Forget In Flames, forget Arch Enemy, forget Dark Tranquillity. This EP from one-man project Putrified (also Swedish), drags us kicking and screaming right back to the slimy, maggot-infested inception of the whole Swedish Death Metal scene, or at least that is the intention of the mysterious A. Death.
This whole EP is raw, fairly primitive and aggressive, and does exactly what it says on the tin; this homage to the early, more Stockholm-focussed early death metal scene. Originality is not a word that springs to mind here, and it would be easy (and pretty lazy) for me to just real off a huge list of bands that this EP will remind you of, especially if you are old enough to remember the sensation of Swedish Death Metal the first time around! However, if not ground-breaking and original, the remaining question is; is it any good?
Personally, I think it is. It definitely hits the spot in terms of reliving that grisly, dark, grim feeling that the early bands had in spades. In fact, it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Firstly, it has that guitar sound. That particular distorted, dank, nasty, crushingly heavy and yet totally distinctive sound that harks back to those early days of Swedish death metal. For some reason whenever I hear that old Swedish sound, it evokes images of skeletons trapped in rusty cages, hanging in some vast, dark slimy cave. Maybe that says more about me than the music, but I certainly get that obscure feeling from the huge, monstrous sound on this EP. I’ve read rather unkind reviews about previous demos released by Putrified, from what I gather this is a massive improvement in terms of overall production.
Also present on this EP is that bastard mix of styles which was also present on albums by the early, brutish experimenters on the once-obscure Scandinavian scene. There are fleeting elements of filthy grind (not modern technical death-grind, but out and out angry, filthy nastiness), raging Discharge-influenced hardcore, moments of sludgy doom, as well as massive walls of crashing, smashing dark riffs and pounding drums at breakneck speed. Putrified also add in other well-known Scandinavian extreme metal influences; a touch of melodic black/death metal here and there reminiscent of Necrophobic, some truly epic, vast harmonies on occasion are also present, which sound a little like mid-period Hypocrisy to my ears. The song writing isn’t too shabby on this EP either; Putrified manage to balance the bestiality of early death metal with some great, well-flowing songs which are neither too primitive, nor too complex.
Well, I was going to try and avoid listing a whole load of classic Swedish death metal bands, but Putrified sound like an amalgam of the entire early scene in one band, and as I’ve already mentioned two bands – here goes. If you like Grave, Nihilist, Dismember, Necrophobic, early Cemetery, Hypocrisy et al, you will find a lot here to like. Of course it is not remotely original, but it is pretty good.
(7.5/10 Jon Butlin)