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Grey Misery
(Xtreem Music)

The Finnish Death Metal underground of the early 90s gave birth to quite a lot of very promising acts... ABHORRENCE, FUNEBRE, XYSMA, AMORPHIS, CONVULSE, DEMIGOD, DISGRACE... are all wellknown names that underground people still remember these days. But unfortunately all of them either split up at a very early stage, changed their style quite drastically or both. Turku based fourpiece DISGRACE musically progressed (?) into a rather psychedelic, yet dirty rockin' direction, which never really appealed to me, so that I lost sight with them again rather quickly. But luckily there's still people out there today (like Spain's Xtreem Music) that remember the band's very brutal period so that we are all rewarded with a very cool compilation of DISGRACE's most impressive material now. As the title already reveals this is basically a re-issue of their classic 1992 debut album "Grey Misery", which used to come out back in those days (after a massive delay!) on a totally small and inexperienced French underground label by the name of Modern Primitive (a subdivsion of Intellectual Convulsion Records)... It got distributed and promoted very badly and packaged in an even more disgusting sleeve (a pink logo and titles aren't necessarily Death Metal!). But musically the ten tracks had a lot to offer. The sound was absolutely perfect (produced by a back then still very unknown guy named Timo Tolkki) - very raw and brutal, yet clear enough to reflect the band's big potentional! Well, ok - just like many other countries, also Finland was heavily inspired by the early CARCASS stuff and Finland's number one answer to UK's finest definitely was DISGRACE! In that respect, the shredding, lowtuned guitars, totally deep grunted vocals and all of the grinding elements obviously weren't original at all, but on the other hand still very cool to listen to. Same could already be said about two of their previous releases, which were luckily added as a bonus to this disc. The band's Seraphic Decay Records four-song 7" from 1991 and the "Into The Labyrinths Of Depression" demo from 1990 (which features original versions of four of the album cuts) are musically already in the same vein, maybe spiced a little bit more with some additional Swedish Death Metal overtones and therefore they reflect DISGRACE's musical evolution pretty good. Too bad that the packaging of this re-issue is also very simple (no real booklet, just a folded cover with only the covers of the releases and some liner notes by Luxi Lahtinen are included), but at least this classic album is officially available again - and in the end that's what matters the most, doesn't it?!

Frank Stöver

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