Monday, December 1, 2014

Dustbin of Demos: Vol I

The dustbin of history is where people, places, and things go when they are forgotten and marginalized. This is the fate of most metal demos: forgotten and ill-examined, a footnote to a career, launched or unlaunched. However, some of the greatest metal came in the form of unpromoted, almost-forgotten demo tapes. In this age, the demo tape is an endangered species, crowded out by worthless full-length albums from bands who would like to waste much more of our time listening to their music. This is not the realm of egostistic musicians nor reviewers who wish to fill up their unlimited space. In the dustbin of demos, few words are wasted. 

Dodskuggen - Dauden (demo)
Black metal from Norway

Dodskuggen is a one-man Norwegian act with reasonably clean production and performances. The tone of the recording itself is pretty good, but the music is a directionless sampler platter of black metal with rigid boundaries in style and songwriting that demonstrate that the parts are more imitations of various aesthetics than songs written with a purpose. Songs carry on with no progression nor direction, through aesthetic shifts without motifs nor themes to hold it together. Flavors on this sampler platter include death metally tremolo riffs over double bass, Norsecore, and keyboards. While at any one point, this sounds decent, it's a really unfulfilling listen. (Steve)

Thy Funeral Judas - We Are Legion! (demo)
Black metal from El Salvador

I first heard of this band when news broke of the death of their bassist "A. Darkthrone" in 2012. Survived by guitarists E. Judas and War D.B, vocalist M. Funeral, and drummer T. Conqueror recently completed their first release since, a three-track (plus intro and outro) demo called We Are Legion! - a bestial horseradish of a release that lacks both the meat to substantiate it and the fiber to digest it. A nondescript, ghostly whisper or trebly guitars finds little to sweep along in its wind of harshness, leaving this demo harsh and bare in its almost-raw black metal form. Fizzing tremolo guitars meet two-speed kick-snare drumming and go nowhere at moderate tempos. Simply put, this is a cult black metal demo that nobody praises for musical reasons. This is F-rate black metal impersonation. (Steve)

Herxsebet - Nostrus Ordas Ol Terremyrlas Tenebrese (demo)
Raw black metal from Mexico

Harsh, high-gain, low-fidelity "raw ritual music" from a corpsepainted clown in Mexico who isn't fooling anyone but himself. It's almost... almost just a tiny little bit charming that he's trying to create a horrifically raw homage to the Black Legions complete with his own goofy-named circle. But it's not charming, it just sounds like shitty noise made with a distorted guitar and some pieces of scrap metal and extra magnetic pickups in ones basement. Even the prolific Zarach "Baal" Tharagh would call this an experiment, at best. Two tracks of the worst black metal you'll ever hear, three tracks of feedback and noise while this buffoon sticks his guitar near other electronic devices to make noise. (Steve)

Tash - The Ninth Circle (demo)
Black/death metal from Sanford, North Carolina, USA

This one-man band seems fascinated by the aesthetics of black metal, but unable to capture them. A high-speed drum machine accompanies a seven-string guitar that disrupts the third track with some low-tuned grooves that scream, louder than the screaming vocalist, "I have a seven-string guitar and no fucking idea what I'm doing!" Blast beats and tremolo riffs are treated like structurally integral putty which holds this purposeless, directionless lump of blackish metal together. This demo exists with no purpose further than to satisfy the curiosity of its creator. (Steve)


Breath of Night - Black Metal (demo)
Black metal from New Jersey, USA

It's hard to say much about these unfinished tracks as, despite being "instrumental" they are clearly unfinished. Some moments sound good, some starkly bare. It is a rough move to simply release these songs as instrumentals - it seems like simply adding vocals wouldn't complete these songs. An army of reputable guests makes these songs lends a bit of credibility. If this review was a baseball score card, this would be a hearty mix of strikeouts and walks, with a bunt or two in the mix. Either show up or don't, and this one largely doesn't. (Steve)

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