28 Years Ago: NIHILIST complete Only Shreds Remain demo at Sunlight Studio

This was the first time NIHILIST recorded at Tomas Skogsberg’s Sunlight Studio; one of the first to record at Sunlight at all. They followed TREBLINKA (Crawling in Vomits, November ’88) and MORBID (Last Supper, September ’88).

Recording began on 8 December and Only Shreds Remain was completed on this day in 1988.

With their new lineup and improved material, Nihilist easily blew away their contemporaries and delivered what can be seen as probably the first 100 percent pure Swedish death metal recording. The precise riffing, the ghastly growls of Petrov – very unlike the screams delivered on the debut – and Andersson’s drumming are all just incredible. This demo is also the first to feature the special ultra-thick Studio Sunlight guitar sound that would later become the trademark of Swedish death metal.
– from Swedish Death Metal by Daniel Ekeroth

We used Sunlight only because Morbid had been there. But I was not pleased with the studio. I think the production on our second demo sucks. The drums, especially, sound awful. Skogsberg didn’t know much about how to take care of death metal back then. The reason we got the great guitar sound was the Leif moved on to guitar, and came up with that fat sound. At that point, we didn’t know how he did it – but we loved it!
– Nicke Andersson

For that recording, we hardly had any time at all. You had to pay for each hour in the studio, and we didn’t have any money. And back then you didn’t rehearse much before a recording, so it was pretty stressful.
– Johnny Hedlund

30 Years Ago: MEFISTO record their last demo The Puzzle

Cult Swedish thrash/death, MEFISTO recorded their last demo together in November 1986. They split soon after (see interview except below) but have recently reunited with the original lineup to record a new album, 2.0.1.6: This Is the End of It All… the Beginning of Everything…

Musically, we drifted in different directions, which you might be able to hear on the two demos. Omar’s guitar solos started to take over, like seven-minute Malmsteen solos. He became very egoistic. Sure he was skilled, but Roberto and I wanted to play rawer and more straightforward, like on Megalomania. Roberto and Omar never really got along, which resulted in a tooth being kicked out during the demo recording.
– Sandro Cajander, Mefisto interview, Septic zine #5

I was into tape trading, and the singer who formed Opeth, David, gave me Mefisto’s The Puzzle demo. Up until then I was interested in death metal, but I wasn’t really blown away. Death metal like Hellhammer was just brutal and I liked the brutality but I was missing something. Mefisto had a guitar player who played classical guitar intros, and the solos were great, but it still had that brutality which I was looking for. I was just completely floored. For me The Puzzle is the Scandinavian death metal super classic.
– Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth interview, Swedish Death Metal

27 Years Ago: ENTOMBED finish recording their first demo But Life Goes On

But Life Goes On was recorded very shortly after Nihilist had split up. Alex was busy with his studies at that time, so everything was made by me, Uffe and L.G. Uffe and I played all the guitars and bass.

Recorded over two days, 23-24 September, the newly named ENTOMBED completed their first demo on this day in 1989 at Sunlight Studio.

The reason we went back to Sunlight was that we heard the Treblinka 7″ recorded there, and it sounded great to our ears. So we gave Skogsberg a second chance.

Something had obviously happened with Skogsberg and Studio Sunlight because everything sounded so much better on this recording. I guess he had started to realize what death metal was all about, and we got along well.

– Nicke Andersson, Swedish Death Metal by Daniel Ekeroth

25 Years Ago: DISSECTION release Into Infinite Obscurity

First available as a promo tape from the band, the Into Infinite Obscurity 7″ was released by Corpse Grinder Records (Arcveil, France) on this day in 1991.

DISSECTION started before Summer ’90 when Jon left RABBITS CARROT, where he was playing guitars. He recruited Ole also from R.C. though he’s still on that band. By these times, R.C. was playing shitty Thrash into METALLICA vein, but with the left of Jon, they became to play Death Metal suddenly, extrange isn’t it? Just a question of trends!!
The fact is that DISSECTION started to rehearse and they asked to a friend called Peter to play bass. He never played any instrument before, but he accepted!! They played their first show on a festival in Strömstad with ENTOMBED, CADAVER, NOSFERATU and RABBITS CARROT. They recorded two rehearsal trax separately which served them to get a bit known in the underground, but their aim was to record a studio demo in October, being delayed to some problems ’til December and it wasn’t mixed until February ’91. The demo is called “The Grief Prophecy” and it was recorded on a 16-trax studio. The sound is quite good and the cover is professionally done. The guitar sound is pretty near to RABBITS CARROT and they’re basically in the vein of the defunct CARNADE. Jon’s voice is totally shreddin’ and their music is very heavy and grinding with some fast parts on it. The songs included are “Severed Into Shreds”, “The Call Of The Mist” and “Consumed”. It’s dedicated to Jeff Becerra for his fatal accident.
They’ve signed with the new French label CORPSE GRINDER Rec. for a 7″. They’ll enter Sunlight Studios (ENTOMBED, THERION, CARNAGE, DRAK THRONE, etc.) to record three new songs and possibly one of the demo. Recently they’ve recruited a new guitarist called John Zwetsloot and surely their music will improve a lot.
– Dave Rotten, Drowned Magazine #2, 1991

25 Years Ago: TIAMAT release The Astral Sleep

I can’t remember the exact details. I think UNLEASHED already had a contract with Century Media and Johan had asked them to do a good word for TIAMAT. We recorded “The Astral Sleep” in the middle of 1991. TIAMAT was already a completely different band by then. Stefan and Anders were not in the band anymore because they wanted to concentrate on EXPULSION and were replaced by Thomas Petersson and Niklas Ekstrand. I didn’t feel comfortable anymore very quickly. Thomas and Niklas were not fans of Death Metal and prefered to listen to ordinary Rock. I think they would never have joined the band if we didn’t already have a record deal with TIAMAT. The new songs were also much slower and more atmospheric, the music was not nearly as extreme as in TREBLINKA. It wasn’t any longer why I was doing it for. Death Metal represented freedom for me. It was music where you could do completely your own thing and you didn’t care what others thought of it. I just started to dislike the whole situation more and more. I remember that I went sailing for a whole weekend with a friend the week before recording “The Astral Sleep” out of sheer frustration. I also didn’t feel like practicing the new songs with the others, I didn’t have any passion anymore for the band. And so, a week after the recording of “The Astral Sleep”, I quit the band.
– Jörgen ‘Juck’ Thullberg, Voices from the Darkside

After signing a deal with Century Media, TIAMAT released their second album on this day in 1991.

23 Years Ago: NECROPHOBIC release The Nocturnal Silence on Black Mark

“The Nocturnal Silence” is NOT for the weak, the christians and people with fear for the dark. It contains 9 songs of pure evil and darkness that’ll make the sun never rise again!!!

Recorded in March at Sunlight Studio, between CEMETERY’s Godless Beauty and AT THE GATES’ With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, NECROPHOBIC released their debut LP on this day in 1993 through Black Mark (home of course to BATHORY, run by Börje Forsberg).

Note about the release date: the zine from which all these quotes are taken gives the release date as 26 July 1993. Modern listings give it as 2 August.

necrophobic-band-1992

During our existence, we got a few deals. One from Deaf Rec, already after our first demo, but we decided to wait until we felt ready for such a thing like a deal. We wanted to feel ready, but also to have a name recognized in the underground. We feel that being well known, before you do an album, is quite important. So some time in November 92, I sent out “Unholy…” demo and adv. to “The Call” to Börje Forsberg of Black Mark and he responded me just in two days saying that he wanted to do an album with us. As no other of those “bigger” record companies had shown no interest, we signed with Black Mark in March 1993.
[…]
We have signed for just one album and if they like it, they might sign us for more. I can say that this is not a deal we are 100% satisfied with, but remember that we are just a band that has their first record out, so it’s “no golden paths” yet, if you know what I mean!? As for the promotion we get the same promotion as the other bands on the label, but we will do a little by ourselves as well. Like flyers and stuff through the mail…
– Joakim Sterner, Dark Shivers Magazine #1 1993

25 Years Ago: SEANCE emerge with the Levitised Spirit demo

Formed by members of ORCHRISTE and TOTAL DEATH in 1990, SEANCE quickly recorded Levitised Spirit. It immediately led to label interest and sold hundreds. Within weeks they were signed to Black Mark and about 10 months later had recorded and released the debut album Fornever Laid to Rest!

The LEVITISED SPIRIT demo made almost everything that we had hoped for come true. Within two weeks after we had sent out the tape, both BLACK MARK and STEAMHAMMER RECORDS (S.P.V.) had contacted us (among others). Later on PEACEVILLE and NUCLEAR BLAST got in touch with us, too. I think that at one time we had twelve interested record companies and five deal offers. We sold 1000 copies without a single flyer. I guess that we could have sold even more tapes, but there was no point in making more demos when we had signed a contract three or four weeks after we released it.

The studio we used was called WUDVERKET (doesn’t exist anymore). The problems were like there were no cables where there should have been; and there was no ventilation whatsoever in the drumroom, so Micke got a migraine so bad that he hardly saw any colors at all when we recorded the songs. I had to stand on my knees during the whole recording session; otherwise, I wouldn’t have heard my guitar in the monitors. It’s a miracle that we managed to record the demo at all, but it turned out okay; and yes, it’s the only demo that we’ve done.
– Exhume zine #4 1993

24 Years Ago: AT THE GATES release debut The Red in the Sky Is Ours

When we were choosing the cover we wanted a red very intense yet abstract picture. We couldn’t find any picture which filled our wishes, so Anders and his father took the picture themselves. It’s a picture of a hand holding an onyx (kind of a stone). There is no special meaning to it except that it captured the feel we were looking for.

The Red in the Sky… was their debut album and the first release after signing with Deaf Records (Peaceville). The deal was for three albums, the last being Terminal Spirit Disease in 1994. They didn’t renew the contract and signed with Earache for their last album (before re-forming a few years later) Slaughter of the Soul (1995).

In the distro: we do have some ATG CDs in stock including the Gardens of Grief demo reissue (released before this album)

In all modern listings the release date is given as this day in 1992, this ad gives a different date but it could be for a later US or European release:

at-the-gates-the-red-peaceville-ad
Masterpieces from Peaceville

…it’s a really mixed emotions awaked by our music and our sound. The main complain has been the sound, but that don’t get us in a bad mood in any way. I would say that it has been positively received generally. But yes, we’ve had some negative reviews, but not from the underground though. I have to defend us by saying we’re not playing to please the masses. We would rather have 1 devouted fan instead of 10 who’re just buying our music ’cause it’s a trend. Although I’m really happy to sell many records, and good reviews in the major mags sure helps to do that. We will always do what we like and believe in and if other people like it as well then I’m happy.

…we did consider to use Sunlight for “The Red in the Sky…” but that studio was not available at the time when we wanted to record. So we had that choice to enter Art “fucking expensive” studios or to wait a couple of months for Sunlight to be available. A choice we will regret for the rest of our lives was that we chose Art studios. That studio deserves to be unknown, no make that forgotten!

…it was never in our intention to produce it outselves, it just turned out that way since the soundengineer almost never showed up to the recording sessions. He just told us which buttons to press. So yes, we had a very hard time with finding the sound we did and although it was no the sound we were looking for and a lot of people criticize it, we were in the end quite pleased, ’cause it’s something we’ve done outselves. Although if it would have been recorded today it would not sound like that at all, soundwise. Considering it as a mark of what we were about at the recording time, we’re proud of the sound, and the whole impression it makes.

– Adrian Erlandsson, Carrion zine #3 1993

25 Years Ago: GRAVE finish recording Into the Grave at Sunlight Studio

HYPOCRITE spent the previous two days recording their first demo Ruler of the Dark, then GRAVE arrived to record their debut LP. The band had moved from Visby, Gotland to Stockholm in January.

Recording took two weeks, beginning on Monday 17th ending Sunday 30th.

…at the beginning when we started do everything wasn’t turning all the good but at the end we got all what we wanted. We’re satisfied with the final result.
…I don’t really know why it took so long to get this record deal, but it’s like we have some offers before. I’ve choosen Century Media finally. Doing LP took us about 3 weeks. There was no really big problems during that time ‘coz producer is a cool guy who know what to do.
– Ola, Metallic Butcher zine #4, 1992

grave-band-1992

24 Years Ago: SEANCE release Fornever Laid to Rest on Black Mark (Swedish Death Metal)

Formed by members of ORCHRISTE (Sin from this album was an old ORCHRISTE song) and TOTAL DEATH in 1990, SEANCE released Fornever Laid to Rest on this day in 1992. …Laid to Rest was the debut album, recorded and released within a year of their only demo – the extremely successful Levitised Spirit!

…we wanted a “new” sound, different from the typical Swedish sound. The producer, Berno Paulsson, had never done anything like death before; so he had a “fresh mind”, so to speak when we started to mix the album. We’re quite satified with the sound on FOREVER LAID TO REST, but we’ll try to do something completely different on our next album.
When we had finished recording, we didn’t have a cover for the album. Two months later, we still didn’t have a cover; so I got Dan’s [Seagrave] phone number, and he rushed to the rescue. He was a bit rushed when he did the cover, but I think it turned out okay. We’re not planning to use him again; but then again, who knows?
– Exhume zine #4 1993