Thursday, February 23, 2012

Swedish Death Metal - Part 4

Part 4.

"Tracks 1-7" -by- Edge of Sanity -from- Crimson II
As death metal surged forward, some bands chose to fuse it with elements from other sub-genres to create a wide variety of sounds and styles. Edge of Sanity had been doing this with progressive death since their earliest demos in 1989. They released their final album in 2003, giving an excellent demonstration of how death metal could be effectively blended with facets of the broader metal world.

"Cancer of the Soul" -by- Bloodbath -from- Nightmares Made Flesh
At the other end of the spectrum, nostalgia and respect for the past had produced bands which wanted to get back to their Swedish death metal roots. Easily the most notable example of this is the "supergroup" Bloodbath. Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth was their original vocalist, but it was under the leadership of Hypocrisy's Peter Tägtgren that the band produced their most intense work with the excellent Nightmares Made Flesh.

"Paradoxical Spiral/Re-Inanimate/Entrapment" -by- Meshuggah -from- Catch 33
Meshuggah were formed back at the very dawn of Swedish death metal, and they began releasing demos and albums at about the same time as pioneers like Entombed, Grave, and Dismember. It would, therefore, be a travesty to leave them off this auditory history, even if this entry is relatively late in their discography. Their very technical and dissonant style makes them unique from other important Swedish death metal bands, and they gave rise to a niche sub-genre called "djent".

"Valhalla Awaits" -by- Unleashed -from- Midvinterblot
Unleashed are another very early Swedish death metal group. Essentially, they are to Entombed what Megadeth are to Metallica. And, much like Megadeth, they largely lived in the shadow of their more popular counterpart. In more recent years, as other pioneering Swedish acts have largely faded away, new material by Unleashed has begun to enjoy an increased level of popularity. Stylistically and thematically, it could be said that Unleashed were the original Amon Amarth.

"From Menace to Mayhem" -by- Evocation -from- Tales from the Tomb
There seems to be a massive supply of Swedish death metal acts that originally formed in the late 80s and early 90s, only to die out a few years later. In the past decade, many of these bands have reformed to finally release studio albums in the more developed and receptive modern market. Evocation is an excellent example: they released a couple demos in 1992 before they went on hold, and they returned with a full-length debut 15 years later.

That does it for part 4. In the final part we will see the current state of Swedish death metal, and take a quick look toward the future.

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

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