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If I was going to pick up three favourite treasures from my vinyl collection I think one of them would definitely be Nihilist’s “Carnal Leftovers” boxset of five 7”EPs. It’s an amazing collector’s item, wonderfully released and strictly limited to 500 copies I think (at least my black vinyl version is) and if I was ever going to buy the Nihilist recordings, it could be this version only. I wouldn’t be so happy about having those cult demos on CD, even a 12”LP wouldn’t be as great as something like this. It makes a lot of sense to release “Carnal Leftovers” as a boxset and put each demo on a single 7” vinyl, with a separate cover. And so “Carnal Leftovers” includes the “Premature Autopsy” demo from 1988, “Only Shreds Remain” demo also from 1988, “Drowned” demo from 1989 and then there’s the fourth EP with three extra songs recorded during various recording sessions (which are the so called Head Not Found session in 1989 and during the “Drowned” session in 1989). Finally to make a death metal fan even crazier about this boxset, they’ve decided to put also the Entombed’s demo “But Life Goes On”, what of course has a lot of sense, as it’s basically the same band, the same music and a rightful continuation of the Nihilist. So, five EPs, lots of great music to listen to and also something to read, as this boxset includes also a 7”sized 12 pages booklet with an informative history of Nihilist, liner notes from Alex Hellid as well as from the various musicians, from bands like Autopsy, Grave, Dismember, Edge of Sanity, Watain, Tribulation. I can’t think of spending your spare time better than grabbing a beer, reading this book and listening to some of the most obscure and excellent death tunes ever made! Even my wife goes second to this hehe!
With cult bands like Nihilist I don’t feel like there’s any point in reviewing the music. Not only everybody who’s into this style should know it, I believe, but also this band and their music has such an importance for creating and influencing the whole genre that no one should deny it or dare to critique them. But honestly, these three demos are just amazing. I personally like the second demo most, “Only Shreds Remain” is just excellent, it was there when Nihilist introduced the Swedish HM2 pedal distorted sound for the first time in its whole obscure glory and this demo includes one of my favourite tracks ever, “Revel In Flesh”. Along with it, I also really love “Premature Autopsy”. It has slightly different sound, but it is something amazing how a young band like this managed to compose three such killer tracks, including the future Entombed’s hits “Supposed to Rot” and “Carnal Leftovers”. And what about the Entombed’s demo? “But Life Goes On” is a pure Swedish death metal classic, who knows if it isn’t the best demo ever made? Especially the title track gives me goose skin every time I listen to it, it doesn’t matter if it’s the demo or “Left Hand Path” version. And it doesn’t matter if the quality of the sound may be slightly raw and primitive on some of these demos, as this only adds some extra atmosphere to those recordings.
These demos were never supposed to rot. They should have been kept as the most expensive treasures and so as a long time fan of the Swedish scene I’m happy and proud to own such a collectable item as this boxset. It was an excellent idea to release it! The only thing they can do now to make me even happier is maybe to release a box of tapes with these materials - that would be cool, eh? Of course it would be better to actually own the original demo tapes, but who am I kidding? I do not live in a dream world. Anyway I do highly recommend you getting “Carnal Leftovers” boxset. Sell your kidney if you must, but do get this, otherwise the demons from the cold North will make a premature autopsy on you!