Sunday, December 29, 2013

Absence of Salvation - Demo 2013

There are some do's and don'ts in my book of demo rules. For one, even if you're going to give something away for free, at least make it look like something someone would be happy to receive. Also, if you're going to give something away for free, people are less likely to care about it because they didn't go through any difficulty to get it themselves and they didn't pay out of their pocket to get a copy. They have no connection to it to begin with. This is one of the strange things about giving out free demos - you get your name out there a little bit more, however the people that hear that name most likely will care little. Demo's have a certain sound more than often... the slightly low-quality buddy disjointed sound with an awkward mix. In the case of Absence of Salvation, this demo basically epitomizes all those points I just made. Even though the music here isn't horrid, there is little chance for this demo to be anything other than something friends in high-school would want. There is no chance that there would be any desire by anyone to spread this demo outside of the local group that knows the members of the band.

Musically, there are some issues with the sound. Evidenced by the first track "Embrace the End" is a strange combination of modern metal influences and throwback thrash. One thing that does come across positively is the feel of energy the band has. Live, they put on a decent show for a local act, and the passion that was present in the flesh is also present here. The vocals are a major reason for that. There are a few different styles present here, both some growls and some thrashier yells as well as some cleaner, raspy moments. Second track, "Crucify" has some of the best parts on the demo and the worst parts. It also is the weakest sounding vocally. The vocals are too low in the mix along with the drums. The chorus is pretty bad with an amateurish breakdown and off-key clean vocals that follow a poor transition. Though the guitar riffs are more interesting and memorable at times, a really bad guitar solo performance brings down the track. An intermediary section with some sort of narrated growling demonic voice also appears out of nowhere. "Breathe" provides evidence that the bass has no tone, sounding like burps inside a balloon full of mud. The fact that all the guitars follow each other, offering no variety also makes everything sound a bit boring.

The final track on this four song demo is "Manic." This is the highlight for me because it sounds like it could have been written in 1993 or 1994 by some obscure doom death project like Gutwrench or Solstice. It reminds me the least of modern metal and mall-core. The vocals are pretty bad at times, particularly the spoken/raspy ones in the beginning but the higher register clean vocals sound a lot like Mystifier's The World Is So Good That Who Made It Doesn't Live Here, an album which most likely is not an influence on any of these guys since the vast majority of humans are not cool enough to have heard Mystifier, much less one of their less talked about releases. It's a weird track and the most worthwhile on the demo. Glad to have heard that one. More tracks like this, some extra effort put into the image of the band and general experience and increased musicianship could separate Absense of Salvation from being a local band to something more.


Anonymous said...

so you like the music, but since they dont have the money to record in a professional studio just yet, that makes them a bad band?

Orion M. said...

I never said they were a bad band. I pointed out some stuff they did well and some stuff they didn't... that's what a review is. It's a simple critique. If you think that I would base the quality on something, and the validity of something, purely on the production, you've obviously not read this blog before.

The fact that you bring up that the band didn't have the money to record in a professional studio implies that you're a member of the band since you know this was the case. The production doesn't mean that much... I was simply pointing out aspects of the release that I felt could be improved. No one NEEDS to record in a professional studio to sound good.

Hell, I felt that my comparisons to Mystifier and early 90's Doom Death was a pretty nice compliment.

Anonymous said...

you know what youre right. i acted to quickly. after i read it again i see that there are quite a few compliments in there. we are planning on using the money we have gotten from playing shows and going into a professional studio and record an EP with some new songs.

check out our last show!

tell me what you think if you want! \m/