From the Vault: Miasma Changes

by Brett Stevens
July 1, 2013 –

miasma-changesIt’s easy for us looking back on underground metal to see it like a textbook description, where it was ordained that certain bands would become pillars of the underground. In reality, it was more like a place where rivers meet, with currents flowing under and behind each other to weave into a body of water.

Miasma’s Changes never got much distribution, being on tiny and sometimes inconsistent Lethal Records, nor did it fit into what people expected. At a time when European metal was surging ahead with fast melodic material, this Changes combined doom metal with primitive American-style death metal like Morpheus Descends or Baphomet. With its heavy vocals and dark cadenced approach it made stuff like Entombed sound cheerful.

Like German heavyweights Atrocity, Miasma was calibrated incorrectly for what the audience wanted, but the band knew how to make crushing metal, more in the style of Grave and Uncanny than the At the Gates and Therion more delicate fare. Using trudging verses and choruses that seem to be from familiar memories of years past now forgotten, Miasma created music that was both intuitive and surprising. Even more, it worked in melody, but used it more like doom metal bands — think Candlemass here — who use the sweetness and light to accent the morbid and dark and make it all the more real.

Behind the scenes, this album influenced a wide range of people, but most of them were metal musicians. The fans never quite got it, other than a few hipsters in the early 2000s who wanted it for its collectable value. However, those who wanted to know how to make death metal that felt like a subconscious gesture, Changes remains a prized treasure.

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5 comments

  • EDS

    This album didn’t click with me at first back in 2009 when I was exploring this era of death metal. However now it does. It is better compositionally than its peers and has just the right amount of technical mastery to not be too over the top. Brett is right in saying that audiences at the time wanted something other than this. It seems to me that in 1992 the fans either wanted more heavy churning tremolo riffs ala Entombed or some of that ” new stuff” coming out of Norway.

    This site need more ” From the Vault”.

    Reply
  • parasite

    I haven’t even heard this album yet and I’m glad it is being reviewed. I started a topic a week or so ago called “Picking through the OSDM lists” and I’m fairly certain i saw this one on a list. Just because some bands or albums are Under noticed/Underground/Obscure/Out-Of-Print/Disbanded/Rare etc etc does not mean it can be assumed as garbage. Im sure this album will be “A” quality when compared to the NU stuff that is being reviewed frequently here.

    Reply
  • Dominating Fucker

    Thank you S.R. Prozak for this kind of reviews! This is exactly what Deathmetal.org should be all about: the place where to learn about great underground metal music. I am certain there are a lot of these undernoticed bands and albums that need to be revalued and exposed. Only a person with your dedication to underground metal and prestige can resurface these bands and exhibit their historical value with enough credibility to be of academic relevance.

    Reply
    1. Brett Stevens Post author

      I am certain there are a lot of these undernoticed bands and albums that need to be revalued and exposed.

      This is for certain. And that none of the few good bands that are new be allowed to slip by us unnoticed…

      As part of that, we need to make sure we review current works as a whole.

      Reply
  • Anthony

    I tried to get into this album a fear years ago because someone recommended it to me as a good companion to Molested, but it didn’t really click for me. I’ll try listening to it from a doom metal perspective this time around. I remember liking the EP (which was really like one long song and a live track) that came after this a little better.

    Reply

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