'Swedish Death Metal' Author Daniel Ekeroth's Five Favorite Albums of 2011
Any self-respecting fan of the genre, and its influential Scandinavian scene, already probably owns Ekeroth's 2008 book 'Swedish Death Metal.' Born and raised in Sweden, Ekeroth's deep knowledge of the underground metal scene and its countless subgenres is unparalleled. 'Swedish Death Metal' even made Noisecreep's 'Top 10 Heavy Metal Books' list in 2010.
Last year Ekeroth released 'Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers and Kicker Cinema' a book exploring the underground Swedish movie scene of the '60s to the early '90s. An exhaustive and well-researched document of a largely ignored cinematic movement, Ekeroth does a stellar job walking the reader through Sweden's rich exploitation film history.
Since he's the authority on the subject, Noisecreep asked Ekeroth to give us his list of the five best Swedish death metal albums of 2011.
5. 'Ghouls of the Endless Night'
Bastard Priest (Blood Harvest)
"Absolutely nothing is new on Bastard Priest's second album compared to 2008's 'Under the Hammer of Destruction.' But then again, nothing was new on the debut, either. The raw and filthy sound, the riffs, the vocals, the lyrics, we've heard it all before. But are you looking for originality here? I know I'm not. This is perfectly executed unclean, disease ridden Swedish death metal. What more can you ask for? Bastard Priest pretty much sums up my love for the genre with their severely punky, dirty, aggressive, no-nonsense sound. Here's hoping for absolutely no progress for their next album."
4. 'In Death EP'
Invidious (Imperium Productions)
"I discovered Invidious when they were mere kids, back when they were named Katalysator. Watching them open for my band Insision in 2005, I was super impressed with how these teenagers picked up the Swedish death metal ball from where someone dropped it in the early '90s. One name change and several other projects later, Invidious finally released their first EP earlier this year. Was it worth the wait? Hell yes, this is awesome! 'In Death' is four songs of occult, maggot-infested, furious death metal. It actually sounds a lot like the almighty Repugnant, a reference that should have you creaming your pants in excitement. Actually, guitarist Gottfrid Åhman can be found in the newly reanimated version of Repugnant and the member's moonlight in a number of other great bands, such as Graveless, Degial, In Solitude, and Ensnared. This is a great EP, but I expect the next release to be more of a contender to whatever Morbus Chron has in store for the future. I know Invidious have it in them."
3. 'Inevitable Decay'
Entrench (Abyss Records)
"Entrench was the pleasant surprise of the year for me. They've released a bunch of demos in the past but I hadn't followed their exploits until I was floored by the thrash attack of their debut album 'Inevitable Decay.' It seems like the rumor of an awesome German band named Kreator has finally reached their hometown of Västerås -- a small, backwards town that is always slow to catch on to any outside tendencies -- and the guys from Entrench obviously managed to get their hands on a copy of 'Pleasure to Kill.' Nothing is held back here and the album is simply full speed ahead, balls-to-the-wall thrash, perfectly produced and flawlessly executed. If you're not banging your head the second the needle hits the record, you might as well just shoot yourself. Maybe the first Nihilist demos will reach Västerås in a year or two? Expect greatness from the "Town of cucumbers.""
2. 'Church of Death'
Vanhelgd (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
"Not your feel-good album of the year, Vanhelgd's follow up the their 2008 'Cult of Lazarus' debut is a dark brew indeed. Its brutal punkish death metal is once again topped off by an agonizing touch of black metal. However, what truly takes 'Church of Death' to the next level are the amazing melodic elements that haunt the album from start to finish. Don't worry, we're not talking lame Gothenburg melodies here -- this is chilly stuff, so dark that it enhances the brutality and overall feeling of doom. As usual, Vanhelgd mixes Swedish and English vocals but the anxiety and desperation really shines through in the Swedish songs. Go figure."
1. 'Sleepers in the Rift'
Morbus Chron (Pulverised Records)
"Even if non-Swedish releases were included to this list, you'd still find Morbus Chron in the number one spot. As a matter of fact, this is perhaps one of the absolute best death metal efforts of the decade. The supremely heavy 'Sleepers in the Rift' echoes of Autopsy and 'Scream Bloody Gore'-era Death as well as early Swedish bands such as Nihilist. The sound is raw with a demented twist and the member's appreciation for '70s heavy rock definitely shines through as the sound is crowned by a healthy dose of psychedelia. This might sound like pretty familiar territory but Morbus Chron has a certain je ne sais quoi about them that is totally irresistible. As icing on the cake, they even manage to reanimate the humor that was so characteristic for the early Swedish scene: "Human brought in, dripping with pus/Doctors approach, much to discuss/Disfigure the body, amputate the head/State is confirmed as dead." Exquisite."