Carnage - Dark Recollections (1990)Release ID: 3729

Carnage - Dark Recollections (1990) Cover
Sonny Sonny / June 22, 2022 / Comments 2 / 1

OK, surprise, surprise Carnage are another death metal band whose existence I was completely oblivious to. It appears these Swedes had quite a short run, the band being formed by several members of Dismember who were joined by Michael Amott, future Arch Enemy mainman, originally playing grindcore. By the time of the release of their sole full-length, Dark Recollections, in March of 1990, they had lost their grindcore beginnings and produced an album of pretty lethal, out-and-out death metal. Now I have insufficient knowledge of the minutiae of death metal as to the differences between, say, the Floridian scene and the burgeoning Swedish scene (if someone could enlighten me then please do), but I can only assume this played a significant part in the latter (along with Entombed's imminent Left Hand Path debut album).

I love the guitar tone here, it's down and dirty enough but still has plenty of bite and the bass fortifies the sound as it seems to be prominently placed in the mix. Fred Estby's drum work, whilst being quite straightforward, is exceedingly effective and vocalist Matti Kärki has a great line in earnest bellowing. I have seen a number of complaints that this is merely generic death metal. Well, I disagree. There are some really nice riffs here and the lead work is rough but energetic, but more importantly, how can a death metal album that is one of the early examples, particularly of the Swedish scene, be generic? Surely the later albums these commentators are basing this judgement on are the generic ones.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that I am much better disposed to early death metal than the later, more technical or dissonant stuff that garners so much praise and this is a great example of youthful exuberance (the musicians were all in their teens still) made manifest. Sure it doesn't have the really memorable tracks of an Altars of Madness or any of the other releases from the big noises in the death metal scene of the time, but it does brutalise and batter with a relentless onslaught of dark and violent metal. And there is nothing at all wrong with that.

Ben Ben / March 26, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

Carnage contained Matti Karki (vocalist of Dismember), David Blomqvist (guitarist from Dismember) and Fred Estby (drummer from Dismember), so it's not all that surprising that Carnage sounds an awful lot like Dismember. When you add in the fact that the fourth member of the band was Michael Amott (on bass and guitar) from both Carcass and Arch Enemy infamy and you'd assume this album would be an absolute certainty for classic status. But while it's a decent example of early Swedish death metal, I can't say that Dark Recollections is as entertaining as albums from Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed or Grave, all of which came out around this time.

There are just not enough catchy hooks or crushing sections to get me coming back for more. The production is perfectly adequate, and they nailed the guitar and drum sound, but Dark Recollections just doesn't do enough to make it essential in my opinion. It's a little difficult to pick highlights as not many tracks stand out, but I do enjoy Gentle Exhuming (you gotta love that title), Blasphemies of the Flesh and the title track. Plus, the cover artwork is cool (by Dan Seagrave of course!!!).

Daniel Daniel / November 23, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I was introduced to the sole full-length from Swedish death metal legends Carnage through late-night underground metal radio programs in the very early 1990's & quite enjoyed it without ever coming close to reaching the levels of adoration that many extreme metal fans seem to for it. But then I can say the same for Entombed's "Left Hand Path", Dismember's "Like An Ever Flowing Stream" & many of the other major landmarks in the Swedish death metal story because that particular sound doesn't appeal to me as much as the cleaner & more sophisticated US model. "Dark Recollections" is a pretty consistent record from four musicians that have all gone on to have long-term music careers in their own right but I can't say that there's anything here that I regard as being particularly classic. "Malignant Epitaph" has always been the one track that I struggle with & my favourite moments come at the extreme ends of the tracklisting through the opening title track & the doomy outro piece which highlights a sound that I would have liked to hear a little more of to be honest. The musicianship is fairly primitive but Carnage certainly hit on the classic Swedish HM-2 guitar tone & unsurprisingly sound a hell of a lot like Dismember. It's worth remembering that "Like An Ever Flowing Stream" hadn't seen the light of day as yet though so that can be forgiven, especially considering the presence of three of their members in the Carnage lineup. If you're a diehard fan of bands like Entombed & Grave then you'll no doubt love "Dark Recollections" too & it's somewhat of a feather in Carnage's caps that I consider it to be just as good as Entombed's 1990 classic "Left Hand Path". It's just that I don't return to either of them all that often. 


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 7 | Reviews: 3


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 7 | Reviews: 3


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 5


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 3

Dark Recollections
The Horde
Death Metal

Death Metal (conventional)

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Carnage chronology

Dark Recollections (1990)