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Review: Swedish Death Metal
Book Review
Swedish Death Metal
Publisher: Tamara Press
Author: Daniel Ekeroth
Year published: 2006
Pages: 499

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: November 11, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Swedish Death Metal

Rated 4.86/5 (97.14%) (7 Votes)

I remember reading about the release party for this forbidden tome in Sweden back in 2006, which saw the re-formation of Grotesque, Nirvana 2002 and Interment for a one off gig to celebrate its arrival, after being 4 years in the making (replete with gig flyers proudly stating 'hardly anyone under 30 allowed in!'). But alas, I somehow managed to forget all about it until around a year later when I saw a review in Zero Tolerance Magazine, which kicked my grey matter back into gear to seek it down - and boy am I glad I did.

Author Daniel Ekeroth (formerly of Dellamorte, and now bassist of Swedish Brutal Death Metallers Insision), lived through the period of Death Metal's rise and fall in Sweden, and his eagerness at which he writes about its beginnings from the small hardcore punk scene, to the rise of Bathory, to the birth of Nihilist and Morbid (when things really started to explode exponentially) is something that rubs off on the reader as you take it in. Although it's occasionally feebly written, with spelling errors and typos (the guy's English is a fuckload better than my Swedish, so I'll give him a break), Ekeroth's enthusiasm shines through making it much more than worthwhile read. I've always admired the Swedish Death Metal scene, and reading this has re-awakened my love of the Sunlight sound (invented by the late Leif Cuzner of Nihilist apparently), spurring me on to seek down all the obscure bands and demos that I'd previously never heard of until now.

The book not only covers both the Stockholm and the Gothenburg music scenes, but also the growing scenes that began to sprout in smaller towns and villages around Sweden, as well as the plethora of zines, traders and gigs that made the era exactly what it was, allowing you to really get a feel of the crazed excitement felt by teenagers when they were to rush home from school to find new packages of dubbed tapes from all over the world in their post box, and to actually be blown away by the majority of them. The history ends in late 1992-93, when in Ekeroth's eyes, the scene began to become stagnated, with either everyone and their neighbor trying to book in a recording session with Tomas Skogsberg, or becoming disillusioned with the scene due to a multitude of clone bands and cancelled gigs. It also has a section on the rise of Black Metal in Norway around the same time, which caused a lot of Swedish Death Metal fans to turn their back on the scene for a new world of corpse paint and grimness (let us not forget that Marduk's debut album was actually more Death Metal than Black too, with their style transcending fully for 1993's 'Those of the Unlight'). To close things off, the book ends with a stack pictures of gig flyers from around the time, and an A-Z of Swedish Death Metal, covering just about every band you can think of, and a load more that you really should know about. Each band is annotated with Ekeroth's own view of them (some of which are amusingly derogatory), adding to the personalized tone of the book.

So in summary, this is an exhilarating read for any fan of Death Metal, and if it doesn't get you seeking out obscure albums and listening to the likes of Entombed, Dismember, Treblinka and Grave a lot more often, then you must be into disco. An excellent read.

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