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Crawling In Vomits (1988)
 

Treblinka was a Swedish Black Metal band that formed in 1987. The members took the names of Lucifer Hellslaughter (vocals and guitar), Emetic (guitar), Juck the Ripper (bass) and Auschwitzer (drums). These four entered Sunlight Studio, in November 1988, to record their first demo, Crawling In Vomits. What Treblinka created was something interesting and unique; worthy of setting them apart from various other underground bands.

The demo begins with "Crawling In Vomits". One might expect an atrocious sound from a demo recorded in 1988, but the sound is remarkably clear. There exists a noticeable low end that adds a bit of depth to the songs, rather than consisting of pure treble. The opening riff is slow and somber, imbuing the listener with a sense of doom. In no time, the pace picks up and the sound is dominated by the tremolo riffs and evil vocals. Hellslaughter had a darker approach than many of his Swedish peers. Around the midway point, the tempo slows down a bit, going into some old school riffs that wouldn't be out of place on a NWOBHM release from a decade prior. By the end of the song, it returns to the same melody that was present at the start. All in all, this is a very memorable and well-executed track.

Next up is "Earwings In Your Veins". I don't know what an 'earwing' is, but an earwig is a type of insect. Perhaps this is what Emetic was referring to when he wrote the lyrics. At any rate, this one commences with another NWOBHM-styled riff. Even early on, Treblinka displayed a sense of melody that many other bands lacked. After a minute or so, the speed increases to a more typical Black Metal pace. The hellish vocals, the tremolo riffs and the primitive drums all come together in a very suitable manner. More old melodies bleed in, making the song quite memorable.

"Hail To Cruelty" lurks in the shadowy depths, carried forward by mid-paced riffs that convey a feeling of doom. After this dismal introduction, the song speeds up. Hellslaughter utilizes a little more variation with the vocals, emitting several higher-pitched screams, here and there. Halfway through, things change as a mid-paced thrash riff flows underneath a couple chaotic lead solos.

The demo approaches the end with "Cadaverous Odour". This one opens with a fairly catchy thrash riff. After a brief intro, a wicked tremolo melody is joined by the hellish vocals to create an atmosphere of murky funeral mist, hovering over old and forgotten graves. Near the middle of the song, a mid-paced thrash riff serves as an interlude before the tremolo riff returns from the blackened sky. Another thrash riff carries the song to its conclusion. This is then followed by the sounds of someone vomiting. It is actually pretty sickening to hear.

Crawling In Vomits is essential for any fan of Treblinka / early Tiamat and is one of the better demos to come out of Sweden, around this time. This is highly recommended.
 
(14 May 2009)

 
 

Treblinka's second demo, The Sign of the Pentagram, was released in March 1989. This recording was another important step for the evolution of this band and showed them getting closer to the sound that they would possess on Sumerian Cry, under the name Tiamat. At a time when Black Metal was not so popular, as even Bathory was moving into uncharted territory, this Swedish band was keeping the black flame of burning through the unholy night.

The material on The Sign of the Pentagram demonstrates how much Treblinka had developed since Crawling in Vomits, and the atmosphere is even darker than on that recording. The Black Sabbath influence seems to have been better worked into their own sound, which helps the music sound a little more threatening. Songs like "Nocturnal Funeral" and "Mould in Hell" still retain similar sections, yet the songwriting is such that it is worked in a lot better. While the tracks consist of a variety of tempos, there seems to be more fast-paced riffs than on the previous demo, which is where the band really makes their mark. The fast riffs, hellish guitar solos and Hellslaughter's ghoulish vocal delivery all come together to create an atmosphere suitable for nocturnal rituals. The only complaint here is the weird 'blues-influenced section, in the middle of "Evilized". This was shaping up to be the best song on the demo, yet this absolutely kills the dark vibe and leaves the listener wondering what happened to their tape. This is so bothersome that I actually edited this part out of the song, as it is just completely unacceptable. Somehow, this trash managed to remain on the full-length version as well.

The production really helps with the more obscure sound of the material. The bass does not stand out as the dominant instrument, for one. The guitars are thicker and more distorted, enabling them to become more of the primary focus. Unlike the Black Metal that would be spawned in Scandinavia a few years later, there is nothing cold about this. The mix does well to accentuate the sense of doom and the lead solos are really loud and drowning in reverb, which adds to the hellish feeling. Everything sounds more cohesive, rather than the sort of distant feeling that was present on Crawling in Vomits.

The Sign of the Pentagram is not a flawless release, but it was yet another step in the right direction. Along with recordings from Bathory, Mefisto, Obscurity, Morbid and Merciless, Treblinka was proof that the underground in Sweden was doing quite well, through the 1980s. Fans of the aforementioned bands are encouraged to pick this up and give it a listen.
 
(6 Dec. 2011)

 
 

Coming just a few months after The Sign of the Pentagram, Severe Abomination is the band's final release as Treblinka. One might expect this material to sound quite close to the songs presented on Sumerian Cry, but this is actually much harsher. Released in July 1989, this 7" E.P. offers another wicked dose of old school Black Metal. With two demos under their belts, it is interesting to see which songs were chosen to represent this once-unholy cult.

Musically, the title track takes things to a whole new level of viciousness. The guitars seem to possess a sharper sound, cutting through you like a fresh razor. Even Hellslaughter's vocals come across as more venomous and threatening. Both songs exhibit a good deal of variety in tempo, though there are a lot of fast-paced riffs. The lead solos are characterized by a haunting, almost serpentine quality, while the overall onslaught leaves the listener in a weakened state. This is very hideous and pretty far removed from the more melodic Black Metal compositions that would arise a few years later. The production is completely horrid and underground. The primitive sound matches the barbaric musical approach, and everything comes together to create something truly ugly and violent. The sound is much more treble-oriented, rather than the more bass-heavy sound of the demos. It may seem odd that "Earwigs In Your Veins" was the second song chosen to round out this E.P. The title track from Crawling in Vomits would have seemed like a more obvious choice, for example.

It is a shame that this band did not continue on playing Black Metal, as it suited them much more. Unfortunately, many in the Swedish underground were turning toward Death Metal during the late '80s. At any rate, any fan of Treblinka or early Tiamat should seek out Severe Abomination, in whatever manner possible.
 
(27 Jan. 2012)

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