GODDEFIED biography and reviews
If your appetite for old Swedish death metal bands is never ending and you would like to get to know yet another killer name from the early 90’s, here’s one for you, which is criminally forgotten nowadays. This is Goddefied. This band has a lot in common with the likes of Gorement, Epitaph, Interment, Nirvana2002, Utumno, Evocation or God Macabre… And I don’t only mean the musical aspects, but also the fact that just when it would make sense that the band will get recognized and release another recording, they’ve split up and fuckin disappeared (of course some of these bands have reformed yeaaaarsssss later and finally recorded an album, but that’s another story). It’s a well known and common turn of facts… One or two great releases, a lot of good responses from the underground, hopes for a good contract and another great material… and BAM, the band splits up way too soon. Who knows what would full length albums from Nirvana2002, Mastication or Goddefied bring then? Anyway, here’s a short reminder of Goddefied’s story…
If we want to get everything right, we need to go back as far as to 1989, when a band called Hymen Imerforatus emerged. They were a thrash metal act, which influenced by the big bands like Slayer and Sepultura did one demo tape, which was spread around the local scene in Karlskoga. In 1990 the new material from this band got more brutal and death metal oriented and so the name was changed – first to Assembly and then to Enshrined. Enshrined line up was Rickard Eriksson (Bass), Mattias Pettersson (Drums), Mikael Persson (Guitars) and Jan Arvidsson (Vocals, Guitars) and it recorded (at Charleswood Studio in Karlskoga) just one demo, titled “Assembly of the Damned” in 1991 with three tracks of very morbid and not necessarily well produced death metal. After that demo the radical line up change has occurred and so the new line up, consisting of Persson and Arvidsson along with two new members: Jonas Aneheim (guitar) and Mattias Pettersson (drums) decided to rename the band once again and so the moniker Goddefied finally popped in. The composing of new material went pretty quickly and already in 1992 the band went to Sunlight Studio in Stockholm to record three tracks for a new demo tape. But before releasing the demo tape the tracks were sent to a few record labels including Wild Rags Records in Los Angeles which showed interest and wanted to release a 7" vinyl. However Richard C at Wild Rags wanted also few more tracks recorded to be able to release a MCD instead of a single. So in early 1993 Goddefied went to Sunlight once again to record three additional tracks for their forthcoming 6-track MCD "Abysmal Grief". The MCD was released in the summer of 1993. The story tells that Richard C has wrongly spelled the band’s name and marked the CD as Goddified instead of Goddefied (which stands for God Defied of corpse). Anyway, “Abysmal Grief” is great material, although one may say and point put the fact of too big resemblance of the music to Entombed and I don’t only mean the production, but everything really – the riffing, vocals… If you like “Crawl” EP or “Clandestine”, then “Abysmal Grief” is for you also and you may have a sense of déjà vu here and there hehe. Anyway, the band got good response for their music and managed to play several live shows in Sweden during this time. At one point a two weeks long American tour was planned and arranged by Wild Rags Records, with a performance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest as the last gig of the tour. This tour was however unfortunately cancelled due to internal problems in the band which led to line-up changes and eventually resulted in the split-up of the band in 1995. The line-up changes that occurred before the split up made Jan return to the drumming as Mattias left the band. Rickard grabbed Jan’s guitar and Jonas took the microphone along with his guitar playing. A new bass player called Felipe Queiroz joined the band. This line-up crashed almost immediately. No recordings were ever made with it and after a few months the final split-up was a fact.
After the split-up the former members went on to other projects. Jan became a guitar player in Pouppée Fabrikk, a well-known EBM / synth band from Sweden. Jonas started composing weird electronic music and ended after a while up in Pouppée Fabrikk too (he also participated in bands like MZ412, Nordvargr, etc, all very popular on the ambient / industrial scene). Almost at the same time Jan left Pouppée Fabrikk. Mattias and Rickard joined some local punks for a while, but eventually Mattias ended up in the crust combo Mörder and the hardcore band Misconduct. Rickard started the band “Kaj i rännstenen” together with the "anarchistic hero" Kaj Madsen. After some time Rickard and Jan formed a hardcore band called Lame with a few other fellows and released a demo tape that sucked big time.
Meanwhile in 2007 Goddefied reunited to record some new tracks just for the fun of it. And it resulted in something more serious as the new 7”EP was released! Yeah, it is titled “Remnants of the Art” and was released by Blood Harvest in 2009. The recording line up was Dirk Hellman (Drums), Rickard Eriksson (Guitars, Bass) and Jan Arvidsson (Vocals, Bass, Guitars) and the EP was recorded and mixed at Redlead Recordings and Studio Viken in 2009. “Remnants of the Art” includes two new tracks plus a re-recording of an oldie called “Zephaniah Dwells” from “Abysmal Grief” MLP. Blood Harvest also re-released “Abysmal Grief” on 10” vinyl in 2008, what surely was a great surprise and a collecting item for all old school Swedish death metal maniacs. So was also “Remnants of the Art”, which turned out to be really cool recordings… But! But again Goddefied sort of disappeared after this release, hopefully just for a moment and soon they’ll comeback with yet another killer effort. Their website was saying something about a possible 10” MLP and the songs were supposedly recorded and mixed already, but so far nothing have been confirmed and basically an annoying silence has embraced the band since the release of the EP, hopefully not for long! I keep my eyes open!
ENSHRINED – Assembly of the Damned (Demo 1991)
This is something I always find amazing, that here’s a demo recorded way back in 1991 by a band, which maybe ten people remember about and which didn’t go anywhere further than this one recording (at least not under this name), but still there’s someone like myself, who in 2012 listens to it and even likes it! Man, I wonder have those guys who formed Enshrined ever expected this to happen? I guess they would be very happy if someone told them at the time of recording the demo that “Assembly of the Damned” will survive all those years. Of course, I’m not going to fool you – I’m listening to mp3 and I have no bloody idea how many original copies of this demo tape are left somewhere in the world, but this is also why I really like some of these blogs that offer old demos to download, as this way they help the scene to remember the old, forgotten bands and let the maniacs listen to some of the very hard to find and highly collectable items, just like “Assembly of the Damned”.
I must say that I wouldn’t probably care much about Enshrined’s one and only demo, if it wasn’t for the fact that this is the band, which featured two members of the cult Swedish act Goddefied. Mikael Persson and Jan Arvidsson have both played in Enshrined, before the split up of the demo line up led to renaming Enshrined to Goddefied and recording “Abysmal Grief”. But I think this demo deserves your attention anyway, even if it wasn’t for the fact of being connected to Goddefied, as the music from “Assembly of the Damned” is really killer.
There are just three tracks here (“Benediction”, “The Realm” and the title one) and it total it’s just about 15 minutes, but that’s enough to get excited about it and consider “Assembly of the Damned” as yet another forgotten jewel of the early 90’s Swedish death metal. Of course the music is deeply rooted in the Swedish sound, but not necessarily is a copy of Entombed (unlike Goddefied hehe) or Dismember. There are rather similarities to the likes of early Tiamat, Mastication, Utumno plus there are some influences from Paradise Lost noticeable, as quite a lot of parts of the “Assembly of the Damned” demo have been played in those slow, almost doomy paces. And I like it. The riffing is great, with some melodic fragments, but also with plenty of aggression and atmosphere, the vocals (kind of Nick Holmes grunts) are also good… And so is the sound – maybe not perfect and not polished, but slightly raw demo production, but it’s good enough to enjoy the music. Of all the songs I think I like “Benediction” most, especially the ending part, but basically each track has something cool to offer and so… Yeah, cool demo, definitely worth checking. I wish only that I could have it on the original tape pressing.
Final rate: 75/100
GODDEFIED - Abysmal Grief (WILD RAGS – MCD 1993 / BLOOD HORIZON – MLP 2008)
Hell, I can’t imagine someone, who’s into the old Swedish death metal scene not knowing and adoring Goddefied. Sure, the band didn’t have a big impact on the scene, mainly due to the fact that their debut MLP has been released in 1993, when the scene was already well developed and the best bands have had several albums recorded and with many similar bands Goddefied could have been called nothing more, but yet another similar kind of band. But it’s the quality of their only release from the 90’s, which is for their advantage and thus I can say that this band stands in the same league as the other legends like Gorement, God Macabre, Epitaph, Excruciate or Nirvana 2002.
Lack of originality may be the only real problem some of you will have when listening to “Abysmal Grief”. I’ve actually heard many opinions that this band is decent, but too much they remind Entombed and so they’re not good enough. Phhuuufff, what a bullshit. Yes, they do remind me the likes of Nirvana 2002, Desultory and especially Entombed also and I mean “Crawl” EP and “Clandestine” LP, with very similar production, riffing and basically everything, including the vocals, which are close to those from “Crawl” EP (where Orvar Säfström sang). In few cases, like in “Left to Die” and “Inhumation of Shreds” it almost comes as close as a déjà vu feeling (in this case I though it’s “But Life Goes On” for a second he, he) but all those resemblances don’t mean Goddefied is useless. No, I still think that despite that “Abysmal Grief” is just great. I like the riffing here a lot, with this classic blend of melody and aggression, with many hooks and great potential for headbanging. I love the songs, they’re Swedish death metal taken to perfection and finally I love this classic Sunlight production.
Six songs in total and well, I can’t imagine someone, who’s into Entombed and other bands I mentioned not to like this. Unfortunately Goddefied never went anywhere further with this recording and soon after its release they’ve split up, but the more cult such recordings become then. You may need some luck if you wanna buy it though, as the original CD pressing is hard to get and just bloody expensive, while the 10” vinyl version from Blood Harvest (which I listen to now and which sounds brilliant, although the whole release lacks the lyrics and anything else, which other labels like The Crypt do to make their vinyl releases so bloody cherished) is also sold out long time ago, but if you’re ever going to spot a copy somewhere, get it! Sell your kidney, sell your mom, but buy it, as this is awesome recording, with the quality equal to Entombed.
Final rate: 85/100 (I do take some points off for the too obvious resemblances to Entombed; otherwise it would probably be 95!)
GODDEFIED – Remnants of the Art (BLOOD HARVEST – 7”EP 2009)
Sometimes I just don’t know what to think about all those reunions, but it does feel like some old bands are an unfinished chapters. If you think of how great and how big potential was in acts like Exmortis, Goreaphobia, Agoraphobia, Decomposed, Gorement, God Macabre, Utumno, Nirvana2002, Interment, Evocation, Goddefied, then it’s no surprise that some of those bands decided to come back years later and try doing something more, as in my opinion (and I’m not the only one here I guess) they deserved much more than what they’ve actually done in the past. Take band like Goddefied for instance. They’ve released only one recording, a stunning Entombed worshipping “Abysmal Grief” in 1993 and then just fuckin’ disappeared without a trace, while they clearly had potential to deliver even more stunning materials. Anyway, seems like some of the old Goddefied members felt the same and they reformed in 2007 and recorded these three songs, which ended up on this 7”EP, which Blood Harvest released to satisfy our hunger for old school Swedish death metal.
And maaaaaan, this stuff does sound like it’s been recorded in 1993! The production pretty much follows the Sunlight / Unisound sound and this is something I like about this EP - that it doesn’t try to update this style too much and rather keep it as traditional as possible. And so is also the music, very classic and keeping the traditional riffing alive. “Devoured” is just awesome song, it’s of course very similar to Entombed or Nirvana 2002, but man, I love it, it just proves that Goddefied still has that something what allows them to compose this kind of music (just listen to that melody in the beginning of it). “Remnants of the Art” is probably the most relentless and aggressive of all Goddefied songs ever, it’s like an unstoppable force, hitting you in the head with crushing riffs and drums bashing. Side B has just one track and it’s “Zephaniah Dwell”, a re-recording of an old song from the “Abysmal Grief” MLP and it’s probably the only disappointment of the whole EP, as I would rather listen to one more new track, instead of a re-recording of an old one, but it’s just an EP and such releases have their own rights.
All in all, I think that Goddefied made a killer comeback, this new recording is much appreciated and worth getting, the band really managed to capture the old feeling here, but sadly I must also say that I have a feeling it was slightly unnoticed and not many maniacs have spotted it. I haven’t really seen any interviews, reviews or anything what usually comes when the band releases something new… There is a huge silence around Goddefied and that’s bloody disappointing as this band proved that some reunions are good and worthy. I hope though the band will not surrender so quickly again and will finally release a full length album or anything at all, which will be as good as the old MLP or this EP, which is damn worth having in the collection. What are you waiting for then? Get it bastards!
Final rate: 80/100