Guest Column: Three Bands You May Not Know But Should By Henrik Engkjær Of Deus Otiosus

Guest Column

We’ve reached out to our metal brethren across the land, asking that they contribute prose to our recent series of guest columns. We ran a recent series on Five Albums That Will Change You, and the response was overwhelming.

The new topic is Three Bands You May Not Know About But Should, and we asked that each guest writer jot down a brief description of what makes each band worthy of our attention. Today, we continue this ongoing series with an entry written by Henrik Engkjær from Deus Otiosus.

These Danish black/death metallers have been active for 14 years, but their level of activity through the years has been quite varying. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Strychnos have not received the attention they should have. The band has so far only released one demo and two EPs; and their songs and releases are also quite short. But what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. Their releases have only gotten better with time, and their 2011 EP Undead Unsouls Unbound is an absolute must.

The music is catchy, relevant and rocking all the way through the rather short duration of it. Strychnos may not be unknown of underground metalheads, but I’d like to see this band namedropped way more than most of the pale bands many seem to listen to today. I kind of scares me, that the fact that I’m Danish might be the only reason I know this band. What if good bands are everywhere behind the rubbish piles of music we’re confronted with daily? Well, here’s at least a recommendation you can trust.

Death SS
Death SS were more or less heavy metal titans in their native Italy. I guess most metalfans abroad have at least heard their name, but they never achieved anything resembling that kind of following in the rest of the world. Maybe because they didn’t tour that heavily outside Italy or name because of the ‘SS’ in the bandname.

SS stands for Steve Sylvester by the way, the band’s mainman and singer. Since their beginning in 1977 the bands has released 7 studio albums as well as a host of eps, demos and live recordings. Death SS started out as originators of the — back then — diverse black metal style. From their early material being an occult cross between Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate and Venom, the band developed only classic heavy metal, a rock/metal band and finally unto more industrial and experimental fields. And throughout the whole development you will find great creativity and compositional skill.

Swedish Luciferion’s debut album Demonication (The Manifest) was released in 1994. Just a bit too late to secure them a place amidst the classic death metal bands from their country. The sheer quality of the record did begin to create quite the stir though, as every fanzine featured them and labels lined up hoping to release their sophomore album. But before being able to follow up on their debut the band split up and went into oblivion. Like all other bands they did eventually reunite and make another album. Quite a good one that employed more keyboards and samples, but Demonication (The Manifest) remains their essential release.

Lucerferion is not your typical swedish death metal band. Their debut is quite inspired Deicide’s ditto. But the existence of Demonication… is more than justified. It is an exhibit in top notch creative, well-written, dark and dynamic — well, almost dramatic — death metal. I rarely hear anyone mention it these days, so it’s a lost death metal gem, I guess.

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