Tuesday, 17 April 2012

CARNAGE - Dark Recollections (1990)

01  Dark Recollections
02  Torn Apart
03  Blasphemies Of The Flesh
04  Infestation Of Evil
05  Gentle Exhuming
06  Deranged From Blood
07  Malignant Epitaph
08  Self Dissection
09  Death Evocation
10  Outro

'Dark Recollections' is the debut album by the cult Swedish death metal band, Carnage, released in 1990. It was originally released as a split CD with Cadaver's debut album 'Hallucinating Anxiety' on the Earache Records sublabel Necrosis. Some of the songs were later re-recorded by Dismember. Carnage was founded at the end of 1988 in Stockholm by Michael Amott (guitar) and Johan Liiva. They released two-widely traded demos; 'The Day Man Lost' and 'Infestation Of Evil' in 1989. Michael Amott went on to join Carcass, and later formed Arch Enemy (with Johan Liiva). Matti Kärki (vocals), David Blomqvist (guitar), and Fred Estby (drums) went on to reform their previous band Dismember.

Carnage's membership was so unstable that the group seemed more like a side project for all involved than a full-time gig. In fact, the band had effectively ceased to exist by the time Dark Recollections saw the light of day. Which makes it even more surprising that such an unstable situation could result in such a cohesive, consistent effort. Only slightly less accomplished than Entombed's first effort, tracks like; "Infestation of Evil," "Deranged From Blood," and the title cut display intricate arrangements which add plenty of color and variety to the unbridled fury and ear-crushing heaviness herein. There is definitely a wider focus on the Americanized "brutalize now, melodies later" mentality on this record, plenty of emphasis on thundering grooves like the monolithic, sledgehammer swagger of "Gentle Exhuming" and the saem goes for the signature tune "Torn Apart."

Finally, even if you already own a past pressing of this album, the 2000 Earache reissue is well worth picking up because included are bonus tracks taken from the 1989 demos, when the band was still more of a splatter-grind outfit in the vein of early Carcass, who famously served as the benchmark of brutality for underground bands of the day. Historically (for the death metal scene at least), this album was very important with it's only major flaw being the extremely raw production. I would recommend 'Dark Recollections' to anyone who is a big fan of Swedish death metal, this record will instantly become a new (or rediscovered) favourite, particularly for anyone who loves the bands spawned from this one-time gathering of teenage musicians...

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