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I seriously wonder what happened in Sweden in the late 80's to the early 90's to cause so many death metal bands to form and release superb to decent albums in that time frame. Most are only familiar with a few and the others are probably disregarded(or simply unheard of) due to the faggotry of the, at this stage, yet to come gothenburg scene. It's really unfortunate, especially in the case of Utumno.
By '93, the staple Swedish sound had already been created by forerunners Entombed, Grave and Dismember. There were others doing things a little different(Crypt of Kerberos, God Macabre), and a slew of similar, simplistic clones(Sorcery, Comecon). And hiding in obscurity lay Utumno, part of a 'group' who maintained the 'typical' Swedish sound, yet possessed enough difference from each other to stand alone. A lot of these bands released albums as good, and in some cases, far superior to what was getting noticed worldwide.
Utumno played hellishly atmospheric death metal, in a style not far removed from “The Nocturnal Silence”, with the stereotypical Stockholm/Sunlight studios sound, and perhaps a more abrasive production. But as one listens in depth an aesthetic technicality similar to Afflicted's “Prodigal Sun”(though not as brilliant) becomes very noticeable. As hinted by the Necrophobic comparison, this is death metal with melodic elements, as was the case with most Swedish bands at this time – though these melodies aren't in the least bit trite or derivative. The riffs are dominated by fast-paced tremolo picking with the occasional crushing, thrashy riff and melodies which show the band were in touch with the neighbouring Norwegian black metal scene. The melodic moments are intricate and perfectly suiting, additionally adding to the utmost evil vibe this gives off. Vocals are delivered by God Macabre guitarist, Jonas Stahlhammer, and unlike his previous band, they're a harsh, higher pitched growl. The vocal lines are also particularly interesting – for the most part they follow the riff work with precision and create a very memorable and almost catchy listen. I can think of better death metal releases within the scene Utumno were part of, but this certainly deserves recognition.
Add “Across the Horizon” to the list of one-shot-wonder death metal releases.