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Ceremonial Oath
The Book Of Truth (re-issue)
4/16/2013
Digi, Physical, Vinyl


Oscar Dronjak
(vocals, guitar)
Anders Iwers
(guitar)
Jesper Strömblad
(bass)
Markus Nordberg
(drums)


BiographyDiscographyGallery
In 1989, Anders Iwers joined guitarist Oscar Dronjak, bassist Marcus Fredriksson and drummer Ulf Assarsson in a straight heavy metal band called Striker. Experiencing a revolution towards harder and more extreme music, the band soon changed its name to Desecrator and released its first demo tape, Wake The Dead (1990). Taking its main inspiration from Slayer, Metallica, Venom and the likes, the demo appropriately reflects the type of music as well as the proverbially infant stadium the band members found themselves in as musicians. Marcus was replaced by Peter Ekberg for the next studio effort, the demo Black Sermons (1990), recorded by Tomas Skogsberg in the popular Sunlight Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. This release show a huge progress both in musicianship and understanding of the evolving death metal genre, as well as a definite lyrical turn towards the satanic and occult. The influences had shifted towards bands like Possessed, Death, Morbid Angel and Infernal Majesty, while keeping the tradition of Venom and Slayer and maintaining an important relationship with heavy metal giants like Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest.

Markus Nordberg took over the drumming responsibilities directly following the recording of Black Sermons, and four months later Jesper Strömblad completed what today is regarded as the classic line-up of the band. Desecrator started to gain traction as one of the early bands shaping the extreme metal scene in Göteborg, and played several shows together with among others Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates and Opeth. Due to a British band with the same name releasing an album in early 1991, a change to the more mystic Ceremonial Oath was deemed necessary.
Tape trading and self-promotion such as it was back then through the rising underground movement of extreme music, resulted in a deal for a 7” with French label Corpsegrinder Records, and subsequently another trip to Stockholm and Sunlight was booked in December, to end a very productive and eventful year for the band. The Lost Name Of God (1992) came out the following spring, and almost immediately led to a contract for a full-length album, this time with the Corpsegrinder compatriot Modern Primitive Records.
A period of intense song writing took over in preparation for the recording, which was set for Rainy Day/Studio Fredman in September. This was Fredrik Nordström's first brush with death metal, but would certainly not be his last. Including the three songs from Black Sermons, The Book Of Truth (1993) contained eleven songs in total, each a chapter in the fictitious book. The concept is about a fallen priest who gets seduced by the evil demon Whegthor to bring him into the world, with the ultimate goal to expose and destroy Christianity's lies and deceit, and bring forth the Thunderworld, where chaos reigns.
A couple of shows with At The Gates, Dismember and Dark Tranquillity closed out another consequential year for Ceremonial Oath, but troubled loomed on the horizon. Shortly after a very successful show in Huddinge, Sweden, with Dismember, Therion and At The Gates, which also was recorded by Swedish national radio – three Ceremonial Oath songs were broadcast - Oscar was requested by the other band members to move away from his raw type of death/black metal singing and go more in the vein of angry thrash vocals, and when also asked to tone down the leather and chains being worn on stage and in photo sessions, Oscar decided he had had enough and quit. Being a driving factor in the band and responsible for much of the song writing on The Book Of Truth, replacing him proved to be difficult.

With Oscar gone, Jesper moved to guitar, and Thomas Johansson was drafted to fill the vacant bass-spot and the band switched to a thrashier, more heavy metal-influenced sound, heavily musically influenced by Iron Maiden and the likes in the NWOBHM-scene. In essence giving birth to the soon to be named Gothenburg Sound. A frantic search of singers ensued, and At the Gates-howler Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg filled the shoes on the first recordings of what was to become the album Carpet (1995). Good as he was, he was only filling the gap until ex-Dark Tranquillity singer Anders Fridén proved to be the guy for the band. The rest of Carpet was recorded with him, and the album was released by the newly birthed Black Sun label. Getting out and playing shows proved difficult, and since Jesper had formed In Flames in 1993, his focus had shifted. Despite replacing him with Mikael Andersson, and recording some more songs for compilations and tribute-albums, Anders Fridén was drafted by the rising In Flames, Markus and Anders Iwers joined fellow Swedes Cemetary and Ceremonial Oath faded out of view, never really being put to rest. That's all going to change now!

Having a meagre budget and perhaps lacking in the knowledge department to fully realize the potential of the songs and the concept of The Book Of Truth, the 1993 version of the album
at times sounds a bit rushed and unpolished. However, Fredrik Nordström has gotten a chance to improve upon the quality of the sound as he has remixed the album from the original tapes, refining the recorded tracks and masterfully bringing it into the 21st century. The new and improved version comes out at the end of 2012, just short of 20 years after it was released the first time. With remastered versions of the two demo tapes and the 7” as bonus material, it will be a comprehensive and detailed look at the entire career of Desecrator/Ceremonial Oath. 20 songs, 20 years later, and Century Media Records is to blame.