CARICATURE, Emptiness (1991, demo)
Friar Wagner has a special affinity for trepanated skulls, for reasons I think are best left unsaid, and usually when The Council assigns holey skulls to him, but today I’m treated with a lovely French specimen. I’m hardly an expert in these areas, but the hole seems to be a fair bit larger than is needed to relive pressure. Perhaps this skull belonged to a autotrepanation addict, who just kept making the hole bigger and bigger to sate his weird peccadillo. He wouldn’t be the first guy to get carried away with his hobbies, though, and lord knows I’ve gone down the rabbit hole a few times myself, so I should be thankful, I suppose, that my vices don’t involve power drills.
It’s probably unfair to compare all Finnish death metal bands to Sentenced, just as it’s unfair to compare all Swedish death metal bands to Entombed. Really, it might be that early Sentenced sounds like Caricature, who were maybe the kings of Helsinki, but I just don’t know enough about the chronology and cross-pollination of that scene at its onset to say who was the leader and who the follower. But there’s no denying the strong national character that defined the sounds coming out of those Scandinavian nations in the late 80s and early 90s, and neverminding the chicken and egg problem, I know what Sentenced sounded like at the beginning, and Caricature sounds like that. The best comparison I can muster otherwise is Consuming Impulse-era Pestilence, but not nearly as good, or as piercingly bleak. This is fine stuff, if a bit raw, and while it’s hardly groundbreaking, if you like northern death metal from the dawn of the 90s, then you’ll probably like Caricature.
— Friar Johnsen