The emergence of the Norwegian Black Metal movement is often regarded as a sudden paradigmatic shift in sound and aesthetics. But it didn’t take place in a vacuum; many of the key players in the scene were already involved in underground metal. So it was for the founding members of Enslaved (Grutle Kjellson and Ivar Bjørnson) and Theatre of Tragedy (Hein Frode Hansen), all of whom initially played in a short-lived but impressive Death Metal band called Phobia. The “Slaughterhouse” to which the title of this collection refers is Gamle Slaktehuset, or “old slaughterhouse,” a community youth center in the small town of Haugesund that served as an incubation center for numerous adolescent bands in the region. Equipped with multiple rehearsal rooms, a studio, a café, and a performance space, Slaktehuset offered everything a fledgling band needed. Ranging in ages from 12-18, the members of Phobia coalesced around Slaktehuset, where they wrote and rehearsed original material and eventually recorded their demos, “The Last Settlement of Ragnarok” and “Feverish Convulsions,” both of which were released in 1991. (The first Enslaved and Immortal demos were also recorded at Slaktehuset later that same year.)
Musically, Phobia calls to mind Autopsy, with a morose, doom-laden edge reminiscent of early Paradise Lost.
This compilation collects—for the first time—Phobia’s two demos, along with three previously unreleased tracks.