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Two great songs, one killer demo - 88%

dismember_marcin, May 19th, 2011

If you’ll ever think about making a list of the best Swedish death metal demo recordings from the early 90’s, here’s one that must be on it! Cemetary’s “Incarnation of Morbidity” is just fuckin brilliant! Yeah, I’m serious. I have a feeling that Cemetary is little bit forgotten, when listing the best Swedish death metal acts from the golden period, but I blame only the band for it, as their future brought the efforts so different musically (which went even as far as to techno) that they overshadowed band’s glorious beginnings. But man, they were great once. And it all started with this two song demo, “Incarnation of Morbidity”. These are some of my favourite 10 minutes in the history of the genre. Mind though that Cemetary wasn’t as straight forward and furious as Entombed or Dismember, or brutal as Grave. Mathias Lodmalm and his friends had an amazing ability to play melodic, dark, almost doomish death metal, which was all about the atmosphere. Of course there’s also room for some ass kicking and fast riffing, so in the end we get brilliant, varied and catchy music.

Both songs from “Incarnation of Morbidity” - “The Funeral” and “Beyond the Grave” – are excellent. First one is very melodic, almost mournful in some parts, while the second one is much faster and aggressive, although also there you may find great, melodic guitar solo or brilliant riff at 1:50. OK, maybe the drumming in the fast part isn’t the best one I’ve ever heard, it’s bit floppy, but that just a minor detail.“The Funeral” is so good that I wonder why the hell Cemetary didn’t re-record it on their album?! Opened with gloomy, eh, funeral-like keyboard part and great slow riffing, it creates the right mood immediately and even though the structure of the song is quite simple, it has everything in the right place. Another thing I spotted was Matthias’ vocal, which is deep and raw, much better than on the future recordings. The production of the demo is also cool, typical for Sunlight Studio, clean and selective, but with nice, raw edge to it. Finally, another great thing about this demo is the fact that none of these two songs have been used on the debut album... I don’t even understand why, as they’re really great and quality wise they’re not far afar from the album material… But nowadays it makes the demo even more special, so… put them on your “best off” list now!

Easy-listening, atmospheric death - 89%

Drowned, April 23rd, 2006

Short but sweet is a good way to describe this second demo from Sweden's Cemetary. Despite only having two songs and an intro, this tape is extremely memorable and always a pleasure to listen to. The riffs and melodies flow so smoothly, continually engulfing the listener in a state of dark relaxation. Although the music and lyrics are dark in nature, the overall vibe of this cassette is surprisingly uplifting rather than depressing.

Simple and atmospheric death metal with a hint of doom is the recipe here, and Cemetary definitely know what they're doing. The production is clear in that each individual instrument is easy to make out, but there's still that distant, demo-quality aura about the recording that makes it sound raw and genuine. Just don't expect a polished and trebly sound like on their debut LP because you might be a bit disappointed. Speaking of that, "Incarnation of Morbidity" is different from "An Evil Shade of Grey" in other ways. Neither of the songs from this tape were re-recorded for the album, and production matters aside, the vocals and guitars don't really sound anything alike. The vocalist uses a low, throaty growl that's nearly a complete opposite of the raspy style used on the album, while the guitars here are missing that high-pitched wailing effect that was implemented in the full-length as well. The drummer uses a series of simple, recurrent beats that are more akin to doom metal, with a generous amount of reverb on the kick drum that makes the low-end sound extremely heavy.

As mentioned above, both of the songs are very catchy and you'll undoubtedly still be humming certain melodies under your breath the day after. "The Funeral (Eternal Rest)" is an epic doom symphony filled with tasteful keyboard sections and a highly addictive chorus. "Beyond the Grave" is more upbeat and mid-tempo, but still retaining the depth and simplicity of the previous track. The brilliant guitar leads towards the middle of this song are just overflowing with melody and emotion. Occasionally, the music speeds up to a half-blast pace reminiscent of Tiamat's "Sumerian Cry" album. All in all, there really isn't a dull moment to be found in either composition.

The sole reason this tape isn't getting a higher rating is because of its disappointing length. With a couple more songs like these, "Incarnation of Morbidity" had the potential to leave an enormous impact on the Swedish scene. At least Cemetary stuck around a little while and provided us with some quality full-length albums in the future.