MIASMAL "Miasmal"

FERAL "Dragged Before the Altar"

By Dr. Abner Mality

When it comes to the murky sounds of oldschool Swedish death metal, your pal the Doctor is proud to consider himself not just an expert but a keeper of the flame. This esoteric art is near and dear to me and I know every gnarled twist and turn of this rotten old tree. Therefore, I can detect the indefinable "something" that makes a release truly outstanding instead of just typical.

Feral would seem to have the form and tradition of Swedish death metal down pat, they definitely know their stuff on "Dragged Before the Altar", yet the record as a whole doesn't move me. "Typical" is the word that comes to mind time and again when I listen to this, even though at no point would I accuse Feral of being a poor band. There's just a feeling that I won't be listening to this at all in a couple of months, though I must say the groove of "Howling" is absolutely outstanding. Feral is a band that will satisfy your craving for Swedish death metal if you're absolutely starved, much like Lifeless and Caliber 666, but it will never do more than that.

Once you clap ears on the debut from Miasmal, you'll know this is the REAL feast, not just a fast food happy meal in a bag. Whatever that hard-to-describe "something" is, these guys have it in spades. I think Miasmal just has an all around more morbid feel to their music and an aura of bone-breaking aggression. These guys have learned their lessons well from the masters such as Grave, Dismember, early Entombed and more obscure stuff like Uncanny and Toxaemia. It is pure and unabashedly old school that ticks the right boxes and hits the right notes with ghastly gut-munchers such as "Mesmerized", "Toxic Breed",  and "Apocalypse Legion". Yes, an old ghoul like myself will gnash his fangs in delight upon hearing the dismal murk of Miasmal. Make sure you check out the album's true epic "Chronicles" for a song that will take you back to the best of 1991 in a hurry!

No real choice here for true Swe-death conneisseurs...Miasmal is the best pick by far.