Various Artists - Swedish Death Metal
Index Verlag
Death Metal
Disc 1: 18 songs (1:10:00) Disc 2: 16 songs (1:14:00) Disc 3: 18 songs (1:08:00)
Release year: 2009
Index Verlag
Reviewed by Goat

Released in connection with the German edition of Daniel Ekeroth’s book about Swedish Death Metal (cunningly titled “Swedish Death Metal”), this triple-digipack collection contains over 50 songs, seeking to give an introduction to that most noble of genres. With notes on each song by Mr Ekeroth himself (a member of bands like Insision, Dellamorte, and Tyrant) this is a great collection, and fear not, ye great men of the underground, Arch Enemy don’t appear once. There are plenty of underground relics and rarities present, from the opening track of the first CD (a demo song from Mefisto) all the way through. Whoever you are, however knowledgeable in the style, I can virtually guarantee that there’ll be something here that you haven’t heard of. It’d take far too long to go through each band present, but rest assured that this is about as exhaustive a trawl through the genre as is possible.

The CDs are split up as follows: CD 1 is an exploration of the roots of the Swedish Death Metal sound, taking in bands as diverse as Obscurity, Carnage and Afflicted Convulsion, all with their own sound and diverse style. Of the better-known names, pre-Entombed horde Nihilist have a track from their 1988 demotape that absolutely kills, as well as an early Therion dirge and demo tracks from Grave and Dismember. CD 2 looks at that stunning moment in history when the Swedish greats released their debut albums to worldwide applause – Entombed kick this CD off with the title track from their 1989 But Life Goes On demo, and there are also interesting songs from Nirvana 2000, General Surgery, Unleashed, Tiamat, Dismember and even a glimpse of the Black Metal crossover with bands like Marduk and Dissection. The third CD looks at Swedish Death Metal overall at its golden peak, bringing you up to date with more modern acts like Repugnant and Katalysator, although of course there are plenty of rarities from the likes of Evocation, Toxaemia, Crypt Of Kerberos and Necrony.

Obviously, this has a select appeal, but if you have any interest at all in the roots of Death Metal then this compilation is worth purchasing for the first CD alone. Some tracks present are taken from easily available albums rather than demos, but the vast majority of songs are from hard-to-find sources like 7” EPs, and in a single package like this the experience is amazing. Sadly I haven’t got a copy of the book to look at (apparently it features a variety of demo covers, flyers, rare band photos and an A-Z glossary, and the kickass cover art is done by Nicke Andersson) so this experience will have to be audio-only – but it’s a great one, nonetheless. Whoever you are, there’s something for you here, be it the low-fi brutality of Putrefaction, the epic sludge of Expulsion, or Marduk’s crushing track. This is a fine tribute to a genre that has much relevance to us all, and a worthy collection of tracks that you probably won't find elsewhere.

Killing Songs :
All are great
Goat quoted no quote
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