Releases such as Graveyard‘s The Altar of Sculpted Skulls display the spread of Swedish death metal, a style that is no longer bounded by geography or the location of a band. Chaos Records this year presents yet another Spanish band’s works, Unconsecrated, in the form of the compilation Awakening in the Cemetery Grave, which contains the discography of this Swedish death metal-influenced band so far. The themes of death, zombie and horror are clear from the album artwork as well, courtesy of Daniel Devilish, who has also handled artwork for other Swedish death metal bands such as Blood Mortized and Entrails. Unfortunately, too many bands of late are attempting the old-school Swedish death metal sound, and it would certainly take much for Unconsecrated to make themselves stand out from the rest.
The album kicks off with the cheesy Intro track containing haunting sound samples to set the atmosphere, which has been done to death by so many other bands that claim horror influences in their songwriting and creative process, but as the first riffs greet the listener on Buried in the Crypt, their Swedish musical roots become immediately clear. And these are of course that gritty rhythm guitar tone and the riffing and chugging style of guitarists Dave and Overlord, which point towards Swedish death metal legends like Entombed and Nihilist. The songwriting style though takes a more aggressive and somewhat more complex route, and it is at such moments when influence from bands like Grave and Dismember show up. The horror theme throughout the album are constantly brought up time and again, and also pretty effectively, such as the haunting leads on Slave to the Grave, easily sending chills down the listener’s back, especially since the band often includes such moment when least expected, catching the listener off-guard. There is also that usage of sound samples to reinforce that atmosphere, such as on Path of the Ancient Gods, which though cheesy, still works in the band’s favour.
Drummer Jacobo often attempts to bring in a more aggressive edge in his drumming, but there are moments when these falter slightly, resulting in a rather messy and inconsistent rhythmic pattern in the music. The leads can also be rather unstructured and messy, with guitarists Dave and Overlord seemingly focussing solely on playing fast on their solos, leaving out any sense of melody, like on Exhumating Profaned Flesh. Fortunately these moments are rather few, and the energy that is present in the band’s execution of the music makes up for such instances.
Old school Swedish death metal has been done to death (pun not intended), and Unconsecrated‘s Awakening in the Cemetery Grave unfortunately does not contain anything that is new or fresh to attract those who are already sick of the genre. However, Awakening in the Cemetery Grave is evidence of the band’s ability to play in this style, and this compilation could very well be value for money with the quantity of music that is contained on it, but there is nothing that one can find here that cannot be found on classics, making this a rather standard and straightforward Swedish death metal release.