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One of the pioneering acts of the fertile European goth metal scene in the 1990s, Germany's Crematory began as a strict death metal unit before adding goth and industrial elements into their arsenal. Formed in 1991, their 1992 demo quickly caught the attention of Massacre Records, which issued the band's debut long-player, Transmigration, the following year. Tours alongside Tiamat, My Dying Bride, and Atrocity helped to expand Crematory's fan base, and they began seeing heavy rotation on MTV Germany, which they responded to by recording their 1996 Nuclear Blast-issued eponymous album completely in their native language. Subsequent LPs like Awake, Act Seven, and Believe saw Crematory moving in a darker, more surreal direction that leaned more heavily on the gothic side of their persona, but despite their enormous popularity, by 2001 they had elected to disband. Crematory returned in 2004 with the triumphant, techno-metal-fueled Revolution, which was followed closely by a live LP chronicling their reunion tour. They re-signed with Massacre for 2006's Klagebilder, where they would reside until the release of 2014's Antiserum, which was released by SPV/Steamhammer. Monument, the band's 13th studio album, followed in 2016. After world tours and appearances at virtually every major (and some minor) metal festivals, Crematory took a short break and entered the studio in late 2017, emerging with the back-to-metal basics LP Oblivion. Just before the set's release in April 2018, drummer Markus Jüllich called out fans as "lazy asses" on social media, complaining they would rather download or stream recordings rather than pay for physical product or attend shows, claiming that this was an unsustainable practice and that fans, ironically, would be the death of the band. Oblivion made the metal charts and satisfied SPV/Steamhammer's sales requirements. After the tour, Crematory reconvened immediately to record and release Unbroken in March 2020, produced by keyboardist Katrin Jüllich. Despite earning the best critical reviews and early sales figures in years, Crematory, like thousands of other bands, was rendered unable to tour due to the global pandemic.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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