Having been obscured by the more popular Swedish melodic death metal and its Gothenburg sound for more than fifteen years, it seems that the old school Swedish metal with its Stockholm sound is on its way back into the limelight, and among the foremost exponents of the Second wave of Old School Swedish Death Metal is the aptly named band Mr Death.
Harboring ex-members of legendary bands like Treblinka, Expulsion and Tiamat, Mr Death is obviously a collection of talented and very experienced musicians who were there when Sweden first crashed the gates of the death metal scene in the early 90s, and on Descending Through Ashes, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed debut Detached from Life, Mr Death gives us yet another convincing reason to like old school Swedish death metal. If you were not there in the early 90s when it all happened, you may automatically associate the term "Swedish death metal" with melodeath, but this is not Gothenburg melodeath, this is old school Swedish death metal, and that means wonderfully primitive death metal performed on downtuned and dirty, distorted guitars and bass and old fashioned heaviness, aggression and brutality neatly packed into compact tracks. That is what you get here, and from the opening track "To Armageddon" to the closing track "The Coiled", Mr Death bombards you with simple but solid death metal riffs, combined with the aggression of thrash metal and the energy of crust punk.
Looking back at the old school death metal of the early 90s, Mr Big naturally do not incorporate a whole lot of modern elements into their music, and so you should not expect barrages of blastbeats, black metal harmonies, overly technical playing, deathcore breakdowns or clean vocals to pop up in catchy choruses. Indeed, younger listeners whose ideas of extreme metal are influenced by the way that extreme metal has developed in the last ten years, may be quite surprised by this type of dirty death metal. There is nothing pristine or polished about this release – it is pure and raw metal spirit. In addition to the old school death metal core sound, Mr Death also incorporate more rock-inspired elements, much like Entombed and Gorefest did back when they they started going into death 'n' roll territory, and tracks like "Come Winter" and "Descending Through Ashes" have some quite sludgy and groovy riffs in them, while "Another State of Decay" sounds like Motörhead on steroids.
The guitar sound is extremely dirty and the bass distorted beyond reason, and the drums have an organic and almost live sound to them. The vocals have the form of crusty death grunts, and the production is suitably lo-fi. This is old school death metal at its best: primitive, heavy, groovy, crusty, thrashy, and headbanging-friendly. If you like old Swedish acts like Grave, Dismember, Nihlist/Entombed, Dismember, Vomitory, and Desultory, Mr Death's Descending Through Ashes should be right up your alley. Fans of old school American death metal acts like Obituary, Necrophagia and Goreaphobia, as well as death 'n' roll acts like Gorefest, Six Feet Under and Debauchery might like this album, too.
1. To Armageddon
2. The Plague and the World it Made
3. Come Winter
4. Your Final Demise
6. From The Valley of Defilement
7. Another State of Decay
8. Stillborn in a Dying World
9. Descending Through Ashes
10. The Coiled