Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mastication - Swedish killer!!

This is very special band. MASTICATION didn’t last long, but it was long enough to produce two killer demos and put their name on the Swedish death metal movement. And the guys who’s been involved in MASTICATION also participated in other great bands, so in result MASTICATION is a must for every fan of Swedish death metal. It all really started in 1988 / 89, when Lars Levin and Hempa Brynolfsson had a band called NECROLOGY. This project ceased to exist, when Hempa started to focus on a more successful and promising EXCRUCIATE. So Lars started to play with another good friend of his, Daniel Lofthagen. As far as I’ve heard they first called themselves LACERATION, but soon the named was changed for MASTICATION. The line up was Lars Levin (vocals), Daniel Lofhagen (guitar) and Per Ekegren on drums. Soon they added also Janne Rudberg on bass who just left EXHUMED / MORPHEUS. For a short time Mats Nordrup from CREMATORY was playing the second guitar and MASTICATION was a five piece at that time, With such line up MASTICATION didn’t waste the time and started intense works on their first tracks. They managed to enter SUNLIGHT Studio twice within two months (!!!) to record two demo tapes. The first one was titled “Mastication” and was recorded on 29th-30th of April and contained three killer tracks. The second demo simply titled “Demo #2” was recorded on 23rd of June with another two new songs. Both demos gave MASTICATION a lot of respect in the underground, the band even had some offers for an album, but suddenly everything stopped. Janne wanted to try something different, while Lars was asked by EXCRUCIATE to join them and do the vocals on their “Passage of Life” record, as they weren’t happy about Christian Carlsson vocals. And so Lars Levin joined one of the best Swedish bands. Meanwhile Janne formed power metal project called AVOIDNESS. He also joined EXCRUCIATE for a while, but quit that band soon. Pelle Ekegren later played in CAUTERIZER for some time. He also joined COERCION and recorded “Delete” and “Lifework” CDs (1999 and 2003). After COERCION split up he joined the mighty GRAVE and recorded two full lengths with them: “Fiendish Regression” (2004) and “As Rapture Comes” (2006). Daniel Lofthaged played in UNANIMATED for a year and recorded “In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead” CD. Meanwhile Lars Levin, after EXCRUCIATE split up joined the new Hempa Brynolfsson’s band MYKORRHIZA, which did two albums. Nowadays he’s a member of reformed EXCRUCIATE. There were also plans to reform MASTICATION! Time will tell if something’s going to come out of that. In the meanwhile, in 2010, NECROHARMONIC Records from USA has released both MASTICATION demo tapes on CD titled “Wicked Material Sanity”, as a split with another Swedish cult acts: EXHUMED and EGYPT (which is a side project of Janne Rudberg and David Brink from EXHUMED / MORPHEUS and which only recorded two songs in 1992 in SUNLIGHT!!!). The material was re-mastered and sounds totally killer, making this CD one of the greatest releases!

Mastication (Demo 1991)
Recorded: Recorded and mixed in 29-30 of April 1991 at SUNLIGHT Studio by Thomas Skogsberg.
Recording line up: Lars Levin (voc), Janne Rudberg (gtr/bass), Daniel Lofthagen (gtr), Per Ekegren (drums)
MASTICATION is yet another great band from the good, early Swedish death metal movement. The history of MASTICATION is unfortunately quite short as the band managed to get just two demos released and then split up; although all band members went to play in some other cult bands like EXCRUCIATE, COERCION and UNANIMATED. “Mastication” was recorded in two days of April 1991 at SUNLIGHT Studio. It is quite weird, knowing now that Lars Levin became EXCRUCIATE vocalist after the decease of MASTICATION, but really I find the music of both bands as very similar. I mean the sound both bands had on their recordings was very alike – blame Skogsberg for that… But musically also both MASTICATION and EXCRUCIATE played in similar style, maybe the latter was bit more melodic, while the first seemed to be bit faster and more brutal, but as overall you may have a feeling of “déjà-vu” here and there. All that doesn’t really disturb me and honestly I like both bands much. This first MASTICATION demo is an example for well played, classic Swedish death metal and surely every maniac, who likes such stuff, must get these songs and give them a listen. This material starts with a mournful intro, which lead us to song called “Freedom’s Death”. If there’s anything to say about it is that it’s so damn aggressive, sometimes really fast and energetic track that it makes all my guts to roll over, but it also contains plenty of slower parts, as well as few catchy melodies. It’s nothing outstanding, but very good as always. “Unholy Wickedness” again is very dynamic and speedy; I’m almost surprised that MASTICATION music is so fast. It’s probably one of the most aggressive bands of that time from Sverige! It seems like these guys couldn’t stop themselves when they got the speed they have to carry on and blast their shit more and more, until they make sure everybody around is slaughtered. Sure, they always find time to put a nice, hooky melody or mid paced fragment, but so far both songs were speeding like a damn chainsaw in a hands of Leatherface… And “Material Massacre” is no different ha, ha! Again really strong track, with very good riffs and Lars Levin growling like a beast – I really love his voice! But sadly the demo has just these three anthems, so the only thing left to do is put your guts back and play it again! What else do I need? Probably more songs and to see this demo released on vinyl ha, ha!
Best song: “Unholy Wickedness”
Final rate: 85/100

Demo #2 (Demo 1991)
Recorded: Recorded and mixed on 23 of June 1991 at Sunlight studio by Thomas Skogsberg.
Recording line up: Lars Levin (voc), Janne Rudberg (gtr/bass), Daniel Lofthagen (gtr), Per Ekegren (drums)
MASTICATION, after the splendid debut demo, didn’t let their fans wait long for another attack and already two months since the recording of “Demo 1” they unleashed “Demo 2”. This material comes with two tracks only… If I have to be honest, MASTICATION already with their first demo got a status of unforgettable, great Swedish death metal band. This second effort only proves the potential this band had. But I have to say one thing first – I liked “demo 1” bit more. It was classic to the bone in every aspect – the sound, style, vocals… To put it simply, it was absolutely wonderful stuff. “Demo 2” is still great and exciting material, although maybe slightly less than “Demo 1”! First thing you must notice is much fatter and more brutal production this demo got. If you listen to the guitar especially you may spot their much more dense, thicker sound, which surely gave more guts to MASTICATION. But generally it still sounds quite raw.
Music wise both demos don’t really differ much… It’s basically the same style, so there are well structured tracks, with plenty of tempo and mood changes… There’re many fast tempos, some melodies, some slower parts. Simply there’s everything that good Swedish death metal song needs. The first track, “Satanized”, is the shortest MASTICATION song ever, it’s only 3 minutes long, but it’s very straight forward, fast, uncompromising and damn aggressive. But I like the second song,“Shreds of Sanity”, more as this track has fantastic feeling, some great, catchy riffs… Also the song is much slower, based on mid paced tempo mostly, so it’s very different to the chaotic “Satanized”. Unfortunately these two tracks / 8 minutes all together / end up too quickly, so there’s no other choice than press repeat and listen to it all over again. Sadly it’s also the final MASTICATION recording, as soon after the band split up. Sure, Lars Levin ended up in EXCRUCIATE and I can listen to his fantastic voice of cult LP “Passage of Life’, but it’s really sad that MASTICATION never recorded anything else. Hopefully their two cult demos will end up on vinyl one day, they surely deserve that.
Best song: “Shreds of Sanity”
Final rate: 80/100

No comments:

Post a Comment