Old-school death metal is the flavor of the day again and for once in my life I have no problem jumping on the bandwagon. Subjectively my favorite, and objectively the best, other forms of death metal are fine and dandy but where the true meat and potatoes of the genre lie are in its roots. Over the past few years the amount of bands paying homage to the great death metal acts of the 90's has grown significantly, meaning this ode to the old is not just contained within a single region but much like the heroes they are trying to emulate is a worldwide phenomenon. From Italy’s Sunlight Studio worshiping Undead Creep to America’s unholy Vasaleth, the crusty guitar tone of old-school death metal is once again ringing into the night.
Formed in 2006 by members of previous Swedish death metal outfit Centinex, Demonical like their contemporaries Entrails have been involved in the Swedish death metal scene since the early nineties, taking second fiddle to like In Flames and Entombed but now once again getting the chance to shine thanks to the renewed interest in death metal that values composition over mindless brutality and lawless technical wankery. Playing in the style that their country is known for, Demonical’s Swedish death metal Armageddon doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary but it doesn’t need to; the Swedes have never been known for originality in their death metal and while Demonical is no different, the great quality of their third album Death Infernal earns them their get of jail free card.
Taking the best elements of their famous forebears, Death Infernal is an absolutely killer record, an amalgamation of all Swedish extreme metals best features. With the spirit of Sunlight Studio driving every chunky riff, every harmonized lead, Death Infernal’s close to pristine/slight fuzzed out guitar tone is the perfect fit to their music, adding a layer of authenticity that makes the album all the more enjoyable. Striking the perfect balance between melody and brutality, songs like “Ravenous” and the blistering opener “The Arrival of Armageddon” show the band at their most intense, throwing down slick tremolo picked guitar lines against mile a minute hardcore beats and Sverker "Widda" Widgren indomitable growl. One of their more harmonious tracks, “March For Victory” still contains the same intensity but redirects it, adding melodic elements that make eerily similar to Amon Amarth’s more epic moments. If there was something a bit atypical about Death Infernal it’s the extensive use of choruses; Demonical surely don’t stick to any verse/chorus formulas, continuing with death metal’s inherently bizarre song structuring, but as tracks “Through Hellfire” and “Slain Warriors” will show, the band decision to include that particular element really works in their favor, adding a sense of accessibility to even their heaviest tracks.
With the old-school vibe strongly resonating throughout each song of the record, Death Infernal is an excellent record but not because of the fact it so closely follows a sound that has long since passed; it’s a record that succeeds on its own merit, filled with great songwriting that just happens to harken back to death metal during its more fruitful years. Along with Entrails, Undead Creep, Engraved and many other up and coming bands out there, Demonical is helping secure Swedish death metals place in this death metal revival, strongly reaffirming the countries statues as a premiere country in the creation of excellent death metal.
Very spur of the moment review. I apologize for any possible mistakes but I am extremely tired so if you find any typos please just point them out and I'll be happy to fix them first thing in the morning : ]
this is good, but it's coming across as too generic and a bit melodic in spots. i'm not a huge fan of swedish death, but this isn't really doing anything to stand out from the other 1000 bands doing it. everytime i hear that d-beat or whatever and the chainsaw guitar tone i immediately yawn. they really have to bring the riffs, drumming, or something to stand out doing this type of swedish tribute, and these guys don't.
3/5, maybe 3.5/5 if you like swedish death.
I recommend Horrendous - The Chills if you want to hear a pretty good recent swedish tribute.
Good review Spirit! I listened this after reading a review for it somewhere (might've been metalstorm or some site akin) and it's definitely good. And as opposed to Valerius, I like that there's a bit of melody here and there.
EDIT: I would proofread the introduction though, a lot of bizarre wording there and some grammar slips.
Pos anyway, well written review is well written. I guess I should start reviewing death metal stuff that's more well known to actually have people give a damn about what I type up... but I want to shed light on some cool forgotten bands.
For starters, I found it devoid of the energy that they seemed to display in places on their prior records ("World Serpent" is pure gold, for example). The songs that conform to their older style are much staler, just going through the motions essentially. The more mellowdeath tunes, which TheSpirit adequately compared to Amon Amarth, are a bit of a breath of fresh air in terms of stylistic diversity, but they feel a bit underbaked and misplaced, breaking any semblance of flow the album may have had. All in all, seems like a bit of a transition album, trying to work in some new stylistic elements with the Amon Amarth stuff, but the guys appear painfully devoid of inspiration, at least to my ear. TheSpirit has his opinion, and voiced it very well.