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Sororicide - The Entity

Sororicide was Iceland's first death metal band, or at least the first such band from that country to put out a full-length. They formed in 1989 and recorded an album called The Entity two years later. This album was limited to 1000 copies. For one reason or another, they broke up in 1995, leaving any potential plans for a follow-up unfinished. Five years later, they got back together long enough to play at the Reykjavik Music Festival. It was there that they sold the remaining copies of The Entity. For the longest time, no one outside of Iceland knew of Sororicide's existence. That all changed when copies of The Entity sold for ridiculous prices on eBay. One copy even managed to fetch $2,000, making it the most expensive death metal album ever sold. But is it actually worth that much? I'd say yes.

The album was recorded at Studio Syrland. This studio has worked with the likes of Bjork and Sigur Ros. The production was led by Hilmar Hilmarsson. He is mainly known for his work with non-metal acts, but he did a pretty fine job here. The instruments can be heard clearly but are still heavy and possess a hazy distortion that makes for an uncanny experience. Speaking of which, the album's strongest element is its atmosphere. Whereas most other death metal bands were striving to be more brutal than the rest, Sororicide focused on creating music that sounds like it came from a nightmare. Everything about it induces dread and terror, as if there's a supernatural creature lurking in the darkness waiting to strike. There are fast-paced moments, but they're more akin to the chase scenes from horror movies. For the most part, the pace is slow and creeping.

The drums are played by Karl Guðmundsson. His mid-paced rhythms are packed full of thumping double bass. The cymbal work during these parts conjures up images of chains jangling in dark dungeons. The snare comes through strong and clear and sounds like the cracking of whips. There are moments when the patterns get more complex, and there are a few nice fills thrown in for good measure. The blast beats are simple, but still enjoyable. Gísli Sigmundsson is the bassist. His performance mostly follows the guitars, but there are songs like "Vivisection" and "Saturated" where his low-pitched chords are brought to prominence. Bogi Reynisson is the vocalist. His growls are hoarse and sound similar to early death metal vocalists such as Kam Lee. They are exquisitely sickening and perfectly fit the album's creepy vibe.

The guitars are played by Guðjón Óttarsson and Fróði Finnsson. Many death metal guitarists during that time wanted to shock and impress with fast and frantic displays, but these two offer up mostly mid-paced riffs that send a chill down the listener's spine. Those ominous clean chords that start off the album set the tone for the rest of the performance. The many slow-paced chords they churn out sound like a primitive form of doom-death. These are sometimes paired with tremolo riffs that sound more frightening than even some black metal bands that were around during the early-1990s. Many of their mid-paced palm-muted riffs contain hints of Morbid Angel and Obituary influence, but they're twisted and shaped in a way that is wholly unique. They also play plenty of amazing solos. They are often slow-paced and infused with brilliant melodies, but there are moments when they get faster and more elaborate. My favorite is the sinister screeching one on the track "Sororicide".

I first listened to this album back in the late-2000s, and I have loved it ever since. Due to Iceland's relative isolation from the rest of the metal scene back in the early-1990s, Sororicide was free to go off in unorthodox directions, and it paid off for them in the end. The Entity stands out from most of what was done in those days. Their music is slow, creeping, and conjures up an otherworldly atmosphere. Physical copies can still be found on eBay, but they're really expensive, so make sure you have the money for it. Or you can just pirate it like I did. I don't care.