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Thanks to this very website and Lord K’s Pulitzer Prize worthy review of “Saltrubbed Eyes”, I discovered Seance about five years ago, and I’ve practically worshiped them and everything they’ve done ever since. The only problem is that their entire catalog is only three full-lengths deep, and I find that an absolute shame because this is one of the most criminally underrated bands in death metal history.
Of course, “Saltrubbed Eyes” stands as this band’s trademark monument, complete with the legendary bass sound and undeniable groove. As much as I love that album (and it’s probably nowhere near as much as K does), I always craved more from these guys. I even thoroughly enjoy their 2009 release, “Awakening of the Gods” (which is an easy find online these days) quite often despite the fact that it’s nowhere near “Eyes” in terms of quality, groove, production, songwriting, or really anything. It’s still an enjoyable album with more than a handful of memorable tracks (“They” is a death metal hit).
Tracking down “Fornever Laid to Rest” proved to be a bit more of a challenge, seeing as it’s pretty rare and a semi-sought after piece of Swedeath history. However, I finally got my mitts on it, and it is yet another gem in this band’s amazing crown. Even the cover is awesome, another Dan Seagrave painting of something one would only see in the Elder Scrolls, accented by one of the coolest band logos of all time in blue.
The first impression I got when I first played this album was that it is unmistakably Seance. Johan Larsson’s growls can only be described as simply classic Johan Larsson. In a genre where every guy with a mic sounds like every other guy with a mic, Larsson has crafted a style that is his own. Much like Erik Rundkvist of Vomitory or Jörgen Sandström, Larsson’s guttural grunts are instantly recognizable, and while they’re not the best in the scene by any means, they fit what Seance does to a tee.
The heart of Seance’s existence is without a doubt the groove, and that groove begins with the riffing. The reason I don’t hold “Awakening” in nearly the same regard as “Eyes” or this album is the obvious absence of Jensen on guitar. Tony Kampner is more than an adept guitarist, but what he brings to the table in playing skill and talent is somewhat offset by a lack of prolific songwriting skill. Granted, Kampner co-wrote a few excellent songs on “Fornever,” but he’s not even in the same league with Patrick Jensen in terms of songwriting groove and clearly can’t carry the band himself as evidenced by the band bringing Witchery’s Richard Corpse back onboard for “Awakening” to handle the majority of the songwriting duties. On this album, however, Jensen is at the height of his powers.
During the 1990s, Jensen was apparently a riff-writing machine. Essentially every single riff on “Eyes” was awesome, in my opinion. After heading in a decidedly thrashier direction later in the decade, his work on The Haunted’s first album was pretty good. Witchery’s first two albums were ace. Jensen just could not fail, and his contributions on Seance’s debut all the way back in 1991 were no exception.
Many of Jensen’s riffs have a very American death metal feel to them, and as a result, Seance is one of the least Swedish-sounding bands from Sweden. Many of the riffs even possess an Azagthothian (go ahead and add that to your death metal dictionary) weirdness about them that makes you listen harder to try to figure out what the fuck he’s doing. The opening riff of “Who Will Not be Dead” has the fretboard-scaling range reminiscent of many technical American death metal bands, yet it delivers a catchiness that technicality usually ignores. And try listening to “Sin” and not be hypnotized by the groove. It’s just unreal.
This album also provides improved re-recorded versions of four of the five tracks from their “Levitised spirit” demo tape that I have no interest whatsoever in procuring, especially after the search for this album at a reasonable price. Those four tracks themselves are also four of the most brutal tracks I’ve heard from these guys.
Seance is really the impeccably perfect blend of American and Swedish death metal, and that makes them one of the most unique death metal bands you’ll find on either continent. They mix the aggression and brutality of Cannibal Corpse or Deicide with the groove and catchiness of Entombed or Dismember. I have a hard time speaking about this band with any kind of rationality simply because I’m such a huge fan of their work, but I will say that if you love death metal of any style and you’ve never heard Seance, you’re an idiot. If you dig Seance, but you’ve never taken the time to seek out “Fornever Laid to Rest,” you owe it to yourself to hear it. It’s one of the best pieces of death metal ever created. Is it better than “Saltrubbed eyes”, you ask? If I had to choose, I’d say no. It’s close, but no. But it’s still an incredible album.
And I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no. Bino Carlsson’s bass sound is not even close to what it would become on “Eyes,” but it does sound really, really fucken good.
Written for globaldomination.se
I still remember the day when I got this album and played it on cassette for the first time. Bruuuutttaaaalll!!!! This is what I had in my mind then, as I was really blown away by the violent nature of Seance music. I was first quite surprised, as “Forneved Laid to Rest” didn’t sound like any other Swedish band I knew so far. I was a big fan of Dismember, Desultory, Cemetary, Epitaph and few others, and all these bands had more melodic style and none of them sounded as tight and extreme as this one. Of course Cannibal Corpse, but maybe some early Deicide influences may be spotted here and there, as well as strong Malevolent Creation vibe, but surely Seance hasn’t got anything in common with other bands from their homeland.
Anyway, what I’m also going to say is that “Fornever Laid to Rest” is an ultimate, fast death metal cannonade. It’s so fast and uncompromising, so relentless and aggressive that its energy will crush your head with no hesitate. It’s classic death metal, no more or less. Eight tracks in total, circling around 30 minutes of musical slaughter will definitely be enough to please everybody. Starting with “Reincarnage” this album doesn’t take even a minute to slow down or get quiet. It’s pure, raw energy, a maelstrom of torturing, blood spilling riffs. As I already mentioned Malevolent Creation earlier, I must admit that stylistically I can put Seance in similar box, as both bands use similar patterns, technique, tempos, riffing and influences. Another obvious source of influence must be good old Deicide, especially as Seance also create quite dark, horror and blasphemous atmosphere, only not so completely satanic and lunatic…
From the other hand I think that Seance music has more space, more ability to include varied parts, even melodies, like in this great song titled “Haunted”. But “Reincarnage” is definitely one of the more noticeable songs, with some truly killer riffs, great guitar leads and memorable chorus. “Sin” is another my favourite, with fuckin great riffs, all played in merciless fast tempo, with almost thrash metal aggression and really vicious vocals from Johan Larsson. I definitely love this song! It’s surprising, but the songs I like most from “Fornever Laid to Rest” are those from the “Levitised Spirits” demo! Seance re-recorded four demo anthems here: “Reincarnage”, “Sin”, great “Haunted” and “The Blessing of Death”; each worth being on this CD, as they’re brilliant! And they’re some of the fastest and most relentless tracks on the album.
Of the new songs, the title track brings my attention as its energy and brutality is able to blow out the speakers. Meanwhile “Necronomicon” is probably the least favourite song here (still good though!), played in much slower tempo, with some experimental parts here and there… That’s the example for the space in Seance music for more varied parts I mentioned earlier. It sounds OK and completes the album nicely, but if I had to choose the worst track here, it would be this one. “Wind of Gehenna” has great Vader-eqsue vibe and could easily find its place on “Sothis” for instance, it’s another slower, but this time really great song, with some of the best riffing on the album and even the fact that it’s an instrumental track doesn’t disturb enjoying it and banging my head with furious strength.
Production wise “Fornever Laid To Rest” is also spotless, I totally like the way guitars and drums sound, also the vocals, etc. Add to all this brilliant front cover from mighty Dan Seagrave and definitely we can speak of one of the greatest and most complete death metal albums ever.
An early reminder that not all Swedish death metal was following in the footpaths of Entombed or Dismember, Fornever Laid to Rest was an exercise in American styled brutality that better resembled the work of Obituary, Suffocation, Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide and also the Canadians Gorguts. For a debut, it's a harrowing, determined effort that staggers past with a huge performance via drummer Micke Petterson (later of Witchery and Satanic Slaughter) and a bevy of of desperate, bouncing and threshing guitar riffs that brutalize the listener courtesy of Patrik Jensen and Tony Kampner, both also in Witchery and Satanic Slaughter, Jensen one of the prime movers of The Haunted.
Seance were not out to alter or refine the perception of death metal, and they don't take any chances here, delivering nine tracks of consistent carnage that benefit from a thick, oppressive and timeless production that still holds up after nearly two decades. For 1992, this could be considered among the more technical acts in the field, with speed licking at the heels of Morbid Angel ("Haunted", "Fornever Laid to Rest") and monolith, swerving grooves that twist and turn on a bloodied dime ("Necronomicon", "Reincarnage"). Perhaps the most impressive element is their ability to mete out a brickhouse battery of sheer force that crushes the witness where he stands, as in the atmospheric instrumental "Wind of Gehenna" or the dynamic blitz craft of "Sin".
Surely this was 'generic' death metal, with no particular characteristic that separates it from the pre-existent array of artists, and even Johan Larsson's focused growls did not stand out, though I love when they throw the trailing reverb on his phrasing. But for some reason, Fornever Laid to Rest has such a solid quality about it that it never grows old or tired. A million riffs race past at varied speeds, and few of them stick, yet the sheer force of their delivery and the undisputed veracity of the performance sends them deeper into the sphere of remembrance than they might otherwise have delved. It's not the most menacing or evil of efforts for its day, but the pervasive darkness and ghastly aesthetic conjurations of Dan Seagrave's cover art make it a minor classic to be cherished by all who pine for an opaque bludgeoning.
Seance is a death metal band from Sweden, but they play an unusual style of Swedish death metal that makes them stand out from basically all other death metal bands. Basically, they fuse together the traditional death metal elements of the Floridian and Swedish scenes, while also making the bass rather audible (especially on later releases, such as Saltrubbed Eyes). Thus, what we have here is a Swedish death metal release with lots of Morbid Angel-styled influence. How can that fail?
Like most good death metal, Fornever Laid To Rest was released in the early 90s – 1992 to be exact. The album starts in a frantic manner, with an undeniably excellent into in ‘Who Will Not Be Dead.’ Seriously, check out those fucking drums! While excessively technical and masturbatory drumming is normally eschewed in favor of straightforward blastbeats in most forms of old school death metal, it’s always pleasing when I hear a subtly complex rhythm like this. It mixes in short bursts of blastbeats nicely with a few other changes and works really well. This is the kind of drumming style that really makes death metal enjoyable to listen to, and Fornever Laid To Rest is drenched in this style. Of course, while talking about the drumming, I feel the need to address its multiple styles as well. While the blastbeasts sound very Swedish (they’re faster than most other regional death metal styles), the rest of the drumming sounds very Floridian, with a groovy, rhythmic sound that often synchronizes itself directly with whatever riff is playing instead of just being a layer of blastbeasts under the guitars. Just listen to the song ‘Reincarnage’ and you’ll hear what I mean. The blastbeat from 0:57 to 1:03 sounds Swedish (in my opinion), but the drumming beneath that rather catchy riff after sounds like something that a Florida band would do.
Of course, over this drumming, we can hear the lively guitar sound. It sounds like a 65/35 mix of Floridian and Swedish death metal sound if you ask me, with this blend making the riffs (also a mix of Floridian and Swedish in nature) sound pretty damn awesome. These riffs are all catchy and worthy of the illustrious headbanging than metal fans are so well known for. Whether you like your metal from Florida or Sweden, this style of guitar playing will likely appeal to you. The riffs are mostly on the really fast side of things, but they’re balanced well with the slower, catchier riffs. Speaking of catchy riffs, they’re all over this album, a relative rarity for a Swedeath album. Of course, that Floridian influence is mainly the reason for their presence. ‘The Blessing Of Death’ is probably the catchiest song here, and naturally, it sounds the most Floridian. This song would not be out of place on a Brutality or Disincarnate album, and you all know how much I love them. Overall, the solos on Fornever Laid To Rest remind me a bit of Slayer, except they’re not awful. OK, I guess that means they actually remind me of Morbid Angel’s solos.
As I mentioned before, the bass is pretty audible. It provides a really nice low-end sound and a driving sense of rhythm beneath the riffs. At it’s best, the bass sounds downright awesome. While it’s not really technical by any stretch of the term, it fits in really well with the guitars and the drums while also solidifying its own unique role on the album. It does get chances to shine on its own, though. One of my favorite moments is the nifty little melody at 2:33 on ‘Who Will Not Be Dead.’ It’s a small little detail there, but it works wonders for the song and gives it its own identity. While the bass would make its presence more clear on Seance’s next release, Saltrubbed Eyes, it still plays an integral role here.
Despite the fact that this is a release from a Swedish death metal band, this is more akin to Floridian death metal than anything. Sure, it has its Swedeath moments, and the guitars have a bit of Swedeath tinge to them, but the Floridian side of the album really seems to take precedence, especially as the album progresses, with songs like ‘Haunted’ and ‘Necronomicon.’ Still, this is a milestone album in the history of Swedish death metal and is definitely worth the time of any death metal fan. In fact, this is likely a good gateway into the Swedish scene for those who may be turned off by the less accessible aspects of it at first. Give this a try. You won’t regret it.
The crappy audio quality from YouTube really hurts the sound of this song, but I guess I might as well put something here. At least try a better sounding sample before passing judgment.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
Before listening to this cult band from Sweden I was preparing myself for a big dosage of classic Swedish death metal. The period was that one but I had to face a quite different style. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always death metal and it’s always a death metal that I like but I wouldn’t be honest saying that this was exactly what I expected. The main point is that I thought this band was really Swedish for the sounds and, instead, here we have massive American death metal influences.
It’s strange because at the beginning of the 90s, Sweden was great for its personal death metal genre, but here the things are a bit different but not bad at all! The violence of this band is unbelievable and the burden of morbidity lies all over these brutal pieces of death metal. The blast beats and the up tempo parts are the most important characteristics even if we can always find good, rotten mid paced overtures like in “Reincarnage”.
The Deicide’s spectrum is heavily present for the furious and obscure tremolo picking on the chords by the rhythmic guitars and also for the several drums triplets that evocate those sounds we could find in that primordial masterpiece called Legion. The structures, the several tempo changes and the vocals somehow remind me the group of Glen Benton but here they don’t use the shriek over the growl for the vocals. The guitars riffage is always quite complicated and brutal at the same time and we can find also some influences from the classic thrash and Slayer especially.
The production is extremely pounding and perfect for any instrument. The guitars have that massive, obliterating tune and the atmosphere is really pitch black. The songs are usually quite short and perfect to enjoy the essence of brutality in a so short length. Try “Sin” song if you really want to be blown away by the sudden speed restarts after the morbid down tempo, with full of grotesque guitars whistles. The drums are pounding but they conserve that essentiality that contrasts perfectly with the heavier guitars, conserving the perfect blend of power with rawness.
The tremolo picking technique risks also to recall the black metal genre and this is the case of several riffs on this album. Try for example “Haunted”. This is pure power demonstration by a band that doesn’t want to slow down or fill their sound with melody. Here we have complete darkness thanks also to some obscure sounds between the songs and the echoing growls. It’s like being in a cave with no lights. Only two tracks differ here for style: “Necronomicon” and “Winds of Gehenna” that, by their slow march, prepare us for the final assault of “Inferna Cabbala”.
The final part of this album is really devastating and so obscure. The classic down tempo parts are perfectly alternated to furious, impulsive attacks with chaotic solos and evil guitars breaks. Overall, it’s a really heavy effort by a compact band. The originality is not so important in this case, being all about the sheer violence. This album is a good occasion to discover new pieces of death metal from Sweden in that period.
This is a classic release in death metal history. Both this piece of brutal and original musicianship and the bands second effort “Saltrubbed Eyes” are essential to any death metal worshipper.
When Seance was active in the beginning of the nineties, they were for many American bands and reviewers one of the few European DM-bands that got recognition and even respect. Especially in Sweden there was a big scene with Nilhilst/Entombed, Grave, Merciless, Carnage/Dismember and so on…
But for many North-American die-hard Deathsters into brutal shit, these bands were too cheesy and this became even worse with the Göteborg-sound of course.
Seance however plays very brutal and pounding songs, a bit the American way, but with outstanding (European? or better: Seance!) riffing and intricate leads. Like a whirlwind each track unfolds itself. The opening song “Who will not be dead” immediately epitomizes what Seance stands for: like a fist in your face the song explodes with fast drum patterns, though not non-stop blastbeats. Dual, often discordant riffing makes you frenzied like a rabid wolf! The thick, muddy bassguitar sound forms another perfect layer of the well structured songs. The first growls are truly demonic. The vocal department however, is the least outstanding maybe, but don’t get me wrong: this is the only way deathgrunts should be performed. Deep guttural grunts, that can be deciphered when reading the lyrics with the song, are uttered very convincingly. Johan Ekström may not have a unique voice like Frank Mullen (Suffocation) in the old days, but by alternating the grunts with just shouting the vocals very deeply and intense, his style is full of variation. Some echo-effects are used once and a while.
Then the track takes some breath and heavy thundering drums lay a midpace structure for the guitars to elaborate on. Though midpace, the tension is ever maintained and the magnitude of brutality even enhanced. The literal breathing by Ekström is the turning point of the song. Gradually speed is increased again and the track rushes to a quick and violent finish.
The beautiful thing with Seance is the way the individual tracks compose a real ALBUM. Though not a conceptual album lyrically the whole LP forms a finished gem. So the strong start of song two “Reincarnate” kind of continues where track one stopped. Very powerful!
Seance plays technical death metal with a lot of breaks, but without loosing touch to the rhythm and flow of the song. The hectic percussion-patterns are nowadays widespread in grindcore/powerviolene, but truly innovating back then. This goes even more for the EXCELLENT guitar-madness by Tony Kampner and especially Patrick Jensen. Jensen, who wrote most of the music, admitted later (as a member of The Haunted) that he does no longer have the drive to play fast, intricate and original riffs and leads when people also buy the way less intense music by The Haunted…
“I think it is more challenging to write songs that my mom will remember. She can’t take too many riffs in a song… Less is more. If I can do a song with just open E string and everybody thinks it’s a great song, then I’ve really done something” says Jensen about The Haunted and Seance in The Grimoire of exalted deeds (#25, 2001). Well… I think there is not one The Haunted song, not even on their okay debut, which reaches the level of any Seance composition… ever.
Standout tracks on this standout album are the title song “Fornever laid to rest”; track 7 “Necronomicon” and track 8, the instrumental “Wind of Gehenna” which builds up to the final song “Inferna Cabbala”.
Besides buying both Seance albums, I also recommend you to read the review by Gomorrah of the second Seance album on these pages. I have nothing to add to that, only 11 points maybe…(haha)… one of the best death metal albums ever. Because I like the sophomore “Saltrubbed Eyes” even better the rating for “Fornever laid to rest” is 98 points. Well earned and thank you for(n)ever to the godly Seance!
There is always a special reservation for Death Metal bands that manage to pull off their routine without going utterly blasttastic on the drums. THese bands are often held in high regard. I agree with this.
Seance's "Fornever Laid to Rest" is full of good ol chunky riffing and "groove". This album is sort of a second rate bastion for this kind of death metal, which seems to not be as accepted in the wake of various attention-spanless idiots who love blasting above all else. Needless to say, this album has what one would be expecting from a mid paced DM album. The guitars are nice and thrashy for those who still hold onto the "wholesome" metal values of yore. The bass just kind of does what the bass in every band does, plays and creates the spinal chord (yuk yuk) of the song. The drums are mid to fast paced (tastefully done), with some necessary blasting, which of course, adds to the intensity of this album.
I would say the one downfall of this album is the number of other bands that already sound like this. OH WELL. More of a good thing is a good thing unless you're a druggie. This is recommended to fans of thrash and DM fans.