Made in Sweden

Authorize - The Source of Dominion

By: Eric Compton
Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Like the mid-90s erosion of Swedish Death metal into the folds of Black Metal, the late 80s had its own form of expulsion. Thrash metal was quickly disposed of in the pursuit of more brutal and heavier forms of extreme music. A lot of bands began as loose adaptations of American and German thrash metal. As the tape trading, fanzines and word of mouth started to spread, kids were quick to trade in their Kreator and Slayer for harsher material. It was a rite of passage.

Authorize, out of the East Coast town of Soderhamn, originally started as a thrash band. The earliest formation of the band was called Morbid Fear in 1988. The group consisted of Patrik Leander on bass, Larssa Johansson on guitar and vocals, Jorgen Paulsson on guitar and Micke Swed on drums. Under the moniker Morbid Fear, the band recorded a demo entitled 'Darkest Age'. It was released in April of 1990 to a pressing of 200 tapes. It's a total of five songs that collectively clocks in at 21-minutes. Aside from an intro and outro song, the bulk lies between three songs--"Broken Hypnosis", "Darkest Age" and "Mindless Confusion". It's mid to fast-paced thrash somewhat inspired by the German sounds of Sodom and Kreator. Vocally, it's blackened screams over two-beat percussion and blender riffs. While not the most original and innovative demo, it definitely shows dedication and a love of fast playing.

In 1990, Morbid Fear changed their name to Authorize (why?) and hired a vocalist in Thomas Ek. Larssa Johansson, up until now playing guitar and singing, reduced his role to just strings. The band signed on for a 7" sampler for the short-lived Swedish label Opinionate! The sampler consisted of songs by Authorize, Fallen Angel, Nirvana 2002 and Appendix. The Authorize song included was a re-recording of "Darkest Age" from the Morbid Fear demo. At some point in 1990, the band signed to French label Putrefaction Records (Mortem, Arcturus, Nomed) for the recording of their debut record.

'The Source of Dominion' was recorded in January of 1991 at F.S. Studio and produced and mixed by Bror Tornell (Divine Sin, Morgana Lefay). The album cover is shrouded in horror and reminds me of the old album covers of English bruisers Benediction (and Germany's Grinder). The record was released in early 1991, after Entombed's 'Left Hand Path' set the scene up in 1990. As we've mentioned in earlier issues, 1991 was a pivotal point with some of the best material arriving from Unleashed, Dismember, and Grave among others.

The bulk of the 'Darkest Age' demo is re-recorded for the debut full-length. It's really interesting to hear these thrashy songs reach the depths of death with new vocalist Thomas Ek using deep growls and grunts. The earlier versions of these songs were more speed metal mostly due to Johansson's higher vocals. The act is still firmly entrenched in thrash metal, but it's a great combination of sounds and one that showcases the erasing of thrash from a lot of Sweden's underground. The production quality for the album leaves a lot to be desired, but not every band could record at Sunlight Studio.

That thinner sound is evident on opening song "Silent Nocturnal Symphony" with its hollow percussion. It doesn't distress the songs though. The impact and energy is still there, evident on the faster, chainsaw riffing of the title track. I like the slower, brutal riffs on "God of Christianity" and it's another example of the scene's general distrust of religion. "Subconscious Nightmare" is a great mid-paced song that uses the two-beat formula. It has an interesting vocal arrangement before fast solos and fretwork lands at the 2:29 mark. The album has loads of atmosphere, with "Broken Hypnosis" incorporating melodic leadwork that is prefaced by some keyboards. The song is about a post-apocalyptic landscape and the haunting and moody keyboards at the end back a doomy riff to close it out. The album opens and closes with short

instrumentals. Shortly after the album release, Authorize disbanded. It's a shame considering how talented the band was. I'm surely not the only one who thought so. Just based on the merit of this album alone the band has been re-issued three times. The record was reissued in 2006 via Arsenal of Glory. In 2010 US label The Crypt reissued the album plus the demo and sampler track on double vinyl. Dark Symphonies released the album again in 2014 with the demo and sampler track as bonus material.

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