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The first and worst - 68%

Drowned, December 23rd, 2005

This is Dismember's debut demo from 1988, but I always considered it and "Last Blasphemies" to be the first material from Carnage. Most of the songs from these early days were later re-recorded for the "Dark Recollections" album in 1990. The Dismember that we all know today didn't really begin until after that recording, but that's a debate for another day.

Somebody recently described this tape as being more along the lines of black metal, but I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. The only common element this stuff really shares with that genre is the over-the-top, screaming vocals that were recorded through a poor delay processor. I guess you can say the drumming is very "black metal" too because it's extremely sloppy and sounds like shit! However, the guitars and arrangements sound no different from those on the other demos or "Dark Recollections". This is still death metal and nothing less.

The production actually isn't too bad considering the year this came out. It's got a very dark, malignant vibe to it and the volume levels are a bit low, but otherwise it's reasonably clear. I've heard sophomore demo efforts from 1993 that sounded 10 times worse than this. Matti Kärki didn't sing on this tape, and as I already pointed out the vocals sound pretty horrible. The drumming is just as sloppy, and during the faster sections of the songs it sounds like the drummer is tripping over his own beats.

There are three songs on the tape. "Death Evocation" is a mid-tempo track and of course an early version of the Carnage classic. The notable difference on this recording is the lack of keyboards in the beginning part and the different arrangement of the final guitar solo. The double bass section at the very end of the song sounds fucking terrible... Next up is "Substantially Dead", which is my favorite on the demo. It's much faster and has a dark, thrashy vibe to it. As UltraBoris pointed out in his review, the main chorus riff is totally killer. The way the vocalist sings it reminds me of the chorus of "Torn to Pieces" on Death's debut LP. The last track is an early version of "Defective Decay" which would later re-appear on their 3rd demo and "Skin Her Alive" EP. The structure is basically the same as on the newer versions, except that the half-blastbeats during the beginning and final sections sound much weaker.

Aside from "Substantially Dead", this demo is kind of worthless. The other two songs were later re-recorded in much better versions on future releases, and the vocals and drumming is some of the worst I've ever heard from a Swedish death metal band. Only for die hard Dismember collectors.