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After reviewing their excellent 7", I decided to dive even further into Horrified's past and give this demo tape a listen. As I had expected, it's much different from the seamless atmosphere and musicianship found on "The Ancient Whisper of Wisdom", but something I wasn't expecting is the level of melody and complex structures already this early in their career. Being the band's first recording from 1990, one would assume that "Prophecy of Gore" contains some boring, noisy death metal that is at the very least unoriginal (just look at the title). But in reality, things are very much the opposite, and one of the few disappointing elements about this release is merely the quality of production.
Speaking of that, the sound on this demo is indeed minimal. The recording is muddy, with muffled guitars and drums that are too low in the mix. The double bass is played in a very sloppy manner, while the guitar tone is somewhat watery and actually similar to the trademark tone of most modern black metal bands. The vocals sound like a weaker version of Dan Swanö, and are layered with a fair amount of reverb. But despite all of this, the music is easy to distinguish and the poor production isn't as problematic as you'd think.
The demo opens with a rather unoriginal ritualistic intro entitled "Horror". It consists of keyboards, wind and some demonic processed vocals that sound surprisingly sinister. The first song on the tape is also the longest one, and it's the title track. This music is dark, mid-tempo death metal with plenty of atmosphere and (non-cheesy) melody. There's a very impressive guitar lead midway through the first song that sounds like the slow, haunting melodies found on Amorphis' "Pilgrimage from Darkness". Combine that with some serene acoustic guitarwork and the effect is bonechilling. "Fear of God" is a more traditional, chunky death metal song with the occasional fast thrash beats and violent guitar solos. Following that is "Altars of Abyss", which is the highlite of the demo. This one can only be described as epic. This version is obviously raw and a bit unrefined compared to the one on "Eternal God", but it still leaves a lasting impression on the listener. Please refer to my review of the MLP for a further description of this song! The tape ends with "Lost Humanity" - a brief instrumental piece.
If you're a fan of ancient Greek death metal and can sit through some tough production then I would recommend this demo to you... But definitely check out Horrified's early vinyls first.