Review Summary: One demo wonders vol. 2: Death Yell
Death Yell were a short lived Chilean band teetering on the genres of black, death and thrash metal as many of their South American counterparts did in the 80s, but bringing an eerie occult sound and some interesting songwriting that would set them apart from the usual no holds barred breakneck thrashing of that era. They released only one demo, "Vengeance from Darkness" in 1989 which would subsequently be re-released in cut down and expanded versions in various formats over the coming decades. The fact that interest in this 6 song, 30 minute demo has persisted for so long is a testament to its quality, as it is indeed a classic.
Death Yell's style shifts somewhat abruptly between speedy thrashing, doomy breakdowns, and unexpected melodic parts with a generally interesting and original approach. Their guitar tone is more high end and allows their somewhat sporadic movements around the fretboard to come through with clarity. The warm sounding analog production keeps the guitar sound from becoming grating, and allows the lower chords to come through with a fuzzy full tone. Everything is a little higher than you might expect from something described as death metal, with the bass plunking along with the rhythm without any real chunkiness to the sound, and the vocals consisting almost exclusively of high sometimes whiny screams. The drums are a little weak sounding too, lacking a real boom on the toms and bass drum. Early on in the demo this apparent weakness in the sound throws the listener for a loop, as these guys manage to whip out some heavy ass riffs and thrash with the best of them as it progresses. A lot of the power of the demo comes from the oddities in the frequent time changes, weird chords and occult sound they employ, rather than bludgeoning heaviness and filth like their contemporaries. The trebly plunking and eerily creepy sound is almost reminiscent Italian bands such as Death SS, Black Hole and Mortuary Drape. They do stick to the roots of their South American thrashing brethren to an extent, but it's their horror-like sound that makes them stand out. On the whole the demo is a little inconsistent, but it comes through in a big way in a lot of areas and is most worthy of praise.
Death Yell are an interesting and worthwhile band, and another group I deem a "one demo wonder", as all it took was one demo for them to spark a massive interest. "Vengeance from Darkness" isn't as easily accessible as a lot of the South American death/black/thrash amalgams such as Sarcofago, Holocausto or early Sepultura, but they bring some unique stuff to the table and are worth investigating for any fan of the aforementioned bands or 80s black, death and thrash metal in general that fits in with a more primitive thrashing style. Also fans of early Death SS and Paul Chain material, as well as Mortuary Drape and other occult sounding bands shouldn't be disappointed with this strange little piece of metal history. While it is unfortunate that Death Yell's career ended so quickly, I'm very pleased with this demo. Check it out.