A Pale Debilitating Autumn
Imperator Music/Self Release (1994)
We are hanging out at my place in San Diego, sometime in 2003.
San Diego had this amazing website going back in the day, SDMetal.org, and all the top forumites were over at my place, beer in hand, some brought CRT Monitors and Gaming PCs. Members in the non-gaming crowd included some of the Cattle Decap gang, the Domination guys and the Gutrot crew plus many others.
Beers were had, Maiden was played per decree, a massive LAN party was going down with around a dozen of us duking it out in Battlefield 1942 “Desert Combat.” The screams coming from the speakers and the players themselves were the background static for the rest of the attendants who enjoyed the music, friendship, beers and pizzas with the goal of turning said beer/pizza mix into a Pizza buffet on the road surface in front of my house later on. Never failed.
And of course, as the night progressed and people got filthy drunk, the obscure bands got called out. You guys all know the drill. The non-metalheads call out Bon Jovi, the die-hards request Ápophis well knowing what they do to the “other team,” And that was before the Internet had it all on YouTube or Apple Music, you either had the album in your physical collection or bust. The die-hards went through the usual a mix of funny band names (Splattered Mermaids) and the very kvlt and obscure such as God Macabre (before the scene finally discovered them and gave them the respect they had always deserved. All hail Ola).
Now my turn, my ace in the sleeve, the monster of all monsters, Pavor’s 1994 debut album, A Pale Debilitating Autumn. The faces… of all in attendance… when the first song hit. The exact same face that I had made when I first heard the album. “What the f is this?”
To let you in on it, PAVOR—and you better spell it in ALL CAPS or Rainer Landfermann (Bass) will make you scream in anguish just as he did on Bethlehem’s Dictius Te Necare—PAVOR are what Atrocity should have become after Hallucinations. A monster. An absolute monster. They played better than anyone out there, they were rawer than anything ever in the realm of technical yet true death metal. Their goal was always intimidation. Shock and awe before the U.S. Forces stole the term from the band only two years later. And PAVOR shocked and awed that very night in San Diego in 2003.
First the stunned looks, then light chuckles revealing various levels of discomfort amongst everyone in the room, it plain too much too soon, too much to process. People were passive-aggressively not getting into it, yet some were spotted running straight for my record collection room to study the release. What followed was more uneasy laughter when it was discovered by the musicians in attendance that Pavor had written in their booklet that all, “wimps and posers should stay home and practice.”
And that is what kept PAVOR away from the masses. Their arrogance, the superiority, the ritzy attitude and devastating skills, their raw style and synapse-breaking song writing. An alpha band. Mix that with a production that sounds more like a jazz creation than a Skoksberg or Morrisound metal production. Everything here is as dry as Neill Jameson’s humor.
The aloof made them keep to themselves, to not care about being accepted by or being part of the masses. What worked just fine for 90% of Norway’s population in 1992 did not do the same for PAVOR. It kept them out of the spotlight. Their raw style is what kept the connoisseurs of the finer art of noodling scales away, their brutal production done yet again by Rainer Landfermann (I tell you, this guy is not even human) did not fit any mold that releases by Earache or Century Media had created.
The typical first listening experience of PAVOR’s A Pale Debilitating Autumn is ‘well, this is fucked up’. And most don’t dare to line up at the buffet for seconds, they rather consume palatable tech-death next.
This is a sophisticated album for savages, never saw a vinyl release and is no longer in print. And even here the band went against the grain in 1994. They never shopped the album, never hustled the band, they self-released before self-releasing was a thing or remotely sustainable.
The CD can be found per usual on Discogs, no re-release is in the works, and their follow up Furioso is even more compound than their debut. But start here first, you need to get gently broken in by PAVOR before you are ready for “Furioso.”