My next album isn't actually a black metal album, but rather a death metal one. I'm including it for one specific reason, though. The vocalist on this demo was one Pelle Ohlin, better known by his stage name, Dead. It's extremely interesting to me that all four of the vocalists that have ever sang in Mayhem had releases in 1987 (Maniac and Messiah on Deathcrush, Attila with the Tormentor demo, and Dead here).

Morbid - December Moon (Demo) (?/?/1987)
A part of the early Swedish death metal scene, Morbid released the December Moon demo the same year Chuck Schuldiner came out with Scream Bloody Gore. While this is earlier than anything by Entombed or Dismember, the five-piece band never actually produced any full albums. After Dead left the band, they recorded another demo with somebody named "John" on vocals, and that was it. It's interesting to note, however, how similar in musical content December Moon is to Kreator and Sodom. It even shares more than a passing resemblence to Bathory, particularly with the rapid legato riffs that Quorthon favoured.

The real difference between this demo and Kreator or Necrodeath is the tone. While the black metal scene was purveying a thin, necro sound, Morbid has a fuzzed out, edgy tone. Riffs are played with precision and clear palm muting, giving the whole thing a much more "we are serious" feeling than bands like Sodom or Bulldozer were projecting. But of course it's Dead's vocals that make this so much different from what Entombed, Dismember, and similar acts would create in a few years time. His rasp here is much the same as the style he would make famous with Mayhem, and the song writing bears his distinct touch. Compare the lyrics of "Winds of Funeral" and "From the Dark" to classics like "Freezing Moon" and "Funeral Fog." The constant themes of the grave, funerals, and cemeteries have a much darker tone to them than the sort of simple blasphemies that Sarcofago or Bulldozer offered.

Final Verdict: Because this falls more in the death metal camp than the black metal one, I'll leave the scoring to others