God Macabre – The Winterlong re-issued

by Enda Miller
June 16, 2014 –

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Relapse records slotted the re-release of God Macabre’s 1993 album The Winterlong for June 10, 2014 in the US, June 6 (Germany) and June 9 (UK/World). Situated squarely within the old school Swedish Death Metal camp, this album represents a logical extension of Entombed’s Left Hand Path. Here you will find nothing less than what one would expect of an old school Swedish Death Metal record; foreboding doom, neoclassical melody, ferocity, and nods to the dramatics of heavy metal. Complete with the infamous Sunlight Studio production, The Winterlong remains an enduring study, and will provide neophytes with new source material, remind the veterans of what once was, and thankfully become a readily available source of inspiration for years to come.

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23 comments

  • discodjango

    In my opinion this album is not very strong if one compares it to “Left Hand Path”, “Clandestine”, “Dark Recollections” or “Like An Everflowing Stream”. It just seems like a mixture of older Swedish Death Metal bands like Carnage and Nihilist with a hint of Grave and some thrown in melotron sounds. The songs themselves are not very good either: most of the riffs don’t fit together well and it sounds as if they were randomly thrown together.

    1. Nito

      I wonder why the new “OSDM” scene champions this album and the Gorement one as some kind of underrated classics.

    1. Phalangite

      How is it retarded? On the contrary, it’s quite accomplished. Does it stand the test of time after more than 20 years, though? Hardly.

    2. Nito

      “They’re to Entombed what Morgoth was to Death.”

      Better? Maybe not Entombed, but Eternal Fall/Resurrection Absurd is better than anything Death released. Those later Morgoth albums are as boring as any Death album though.

    3. Nester

      I don’t think it’s bad that bands get influenced in this way from other bands. If that influences took them to greater heights, then it was a good thing. If they’re content on living in their heroes shadows, they’ve failed, and their inspirational source was detrimental to them.

      God Macabre is castrated music. They have no mind of their own, they strictly(but poorly) follow their masters for instruction. Entombed’s bouncy parts sounded like conviction, God Macabre’s sound like a lack of it. Entombed’s melodicism sounded secluded, this holds your hands the whole way through (but tries to achieve the same effect). They also try to write their songs the way a lot of swedish death metal bands do. With the same sort of riff stringing, buildups, pauses… etc. When Entombed did it, it sounded like a journey, this sounds like an an obvious setup. In most accounts, this is just a softened up, watered down version of much better swedish dm. Even the production shows this. Entombed’s was grating, God Macabre’s a mellower more acceptable version of that.

      I don’t really why you’d think that. Morgoth are even worse offenders in this regard. They’re incapable of thinking outside the Death mold(except very briefly), and so, are very derivative. Not many are as shameless, there’s very few things they haven’t copied from Death. The vocals and vocal style, tendencies, even as far as vocal effects, are all copied from Death. They’re lead duo is an imitation of the chuck/rozz duo. The production is also copied from early Death. Their basic songwriting style, the same vein as Death. This clearly isn’t a band that can think for itself.

      The sad part is, when they’ve attempted otherwise, while still not as excellent as the band they’re copying, is not completely irrelevant. If they’ve furthered that part of them instead, they would have become worthy of having the status they unrightly have now. The songs I’m referring to are “The Afterthought” and “White gallery”(I can’t remember if it was this one or the song after).

      I group Leprosy and Consuming Impulse together as the most basic and essential pillars of Death metal. They’re eternal classics, I recommend you give them as much listens as necessary to recognize this if you don’t already.

      1. apathetic loser

        Interesting perspective. Personally, when I first heard Morgoth’s “Travel”, I wondered what Mozart might have thought of it. The song, to my ears at least, is a fine demonstration of death metal structuralism, particularly melodic framing of mood dynamics, which provided my young ears an insight into brooding contemplation and frustrated anguished emotion.

        Nothing Death ever recorded gave me anything near that kind of impression.

        As for God Macabre, I consider them a decent second tier Swedish death metal group. Not bad, but why turn to them when one has Entombed, Dismember, At the Gates….even Desultory or Afflicted?

        1. Nester

          What about this?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrbT-LjfZDc

          I can’t think of very many things that as perfectly encapsulate Death Metal as the chorus part of this song. For maximum effect, pay most attention to the last one, its aftermath, and the 26 second build up that precedes it. So 3:33 till the end.

          1. Brett Stevens

            Just to be clear about a murky issue:

            We base our determination on the music alone.

            If Justin Bieber records a death metal album and it is of sufficient quality, we will feature it here.

            But it has to be good.

      2. Nito

        Well, the material you mentioned (White Gallery, The Afterthought) was what I was talking about.

        Leprosy has cool ideas in it, but the “get to the solo and then play everything that happened before it again” songwriting style Death always had makes them boring in the long run.

        With all that said, I don’t think anything mentioned here really stands the test of time: Death, God Macabre, Morgoth, etc. Some good stuff in there, but I don’t like wading through mediocre albums to get to good bits. Still, I can’t say this is some kind of abysmal failure, but I wouldn’t recommend it over worthier releases.

  • EDS

    Yeah, I never got into this album much. I’ll try it again in order to give it a proper review. Maybe something will grow on me.

    1. trystero

      It’s a good example of second rate swedeath, allowing a contrast with the more accomplished albums. It makes sense to keep it from an academic perspective. Poor albums or reviews have been removed from the DLA in the past but I missed them every time.

      1. Brett Stevens

        It’s interesting.

        I would say it’s closer to a doom metal album. The closest comparison would be Cemetary with heavier production.

        Compared to its cohorts, it shows a bit more use of harmonic structure in how it composes its riff melodies.

        The problem is that there are these great melodic riffs separated by somewhat obvious chromatic riffs that not only don’t really add on to what others (Carnage) have done, but they detract by emphasizing simple rhythms so that vocals can predominate. There’s clearly a lot of heritage from the first two Entombed in this one including many similar rhythms.

        I can see why this album has persisted: the doom parts (like Paradise Lost) give enough life to the rest to make it an interesting listen. At the same time, it’s not very compelling in the reasoned-passionate way early death metal was.

  • trystero

    A couple of the tracks on this album are pleasingly, if not solidly, constructed and I do find myself listening to it on occasion. It may be derivative and somewhat disjointed but it has moments of real beauty. Perhaps it’s just derivative of the right sort of metal.

  • Enda Miller

    This album definitely has its draw backs. Nonetheless, it generally stays true to the roots of the genre, and that is saying something considering when this was released. I also think the review in the DLA is perfect for this record, it recognizes and points out the imperfections while admitting the strengths strengths.

    1. Phalangite

      “Nonetheless, it generally stays true to the roots of the genre, and that is saying something considering when this was released.”

      Well said. This is a key to understanding why this album is somewhat important. It’s 1993, the year Wolverine Blues was released. The Winterlong is like a throwback to the the days of Nihilist and Carnage in comparison.

      1. Nester

        It wasn’t like God Macabre thought: “Fuck Death n roll, we’re taking it back to the roots”. The album was released two years after it was recorded.

  • Redman

    It’s a very good, sorrowful album dripping with dark melody. Derivative but still good and unpretentious.

  • Dr.evil

    What strange comments, never heard people disliking this album before.Ask anyone who was into the late 80’s/early 90’s underground scene and they’ll say they all love this album.I have the original,the re-release and I even bought this new re-release.In other words; I love this band!

    1. Enda Miller

      Ya, I find absolutely disliking things is a modern metal phenomenon. Few people can step back and analyse an album in order pick out the good things, and the poor things, and point those things out in order to provide constructive criticism.