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A strong foundation for Swedeath - 90%

Valfars Ghost, February 15th, 2017

After listening to any of Entombed's releases from the brief period they used the Nihilist moniker, it shouldn't be hard to understand why this group was such a seminal force in Sweden's early death metal underground. Only Shreds Remain, their second demo, just like the other two, is an exercise in early death metal bludgeoning more than capable of satisfying your need for blood-drenched extremity.

This demo consists of two songs that, after a bit of rewriting and rerecording, would appear on Entombed's Left Hand Path one year later and one that the group never revisited. 'Abnormally Deceased' and 'Revel in Flesh' are mostly the same as they appear on Left Hand Path in terms of songwriting, with the main differences being in the guitar solos. The songwriting ushers you from one moment to the next, giving each idea ample time to develop. From the ominous opening crawl of 'Abnormally Deceased' to the skull bashing in the passage it feeds into, to the more melodic main riff that feeds into, to the part of 'Revel in Flesh' where the band plows into you with one last deathrash stampede after tricking you with a fake ending, this demo is packed with quick and powerful bits that don’t lack for well-executed savagery.

The production here is primitive, as one would expect. This release’s biggest issue is that the drums are far too low in the mix most of the time. While in 'Revel in Flesh', the drums effectively reinforce the imposing opening riff, the drums are most often forced far into the background, where they’re robbed of power. The cymbals are a little easier to make out than the snare or toms but even they barely rise above the maelstrom of guitars. The vocals, which are credited to L-G Petrov but might actually be Johnny Hedlund's, are served well here. Right there in the front, they assume a lower growl that sounds truly demonic. The roughshod recording job generally agrees with what it brings to life. While 'Abnormally Deceased' and 'Revel in Flesh' don’t have the same full-bodied punch they’d later have when they appeared fully formed on Left Hand Path, the guitars’ distortion is grimy and reeks of the exhaust perpetually lingering in the air of the garage this was probably recorded in. The overall sound is appropriately filthy and violent even if most of the rhythm elements seem a bit muffled.

So early into their career, Nihilist already knew what it was doing. On Only Shreds Remain, satisfying riffs join forces with concise, flowing songcraft and the results of this union are three songs worthy of the band that essentially drew the blueprint for Swedish death metal.

Death Metal Orgasm - 90%

optimuszgrime, February 29th, 2008

Nihilist is one of those bands that came, saw, and conquered. This is their second demo, and the least favorite of mine, meaning that would only kill 350 people to get a hold of it, if ever I were to lose it, which seems unlikely. I keep it buried beneath the earth and only unearth it at special instances, otherwise only listening to the digitalized versions of it. This piece of music, ask any death metal fanatic, is something that we all hail as a cornerstone of death metal, it is one of our pillars. My personal feelings about the band is that they were better than Entombed or Unleashed, the two bands they later on spawned, and I love both of those bands. Yes, it is that good. This demo as I have stated is not as good as their other stuff, but it holds the deep gruff vocals that are pretty fucking sweet, and the sound is more cryptic on this demo than on the other one, but not as good as the ‘Drowned’ EP. The only reason I own this demo is because it has the original recording of ‘Face of Evil’, which is one of the best songs ever to be recorded. The atmosphere that emanates form these recordings is absolutely awe inspiring, and analog recording has never been so fucking dirty, and yet the tones, albeit distorted, are still pretty clear and audible, a feat which few can say they can achieve. The recording of ‘Face of Evil’ has the singer (arguably Hedlund of Unleashed fame) shitting bricks, or so it sounds. The entire demo is 10 minutes of death metal orgasm, it is very, very recommended.