Years 1991-1993: From the shadows to a doom metal cult band

In 1991 Unholy’s line-up got into a solid basis so that the band could start working more permanent and more professional way than before. The demo 1/92, titled Trip to Depressive Autumn and later released as an EP through Wild Rags, was recorded in midwinter 1992 in a 16 track studio near Tampere, Finland. Band was very happy with the result; in fact the success of that particular tape was a small surprise for the band. The music was heavy and weird sounding, dark and full of strange atmospheres. The tape included such little known classics as Stench of Ishtar, Autumn, Creative Lunacy and The Trip was Infra-Green. The songs in this tape are in their most original form, for the versions which ended in the first studio album differ in some degree from these early ones. The tape sold several hundred copies worldwide and brought also a recording deal with Lethal Records, an austrian record label at that time. The previous Unholy demos had also sold quite well, but with Trip.. the band started to gain larger recognition in metal scene, and soon people were talking about underground doom metal’s new cult band.

The reputation was reinforced by the first studio album From the Shadows, which was released in 1993. To record the album, band travelled to Vienna, partly because the record company wanted to have a word to say in the recordings. The recording sessions took fourteen days, while the whole visit in Vienna lasted about three weeks. While recording the band also fully enjoyed the Vienna night life and other amusements. Partly because of these other activities there were few problems in the studio, but also the technical side did not work so well as it was supposed to. The recordings were finished in a hurry, and the band was sent home after three weeks of energy outburst in all levels. Thus the band was left out from the mixing business, which was not a very wise thing to do from the recording company.

When the album came out it was clear for the band that the tracks suffered from bad production and bad mixing. But despite of these flaws, it did sell a few thousand copies. Moreover, the reputation of Unholy as a weird undergroud doom band rose even higher and band got new fans in every corner of the world. Even bigger success was Trip to Depressive Autumn-EP. No one knows exactly how many copies it has sold, but the number is probably greater than the number of the first album’s sales.

Soon after the release of From the Shadows the band got into serious arguments with the record company. The co-operation was finally ended in winter 1994, just a few weeks before the band was entering the studio to record their second album. The new material was ready, because band had spent most of the time writing music and only doing a gig once in a while. The bigger tour did not work out, thanks to the poor recording company.

Thus the period between 1991-1993 took Unholy literally from the cellar shadows to the consiousness of the underground audience. Though the first album did not satisfy the bandmembers, it was welcomed by a large group of undergroud metal fans. The positive feedback from the audience gave the band much new energy and enthusiasm to go on with their music. Despite of the problems with the recording company, band felt very confident with the material for the second studio album. Finally, when the deal with Lethal Records was history and the new deal with Avantgarde Music was signed in the beginning of the year 1994, band had very hig hopes for the future while entering the studio to give birth to The Second Ring of Power.

Original issue front cover

From The Shadows today

The original Lethal Records issued copy of the band’s debut album From The Shadows (1993) was sold out years ago, and Lethal Records no more existed. So Avantgarde Music got the release rights and reissued the album right away in 1999. They made some changes to the layout, but the most important thing was that album was in stores again, after a break of many years.

The second reissue happened after Avantgarde’s actions as a label ceased, and they sold the release rights of all Unholy albums to the Peaceville Records. Peaceville then reissued this album in spring 2011. The original idea was to offer some bonus material with each album reissue, but unfortunately nothing suitable was found from the era of From The Shadows with its very special and weird soundscape. So the reissued From The Shadows is the only album that does not include any bonus material. But at least album cover arts have been modernized quite a lot.

The reissue has been available through Peaceville Records since spring 2011. Peaceville also released LP version of this album in 2017.

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