Nihilist - Demo Collection
Threeman Recordings
Old School Death Metal
14 songs (48'07")
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Alex

Had I not become a chemist I would have been a historian. History was my favorite subject in high school. It is phenomenal how absolutely the same events can be portrayed from the totally subjective point of view of an individual, party, regime, country, etc. to lay a claim to something, to “own” history. Thus, I prefer objective listing of dates and names to be able to sit down and try to come up with my own conclusions. But I digress …

It is absolutely objective in the history of Death Metal that Entombed has left an undeniable, the size of Sweden, mark. You may not like their raw, in your face, almost primitive style of their earlier albums, but it is the fact that just about every European Death Metal has used one or another element, riff, beat from Left Hand Path and Clandestine. The purists will say that after Wolverine Blues, or even including Wolverine Blues, the band lost its roots trying to advance and reinvent itself. So powerful and influential were the two early albums, Entombed were almost the victims of themselves first defining the formula and then deviating from it. Those same purists, of course, know that before officially becoming Entombed the band was known as Nihilist, issuing demo tapes all over Death Metal underground channels. Threeman Recordings, the label owned by the Entombed guys, have recently decided to pull those demos together to be licensed to Candlelight USA. It is not my place to say whether such a collection was necessary, considering those who own Left Hand Path (and that album is mandatory for any self-respecting Death Metal fan), have heard many of these songs before. It is, however, beyond any doubt that history of Death Metal has been printed on this little piece of plastic for many to hear.

The first demo Prematured Autopsy recorded in 1988 is skuzzy muffled tracks with a booming rhythm section. These tracks are exercises of Swedish teenagers trying to invent the genre starting with extreme thrash further spiking it with speed bursts. But it only takes a few listens to understand that the brilliancy of the riffs (Supposed to Rot, Carnal Leftovers) is already here. Next demo Only Shreds Remain saw Nihilist partner with producer Thomas Skogsberg and Sunlight Studios. While Sunlight helped Nihilist/Entombed to define their sound, Entombed put Sunlight on the map, enough so that many more Swedish bands had to record there to get the “sound” themselves. Abnormally Deceased and Revel in Flesh sees the band balancing out the pulsating drums/bass with grinding trademark “buzzsaw” guitars. Revel in Flesh introduces probably the first ever Nihilist slowdown and the solo reminiscent of the noise hornets pack makes on its way to the target. Lars-Goran Petrov, who became a full member of the band on this demo, is a voice of the afterlife with his abstractovomitous screamogrowl.

It is not until 1989 Drowned demo, at least for me, that the band really matured. Severe Burns, later resurfacing on Clandestine, is one of my favorite old school Death Metal tracks and one of the genre first masterpieces. This is inspired brutality at its best! When Life Has Ceased follows suit, speedy and groovy at the same time, with a hectic solo. But Life Goes On demo, seeing the band already having changed the name to Entombed, adds legibility to vocals, oomph and venom to riffs, sense of purpose to solos and raises the overall level of nastiness threefold. No wonder Earache scooped the Swedes with their parents needing to sign contracts due to the members’ youthful age. Turns out to come of age as a musician it is not quite necessary to come of legal age.

When I myself was a young teenager growing up in Kiev in the early 80s I remember catching those radio transmissions from BBC where Russian immigrant in the UK Seva Novgorodtsev portrayed the history of Deep Purple, drawing the extended family tree of early days British Heavy Metal connecting Purple, Sabbath, Rainbow and dozen of other bands. Family tree of Entombed reads in a similar manner. Tiamat, Unleashed, Dismember, even Mayhem (through vocalist Dead to Uffe Cederlund connection), crossed paths with Nihilist/Entombed at one time or another.

Being that just about every song from this collection has seen a later release there is no new material on the CD. No quote is assigned as a result. Who am I to judge history with numbers?

Killing Songs :
Supposed to Rot, Severe Burns, When Life Has Ceased
Alex quoted no quote
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