Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Swedish Death Metal - Part 1

Swedish death metal essentially began in 1988. Nihilist, Grave, and Dismember released their first demos that year. Over the next few years, legions of others would join these few bands to help form one of the most popular and important subsets in the world of extreme metal: Swedish death metal. In this post, I will guide you through a brief auditory chronology of the first quarter century of Swedish death metal. I have selected one song to link from each of these first 25 years, starting in 1988 and ending here in 2012. Each song is by a different band, so hopefully this will introduce you to a few groups you haven't already heard. To avoid killing my blog with 25 videos linked in a single post, I will do this in a series with 5 parts.

If you haven't selected the post itself, please note that unlike most of my blog entries, these have a "read more" option under the video.

Anyway, without further ado, here we go!

"Into the Grave" -by- Grave -from- Sick Disgust Eternal (demo)
Before their 1991 album of the same name, Grave released the original version of this track on their first demo Sick Disgust Eternal. This was the third important demo in the emerging scene to be released that year. The first two were by Dismember and Nihilist respectively.

"Severe Burns" -by- Nihilist -from- Drowned (demo)
Nihilist hold a weirdly mythical status in the death metal world. They are almost certainly the most legendary death metal band never to release an album, as they would later fragment and their members would go on to form Entombed and Unleashed. This track is from the last of their three demos.

"Left Hand Path" -by- Entombed -from- Left Hand Path
This was the first year that notable studio albums began to emerge from the Swedish death metal world. Leading the charge was Left Hand Path, one of the absolutely essential death metal classics and probably the most influential album from the entire Swedish scene.

"And So Is Life" -by- Dismember -from- Like an Ever Flowing Stream
In 1991, Swedish death metal truly exploded, producing many of its most highly regarded albums. Grave, Unleashed, Entombed, and Sorcery were just some of the bands to release notable albums that year. But the king of them all was this colossal slab of heaviness from Dismember. To this day, many fans consider Like an Ever Flowing Stream the apex of Swedish death metal.

"Night Comes, Blood Black" -by- At the Gates -from- The Red in the Sky is Ours
Soon, Sweden would become known for a second signature variation of death metal, the now-infamous "Gothenburg sound" which would become the template for melodic death metal acts across the globe. When At the Gates first introduced this new style, though, it was still unquestionably heavy and ferocious.

That does it for part one. Stay tuned for the rise of melodeath in part 2.

Part 1 1988-1992
Part 2 1993-1997
Part 3 1998-2002
Part 4 2003-2007
Part 5 2008-2012

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