Century Media is one of modern metal’s most respected independent labels, with a roster featuring bands as diverse as Architects, Arch Enemy and Crowbar.

But its roots lie deep in the early 90s death metal underground  – and by releasing work by the likes of Grave, Asphyx, Tiamat and Unleashed, the German outfit helped to spearhead the burgeoning scene, nurturing some of its most important acts at a crucial time.

This autumn, Century Media is paying homage to its past by giving fans the chance to buy more than 60 classic death metal albums at mid or budget price in its ‘Death Certificate’ campaign, which also features some very special releases indeed. 

Vinyl junkies, for instance, can get their fix via 3LP collections from proto-deathsters Possessed and pre-Celtic Frost troupe Hellhammer, and fans can gorge on new releases too, with Grave’s latest opus, Endless Procession of Souls, Evocation’s Illusions Of Grandeur and Grand Supreme Blood Court’s Bow Down Before The Blood Court, also part of the campaign.

Among the many nuggets on offer is The Everdawn’s Poems – Burn The Past (RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10). Released this month, it’s a nice little package combing the Swedes’ first (and only) full length, 1997’s Poems… and their debut EP, 1996’s Opera Of The Damned (also available separately as a seven inch).

The original version of Poems… , which suffered from a weak sound, has been beefed up considerably by some careful remastering and remixing to create this release – which features rerecorded vocals to boot!

The collection is a superb example of the Swedish melodic death metal sound, for which bands like At The Gates are still worshipped… and you’d put such ripping, quick fire tracks as Needlework and Territory Loss up against anything the Gothenburg legends created in their heyday. It’s a shame, then, that The Everdawn’s fire didn’t burn brighter, as the quartet were masters of their art.

Also out this month is Arise From Blackness, a demo collection from Brazilian DM legends Krisiun (RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10). Century Media won the rights to release this raw, early material, which has been in much demand – and we’re glad it did. Marking the band’s 20th anniversary, Arise From Blackness is death metal straight from the heart, all growling vocals, insane, chaotic solos and downtuned, blasting riffery.

Featuring tracks culled from The Curse Of The Evil One split LP and near-impossible to find Unmerciful Order LP, the collection takes DM fans back to a time of garage production values and the pure, unbridled excitement of a genre still making its mark in the early 90s.

There’s more to come in November too, including Dark Tranquility’s The Mind’s I, plus Dark Endless, the 1992 debut from Swedish black metal supremos Marduk… if only more labels were this generous!

Richard Holmes

For more details on the campaign, check out www.death-certificate.net