MORBID - Year of the Goat Dbl CD compilation
Genre: Death Metal
Normally I won't review compilations and I review very few live releases but once in a while you have to make an exception. MORBID is one of those exceptions for obvious reasons. There has been a handful of early Swedish Death Metal bands that over the years have been regarded with cult status simply because they only released a demo and then split up or transformed into a new and better band. MORBID would have just been one of those footnotes in history except for the fact that their vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin aka: Dead would move to Norway to become the vocalist for MAYHEM and eventually commit suicide. It's kinda unfortunate that one's creative output is overlooked in lieu of one's demise but that's life and the circumstances involved. The fact of the matter is that MORBID only released one good demo, 1987's December Moon. Other then the four songs from that the only other recorded material with Dead on vocals are poor rehearsal tapes and recordings of live performances. Strangely enough that's pretty much all he had done with MAYHEM before his death. Even so interest in Dead's pre-MAYHEM work has always been strong. Over the years there's been some shoddy unofficial releases but finally here we have a band-sanctioned release of the band's material fitting of a legacy.
Year Of The Goat is an official release put together by Morbid’s bass player Jens Nasstrom in direct cooperation with the other former band members guitarist Uffe Cederlund, drummer L-G Petrov and second guitarist John Kennart. After MORBID dissolved Petrov and Cederlund would go onto form NIHILIST and then ENTOMBED. This double CD, also available as a triple LP package, contains seventeen tracks in all. The first disc consists of the December Moon demo plus some rehearsal tracks. The second disc consists of all live material from three different shows in Sweden from 1987. As far as the December Moon demo goes well I like it because I have a copy of it but most people into early Swedish Death Metal know it's good. Like most of those early demos it's raw as fuck but still conveys a lot of strength as well as aggression. The best tracks out of the four are "My Dark Subconscious" and "Wings Of Funeral". It's on here where you get the feel for Ohlin's unique vocal style. He had a sinister dark rasp which is probably what captured MAYHEM's Euronymous when Ohlin sent him the tape. Personally I think this is his best recorded work considering what material there is from his time in MAYHEM, which is basically the live stuff and some poorly recorded rehearsal tapes. Musically the material is definitely from the darker side of the DM realm. Obviously one must wonder what if the band continued on to put something better recorded out. Then again that would take away from the legacy as well as history.
As far as the rehearsal material there's five cuts total and some repeats from the demo which are just rougher versions. There are some highlights like "Tragic Dream / From The Dark" which doesn't sound far off from what early MAYHEM was doing. Also there's "Deathexecution" which is as close to insane death thrash as they come from back then. Finally there's the live material which I will say is not worthy of tossing your copy of MAYHEM's Live in Leipzig in the trash. It's not bad if you figure they're a local band playing in front of locals all screaming "MORBID!". The live at the Birkagarden in Stockholm from October 23, 1987 is a decent performance. Of course when you listen to it you wish you could've been there. Dead was doing his in between song banter long before Live in Leipzig. This is a complete show set as well. The rest of the live tracks are just a handful of tracks from two different shows recorded at the Ultrahuset in Stockholm. All in all this is a great package for those out there who appreciate this era of Death Metal. The cover artwork design and entire layout was done by none other than Erik Danielsson of WATAIN. Most people don't know he's a damm good art designer. Also the package contains a complete MORBID historical overview written by Daniel Ekeroth, author of the must have Swedish Death Metal book as well as compiler of the Swedish Death Metal three CD set.