Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dustbin of Demos: Vol IV

When reviewing demos, it is difficult to find a balance in language to both compliment what a band does well and recognize that I'll probably never listen to most of these again, deservedly so. I find the demonstrations themselves interesting, how indistinct bands process their influences and perform. I listen to so many demos not seeking great music, but out of interest in the contrast and examination of what bands do well, and what they don't do well. Many shades of contrast come from hearing different degrees of success. even inclusion in the many aspects of music - what goes into it, what doesn't go into it, and how much. Not every meal needs to be the finest you've eaten, but each is enjoyable nonetheless. 

Luciferum Penis - Demo Live @ Secret Occult Fest (demo)
Black metal from Italy

Minimal black metal in a damp-sounding room with what sounds like a single mic between the drums and guitar. Simple structures driven by dark guitar melodies. The vocals aren't quite timed straightforward, and the human drummer varies between sections, making it feel like a real, if incomplete band. Quiet but good drumming. Despite these efforts, and some interesting melodies on guitar, the two-piece band feels flat and far from complete. As bare as it is, it's a nice contrast to the ticking and fizz of most lo-fi black metal demos. (Steve)

Varang Nord - Fire of the North (EP)
Melodic death/folk metal from Latvia

This sounds like Amon Amarth with an accordion - galloping, folky heavy/melodeath. The folk leads and clean vocal chants are the two leading parts of the music that could make it interesting, but they mostly feel separate and overlaid, without much involvement and interplay in the arrangements. The relatively unique instrumentation gives it some flair despite the backbone of the music being derivative and unoriginal. The backbone, however, isn't the spirit of it. Well-produced. Undeveloped but interesting. (Steve)

Night Eternal - Sicut Luninaria Exire (EP)
Black Metal from Canada

Black metal with moving melodies and unmoving song structures with a static rhythm. While there are a few parts here that evoke momentary interest, the guitars are the only compositional element, with the drum machine being a mudane timekeeper and the vocals completely uninteresting. Extremely monotonous. It's not that bad, but it's really not good - the epitome of the dustbin. (Steve)

Iron Driver - Iron Driver (demo)
Heavy metal from Russia

NWOBHM/Maiden worship. Tight, but feels way too rigid - it completely lacks the carefree, wild atmosphere of good NWOBHM, instead it feels stiff. The gruff, charmless vocalist certainly doesn't help. They infuse some melody at points and have a good melodic riff or two, but it's too separated to really impact the songs. The vocalist isn't particularly skilled nor charismatic, so they can't manage the Dickinson nor Dianno sounds - I think they're trying to pull of the Dianno-era Maiden sound, but their dry, stiff sound is incompatible with the freewheeling rock and roll. It's almost like toned-down modern thrash, it's so rigid and tame. This has the demeanor of Richard Nixon. (Steve)

Tower and Stone - Tower and Stone
Ambient, post-metal from California, USA

An uneasy, bass-heavy ambient soundscape carried by separated pieces of doom/post-metal. Totally spaced-out, deconstructed, and incomplete stoner rock gone off the deep end. Feels out of mind, for better or for worse. It's awfully far out there, doesn't come together to provide any complete experience in the listening time, and there simply isn't much to pay attention to. (Steve)

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