Released: 2010, Dark Descent Recordings
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
There was a point back in the early ‘90’s where the terms “death metal” and “Swedish” were almost interchangeable. There was a ton of great music coming out of the scene; a lot of which would go on to inspire generations (such as Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed and Edge of Sanity while others would only receive any kind of recognition through posthumous word of mouth. Uncanny was one such act that built up some underground buzz with a spattering of demos and one full length, before becoming yet another dusty footnote in the annals of death metal history. Maybe most notable for featuring future Katatonia guitarist Fredrik Norrman, Uncanny didn’t seem to get its due back in the day, but Dark Descent Recordings is hoping to change that with the release of MCMXCI - MCMXCIV, a complete 3-CD retrospective of the band’s recorded work.
Plainly said – this is a collection for the old school and the old school at heart. Considering the timeframe of the band’s existence, it’s no surprise that Uncanny deliver a pretty by-the-books brand of early ’90s Swedish death metal – from the classic Entombed/Dismember guitar tones, the hints of melody, the low gut vocals, and topical subject matter ranging from death, horror, death, injustice, and uh, death. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all, but it is what it is. There were other bands that replicated that formula with much better results, and newer finds might find the sound downright dated, but Uncanny was a solid outfit for what it was.
Regardless, tunes like “Tales from the Tomb,” “Soul Incest,” and “The Final Conflict” stand high alongside the best of their genre. Uncanny’s only full length studio effort, SPLENIUM FOR NYKTOPHOBIA account for CD 1, while the band’s two demos TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNCANNY and NYKTALGIA make up CD2, with CD3 being the Uncanny portion of a split release with Ancient Rites. Some of the demo material is a bit rough sounding and several of the tracks are repeated in different incarnations across the collection, but for a complete picture of what the band was about, you really can’t ask for anything more.
Given the niche appeal of such a release, determining the intended audience for MCMXCI - MCMXCIV is hard to peg. But if you consider yourself a death metal aficionado or if you consider anything released past ’96 to be nu-metal crap, you just might find the appeal of Uncanny. MCMXCI - MCMXCIV is available now in 3-CD format through Dark Descent, and a 3 LP vinyl box set through The Crypt.