Buried to Rise: 1990-1991

As most of you know, I’m a sucker for old school, Stockholm-styled Swedish death metal. And with the recent resurgence of the genre, I’ve very much enjoyed nostalgic acts like Axis Powers, Interment, Entrails, Fatalist, Brutally Deceased, Morbider and Evocation bringing back the glory. Not forgetting the slew of re-issues of previously undiscovered, obscure or hard to find gems that never quite made it to Entombed, Dismember and Grave levels of popularity.

For me the re-issue ball got rolling with Relapse’s 2002-reissue of God Macabre’s The Winterlong, followed by Necroharmonic’s re–release of Gorement’s discography and the more recent re-issues like Nirvana 2002 and the recently announced (long overdue) Uncanny discography from Dark Descent Records. It’s no wonder labels are reaching even deeper and deeper for new old, obscure and underground material. Dark Descent’s latest summoning is a compilation of material from Sweden’s Toxaemia; Buried to Rise: 1990-1991.

Formed in 1989, Toxaemia only released one formal record, the Beyond the Realm EP on Seraphic Decay Records in 1990. The rest of their output was in the form of two demos and Dark Descent has gathered it all in one two disc collection. The first disc sees all of the band’s material remastered by no other than Dan Swano. The second disc has the 18 tracks in their original state, so all of you purists can revel in some truly awful sounding analog tape masturbation.

Let me get this out of the way first. I’m not completely sure why Toxeamia never truly made it or why they broke up, but to be utterly blunt, I’m not sure they would have ever stacked up to their peers, anyway. And not just the popular ones, but the second tier ones that are now getting into the limelight with the reissues. I don’t mean that as a hard slam on the band, it’s just that other than the gritty, familiar, raw Stockholm rumble and buzz with rough vocals and far from tight musicianship, they just weren’t quite ‘there’ as an act. The songwriting, while undeniably Swedish and solid, never truly elevates to the level of anything more than a nice, primal sense of nostalgia. Albeit, it does get chronologically better through the course of the CD. Even if I had heard this in 1989-1991, especially in its original state, I would have probably been mildly impressed but returned promptly to their more famous brethren.

Swano’s re-mastering makes everything sound a bit fuller and clearer, though it’s still clearly lo-fi and demo quality (think the Convulse and Nirvana 2002 demos). Even the EP material, which is the bands most complete and competent collection of songs, is still not up to par with the recordings of that time. Yet, it’s hard for me not to appreciate the likes of “Beyond the Realm”, “Who Dies” and Acquisition” (arguably the band’s best songs) and the brief retro-synths of “World Graveyard”,  “Tragedies Through Centuries” and fierce “Buried to Rot”.  Even so, the majority of the songs don’t seem to have anything that would really grab you and cry ‘classic’ or paint the walls red with genre defining vigor. What you do get is 18 songs of earthy, enjoyable old school Swedish death metal…even though I can barely stand listening to the unmastered, original versions.

That all being said, however, for collectors and  fans of the genre this is still a pretty nice, worthwhile reissue as it displays a lesser known side of classic Swedish death metal in all its unbridled, unpolished nostalgia.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 17th, 2011


  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’ve been enjoying this and I agree it gets better as it goes along. The tracks from the Buried to Rot demo (especially in remastered form) are quite good! Maybe a “fans only” release but I appreciate that Dark Descent went and dug this stuff up.

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