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.

Soterios – Demo

1996 (no label)
North Carolina, USA


Side 1:

  1. Apocalyptic Season
  2. Depart
  3. Cry of the Martyrs

Side 2:

  1. Sentenced Acquittal
  2. Walk
  3. Hate Hate

The intro to this demo reminds you of how many people were really convinced that the rapture was going to happen any day now… over 20 years ago. This demo is a mixture of death, thrash, hardcore, and maybe even a touch of nu-metal. At one time is was announced they would release an album for Morphine Records, but I don’t think that happened. Also not sure if this is the same band that released The Blinding Pain of Unspoken Words on Clenched Fist Records in 2001 – but it seems to be in the same stylistic field as the label, so I am assuming it is.

Missing Information: Who played on this?

Devout – Martyrdom

1996 (no label)
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Kim Carter – Guitars, backing vocals
Shane Kennerley – Bass guitar, lead vocals

Chris – Drums
Rob Harper – Bass and vocals on “Judgement Distorted” and “Scolded in Evil”
James Dixon – Vocals on the first verse of “Martyrdom”

Side 1:

  1. Martyrdom
  2. From the Crypt

Side 2:

  1. Judgement Distorted
  2. Scolded in Evil

Don’t let the spoken word intro to the first song fool you – this is brutal death/doom metal. Of course, that is pretty obvious from the front cover. Also, don’t let the upside down cross on the front cover fool you as well – it is a reference to the martyrdom of Peter, who was crucified upside down. Apparently there was some controversy about that back in the day. They were also looking for a drummer when this was recorded – they thank someone named Chris for playing drums here, but don’t give a last name. It seems they did not release anything else until 2006’s Dissention.

Antestor – Martyrium

1997 Morphine Records
Jessheim, Norway

Martyr – Vocals
Pilgrim – Guitars
Vemod – Guitars
Gard – Bass
Armoth – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Spiritual Disease
  2. Materalistic Lie
  3. Depressed
  4. Searching
  5. Inmost Fear

Side 2:

  1. Under the Sun
  2. Thoughts
  3. Martyrium
  4. Mercy Lord

So Antestor is pretty much a legend in the extreme/death/etc underground. But for those that are not familiar with the story of this album, let me fill in a few details. It was actually recorded in 1994, but not released until 2000. This tape from 1997 is considered a “bootleg” version as there were only 50 or so made. It seems like the label saw them as “pre-release,” though. Their sound is kind of a mixture of death and doom metal. They are still going to this day. Before this they had a demo called Despair in 1993, and before that they were known as Crush Evil. Some of the songs in the middle of this tape are in a different order than their later official release, but otherwise they are the same versions.

Vital Decision – Vital Decision

Vital Decision
Vital Decision
1998 (no label)
Jönköping, Sweden

Simon Rosén – Guitar, black vocals
Johan Ylenstrand – Guitar, death vocals
Daniel Hermansson – Bass, synth, guitar on “Preludium”
David Johansson – Drums

Fredrik – Bass on “Calling Your Name”

  1. Preludium
  2. The Dead Will Leave Their Graves
  3. Live Forever
  4. Persecution Until the Day of Victory
  5. Calling Your Name

Highly polished teen pop from Sweden! Just kidding. This is obviously extreme metal – mixing some black metal with a lot of death metal. Something in the water in the northern end of Europe must be infecting a lot of people with the extreme metal bug. I have been to Sweden, but I unfortunately did not catch it. I’m not an expert on this style of music, but I like it when it is done well, and I enjoyed this tape. It seems there are some better riffs here than you typically find in death metal. Johan and Simon were also in Crimson Moonlight at this time.

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.