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Eucharist are one of the lesser known and less successful Gothenburg melodic death metal bands. The band broke up four times in their nine years, recording a full-length album, A Velvet Creation, with the original line-up, the same band that appears on this demo. Their other album, Mirrorworlds, was a swansong done by the core two members of the band.
The three tracks that appear on this demo were re-recorded for the first LP. The production on this demo presents the songs much better than the later versions do. Overall, it sounds more like well-balanced death metal production of the time, not polished, but everything is audible and sounds pretty good. The drums sound good, a bit dampened, which really complements the music. Each drum hit sounds through, plenty of separation even in the fastest parts. The guitar sound is sufficiently thick and crunchy, not extremely polished like most of their Gothenburg peers, but a perfect tone straight out of the amp. The bass fills in the bottom end and complements the punch of the guitars and drums nicely. The vocals sound great, a bit rough, which fits the music quite well. The production captures the songs perfectly, a balanced mixture of early death metal which highlights the melodic guitar lines that characterize the band, with a great vibe that feels like you are in a practice space or small club hearing the band's best performance.
The song structures are non-standard, typical of 1992 death metal. Riffs are repeated, there isn't a use of choruses or refrains, but they know how to repeat and use riffs well. It isn't too often that a melodic Gothernburg style is heard separated from the production that helped characterize the sound - it is clearer and sharper than At The Gates' first two albums, but less polished than their last two. The guitar work features a lot of tremolo picking, mixing harmonies, making great use of suspended chords for tension. It isn't the stacked guitars of In Flames, it isn't the brutal beating of early Stockholm DM, but it finds a place somewhere between. The guitars have a straight-forward/live feeling where there isn't layering, there aren't overdubs, so the tones come through roughly, but the performances are really tight. The acoustic intro is solid guitar work too, and it transitions into the first song quite well. The acoustic outro is cool, but seems to be tacked on to the end of the demo.
The drumming is exceptional. Nearly 20 years later, Daniel Erlandsson has become a legend. His performance is flawless, with blasts, tons of fast double-bass work, and some well placed fills. The drumming has none of the simplicity or rawness of a lot of earlier death metal. He blazes along with the fast sections with remarkable kicking, but he also complements spacier guitar work like the beginning of "Into The Cosmic Sphere". I haven't heard a demo with drumming like this, versatile and clean, coming across as a genuine performance, not studio trickery.
Eucharist very well might be the best of the bands from their highly regarded scene, and this work certainly bridges the earliest works of the genre towards the later ones. The songs on this demo very well might be their best work, ahead of their peers in many ways, with an output that would stand up as an impressive recording even if it were released today.
If someone asks me for albums with disturbed production values, Eucharist's A Velvet Creation might not be the first album that I mentiond but certainly not the last. The drums are down in the background and the bassdrum is clicky, the guitars are muffled and dull and the vocals are raw. You can imagine my surprise when I first heard this demo and it actually had a clearer and sharper production than the album. The bassdrum actually sounds like a bassdrum, the snare is rather ploinky though not as badly as on the album, the guitars are fuzzier but they're a lot sharper, the bass is deeper and more prevalent in the mix and the vocals... Well, the vocals are still raw but what else did you expect?
The production is unlike gothenburg metal production usually, sounds more like actual death metal. But don't let that fool you. The demo is very much gothenburg metal even though in its earliest and rawest form. With the appropriate production, these songs wouldn't sound that out of place on The Gallery or Skydancer. While Eucharist's music pretty much follows the gothenburg-style with the aggressive parts and the slow interludes with soft guitar melodies (thankfully there is only one on these three songs) but the way the guitars interplay with each other is unique in this genre. Also Eucharist manage to load up the slow passages with emotion without making them sound cheesy which is usually the problem with gothenburg bands. Some of the solos sound a bit out of place and a tad bland but that is not a large flaw in itself and the interplaying leads very much make up for it. All of the songs here, except for the short acoustic outro of Into the Cosmic Sphere, ended up on the A Velvet Creation album so this demo doesn't differ much from it musically even though the very different production does make the listening experience in itself very different.