Afflicted biographyAfflicted Lyrics
Michael Van Der Graaf vocals
Jesper Thorsson guitars
Joacim Carlsson guitars
Philip Von Segebaden bass
Yasin Hillborg drums
In the early 90's, the Swedish Death Metal scene was most known for Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, and the multitude of bands who followed this well worn (left hand) path. But overshadowed by this movement were a few bands who had more to offer than a different version of Left Hand Path. One such band was Afflicted, whose debut album Prodigal Sun was released in 1992, portraying a different and interesting approach to Death Metal while not forsaking the aggressiveness and brutality that are the genre's musical foundations.
Although this album was produced by Tomas Skogsberg at the legendary Studio Sunlight, it is far removed from the traditional Swedish Death Metal that dominated the early 90's. Afflicted's song structures are complex and more often than not come acorss as more of a collection of riffs rather than songs. There is no catchy or memorable songs on this album, which is common place for technical, complex Metal, and I don't think that Afllicted intended to create catchy music here anyway. There is a strange psychodelic vibe that runs through this album, which is very noticable in the instrumental title track that opens the album. The band themselves look like hippies from the future in their photo...flower children from another dimension. But don't let that put you off thinking that this some kind of hippie Death Metal, it's just that there are very strange and off the wall ideas being incorporated in these songs which in turn make this a very enjoyable and interesting listen.
While the instrumental work on display here is top notch in quality, the vocals of Joakim Broms is a different story. Most of his vocals are in the Death Metal vein, yet he does not come across very convincing at all, sometimes taking away from the rest of the band's musical merits. His attempts at clean singing, which thankfully only appear in a couple of songs, are a bit ridiculous and come off sounding rather silly. He sounds like a madman who has been thrown in a secluded room left to cope with his own insanity all alone. Having said that, rest assured that his vocal approach does not take away from the overall enjoyment of the album, and after a few listens you get used to it and eventually tune them out. The music the rest of the band is creating behind him is way too adventurous and enjoyable to not be heard, so don't let this one aspect keep you from checking this out if you like complex, technical Metal.
On Prodigal Sun, Afflicted came out with an album that offered an alternative to those who had become tired of the endless Entombed and Morbid Angel clones who flooded the scene at the time. Though it must be said, even though Afflicted were very different than what was going on in Sweden at this time, Prodigal Sun is an album that could have only been made by a band from Sweden...I don't know if that makes any sense...but it just has that Swedish spirit. This is definetly an album for those who enjoy the sounds of Edge Of Sanity, Atrocity, Disharmonic Orchestra or any other band that denies the trends and follows its own unique vision. At the time of its release, Prodigal Sun had more to offer in terms of fresh ideas and musical innovation than more than 90% of what made up the Death Metal scene. I was very interested in what the band were going to come up with next, but unfortunately they would not live up to expectations or their own potential, releasing one other album in 1995 called Dawn Of Glory which came nowhere near Prodigal Sun, with the band calling it quite soon after. Another band who was a one album wonder...who knows how far they could have took their sound had they stuck to their original musical vision....the mind boggles...