its catchy riffing and unique sounds.

Desultory
desultory
I’m sure you know I probably don’t care much for melodic death metal, but Desultory are one of those bands that is able to pull it off flawlessly. The guitar tone is an absolute chainsaw of agony. Into Eternity is my favourite album of theirs, but some will argue that Bitterness is better.

Necrony
necrony
Before Nasum existed, members were playing in a Carcass worship band called Necrony. They only managed to release one full length, Pathological Performances, in addition to some demos and an EP. Where Nasum was able to flawlessly execute Napalm Death style grindcore in their early days, Necrony absolutely slays here with their goregrind influenced death metal.

Nirvana 2002
nirvana 2002
You may be thinking “why is this band’s name so dumb?” Just shut up and check them out. Short lived band, Relapse put out a compilation about a decade ago consisting of their EPs and demos (including one a touch up on their big EP by Dan Swano himself).

Murder Squad
murder squad

Members of Dismember and Entombed came together to form an Autopsy cover band that eventually released their own original material. They put out two killer records, Unsane, Insane and Mentally Derranged and Ravenous, Murderous. Chris Reifert himself even makes a guest appearance on the sophomore.

Cruciferous – Naraka

Power trio hardcore band from Edmonton. Only a couple years old with a single demo prior, I recorded and mixed these tracks in July for their EP. Cody at Circle A Studios in Victoria mastered this and did a fine job as always. Check these veg-heads out.

Revelator – s/t Demo 2018

Brand new black/death metal band from Edmonton. Two of my very close friends asked me to mix their debut demo recently, and here it is on bandcamp. Tapes are available for preorder now (which I also did the layout for).

Highbernation – Demo

Keeping busy in 2018, here’s my third full piece of work this year – Highbernation’s debut demo. As the name suggests, they are a stoner doom band, heavily influenced by Sleep, Electric Wizard, etc. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by me.

Sacrificial Rites – s/t demo

I just completed work on the debut demo for new Edmonton band Sacrificial Rites. Featuring members of Mortillery/Narkotta, they play punky black/heavy metal. Recording, mixing, and mastering by me, I also did the solos on the last 3 tracks.

 

Jazz Cigarette – No Filter demo

Brand new rock n roll band from Edmonton featuring members of Messiahlator, Languid and the Dirtbags. Recorded/mixed/mastered by me during the early parts of February. For fans of AC/DC, Motorhead, and Thin Lizzy. Another fun session to work on.

Falsehood – s/t

My side band Falsehood have unleashed our debut self titled full length. This album was many years in the making, while the recording spanned from July 2016 to April 2017. I joined this band in 2015 with the intent to get their album out, and I am very pleased with the final result. I wrote none of the music here, but I took the reigns on both the audio production and design aspects. Give it a listen here, tapes are currently in production and are available for preorder via our Bandcamp. FFO: Bolt Thrower, His Hero Is Gone, Neurosis.

Feeding EP, Paroxysm mLP

Two more releases by bands I’ve recorded have surfaced since I’ve last posted. Both recordings took place last fall and both bands are from Edmonton

First, Feeding has a tape consisting of 5 tracks. Both the recording and mixing were done by me. Four of the tracks are really thrashy hardcore that breakdown into some sludgier areas, with the other track further exploring sludge tempos. I’ve recorded them again more recently, and their newer material has taken in some Entombed influence. More on that to come. Here’s their self titled EP:

Paroxysm are another new Edmonton band, but some members are certainly not new to the scene, as they have played in bands such as Iskra, Self Rule, etc. This mLP consists of 7 ripping crust songs that live up to the genre’s core value of combining metal influences (Bolt Thrower and Sacrilege come to mind) with politically charged lyrics that highlight human atrocities close to home. I only did the recording, mixing/mastering was handled by Cody Baresich at Circle A Studio in Victoria.

Demise – Endless Restraint

In October of 2016, I recorded this power trio hardcore band from Edmonton known as Demise. I’ve been friends with them for quite some time now, and we had quite an enjoyable time putting this recording together over the course of a weekend. The tape is available now from the band.

Languid “Resist Mental Slaughter” LP & “Oblivion” EP

Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to record/mix a new Edmonton d-beat band known as LANGUID. They are good friends of mine and have played in a variety of great bands (TARANTUJA, MESSIAHLATOR, TOTAL WAR, UNLEARN, GEISTER, etc) throughout the years. I mastered an unreleased EP for them which eventually lead to me recording a live demo in May 2015. The band has wasted no time and had me record an LP for them in October 2015 and another 7″ in August 2016. The LP is slated for release this spring with the 7″ to follow. I am very pleased with how both projects turned out, and I feel that the “Oblivion” EP is one of my best recordings to to date. There are a couple tracks streaming from each below.