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Totally obligatory piece of Swedish death metal!! - 85%

dismember_marcin, February 19th, 2011

Although the band took the name from Tolkien's books, I can assure you they haven't got anything in common with the symphonic black metal a'la Summoning. It's totally the opposite! This mini album from the Swedish Utumno is a real killer and surely belongs to the best death metal stuffs recorded in Sweden at the time of early 90's. “Across the Horizon”, surprisingly (he he) recorded at famous Sunlight, contains six tracks – two of which are new versions of songs from old EP from 1991. There’s also a song called “The Light of Day”, which was also planned for the debut EP, but didn’t make it in the end. So, we have two old and well known tracks and four brand new ones. I must be honest and say that I've been trying to get this CD for years, but it's so rare that I couldn't make it (or afford it). So I've been just listening to it on tape, as someone recorded it for me. Finally in 2010 this wonderful label called THE CRYPT Productions released Utumno on VINYL (!!!), adding "The Light of Day" EP as a bonus. Shit! Already looking at the impressive front cover by Mr. Wahlin is something astonishing - especially in such a big format as 12"LP. Ha, this record includes also a giant poster of the same picture. Also to read a history of Utumno written by the vocalist, Mr. Stahlhammar, is awesome. Definitely this is another great LP in the collection of mine.

Musically it just couldn't disappoint any fan of Swedish old school. Comparing "Across the Horizon" with "The Light of Day" EP I can say that the sound has changed a bit... Utumno has tuned down their guitars a bit I think, so the sound is definitely heavier. Also the production by Mr. Skogsberg is fabulous… So what if it's so typical for his studio and so many other Swedish death metal bands? Truth is I love this sound and “Across the Horizon” sounds also wonderful.

Right from the first sounds of the opening song “The Light of Day” I feel like nothing else really matters but good Swedish death metal. This is very classic track, more in the atmospheric style rather than the Nihilist-esque viciousness. Of course Utumno can be aggressive as hell when needed; they just have this ability to shuffle it with plenty of melodic, moody parts. That opening track is a fine example for it as it has some very headbanger’s friendly parts, quite fast and crushing, while it remains melodic all the way through, even has very catchy chorus. I can easily compare it to such Afflicted and their “Ivory Towers” anthem for instance. Both are great songs.

“I Cross the Horizon” is pretty much similar, again I can compare it to Afflicted or Gorement, even Entombed from their "Clandestine" LP… This track also has some splendid, more aggressive parts and I think this song is even more straight forward that the one before. After that there are two tracks from the old EP. I love “In Misery I Dwell” especially; it’s fantastic track, very energetic with blast beats in one fragment (!!!) and Jonas Stahlhammer’s vocals are again harsh and good as ever. “Sunrise”, another new track, is again very typical; but some of its parts are really complicated. Johan Halberg plays some truly incredible parts on his drums and the guitarists play some wonderful melodies.

Last track, “Emotions Run Cold” is probably the weakest link of this miniCD. Well, it isn’t bad, because of its very aggressive and fast beginning, which actually sounds great – but I really don’t like these annoying clean vocal parts in the middle fragment. As much as I like Jonas’ harsh vocals, he cannot sing ha, ha! Anyway, this short fragment is maybe 10 seconds long only, so it doesn’t damage “Across the Horizon” that much. I think this recording is one of the brightest stars on the Swedish death metal sky! Probably there are just two things that I think could have been done better - one is the mentioned clean vocal parts, while the other thing I think are those fragments when Utumno rapidly changes the rhythms and riffing. Not always they do this perfectly, seems like the guitarists just couldn't come with the idea how to get things right. And then it just sounds weird and unobtained. Other than that, this is awesome and obligatory release.