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Comecon are a Stockholm death metal band, churning out groovy, slightly punkish death metal with a chainsaw tone. They are perhaps the most guitar-oriented band of them all, with the band being two guitarists who also play bass and program drums, plus a guest vocalist - on this album it's Entombed's LG Petrov. The riffs are heavy, the songs are fairly simple, and as a whole it's pretty relentless. It's damn good, contrasted only by their legendary contemporaties who were putting out albums like "Left Hand Path", "Clandestine, and "Like An Ever Flowing Stream" a year or two before this.
The riffing is highlighted by the brutal guitar tone and the unrelenting song structures - they're all pretty concise, riff-after-riff, hammering the ears as old death metal tends to do. There's a good mix of power chord grooves, tremolo picking, and chunky melodies. It's mostly mid to mid-fast paced, not a lot of dynamics in any form. The drum machine serves its purpose pretty well, it's not part of a dynamic rhythmic juggernaut as the rhythm sections of Dismember and Entombed were, but it's better than the drumming on Death's "Leprosy". It's all about the riffs and vocals anyway.
The vocals fit the album perfectly - a decent performance from a Stockholm icon, but nothing exceptional. If you like Swe-death, it's solid, but not exceptional. It's a solid album, but it imitates their legendary contemporaries in form and sound. It's good, but it constantly begs for an apology for being a dumbed-down Entombed, even though it's pretty good.
By the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, Sweden was like a great churn of new bands in death metal. They took inspiration for the grind/death movement of England and United States to create their platform of daily influences and starting to form their own personal style. So, this is how the Swedish death metal was born. We all know that principal bands in this field but some, good, others were a bit left to take the dust of time, without having given them the right importance and this is the reason of my review of the COMECON debut’s album.
As you can understand from the band’s name the content is a bit different from the other bands in Sweden, mostly concerning the lyrics that are about war and social problems instead of gore stuff. The music here leads to the pure death metal that can be totally in your face like in the opener “Dog Days” or more mature like in “Teuton Tantrums” or “Armed Solution”, where there’s a good blend of lead guitars parts for the rhythmic sessions and odd melodies. The singer is G.L. Petrov from Entombed and the growls are really violent but not too low in tonality.
They never had a real drummer, but despite that, the drums sound is fucking brutal and similar to a real one. So, it’s perfect and sharp, like the other instruments too. The guitars have the chainsaw distortion but it’s not exaggerated and in some ways, the burden of gore of the classic Swedish metal albums is erased to prefer the monolithic sharpness of a catchy but obscure sound. The blast beats put their heads out in the evil “Good Boy Benito”; a song that as you can see is about serious problems of the mankind and myself, as Italian, I can just agree about it. There are some good solos too, but they are mostly fast and thrash in style.
In a song like “The Future Belongs To Us”, the doom beginning is perfect to describe musically the fear of an apocalyptic future, hoping that what happened in the past won’t come again, but probably it’s just a dream. The rest of the song is an alternation of blast beats to more apocalyptic parts full of fast bass drum parts in early Master style and blast beats. Here the have a bunch of solos and lead guitars lines to create the gloom mood. On the other hand, if you want speed, “Dog Days”, “Slope” and “Ulcer” are three mind blowing songs, completely on up tempo but there are always the lead guitars that maintain that dramatic touch, well balanced with the most impulsive and grind parts.
The last “Wash Away The Filth” doesn’t differ from the other frontal assaults mixed to doom parts and ends an album that must be listened at least once and known also for the intelligent lyrics. For those who search for difference in sameness.