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"Tales of Estaban" is the first demo from Sweden's Inverted. I never really payed much attention to these guys, but I decided to pull out their tapes the other day and remember what they sound like. In retrospect, I should have spent my time listening to something else because this demo features some of the worst Swedish death metal I've ever had the misfortune of hearing.
Let's talk about the production first. I'm surprised that this is referred to as a demo because it just sounds like a rehearsal to me. Everything is extremely muffled, the bass is non-existent and the vocals sound like somebody yelling hardcore screams through a processor. There are next to zero audible highs on the drums, and during the blasts all you can hear is the hollow snare. The guitars are a slightly more downtuned version of a typical thrash metal sound. It seems like each of the band members just picked up an instrument the night before, but the guitarist is probably the worst. He is just ridiculously sloppy.
The three songs on this demo are totally boring and all over the place. "Estaban" starts off slow and melodic before suddenly transforming into a grindcore blast. The riffs sound like they were pulled out of the ass of a Jungle Rot session member. Did I mention how horrible the vocals are? Not only the sound of them, but the patterns themselves make no sense. Sometimes it's a good idea to actually experiment with verse/chorus placement before recording. For "Abnegation", the band decided that they wanted to sound like a Brazillian death/thrash outfit from 1986. The fast blasting sections during this song are laughably sloppy, but they do remind me of a drunken Mutilator or Sarcófago in a way. The rest of the track is overly melodic and upbeat with some pathetic bass breakdowns along the way. "Forsaken Soul" is just as bad, but this time the drummer decides to blast over a series of slow melodic leads. It was enough to almost put me to sleep...
It's rare enough to find a Swedish death metal demo from 1991 that isn't totally killer, but to hear one that flat out sucks is truly a depressing moment. Avoid.