Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dustbin of Demos: Vol XVI

Many of the bands who are willing to label their works as "demos" in 2015 tend to be black metal, as the culture of black metal is rather friendly to demos. In other breeds of metal, bands tend to overestimate their incomplete works by labeling them as EPs and albums simply because their recordings are deemed clean enough. Because of this, it seems a lot of what comes up in the dustbin is black metal. The first one this week could certainly be called an EP, but the band presents it as a demo. There's also a duel of crappy NSBM RABM later on, and neither is particularly good. That's just what turned up in the dustbin in recent weeks. 

Achsan - Purification
Blackened death metal from Israel

Sounds like 2005. Blackened death metal in the vein of Belphegor, with layered vocals in Glen Benton's style with Deicide and Vital Remains around that time, though they come out less intense and seeming a little too overdone, like later Behemoth. It has all the hallmarks of black-tinged death metal of the early-mid 00s - eerie ringing leads, stuttered chugs, blast beats and tremolo. It is fairly well produced to keep that dirty and dark edge while not being overly muddy, cavernous, nor clean. It's certainly influenced heavily by that new-school-of-old-school, and it's not bad, it's just completely indistinct.

Stige - Where Darkness Prevails
Black metal from Italy

Stige is a strikingly bland and indistinct black metal band. There are fast parts that seem like an even simpler take on early Bathory, there are triumphant mid-paced marches with a pagan influene, and there's a sampling of other black metal styles. Everything feels like a blank template of a riff - the Bathory riffs are two-chords rather than three and they lack phrasing, the pagan-sounding riffs lack proud, folky, triumphant melodies and cadence. The title track comes close, but it still doesn't break the impression that this is little more than grey wallpaper. 

Ewigreich - Hass & Verderben
Black metal with RAC influences from Germany

Black metal with a strong RAC/heavy metal influence, very similar to Absurd's first album, but no clean vocals. The influence is more than overt, and the cover at the end highlights what Eweigreich fails to include in their own songs - hooks. RAC relies on being immediately catchy, yet simple, to let the lyrics do the talking. The only thing memorable about these songs is the obvious attempt to ape Absurd in practice, but the failure to do so in essence. It could be greatly improved by simply turning down the overloud drum machine, though.

Bedroom black metal from Assú, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

"Oldschool/atmospheric black metal" allegedly, with an unbelievably dull and damp practice room sound. The guitar is quiet, almost no distortion shining through, which really dulls the impact and aesthetic the band tries to embrace. The demo is mostly typical tremolo riffs and blast beats, a little bouncy at times. There are some triumphant progressions reminiscent of early Gorgoroth, but sadly they're buried in the awful sound. There's a real drummer, who seems decent from this very rough recording. While it isn't noisy outside of excessive reverb on the sound of this is simply bad.

Blackened crust/RABM from Hobart, Australia

Red and Anarchist black metal (RABM) is the left-wing answer to NSBM. While the style has its own distinct voice which embodies its views, this is basically another shitty crust punk band, an answer to the plethora of shitty bedroom NSBM bands. A shadow of UK anarcho-punk from 35 years ago which adds titles like "Darkness Falls" and "Evil Prevails" to typical punk fodder like "Fuck War" and "Police Farce." This seems to do away with any sort of catchy and memorable punk in favor of a blur of grindcore and black metal while missing the intensity and experience of both. I kind of get what they're going for from a couple angles, but this misses the point of what they're going at in every direction. It doesn't have the push/pull intensity of grindcore, it doesn't have the energy of punk, and it doesn't have the anthemic pride of NSBM, just the pathetic wheeze of bluffing crust punk without the self-aware rejection of middle-class privilege found in black metal. 

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