I must confess that I’ve never heard of Uncanny until a digital promo of “MCMXCI – MCMXCIV” dropped in my mail-box a few months ago. A brief look at the press release tells me that Uncanny was a Swedish death-metal band that existed in the early 90’s and I’m listening not to a new record but a compilation featuring their debut work from 1994 “Splenium For Nyktophobia” and several tracks from their two demos and split releases. A further investigation also tells me that Uncanny was comprised of drummer Ken Englund who later on played with Centinex and Dellamorte among others and a young Fredrik Norrman who until very recently was the guitar player of Katatonia and is currently active in October Tide.
Anyway, Dark Descent Records decided it worth to collect all their works together in one double-record release and to some extent “MCMXCI – MCMXCIV” could be seen as an unheard death-metal relic from the early 90’s. Even tough, Uncanny were quite young when they first recorded these songs, it’s perfectly audible they got their shit together pretty fast, delivering some tightly executed death-metal with the maturity and expertise of a fully grown group.
This stuff is a throwback to the raw and classical sound of Sunlight studios, think of the downtuned-Stockholm-buzz riffs popularized by Nihilist/Entombed and Dismember mixed with a straightforward double bass pummelling and the occasional glimpse of melody. Songs like “Tales from the Tomb”, “Brain Access” and “Soul Incest” marvellously exude that low-end ugliness.
Sporadically, Uncanny reveal that they weren’t afraid to go out the comfort zone and experiment a bit, as they did on the instrumental “Timeless” by using some progressive keyboards that sound akin to Dan Swano’s Moontower project (curiously Swano produced their debut record) and on “Lepra” which shows some industrial influences, kind like Fudge Tunnel crossed with Godflesh.
Overall, this is old school death-metal in the vein of Entombed and Dismember and if you’re a sucker for this type of sound like I am, then “MCMXCI – MCMXCIV” is an essential listen. (7.2/10)

David Alexandre

For fans of: Entombed, Dismember, Autopsy, Edge of Sanity