Thursday, May 21, 2009

True Norwegian Death Metal

There are a few countries have become well known, if not fetishized, for specific types of extreme metal. England has doom metal and grindcore, the U.S. and Sweden have distinct kinds of death metal and, of course, Norway has black metal. But as the world focuses on the black and white—or in this case just the black—it’s easy to overlook some of Norway’s pretty cool death-metal accomplishments. Although the country blazed into prominence (literally) in the early ’90s, when bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone, and Burzum reignited music fans’ interest in black metal—and although their neighbor to the east, Sweden, has gotten far more credit for death metal—the country of corpse paint and fjords already had a sturdy foundation in great death metal. With that, I hope to draw some attention to some grievously overlooked, and unfortunately many out-of-print, “True Norwegian Death Metal” albums (ranked in order of quality). Enjoy these however you can.

Molested 1) Molested, Blod Draum (Effigy, 1995)
Between the violin, didgeridoo-type sounds, and mouth harp(!), Blod Drom is as intriguing as it is terrifying. Even when they stayed traditional, Bergen’s Molested created some of the best, most forward-thinking death metal of any country during the ’90s, bolstered by the relentless riffs and bilious growls of Borknagar frontman Øystein G. Brun and some breakneck, off-time blast beats by sometime Gorgoroth drummer Erlend “Sersjant” Erichsen. Utterly essential. (Ars Magna Recordings is planning a re-release of all of Molested’s albums this year, click here for more info.)

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