One of my favorite styles of death metal is the early Swedish stuff that was going on as or before Entombed showed everyone what Swedish Death Metal™ was going to sound like. The guitars aren’t tuned down (or at least not much) and the riffs are very “skeletal”, for lack of a better description. Lots of lots of single-note tremolo picking, more focus on the rhythm section rather than a suffocating blanket of guitars, a more adventurous, almost proggy spirit to some of them.
At the Gates’ first two albums (plus the Grotesque material?) is the 800lb gorilla of this style, but these three bands prove a pleasant listen when you’re sick of hearing “Kingdom……Fucking……GAAAAAAAUUUUGGGHHHHNNNNN” for the bazillionth time:
- Afflicted “Spirit Spectrum” from “Prodigal Sun” (1992)
- Cemetary, “An Evil Shade of Grey” from “An Evil Shade of Grey” (1992)
- Liers in Wait, “Overlord” from “Spiritually Uncontrolled Art” (1991)
Afflicted has one album of bizarre, fragmented death metal. Cemetary went on to become a much more melodic and gothic band, but their first album is straight up death with a nice dose of oddness. Liers in Wait is new to me, but sounds exactly like what you’d expect from one of the main guys of Grotesque (artist par excellence Kristian Whalin) to produce.