To celebrate the 20 years they have marched defiantly down the Left Hand Path Sweden’s NECROPHOBIC have not only blessed us with the rather solid “Death To All” this year but also “Satanic Blasphemies”, a handy compilation of their “Slow Asphyxiation” and “Unholy Prophecies” demos as well as their “The Call” EP.
Truth be told, most of these tracks made their way onto the band’s cult debut “The Nocturnal Silence” where the sound and instrumentation had obviously been tightened up a fair bit, but their presentation here (raw and hectic as hell) carries that special charm that marked much of the early Swedish Black/Death bands. The first three tracks are culled from their 1989 demo “Slow Asphyxiation”, and they’re all killer really, especially the title track with it’s potent melodic break around 2:26 that sees a significant increase in speed replace the rather sluggish opening half, while “Retaliation” is a slower number more akin to very early NIHILIST. Speaking of NIHILIST, that trademark chainsaw guitar sound is flying in every which way once the three “Unholy Prophecies” tracks kick in, especially the buzzing riff-heavy onslaught of “Sacrificial”. Once the final three tracks kick in – the “The Call” era ones – does a more melodic dynamic come into play, with the band churning out MAIDEN-esque licks and solos aplenty, especially on “The Ancients Gate”, very much in vain of “Somberlain” era DISSECTION. It’s excellent stuff and basically first wave Black/Death Metal done right in every regard. “Father Of Creation” closes off this compilation in style, being a tad slower (and creepier) than the rest with more classy solos to boot.
The production is obviously an issue at various points (especially the annoying oil barrel snare drum sound) but the song writing is quite spot on throughout. I would still recommend their excellent “The Nocturnal Silence” over these early songs, but any fan of early Swedish Metal really can’t do without these primitive yet fleshed-out slices of darkened Death Metal evil. Overall “Satanic Blasphemies” is a nifty little compilation that offers an entertaining glance into this underrated band’s humble beginnings and more proof that Swedish Metal circa 1989-1993 kicked major ass.
(Online August 12, 2009)