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God Macabre - The Winterlong

God Macabre - The Winterlong
April 12, 2012, 10:28:12 PM
Yep, this is one of the many obscure bands from the early 90’s that have resurfaced thanks to the internet and partly to the “Swedish Death Metal” book by Daniel Ekeroth and now enjoys undeserved cult status. Nirvana 2002, Caducity, and Crypt of Kerberos are probably the more egregious examples though…

Structurally, everything here works. There is clear melodic development and all the riffs fit logically together. Each song effectively builds into a narrative, there is even an overall atmosphere conveyed that brings to mind images of drowning, or being abandonment in a blizzard, basically dying alone exposed to the indifference and harshness of nature.  But the riffs do not have any voice of their own, being textbook examples of Swedish death metal and early Amorphis. The songs convey a story, but the story is BORING because you’ve heard other people do a better job telling it.

Overall I get the impression that this was a band with a lot of potential, but who had too few of those “holy fuck!!” moments of inspiration.

Thoughts on God Macabre?

Re: God Macabre - The Winterlong
April 13, 2012, 01:43:46 AM
Here's a review I read a while back on rateyourmusic.com from a user called misanthropic_geology (suspended now; from his ratings it can be inferred that he was probably anus affiliated) that effectively encapsulates my opinion on this release:

"I don’t really feel like crystallizing this into an “official” review. Forming paragraphs is too much work anyways god dammit!!! So here are the bullet points:

- The percussion is clumsy and hinders the flow of the music. Drum production is awful; the bass drums are too high and have an overly thunderous quality that doesn’t exactly fit the doomy atmosphere. The drumming is poorly coordinated with the guitars.
-Melodic development is uniform, although not a total failure.
-Generic “Stockholm” death metal sound, no character.
-Forced and armature vocal performance.
-Too many Autopsy fed through hardcore punk  riffs that were typical of Dismember. These frequently morph into slow drudging doom riffs that don’t work that well when paired.
-Creative use of synthesizers that bring greater quality to the sound of the whole.
-Brings to mind images of drowning, or being abandonment in a blizzard – essentially dying alone exposed to the indifference and harshness of nature - quite metal indeed!
-Stringy lead guitars that resemble ramen noodles. Far too much wah peddle – something that has NO place whatsoever in death metal. Solos are rock and roll styled which detracts from the atmosphere of despair and hopelessness.
-This would be excellent if the phrases were better defined, and if the melodic development was a bit more ambitious. It would be nice if they paid closer attention to how Amorphis developed melodic ideas on their first album.
- It’s one of those overrated “obscure gems” that have recently surfaced due to the Internet and the “Swedish Death Metal” book. This isn’t a necessary listen, but a bit interesting as a historical artifact from the early 90’s of Scandinavian death metal. You can hear the flavor of that era and location everywhere. The synthesizers immediately bring to mind Soulside Journey, the riffing is an amalgamation of Amorphis, Nihilist/Entombed/Dismember and Autopsy.
-A better execution of this style would be the Amorphis debut album and Gorement’s “An Ending Quest”
-For die hard fans of Swedish death metal only, I recommend most death metalers pass on this album."

All in all, perhaps a bit too strict, as there are plenty of moments here worthy of attention. Nonetheless, I tend to find releases in this vein [obscure, underground, recently-unearthed Swedish Death Metal, some names have already been dropped (although its should be noted that I dislike most SweDm in general, even the releases which are held in high regard here]), to be largely wanting.  

Re: God Macabre - The Winterlong
April 13, 2012, 12:12:18 PM
The problem with Swedish death metal is that the Finns did it so much better.

Re: God Macabre - The Winterlong
April 15, 2012, 05:48:26 PM
The problem with Swedish death metal is that the Finns did it so much better.

I think you are mostly right, with the obvious exceptions of the debut albums of Dismembered, Therion, and At The Gates, which make up some of the high points of death metal. But still, pick a random Finnish band and a random Swedish band out of the hat and the Finnish band will probably be the more interesting one.

Swedish bands tend to voice melodies in a similar way more so then any scene. Even across genres you can still immediately recognize a Swedish band. I think this propensity is due to the Swedish personality, which puts a great emphasis on conformity. Scandinavians in general value “fitting in” but this is more pronounced in Sweden.

That “review” was mine btw, hence the copy-pasta. From revisiting The Winterlong I’ve come to appreciate the albums pacing and the thought put into the song placement. This makes it even more bittersweet because the music is so damn timid.