Nihilist Nihilist

For a band that lasted only two years, Sweden’s Nihilist immediately set the standard for all death metal to follow. Those crucial two years, 1988-’89, proved to be the most influential to the then-fledgling death metal subgenre, since Nihilist dissolved and re-formed as the pioneering Entombed. To combat multi-generation bootlegs, Threeman Recordings (run by the Entombed guys) has released all four Nihilist demos plus Entombed’s But Life Goes On demo (the one that got them signed to Earache) on one disc and in all their raw glory. Though static pops, fading left and right channels and overloaded volumes plague the transfer, the primordial music shines through as absolutely nothing that had been heard before in the late ’80s. The progression of this amazing band is heard in every song, and no less than seven of the 14 tracks compiled here were re-recorded for Entombed’s seminal debut album, 1990’s Left Hand Path, and even one, the fluid "Severe Burns,” for their sophomore outing, ’91’s Clandestine. Growler LG Petrov established a template from which Morbid Angel’s David Vincent and Death’s Chuck Schuldiner would follow throughout their careers. The frenetic pickings of Alex Hellid and Johhny Hedlund (now in Unleashed) plus the drum rhythms of Nicke Andersson (now in the Hellacopters) would be copied forever. Featuring superior liner notes from Ula Gehret, Nihilist is a must-have for any head-banger, though completists will want to wait for the box set of even more rarities (including pre-Nihilist demos such as Brainwarp), due out this fall/winter. (Threeman)