Extol – Embraced

1997 (no label)
Bekkestua, Bærum, Norway

Peter Espevoll – Vocals
Christer Espevoll – Guitars
Emil Nikolaisen – Guitars
Ole Børud – Bass
David Husvik – Drums

  1. Embraced
  2. Track II
  3. Independent

Brutal stuff! For those that don’t know, Extol was an extreme metal band that mixed elements of death metal, black metal, and thrash metal. This was their first demo, and to my ears this sounds more on the death metal side with some hints of black metal here and there. I know that the song “Embraced” made it on to their full-length debut called Embraced, but I don’t know about the other two since they have such generic names and I am not as familiar with all of Extol’s work.


Frank’s Enemy – Qoheleth

Frank’s Enemy
1993 Not Silent (NS5)
Miami, Florida

Julio Rey – Guitar, Lead vocals
Marc Golob – Bass, vocals
Alex A – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Link Line
  2. Man, You Made a Lonely World
  3. You are God

Side 2:

  1. Reasons to Say No
  2. Destroy
  3. I Think
  4. We’re Recording Ourselves

Frank’s Enemy is a bit hard to describe – they are definitely an extreme metal band, but there are grind elements, death elements, punk elements, experimental elements, funk elements, hardcore elements, and so on. This was their third demo, the last one before they released their full-length self-titled album. In fact, most of the songs on here made it onto that album. Frank’s Enemy is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy the weirdness and intensity of what they do here. “Destroy” is also a cover of The Lead, and for those that didn’t know, Julio Rey was/is in The Lead (since they are now releasing new music). Also, the last two tracks I have listed on side two are not listed on the tape J-card. The first one is an early demo of “I Think” with Julio on lead vocals (it was later re-recorded on Neoblasphemies with female lead vocals). The other one is really just the band in the studio goofing off, talking about copy right law and how they are recording themselves.

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.

Ivory Castle – Ivory Castle

Ivory Castle
1995 (no label)
Custer, Washington, USA

James Allin – Wrote and performed all music
Steve Polluck – Wrote and performed all music

Side 1:

  1. Inside Your Lonely Place
  2. Land of the Warriors
  3. The Restless Sea
  4. Eternal Paradise

Side 2:

  1. Ascending Beyond
  2. Whispers
  3. From Divine

This was a bit of a surprise. The cover and name really doesn’t say much about this demo, but the thank you notes mention Paramaecium, Mortification, Seventh Angel, and others in capital letters. Turns out those three bands are a good comparison: doomy death metal with a hint of thrash here and there. Well, except for “The Restless Sea,” which is a keyboard instrumental dedicated to James Allin’s “Viking forefathers.” This is a two person project, but I am not sure who did what. Ross Assink of industrial band Arbitrage was onboard to mix and engineer the project (which probably also explains the drum machine sounding drums). This recording is lo-fi and has some limitations, but still serves as a good demo that serves up the promise of a decent to good studio album if they were ever signed. Maybe they were and changed names? I can’t find much else about this demo online. Most songs (except for the instrumentals) are 5-6 minutes long, with “From Divine” stretching out to over 12 minutes long.

Update: James Allin went on to form a one-man band called Visionaire that put out two albums (Mystical Dominion in 1998 and Within the Arcanum Hall in 2000). Then he formed a band called Century Sleeper with Ian Arkley – they released an album for Bombworks records (Awaken in 2006). Also in 2006 he changed the name of Visionaire to Ikarian. As Ikarian, he has released two albums so far (Phantom Minds in 2007 and A Shrine of Fire in 2014). Thanks Matthew Hunt for the updated info!

Disencumbrance – The Betrayal

The Betrayal
1995 (no label)
Dallas, Texas, USA

Joe Espinoza – Vocals, lead guitar
Richard Bruce – Backing vocals, lead guitar
Karel Fiferna – Drums

  1. Dimensions of Reality
  2. Unholy Manifestations
  3. Suicide

If you couldn’t tell from the cover, this is some pretty brutal extreme death metal. It seems like they still might be active today. The songs kind of blend into each other, so I hope I got the song breaks correct. The tape cover is well designed too – don’t see that too often. No bass player is listed int he credits, but you can clearly hear one, so I guess one of the credits was a typo. Overall, if you like death metal, this is a good example of it. There is actually a story that goes along with the tape, and parts of it are written out in between the song lyrics. The whole tape is about Satanic rituals and possession, and how that is growing and taking over the world. Of course, this was the early 90s and the Satanic Panic was having its last gasps of air. Most of the “rise of Satanism” was just a story being sold by individuals trying to scam people. I know this because I met one and he eventually got busted and confessed the whole thing (describing how he pulled it off) before disappearing back to Dallas. I have heard the story told in this tape a few different ways with some details changed, but it is always about the brother who is a Satan worshipper and the sister that is praying for him, she has a dream from God about him, then he sacrifices someone, has a creepy dream about Satan, and ends up committing suicide. Obviously there are people that do follow Satan, but they are few and far between. More often, the ones you see at churches talking about their “deliverance from Satanism” are selling a story, sadly. Also it is important to note that in the mid-90s, a few people were sent to jail after being accused of Satanic Ritual Abuse, but it turned out they were innocent. Their kids had been part of a con – convinced they had been a SRA victim when they really weren’t. Horrible. Some of them are still in jail.

DSD – Memorial Phlebitis

Memorial Phlebitis
1990? (no label)
Houston, Texas, USA

Oatmeal – vocals and/or instruments(?)
Ash Henson – vocals and/or instruments(?)

  1. Wisdom Famine
  2. Dirge
  3. Heavy Metal Rules
  4. Romans NIV
  5. Annihilation Mutilation
  6. Revelation NIV
  7. 12,000
  8. The Christmas Song
  9. The Cat’s Meow
  10. Directions To Nowhere
  11. Memorial Phlebitis
  12. Explorations Into African Culture

This collection of songs is a grind/death where all songs are 30-50 seconds long. This is another project from Oatmeal (Red Ink/Tone Deaf/The Bumpus Hounds), and like the others this one was tacked on to the same Tone Deaf tape. This was more of a full project than the other songs on the tape. This also had some commentary along with the music. The title of the tape and “half the lyrics” are inspired by the Simpsons TV show. Matt Hallen of Red Ink wrote the lyrics to “The Cat’s Meow.” “Directions to Nowhere” is just actual directions to a concert read over music. “Memorial Phlebitis” is the imaginary disease that Bart Simpson claimed to have to get out of a test at school. Not bad if you are into this type of music. The date of 1990 is assumed because it was on a Tone Deaf tape from 1990, but could be incorrect.

Missing Information: the actual release date, who played what, cover art

Gramatical Enfurbulence – Nausea Hell

Gramatical Enfurbulence
Nausea Hell
1990 (no label)
Houston, Texas, USA

Oatmeal – vocals and instruments(?)

  1. Nausea Hell

Even though this is one song, there is a bunch of commentary around it that sets it up as a separate project (although a joke project). This is fast and furious death metal music, with mostly growled vocals (a few shouts) and down-tuned guitars. The man behind this is Oatmeal (of Red Ink / Tone Deaf / The Bumpus Hounds fame). This song and commentary were placed on the end of a Tone Deaf cassette as bonus tracks along with some solo Oatmeal songs, DSD, The Circumsized, and other bands. The band name doesn’t mean anything – it was apparently just given a name to fit in with other grind/death bands out there. Oatmeal says that Vic his roommate wrote the lyrics, but he recorded the music and vocals. The lyrics are apparently a joke about a bulimic person that vomits too much – not really the best thing to joke about. The date of 1990 is assumed because it was on a Tone Deaf tape from 1990, but could be incorrect.

Missing Information: the actual release date, did Oatmeal play everything