Review Summary: Straight from the bowels of Hell, Demilich bring unforgiving tidings with their lone masterpiece.
Many a fan of unconventional-sounding extreme metal have been sent packing with their tail between their legs upon first entering the twisted corridors of wild guitar work and the frantic molestation of drum skins that is Demilich's sole album Nespithe. Those familiar with the twenty year old Finnish masterpiece will at least turn a smile at this, but the fact is that this particular musical endeavor is so punishing and violent that the faint hearted will simply be unable to retain interest in the dynamic song structuring and phenomenal but off-kilter instrumental performances. Factor in what remains to this day the most bezerk and freakishly weird-sounding vocals in all of death metal's vast, malicious caverns and you have a recipe for an overlooked masterpiece.
Nespithe was initially released in 1993 and astonished and at the same time horrified a scene which, at the time, reveled in the infectious bass grooves of a band such as Autopsy or the splatter-fests that Cannibal Corpse produced. Their musical complexity baffled critics and genre fans alike, from the weaving barrage of the two guitar marauders to the constantly adjusting pace. The feats accomplished by frontman Antti Boman and second guitarist Aki Hytonen are so creative and consistently impressive that even legends such as Jack Owen and Pat O'Brien should consider running for cover. Inherited Bowel Levitation is one of the most devastating pieces here, with the demonic higher pitched howls of the guitars sending chills up the spine, whilst the lower-end riff work contains a definitive aura of menace. Rarely do either of these two masters of their trade stick to the genre blueprints of abusing tremolo picked guitar lines, and where this is necessary they somehow still blow most of their competition out of the water. Even more insane is the fact that this band seldom requires to shred their fingers off with mind-blowing solos to leap out and catch the ear. Instead, songs such as Echo make great use of less obvious lead lines that mix in with the sinister environment that reaches out and touches the listener with its sheer mayhem.
Eleven tracks make up this powerful escapade into previously uncharted waters for this death metal act, and each of them keeps its running time at just the right length to both drop the jaw of a listener and never drag too much. Erecshyrinol is guaranteed to bend the mind with Mikko Vernes' relentless punishment of your hearing behind his drum kit. Repetition is not a word in this man's dictionary as he dances around the guitarists and bassist, all of whom appear to be vying for your attention at the same time. Multiple listens are a must to take in the majesty of what this tyrant of death metal drumming accomplishes in each of these songs. By the time of the fifth song you will be in awe at the never-ending arsenal of differing beats contained in his hands and feet but even from here on out he still never drops the ball. Even his slowest sections such as the introduction of The Chamber Of Whispering Eyes feel weighted and flawlessly crafted - in the case of that song his less hands-on approach to that segment enable the guitar noodling to astound, before he unleashes an unbelievable lightning fast beats. The performance of Vernes truly is a beacon of light for drummers suffering from writers block to be influenced by.
Another thing deserving heaps of praise would be the cruel and terrifying atmosphere constantly in effect. Whilst the guitar tones are not the thickest out there, they still hit as heavily as a tonne of bricks collapsing on an unsuspecting person, victimizing the listener with the most torturous sounds out there. Meanwhile, the drums are quite loud in the mix to add yet more punishment. The most effective portion of the atmospheric recipe Demilich created with Nespithe is the now-infamous vocal work from Antti Boman. The harsh and unforgiving instrumental prowess on display is only capitalized on by what at first appears to be Gollum from the Lord Of The Rings on a diet of too many baked beans and various other foods that induce wind. The depth of the hate-filled sounds spewed from Boman's throat is perfectly suited to the equally bizarre and thrilling lyrical content to songs such as And You'll Remain. Boman literally sounds as though the Devil swallowed a few too many razor blades and then spat his spawn out through his grated throat into the midst of Purgatory only to be savagely assaulted by its various inhabitants and whatever noises were emitted had been recorded.
Demilich's ferocious sole release is truly an adventure of violence, aggression, anger, hate and downright weirdness. Every song is a downright masterpiece, from the manic bass work resting alongside the squealing pinched harmonics and guitar insanity of instrumental number Erecshyrinol to the sheer brutality of the first two tracks. The 1993 death metal opus is a release that every self-respecting fan of the genre should at least experience a few times as its gripping mixture of unbelievable instrumentation and an eruption of fear-inducing bile in the vocal work is almost unmatched.