Samhain were the dark children of Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Master, and the entire experience of the demo-trading universe. The band was comprised of tape-trading fanatics and scenesters — guitarist Henk Leviathan edited Blackthorn fanzine, which is supposedly where Darkthrone took its name. You can definitely smell the influence of Samhain (DK) on Mayhem, Darkthrone, Old Funeral, and other second wave black metal bands who sought the influence of something dark and primal. Listening to this oddly-named demo — did Henk pay for the recording by working as a bike messenger or something? — you’ll realize that even early bands like Nihilist (pre-Entombed), Amon (pre-Deicide), and Xecutioner (pre-Obituary) were formed when the death metal scene was already in full swing.

I always argue that guttural, so-called “Cookie Monster” vocals weren’t invented, the style evolved over hundreds of bands, one demo cassette at a time over a five year period from 1983-1988. This grim 1985 proclamation of Scandinavian death metal is great evidence of that claim.

Unfortunately, the cheap red plastic cassette is already degrading pretty badly, and most of “Plaque of Messiah” sounds pretty chewy. Consider it a haunting (and stay away from Postens Lydbrev brand tapes!)

SAMHAIN (DK) * “The Courier” 3-song demo 1985 [20.7MB .rar]

When they learned about Glenn Danzig’s band Samhain (no doubt through a Metallica interview somewhere), Samhain (DK) soon changed its name to Desexult, and unleashed a slew of demos between 1986 and 1988 including the infamous “S.O.D.F.O.A.D.” But that’s a story for another time…


  1. Thanks for posting these. I was too young for this period in music and probably missed out on some great bands. I really liked your interview on the talking metal podcast.

  2. Hails for pointing out the obvious that seems to always escape those but the chosen few – that Xecutioner, Nihilist and Amon were formed when there were about 110 death metal bands already in existence

  3. Someone get me DESEXULT (ex-SAMHAIN)!!! Used to owned their demo and shirt too. Their drummer Perr is now in THE HAUNTED.

  4. Per M. Jensen was never in Samhain or Desexult. He was in Blood Axe, Graf Spee, Geronimo, Invocator prior to joining The Haunted. Plus he’s done session work for Artillery, Daemon and Konkhra.

    Anyway the Samhain is a kick ass demo! Which tends to get overlooked. Shame really.

    If you get the chance, have a look for the Battalion demos. The first Mental Decay demo is a small gemm too.

  5. Both “Salvation” and “Plague of Messiah” can be found on 2 seperate New Rennaisance Records compilation releases from 1986 one being “Speed Metal Hell 2” (Samhain) and “Thrash Metal Attack”(Desexult) very hard to find, but the quality is well preserved on my copies.

  6. Ibelieve this demo was later released as a &’ by also underground legend Wim Baelus on his record label!! The Celtic frost type riffs slay me and the vocals…Yeah this is death metal no doubt! Desexult leaves me wanting and a bit cold but fuck glen danzig as to me this is the ONLY TRUE SAMHAIN!!


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