If you have read Daniel Ekeroth's outstanding book "Swedish Death Metal", then you know that NIRVANA 2002 was given high praise by the author as one of the very first bands — along with the likes of NIHILIST — that dove head first into the creation of the now renowned sound. That high praise is anything but mere hyperbole fueled by a combination of nostalgia and bias toward Ekeroth's countrymen. NIRVANA 2002 — you can probably figure out why the "2002" was added — was the real deal, but unfortunately never made it past the demo stage. Fortunately for you, oh lover of all things Swedish and deadly, Relapse has packed damn never everything ever set to tape by the band on "Recordings 89-91".
The prize of this treasure chest of Sunlight-style buzz bombs, captured during a time when the essence of raw punk bled into death the Swedish way, is the "Disembodied Spirits" demo, captured here as a 2009 remix, which is surprisingly good. The original mixes of "Slumber", "Zombiefication", and "The Awakening of…" are included as bonus tracks, both mixes containing AUTOPSY and MASTER influences, as pointed out by Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES, GROTESQUE, SKITSYSTEM, DISFEAR, etc.) in the extensive liner notes, which also include a detailed history from NIRVANA 2002 vocalist/guitarist (and assembler of this compilation) Orvar Säfström. Then again, "Further Beyond" and "Snake" from "Promo 91" aren't exactly a disappointment. Even the rehearsal recordings included are entertaining, despite the expected lo-fi recordings, and drip with the energy of a trio of youngsters determined to make their brand of metal as ugly and evil as possible. The live recording of "Mourning" from a 2007 reunion gig at Kafé 44 is a blitzkrieg of rumble 'n buzz as well.
"Recordings 89-91" is well worth the purchase price for not only fans of the style, but also those interested in delving deeper into the history of Swedish death metal, which is helped immensely by the commentary in the aforementioned liner notes. A very well put together package.