Being a woman with a niche interest in one of the most traditionally male-dominated sub-genres of metal is an interesting experience.

For one, I am frequently presumed to be a man when purchasing, selling or trading music online, often eliciting a “Thanks bro!” from whoever is on the other end of the transaction. Furthermore, I have had my knowledge and credibility challenged in some circumstances and even been told that I should not feel “special” for being a girl with a penchant for old school death metal, from the same people who complain about participation trophies and Millennials putting avocados on toast.

Nevertheless, I have mostly been supported in my arguably obsessive desire to collect and chronicle the history of one geographical region in particular: Sweden. For me, there is simply nothing that compares to the intensity, brutality and atmosphere of old school Swedish death metal.

The genre was defined in the late 80s by the “buzzsaw” guitar tone attributed predominantly to the HM-2 Boss pedal and pioneered by bands like Nihilist. This sound was popular in cities such as Stockholm while in others like Gothenburg, a different, more melodic style began to emerge. Many of the bands became successful, appeared on programs like MTV’s Headbangers Ball, and toured all over the world.

For this playlist, I have compiled my personal favorites from both styles as a sort of crash course in Swedish death metal. I have also chosen them on a lyrical basis as many of the bands were inspired by the likes of Lovecraft and other science fiction and horror.

Be sure to take a look at the excellent cover art by artists like Dan Seagrave and Kristian Wåhlin as well for a full dödsmetall experience!

About Author

Johanna Ohlin is an Ethnolinguistics student, writer, and connoisseur of death metal and horror. She lives in New York with her three cats and is hoping to travel abroad in the future.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: