Review Summary: Another strong outing from the band's old-school death take on melodic death metal.
And we keep going: You may wonder what exactly Sweden’s Demiurg have to offer you this time around on third effort Slakthus Gamleby
, and if you happen to be too lazy to read a whole review I’ll go ahead and put it out in italics for you: old school death
-tinged melodic death metal
, by way of guitarist Dan Swano
, with the occasional accompaniment of female vocals
, by one Marjan Welman from a dutch gothic band Autumn. The man at the front of the helm on the primary mic, Rogga Johansson, is a growler that you can trace back to last year’s doom project The 11th Hour, and boy is he a real treat, perfect for this kind of early-to-mid 90s recall of distorted decadence: strong, precise, and perfect for the job.
Past efforts Breath of Demiurg
and The Hate Chamber
played out in a similar fashion to this year’s Slakthus Gamleby
, the band’s old school take of the modern death format fitting somewhere nicely along with the ranks of Grave and Bloodbath, maybe even Bolt Thrower on some of Demiurg’s finest tracks. There are a few notable changes, though, specifically with the presence of Welman, offering several melodic lines and choruses to the mix, as those found on highlight opener “Life Is A Coma”, “From Laughter to Retching”, and in the final acoustics of finale “World Burial”. However, while a nice deviation from guitarist Par Johansson often nasally clean approach, the addition of the Goth singer isn’t implemented as well as it could have. A few cameos are a nice touch, yes, but Slakthus Gamleby
would have been better off with an all-or-none approach as far as her inclusion goes, as the songs with the singer make those that are without seem oddly empty or even filler-ish in comparison.
It would be an understatement to say that there are some good riffs to be found throughout the course of Slakthus Gamleby
, though; to put things in perspective, let’s just say that this may be one of the best melodic head-bangers since Arghoslent’s 2008 Hornets of The Pogom
. Guitarists Swano and Johansson bring to mind Deathevokation’s powerful 2007 release, The Challice of Ages
, in their approach - more clean and melodic, true, but still authentically head-banging in delivery. It’s their take on the mid 90s axe-men that give “The Cold Hand of Death” and the keyboard-accented title track a backbone for major carnage, as well as set the latter back on trail after a few off-putting keyboard sections. Swano is actually in control of the keys for Slakthus Ganleby
as well, and while his inclusions give some of the album a nice symphonic feel, he does sometimes edge toward the realm of cheesy indulgence.
Admittedly, this doesn’t happen that much, though, and from an instrumental perspective Demiurg play a pretty much flawless performance. It’s the friction of the singers on Slakthus Gamleby
that cause problems in the end, as often the more melodic, chorus-based songs contrast awkwardly with the more traditional death cuts. It’s not that big of a complaint, however, but considering that the problem does affect half of the album, it must be taken into account. Attribute it to common supergroup creative differences that can sometimes breed awkwardness on records, or maybe just the fact that Johansson won't accept that all the mic duties should be left to Johansson, but whatever the case, Demiurg have a few things to iron out before Swano’s work on the instrumentals can truly stand out and be appreciated. They just have to tone down the keys next time around and tell Johansson to put a sock in it, and then Demiurg will do some really powerful things in their future.