Manifestium – The Dawn of Domination

The Dawn of Domination
1997 (no label)
Lapua, Finland

Juha Luomala – Vocals, guitars, synths
Kimmo Kalasali – Guitars
Juho Ylivinkka – Bass
Ossi Ala-Kojola – Drums, backing vocals

Side 1

  1. Solitude
  2. Swan
  3. Kehraaja

Side 2

  1. Forlorn Dragon
  2. The Dawn of Domination
  3. Twillight Hymn

This is the middle of three demos by Manifestium – preceded by 1996’s Distant Silence and followed by 1999’s Profondeur. The sound of the band is described as “Doom/Death,” which is a good starting point. However, there are also many elements of thrash and power metal as well here and there. Vocals are growled, sung, and spoken. Plus, it is from Finland, which is kind of like ground zero for this style of music. So obviously it sounds legit. Song lengths range from 3 and a half minutes to over nine minutes, so there is some epic-ness here as well.

Lengsel – Demo

1997 (no label)
Oslo, Norway

Tor Magne Glidje – Guitars, Vocals
John Robert Mjåland – Bass
Ole Halvard Sveen – Battery

  1. I det Stille er det ér Sterk
  2. Vakker
  3. Skjulte Skatter
  4. Inntil Neste Gang

This is some dark, bleak, black metal. Lengsel was eventually signed to Solid State Records to release a full-length album. That album was re-released and re-released on several different labels, so its kind of considered a classic in this genre. The sound on this demo is a bit more traditional black metal, where as the band kind of went a bit more progressive black metal on future releases. The vocals are both rough and shrill at the same time for most of the songs, with a few variations of singing or spoken word inserted here and there. Not a sound for everyone, but they are good at it if this is your thing.

Equinox – Ceremony of the North Wind

Ceremony of the North Wind
1998 (no label)
Gwinn, Michigan, USA

Michael Chevalier – Vocals, Rhythm guitars, keyboards, drums, programming
Sean Bedore – Lead guitars
Daniel Meneguzzo – Bass

Side 1:

  1. Demonized
  2. King of Worms
  3. Within the Light of Satanas

Side 2:

  1. The Lost Son
  2. Beyond the Neverending
  3. Ceremony of the North Winds

This one was a big shock. I was expecting some kind of pop album with Celtic or Viking touches based on the album cover and title. This is full blast black/death metal with hints of symphonic metal here and there. They had one demo before this called The Adonis Chronicle, and after this demo they changed their name to Draco to avoid copyright problems with Equinox. They released this demo or a re-recorded version of this demo as Draco and then split up. As you can see above, the tape only has song titles and no other information. The rest I found online.

Sanctifica – In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter
1998 (no label)

Hubertus – Guitar, vocals
Jonathan – Bass
Daniel – Drums
Alexander – Synth

Side 1:

  1. Intro
  2. Burial of the Grave
  3. Blind for Reality
  4. In the Bleak Midwinter

Side 2:

  1. Sacrifice to Life
  2. King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Black metal that is so black that the cassette is entirely black! Really – It has no label, no markings, no indication of which side is which – just a plain black cassette. I don’t know much about black metal, but this cassette has good production values, so you can clearly here everything. So many extreme metal demos are recorded so poorly that it all becomes a muddy mess. You can hear each instrument clearly here – and the vocals as well (even though these are growly/harsh black metal that are hard to decipher at times). I enjoyed the cassette, but don’t know enough about the genre to be able to compare it to others. Apparently they became more avant-guarde as they went along. These songs were re-released on a split with Pantokrator in 2001, but it doesn’t seem like any of these songs made in onto any of their own full-lengths.