The reissue game can be a tricky one, and it’s a good way to infuriate people who get tired of rebuying things they already own. But they serve really good purposes as well, such as helping listeners get up-to-date copies of classic albums or helping newcomers catch up on releases they perhaps haven’t had a chance to grab yet. I think we all can agree reissuing a record that’s a year old just to grab more buys from hardcore fans sucks though.
Today we have two reissue projects that very much fall into the hellaciously worthy category, as they bring into circulation fresh versions of music from two bands that have had their influence on today’s crop of artists that followed their path. Now, again, there are going to be people who already own these albums/recordings who will moan because they don’t want to have to buy them again. Simple solution, really: they don’t have to. I have found a lot of value in both of these projects, and each of them more than prove its worth.
We’ll start off with the awesome “20th Adversary of Emptiness” collection from Finnish technical death pioneers Demilich. They’re one of those bands that I got into years after their active period, and the whole reason I did is I’d see their indecipherable logo on shirts whenever I’d go to metal shows and wanted to know more about them. This 2-CD, 3-LP set is for listeners who want their hands on everything Demilich ever released. Literally. It is all here in one package, along with old and new artwork and a 40-page booklet for fans to salivate over. Granted, the band’s catalog isn’t the deepest thing of all time, but having everything in their arsenal in one compact place makes it easier to lug their greatness around with you.
The band’s run has been short and sporadic, with their active years only ranging from 1990-1995 on their first run, with a reunion in 2005 that spawned some new music, and another show in 2010. Their only full-length is 1993’s “Nespithe,” released on Necropolis Records, that influenced a generation of death metal bands that followed. This set opens up with that album, which now is remastered from the original 24-bit unmastered tapes, and it sounds pretty damn impressive. Funny, but their technical death is not as bizarre and out there as some of today’s bands, which actually is refreshing on the ears. Yeah, they showed their prowess and dexterity on comically more-than-a-mouthful songs such as “The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed),” “Inherited Bowel Levitation–Reduced Without Any Effort,” and … get ready for it … “The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired …),” but they have a heart, a monstrous soul, and a lot of mind-warping melody. Add to that guitarist Antti Bowman’s gurgly, burping death growls, and you have a record that somehow stands the test of time and still sounds damn relevant. I’ve never gotten my hands on a physical copy of this record before, so having a chance to get it now has been a long time coming.
On the other disc/LPs, we get three new tracks from 2006’s “Vanishing Sessions,” finding the band as alien and deranged as ever before, with “The Faces Right Below the Skin of the Earth” feeling thunderously awesome, with less belchy vocals; “Emptiness Of Vanishing” exposing buzzing guitar work and awesome metallic mauling; and “Vanishing of Emptiness” unleashing swirling guitars, lizard-like growling, and a punishing, satisfying finish. Also included are “The Echo” demo from 1992; the “…Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness…” demo also from 1992; “The Four Instructive Tales of Composition” demo from 1991”; and their more-than-raw one-song demo “Regurgitation of Blood” from 1991, that sounds like it’s melting as it plays. Most of the material on their demos contains early versions of “Nespithe” songs, so it’s cool to hear how they changed leading up to their full-length. All in all, this is one hell of a great collection, one that should be in the home of every death metal fan, especially those who think they must overplay and outthink themselves to make memorable, technically proficient music. Demilich only were with us a short time, but they left us some bizarre treasures.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.anentity.com/demilich/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.svartrecords.com/shoppe/en/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.svartrecords.com/
We shift from death metal to one of the most savage members of the second wave of Nordic black metal in Dark Funeral, a band that’s never kept secret their intentions of evil and blasphemy. The band engaged in a proper reissue project with Century Media late last year that started with their first three landmark releases, some of the most notorious, celebrated albums from that subgenre’s history. The expanded editions contain detailed essays about the creation of the records, new photos that were culled from the band’s history, and, of course, full lyrics so that you can howl back with great terror along with the band. Also, the albums sounds pretty damn great and make for spectacular headphone sessions. Oh, and all of this comes on the heels of Dark Funeral seeking a new vocalist as they ramp up for a new record, so now’s a nice time to get back into the band and remember what made them special in the first place.
Naturally, we begin with their “In the Sign…,” comprised of their 1994 debut EP (which was self-titled), as well as two songs from their contribution to a planned Bathory tribute (eventually released by their former guitarist, the late Blackmoon, in 1998), that being their maniacal takes on “Equimanthorn” and “Call From the Graves.” They prove more than adept at these black metal classics, and these are fun to have. Tacked on at the end are three live cuts from South America in 2003, that give you a deep taste of their savagery live. That takes us into their classic 1996 full-length debut “The Secrets of the Black Arts,” a record originally made at Unisound Studio with producer Dan Swano that didn’t meet the expectations of Dark Funeral. That’s discussed in the essay inside the booklet, with Swano quoted as admitting he wasn’t up to task in his work, so it was redone later with Peter Tagtgren. This includes both versions of the album, the one we’ve all come to know, as well as the Unisound version, so it’s pretty cool to hear what is and what might have been (though the shelved version has been available before). The official version of the record also has some bonus content, including a cover of Von’s “Satanic Blood” as well as “Dark Are the Path to Eternity (A Summoning Nocturnal)” that originally was on the tracklisting for the Unisound version.
Finally, we go into their second album, 1998’s “Vobiscum Satanas,” a record that saw a major lineup shift, with a change in lead vocals/bass from Themgoroth to Emperor Magnus Caligula (who also played in Hypocrisy and God Among Insects, among others); the departure of Blackmoon and arrival of Typhos on guitars; and drummer Equimanthorn leaving and making way for Alzazmon (who eventually went on to Dissection and Gorgoroth). That left only guitarist Lord Ahriman as an original member, but the band didn’t lose their intensity or bloodthirst for black metal. The vocals are a little deeper and a little less demonic sounding, but they work nonetheless, and the band rips toward its new era with cuts such as “Ravenna Strigoi Mortii,” “Thy Legions Come,” “Evil Prevail,” and “Ineffable King of Darkness.” Added to the end of the album are four live cuts from their 1998 appearance at Sweden’s Hultsfred Festival in 1998.
So yeah, maybe you have the originals or the Regain reissues of these records, but the CD spine art that’ll pop on your CD shelf, the comprehensive booklets, the improved sound, and the overall coolness of this project makes it more than worth the investment. The band’s final three records also have been reissued by the label, so we’ll work to get our hands on those and let you know if they measure up to these killer releases. I’m guessing they will.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.darkfuneral.se/
To buy the albums, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://centurymedia.com/