Released: 2000, Holy Records
If you've been a long time reader of Metal-Rules.com (or if you've delved deep into our reviews archive) you will remember The Ominous 3 Song Cassette entitled Sinister Avocation Demo from 1995. This demo put Malmo, Sweden on the map for me and blew my mind! Well here I am five years later and I'm being blown away again! The wait between demo and CD was quite long. I often wondered if they'd get the CD out but finally they've managed it. Recorded in May, 1999 at studio ABYSS in Sweden and produced by Tommy Tagtgren, The Spectral Manifest is a guideline to pure brutality!
Some things have changed since the demo, the most noticeable being the loss of their lead vocalist and bassist. The bands focus is now much more on blackened death metal, unlike the blast of thrash from their Sinister Avocation demo. I like some death metal, but at heart I've always gotten into thrash a lot more so for me this was somewhat of a letdown. Most of the thrash-isms are gone with the only things resembling thrash being a few rhythms that are Fear Factory / Mesuggah like in their syncopated choppiness. This is apparent on the CD's opening track "A Piece of Humanity." Right away you know this is gonna be BRUTAL! Once the vocals kick in there is no doubt this is Swedish death metal. The second track starts deceptively with clean guitar then it unexpectedly slams in with such force that if you're not prepared for it you will shit yourself...perfectly savage!! This song has hints of black metal in a few places. This is up there in brutality with such bands as Defleshed with a hint of Carcass. "Forever Remains True," my favorite song on the CD, is CD's highlight. This track rules thanks to some very well done female backups by Tinna Karlsdotter on the chorus mixed with some very cool shrieking - definitely one of the more memorable choruses on the CD. The female vocals also pop up later in the song - she's a very talented vocalist, too bad she didn't share lead vocal duties with Anders since it worked so well on that song! The CD closer "Frequent Redemption" is also interesting because of the timing and complex rhythms - a great song to close off this 10-track CD.
The sound quality on this CD is phenomenal. The drums and guitars are the two prominent instruments and what a sound the guitars have! Thick, demonically deep and bone crushing - the type of sound that is unmistakably METAL. Ominous guitarist Soren Sandved is one talented dude, not only is he the primary song writer but he is credited with the album cover artwork and design which is top notch! My complaints about this CD are minor. In my opinion the vocalist should at least try to "sing" a couple of songs rather then be brutal ALL the time. That's just my feeling on it. For sure some death freaks want no part of melodic vocals and only want the guttural throat tearing vocals. I know this band could of been a little more diverse on this CD and incorporated something besides their death metal influences, especially on the vocals! A few more guitar solos would not hurt either!! This is however an impressive CD and one of the few death metal CD's I've heard this year that I'd recommend. Check out the band at http://www.omissa.com