Best known for the distinctive blend of black metal that emerged from its lands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Greece is widely and appropriately recognized as one of the most important historical locations in the evolution of some of the darkest and most obscure music ever created. The bands which are most often credited with the development of this Hellenic metal strain are those such as the great Rotting Christ, Varathron, and Necromantia. Less commonly discussed in the same breath, but equally deserving, is Death Courier, who shared the same stage in terms of both period and geography with the three aforementioned bands. In fact, whereas the other three released their first albums in 1993, Death Courier’s debut album, “Demise,” actually predated them all by a year. Stylistically speaking, the vocal delivery as well as the rhythmically-oriented riffing, as characterized by generous implementation of palm muting, all serve to underscore the connection shared among these bands. However, although they were conceived from the ancient Greek gods and thusly born into the same lineage, Death Courier’s sound exhibits some notable differences which lead them to be categorized somewhat differently than their Hellenic black metal kin. Specifically, Death Courier could justifiably be more appropriately categorized as a death/thrash band, as opposed to a pure black metal band. Further confirming the band’s differing approach, their lyrics explore themes as divergent from black metal norms as the killing of cops (i.e., the original “Copkiller”) and biochemical warfare, as in the song “Infected.”
Nuclear War Now! and Weird Face Productions first conspired to draw much-deserved attention to Death Courier’s landmark debut album, “Demise,” by reissuing it in 2014 as a limited 12” picture disc in commemoration of the band’s appearance at that year’s Nuclear War Now! Festival Volume IV. Now the same two partners resume that effort by offering the album on a standard vinyl format in less limited numbers. Furthermore, and as a separate release, the band’s foreboding 1989 “Deny Your Destiny” demo and 1990 “Necrorgasm” EP have been compiled on a single LP to document the band’s early trajectory, which eventually led to the release of “Demise.” These two prior recordings include germinal versions of several songs from the first full-length, along with others such as “Necrorgasm,” “Mass Impalement,” and “Death Courier,” which were not included on “Demise.” This “EP and Demo” LP also includes four live tracks taken from the 1990 Molon Lave Festival and a 1991 gig at the Villa Amalias Squat in Athens. Finally, the die-hard 3LP set also offered includes all aforementioned recordings, along with a full LP of additional live tracks culled from the band’s personal archive. This unearthing and reanimation of Death Courier’s earliest scourging imprints erases a longstanding void in the availability of the most essential recordings from one of the most important pillars in the Greek black/death metal canon.
- C. Conrad
released August 15, 2016
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