Steffen Kummerer’s (Obscura) Top 5 Swedish Death/Black Metal Albums

5. DawnSlaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy) (1998)
A barely known album. This time not via No Fashion Records. Necropolis Records from the U.S. took care to bring this release to life. Unfortunately, no tour, proper promotion or distribution supported this third album of the band, so maybe a few diehard fans will remember the group. The production was held by Peter Tägtgren and shows his first steps to [become] a known engineer, with this newly opened Abyss Studios. Musically, the compositions are very long and here and there a few ideas could have been shortened. But the opening track “The Knell and the World” is like a black metal mantra and shows how to generate a unique feeling with just a few riffs that are arranged wisely. The cover artwork is one of the cheapest in history, but that is just a side note.

4. Mörk Gryning
Tusen År Har Gått (1995)

The debut album by this two piece of teenagers from 1995 was an outstanding release and [was] brought to light by No Fashion Records from Sweden. [Even though] these kids were 15- or 16-years old, the performance at Unisound Studios is flawless. The opening tune “Journey” is worth the whole album. Listen to it from the first note until the very last. Start it again and again. Within this release you may recognize the huge talent these kids elaborated on with their following efforts. The rudiments of their third full-length Maelstrom Chaos until their self-titled swansong Mörk Gryning are audible even back then when they started this band.

3. Vinterland
Welcome My Last Chapter (1996)

This barely known band from Sweden released two demos and only one full-length via No Fashion Records back in 1996. [At the time], the label signed every band that played black metal (with melodies) and [originated] from Sweden. While the songs are structured easily and memorable, the band was able to record this album with a drum computer. Even back in 1996 it was possible to get good results. Nowadays, even productions with a bigger budget sound like kids throwing stones at cans. The album itself is worth every cent. Just the original release is not affordable. A re-release was realized in 2010 and I can recommend Welcome My Last Chapter to everyone who is into Dissection.

2. Unanimated
Ancient God of Evil (1995)

The second huge band shooting from Sweden are Unanimated. Where Dissection go into extended arrangements, Unanimated show you how to combine catchy riffs, memorable songwriting skills and a fantastic production without any click tracks. The feeling and vibe of Ancient God of Evil are one-of-a-kind, almost a slight rock flow shines through all of the single compositions. The vocals performance is absolutely outstanding here. Due the fact this band never played a real tour or more than 20 shows, success was denied and Unanimated where on hold for many years. Just until 2009 when their newest effort, In the Light of Darkness, was released via Regain Records. If this band would have been touring, their status would be a different one. Definitely.

1. Dissection
Storm of the Light’s Bane (1995)

No doubt, this is the ultimate album. The record every band should look up. Dissection managed to combine interesting arrangements, intense dynamics and outstanding harmony work on this final album. Reinkaos never happened. The long compositions of “Unhallowed”, “Night’s Blood”, “Soulreaper” and “Thorns of Crimson Death” are timeless classics. After more than 16 years the album is still the best ever in the genre. Nothing comes even close to the ice-cold atmosphere this band gains with a near perfect production – extensive reverb, delay and even more reverb on every single instrument. And the drums? Hell, the drum sound is just perfect.

** Obscura’s new album, Omnivium, is out now via Relapse Records. Order it here, dudes.