Demos and a Forsaken Future

“Dude, their demos were so much better” is one of the most obnoxious cliches of underground metal.  Usually a sign of virtue signaling used to mask one’s insecurities about their knowledge or taste, many lost souls of a nostalgia-obsessed age will use this one as a pale attempt to one up their brethren.  However in many cases within metal’s sonic sphere, bands that were truly fantastic on their early demos left much to be desired and ultimately left listeners unfulfilled.  Whether it be a record company’s influence, a change in heart or band members, or a touch of genius quickly fumbled away, may bands throughout the history of metal have never quite been able to match the quality of their demo recordings.

With death metal built on an entire sub culture of tape trading, demos were more than a proverbial foot-in-the-door to a potential record deal.  For musicians of the genre’s early days, the demo was the equivalent to having your record in the store- it was being shipped all around the world to fans desperate for something they couldn’t find in shops and to musicians hungry for new ideas.  Furthermore, a band’s demo was untainted by the direction and input of record labels who, in those days, quite often suppressed what was deemed “too weird” or “too extreme” as death metal was often determined by the suits of those days.  Tape trading death metal demos was an underground of its own, and your band’s demo tape wasn’t just a pathway to commercialization or musical success- but a often the start of new friendships in a rapidly globalizing world.  Given all of these unique factors, it’s no surprise death metal was full of bands who could never quite capture the magic of their demos.

To offer a complete list would be a dishonor and disservice to the legions of quality works that fall under this umbrella.  Therefore in today’s editorial, I will briefly offer a handful of my personal favorite death metal demos from bands that could never quite capture the magic.  Though I pay little mind to what happens in our comment sections, this will mark a special occurrence where I’d be delighted to know what DMU’s readers would have on this list.

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Entombed Win Entombed Trademark Case

The three musicians from Entombed‘s classic Left Hand Path lineup, Nicke Anderssen, Alex Hellid, and Uffe Cederlund, won their trademark dispute against Left Hand Path vocalist Lars-Goran “L.G.” Petrov’s Entombed A. D. project in the Swedish Court of First Instance (Patent and Market Court [PMD] at Stockholm District Court). Petrov has used the Entombed A.D. moniker to release lame death ‘n’ roll to tour behind long after the rest of Entombed hung in the towel and admitted they would never be rock stars.

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Necrophobic 2017 Chilean Tour

Swedish black metal band Necrophobic is planning a short four show tour of Chile this June. Chilean fans should check them out especially as their best vocalist, Anders Strokirk off of The Nocturnal Silence, has rejoined the band. Hopefully they will play their best, early material.

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Tomas Skogsberg Goes Red

Tomas Skogsberg, the producer of most of the early nineties Swedish death metal classics from Entombed and Dismember at Sunlight Studio, was interviewed by the Swedish Communist Party’s Proletaren news site a couple of years ago. Skogsberg of course speaks  about his collectivist ideals and why he eventually became a card-carrying Communist. He mentions that the Boss HM-2 pedal is only good for chainsaw guitar death metal and is otherwise bullshit. In addition he talks of his love of The Beatles and unpristine, properly dirty productions, and how Sunlight only bought digital audio workstation software in 1995 that he still uses. This could explain why various Swedish bands have noted over the years that Skogsberg let Sunlight Studio fall into disrepair in the mid 90s. Overall, Skogsberg says he is proud of the “rattly and raspy” records he engineered over the course of his career with his favorite production have been Entombed‘s Wolverine Blues, death ‘n’ roll sellout from 1993.

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Morbid Interviewed by Bardo Methodology

Former Morbid bassist Dr. Schitz was interviewed by metal webzine Bardo Methodology. Dr. Schitz, a working psychologist in Sweden, tells what drove his bandmate Dead from Mayhem, Dead’s Cotard’s Delusion, and why H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos along with the related Simon Necronomicon from the 1970s (used for lyrical inspiration by Morbid Angel) was so influential to non-English speaking metal lyrics and themes. Check it out.

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