EXCRUCIATE / EPITAPH - Split (INFEST Records LP 1991)
This is a special release for me and a real jewel in my vinyl collection; a split 12” vinyl with two among the best, but most underrated Swedish death metal bands from the old days. Or maybe I should rather say they were underrated and forgotten for many years, as ever since Ekeroth released his book, these two and many more Swedish acts got more recognition, also among the newer, younger fans and also all their recordings were re-released both on CD and LP. Anyway, here I have the original LP version of the Excruciate / Epitaph split, released by Infest Records. Firstly this was the only version, there was no CD released, only recently a bootleg appeared, but who cares about these fuckin thieves’ unofficial CD? My old vinyl, after more than 20 years, still looks and sounds killer... and I love it!!!
Both bands present their demos here: Excruciate has their 1991 “Hymns of Mortality” demo and Epitaph their “Disorientation” demo 1991. I guess I don’t need to convince anybody that both are simply classics when speaking of the old Swedish death metal?! Both bands have very similar approach and fit together perfectly… but I think it’s obvious that Excruciate is the one, which is more brutal and aggressive. Their music is filled with heavy, chunky riffs, with many almost grinding fast parts, which will provide a killer dose of powerful energy… And here I think that “Sickness Hate” and “I Pray for Infinity” are the most violent songs, truly a crushing pieces where the stench of putrid corpse is coming from the speakers and the horror aura is increasing. But what’s great about their music is that it also has that melodic touch, which we always expect to hear from the Swedish bands; take “Hymns of Mortality” song for an example. It may be mainly focused on the fast, crushing death metal, but that can be suddenly interrupted by a nice slow piece, with memorable melodic lead. This is kind of stuff very alike to such Demigod, but what a lovely death metal slaughter!!! What’s characteristic for Excruciate was also their sound. Yes, it was close to the Sunlight, but different at the same time. They were recording at Studio Largen and surely the guitar tone is very specific for this band. All in all, a killer band in my opinion and one, which I always liked, ever since I heard “Passage of Life” on cassette (released by Loud Out) back in the 1993 or 94, I don’t remember now.
And then Epitaph… I admit that I like their music even more! Epitaph was slightly more melodic band, with a great emphasis on the atmospheric side of the music. But they still have this killer harsh and aggressive death metal riffing, there are also quite few faster parts and generally their music is / was a massive crusher… I think that if you take the good old Cemetary, from their classic demos and debut full length album and also God Macabre or Goddefied, then you’ll have a clear vision for the Epitaph’s style. Their recordings are a total must for the worshippers of the Sunlight Studio productions, as they have this classic sound, killer guitar tone… and musically it’s just awesome stuff. Take “Disorientation”; this fast motherfucker will please all maniacs of the harsh and aggressive death metal. Bloody excellent, relentless song, with a killer riffage and some great vocals. I heard opinions that Epitaph were merely a mediocre Swedish band; hmm, I definitely do not agree. I like their music a lot.
Standout tracks: “Hymns of Mortality”, “Disorientation”
Final rate: 85/100