NORWEGIAN DEATH METAL
9/10 – KATIE METCALFE
The legendary death metal band Old Funeral formed in Bergen, Norway in 1989 and split up in 1992, but during their brief existence, they housed members of the ‘Inner Circle’ – including everyone’s favourite lunatic Varg Vikernes – and created some ground-breaking, unforgettable, fucking ferocious death metal. This compilation, released via Soulseller Records contains all of Old Funeral’s known work and it’s a fucking beast. Weighing in at over an hour and a half, it’s not for the faint hearted. The quality is often so dire that’s it’s an absolute head fuck, but if you just go with it, it proves to be an immensely fulfilling journey into Norway’s death/black metal past.
Favourite tracks of mine include Aphis from the hilariously titled 1989 demo The Fart That Should Not Be. The rhythm is erratic and the production primitive as fuck, but it’s a track that bites with steel teeth. The vocals are unreservedly harsh and primal, and build up the rough and dirty mix, to deliver some hugely enjoyable minutes of sheer madness. Persecuted By Death from the same release is devastatingly coarse, fast and thrashy.
Another favourite includes Abduction Of Limbs from the 1990 Abduction Of Limbs demo. The band have really shifted up a gear with this release, and it sounds a lot less like the sort of thing you’d hear coming from next door’s garage. The production is still irregular, but the transitions within the track, the atmosphere it conjures, the grisly vocals and the pounding riffs are massively gratifying. It’s a strong combination of black, thrash and death and makes for addictive listening.
Their 1991 EP Devoured Carcass throws three really strong songs into the grim mix. With the first track Haunted there is a prominent blackened death sound. It takes the band to a new level. It’s accomplished and is incredible to hear the transition from when they first set out to make some death infused noise.
The live tracks on the compilation are so raw, so fucking nasty that they’re almost unbearable to sit through, but that’s what makes them SO FUCKING GOOD! They fling you back into the early 90’s and kick the living shit out of you. I for one think that it’s an excellent thing that they’re included on here. It’s electrifying to hear the conversations going on between the band and the audience, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a sucker for the Norwegian language! It’s genuinely exciting and gears you up for another smashing.
If you want to take a mind blowing trip back in time, get your dirty mitts on Our Condolences. It’s a big, tasty bite of Norway’s extreme metal history.