UNCANNY (Swe): “Splenium for Nyktophobia” Cd 1993 Unisound


There are so many things to say about Unisound, and so many anecdotes by bands ripped by Panos and company, that we can fill up a whole book just with quotes. To be honest I never lost any money from the few orders I made to that label, and even got some promotional material for free (just a few compilations of mediocre material, but always free stuff). Decapitated records (then called Unisound) seems still active today since I noticed a huge amount of Abhorer/Necrophile split Cds in distros and trade lists recently, while I don’t think it was never released on Cd back at the time (or maybe someone ripped off Unisound, that would be ironic ah ah!). Some real interesting releases came out from that label, including the fantastic Necromass Lp (which despite blabbering, it IS a great Black Metal album), and stuff by Order from Chaos, Necromantia, Thou Art Lord and the first Rotting Christ stuff. I am more than happy of having bought the Lp but I got the Cd as well for the fuck’s sake and well, it is still great shit to hear in the car stereo, but well I am digressing as usual, I’ll move on to Uncanny now. Seems like Uncanny and Fulmination both co-existed for a while, but it was only Uncanny that managed to record a full album with the ultra famous Dan Swano (for those curious Fulmination was much more “thrashier” and simpler, with vocals adorned with heavy reverb which gave them a wicked, Black Metal feel – read Black Metal as it was meant before the march of the penguins began – in my copy of the ’92 demo, I have to say that Fredrik doesn’t appear as a second guitarist). What came out of the studio can be summed up in three simple words: Swedish Death Metal, and a solid record ot that. It was released a bit outside of the 3 years range 1989-1992 that saw so many huge releases in the Swedish ground, but this is great shit nonetheless, it is a record that really deserves to be mentioned more often. One of their two guitarist is in Katatonia now, which even if I don’t care anything about for, it is still a super professional band and their riffs are far from second hand, so you can imagine this shit is not just reheated soup. The riffs in here are so thoroughly Swedish I almost cringe: multi layered and totally in the vein of the more dynamic side of that early northern scene, let’s say more like Utumno or House of Usher that the heavier, Autopsy oriented grave sound of bands like (ahem) Grave or Dismember. The matrix is still fundamentally Nihilist/Entomed (hell what band was not influenced by that?) but I think that while the sound is neck deep in that period, any direct comparisons to other bands of the time would be too approximative. The overal speed is that of “Clandestine” but the chords are not, I think this is an album that’s better listened than described. Now that Bloodbath have been spoiled by the atrocious overrated non-talent of Peter Tagtren, I wonder if we will ever manage to get bands as good as this anymore. Anyway, we have plenty of bands forom that era to discover haven’t we? “Splenium for Nyktophobia” (which roughly means, an artifical cure for the fear of darkness, or some medical term related to that) is (was) an excellent Swedish Death album, somewhat lighter in sound than, say, early Entombed or Dark Throne (“Soulside” days) but with neat, complex arrangements and a good dose of melodic bridges that enhance the experience without turning the whole music mellow. You get also some nicely 80’s solos like the one in “Timeless”, with unconventional arpeggios as well. The vocals too are not just low but extremely clear and able to modulate a wide range of Death Metal vomits, which was also a trademark of the Swedish scene, if one wants to get a clear picture of how real Death Metal vocals sound like one should definitely hear these, becouse they’re excellent; they sound somewhat higher towards the end, I have no idea of it was becouse of the strain the singer got in the studio or if these were recorded sperately. The songs too become a bit more like old Fulmination with a more traditional approach towards the end of the album but we still are fully in Death Metal ground. Luckily this band decided to disband before releasing third rate mediocre stuff like Crypt of Kerberos or Wombbath: we got a classic here, which along with their split with Ancient Rites can be displayed produly along with other Swedish classics! When I’ll manage to get a camera I’m surely going to review the split as well (I don’t think it ever made its way into vinyl, has it?). There is a completely different track in the album as well called “Lepra” which is more Industrial Metal in sound, which should be pointed out, and a cool outro with a nice medieval feel (which is also the title track!). The booklet of this album was approximative to say the least, it was full color but printed only on one side, without lyrics nor pictures, just a quick thanks list. The cover loos nice and original, even if it’s not incredibly clear, it could be the bleaching sun as seen from a holle dug in the ground, or a representation of the Hell, who knows? Seems like Avesta had its Death Metal champions and not just bisons and steel mills! PS: Is it just me or there is a chorus in “Tales from the Tomb” which is totally ripped off from the one sung by Corpsegrinder in Suffocation’s “Reincremation” (“Effigy of the Forgotten”)?

Vote: 9.5

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