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Premature Autopsy (1989)

Nihilist was formed in 1987, under the short-lived name Brainwarp. It was the brainchild of drummer Nicke Andersson, who was joined by Alex Hellid on guitars and Leif Cuzner on bass and vocals. After being influenced by hardcore and so on, Nihilist were soon introduced to the likes of Death and Kreator and the mixture of influences would soon breed something unique. For their earliest rehearsals and shows, they mixed a repertoire of cover songs and originals. Nihilist found two fortuitous additions when they went into the studio in March of 1988 to record their first demo tape. Mutual friend Mattias "Buffla" Boström had rehearsed a few times as a singer with the other three. As they were eager to find a standalone vocalist, but for the recording session the band drafted in session vocalist Lars-Göran Petrov, who was then the drummer for cult black/death metal band Morbid. Also joining as a session musician was L.G.'s band mate in Morbid, Ulf "Uffe" Cederlund on second guitar. It was these five members that the three-song Premature Autopsy was recorded.

The demo begins with "Sentenced To Death". This begins with lethal thrash riffs, before speeding up to the typical death metal pace. The sound isn't the greatest, but it's clear enough for the listener to get a good sense of what is going on. The style here hints at what would come, especially with the brief tremolo section, played with the open power chords. Petrov's vocals are higher-pitched than what would be heard on Left Hand Path, reminiscent of Mille Petrozza. Uffe's guitar playing does a lot to salvage this, as well. Nihilist was quite fortunate to borrow these two from Morbid, as they were obviously more experienced than the full-time members.

"Supposed To Rot" follows a similar pattern as the first, starting out with a nice thrash riff before the pace picks up. This is the shortest song on here, but it is quite memorable. For a song that lasts less than two minutes, there are a lot of tempo changes. One can also detect a hint of the rock sound that the band would move toward, later in their career, in the first riffs of the song.

It all ends with "Carnal Leftovers". This one opens with some interesting riffs, almost reminding me of Dark Angel, without the lethality. There seems to be an odd reverb on the vocals, but it still works well enough. The timing is off, for a few seconds, later in the song. Still, they manage to recover rather quickly.

Premature Autopsy is a fairly adequate demo, now hailed as a significant piece of death metal history. It is light years behind earlier demos from Morbid and Mefisto, but it was a good start for a band that would go on to cement its legacy as one of the most influential in the Swedish death metal scene.
(17 May 2009)

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