Archives of the Dead part IX: Benighted – The Master of Darkness
Line up: Tobbe (bass), Nubb (drums), Johan (vocals), Krille (guitars)
Recorded in 26-28 February 1993. Mixed by Henrik and Benighted.
I really enjoy doing these series of reviews of some old, mostly little known demos and bands… Not only I have an opportunity to introduce to some of you these bands, but personally I also get to really know them, when digging through the internet and zines, searching for some info about these bands and their demos… Here is next band that I’ve been listening to a lot recently… They’re called Benighted. The band was formed in 1990 in Forserum, first under the name Toxic Breath, then changing it into Sickness… they did one demo tape in 1992 and then changed the name again, but for Benighted, as there were also some other bands called Sickness around (in Germany and USA for instance). Already as Benighted the band did one demo “The Master of Darkness” in 1992.
Daniel Ekeroth’s description of Benighted from “Swedish death metal” makes me slightly confused. I haven’t yet had a chance to hear any Sickness demos, but the description of Benighted says: “originally very brutal death / grind of decent quality, they soon mellowed out into harmless and melodic death / thrash”. Ha, Ekeroth could be wrong here, I suppose! Why? Well, “The Master of Darkness” is the only Benighted’s demo as far as I know and musically it not only has nothing in common with grind, but also it isn’t anything like melodic death / thrash! So maybe Ekeroth got it all wrong? Well, he mentions in his book one more demo “We Don’t Care” from 1997, but no other sources except his book confirms this information. He may be wrong just as he was wrong about Sickness doing also “Eternal Horizon” demo in 1993 – which actually was a demo of another Swedish band called Sickness, not the one which turned into Benighted. So, the history is very confusing and I have no idea who’s telling the truth. For the moment “The Master of Darkness” is the only demo of Benighted, which I know about.
Anyway, “The Master of Darkness” for sure is a slab of brutal death metal of very good quality. I definitely enjoy this demo a lot and I can say that it is for me one of the best Swedish death metal demos, when speaking of the lesser known bands, from the second / third line. Not only Benighted turns out to be way more brutal than the usual Swedish death metal bands, being for instance totally derived of any melodic parts and also sound wise being more brutal and harsh, but also stylistically they were strongly influenced by the American scene. For instance “Master of Darkness” has some riffs, which undeniably are very close to Deicide. Other moments will remind you such brutal bands like Baphomet, Rottrevore, Morpheus Descends, even Cannibal Corpse (but not as fast…), so really the best American death metal school possible. There are some excellent riffs / songs on the demo, I also must say that I really like the production of it and also the vocals, so in the end each of these five tracks turns out to be a killer tune. Not many Swedish bands were so damn brutal; and among those more brutal acts not many were as good. I obviously will always mention (early) Séance and Toxaemia, for being the best brutal death metal acts in Sverige… but definitely Benighted can now join them.
Final rate: 85/100