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Demonica - Demonstrous (6,5/10) - Denmark - 2010

Genre: Thrash Metal / Groove Metal
Label: Massacre Records
Playing time: 48:37
Band homepage: Demonica

Tracklist:

  1. Demon Class
  2. Ghost Hunt
  3. My Tongue
  4. Luscious Damned
  5. Below Zero
  6. Alien Six
  7. Palace Of Glass
  8. Fast And Furious
  9. Summoned
  10. Astronomica
Demonica - Demonstrous

In Metal, great riffing can cover up a lot of shortcomings.

 

At first casual listen, the debut from DEMONICA is an enjoyable album, a veritable cornucopia of tight, headbanging riffs that get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. It is only on close inspection that the album’s minor flaws reveal themselves, and though none of them are fatal, accumulated, they drag down an album that would otherwise be solid.

 

The biggest issue with this release is, admittedly, an aesthetic one. The production quality is much too polished given the ferocity of the material. This is a difficult judgment to make, since there are often gritty releases for which a clean production enhances the recording. (Here, think anything recorded and/or engineered with Dan Swäno behind the controls.) In the case of “Demonstrous,” however, the polish leeches away some of the passion that is the bedrock of good Thrash, and that would otherwise be present here. Perhaps it is my stubborn, old-school mentality (for I am indeed quite old), but this quality was too much a distraction to leave unmentioned.

 

The guitar soloing here is a mixed bag, offsetting moments of brilliance with occasional pedestrian efforts. “Palace Of Glass” contains a strong lead and an engaging solo, but is then followed by “Summoned,” whose vibe is Nu Metal-ish, and whose solo feels obligatory, forced into a style that typically places greater emphasis on the strength of the breakdown over the artistry of the solo. For every great lead moment, there is also a solo that does not mesh will with its respective song in terms of intensity.

 

Individually, though, these complaints are but quibbles. It is only in their accumulation that they detract from this album, and it would be a mistake to interpret this as a negative review. As mentioned, the riffing here is infectious and well-executed. The rhythmic influences are firmly rooted in 1980’s and early 1990’s Metal, and even the casual listener will detect a strong foundation in Thrash and Groove, with an occasional appearance by NWOBHM. Furthermore, the combinations of and transitions between  these styles are executed well. Tracks like “My Tongue” stand out for their deft mixture of forceful Groove with the ferocity that is characteristic of Teutonic Thrash, and the further combination with a heavy bass that gives the songs a very fat bottom end.

 

DEMONICA also demonstrate a touch of versatility on the final track, the instrumental “Astronomica.” This song opens with some trippy bass work accompanied by hand drum percussion, before transitioning to another heavy Groove. The track is aggressive for a bit, before slowing down and taking on a spacey vibe. The guitar work is a mellow Progressive lead, before the song picks back up into a Bluesy, Hard Rock sound.

 

Overall, DEMONICA have released a promising debut. Aesthetic choices aside, this band has some chops, and will be interesting to keep an eye on.

(Online November 8, 2010)

Steve Herrmann



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