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What could've been the band's next step... - 86%

DeathHawk, April 18th, 2009

This recording was not actually released by the band, but after I came across its tracks I thought I’d write a word or two of my own about it.

In 1995, Armoured Angel got together with Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman to begin work on what would be their debut album. After the Green brothers line-up split before the album was complete, this demo is probably the only trace of the album available as the production tracks are probably destroyed by now. Judging by the songs from this demo, the album from Armoured Angel could've been very well one of the most innovative and unique-sounding death metal albums recorded in its time.

The tape’s first song is Thy Blood Eterne, which sounds absolutely nothing like the version on Armoured Angel’s 1998 comeback album Angel of the Sixth Order. This “Thy Blood Eterne Mark I” sounds a hell of a lot heavier and eerier, reminiscent of early Entombed with a melodic Eastern-sounding riff at the beginning. This song would’ve sounded absolutely brilliant if it had been properly recorded, however it still sounds just as good in its demo form.

There are three other songs on the demo that I’ve never seen on other releases - "Gulka", which begins with a slow doomy march before racing into some heavy blastbeats and then into some thrashing d-beat. After Stigmartyr and Mysterium, it had almost looked like Armoured Angel had shed their speed-metal skins that were most prominent in their Wings of Death and Communion demos, but it sounds like it was bound to return for this. This song only goes for over a minute, but it is still a killer track nonetheless.

The third song is titled Way of Sorrows which sounds like a revisit to 1994's Mysterium EP: slow, dark and eerie death metal that Armoured Angel made a name for in their 1990s heyday.

The final track on the tape is titled Oriax, which I felt was probably the most “alien” Armoured Angel song out of all their releases, with piano and strings at the beginning. This added touch does add a darker atmosphere to the music but at the same time, sounds a little out of place with the rest of the songs (it bears some similarities to the Stimartyr EP finale track "Ordained In Darkness"). Although a bit experimental, I still enjoyed this track.

All the same, this demo is an interesting little testament to what Armoured Angel could’ve sounded if they’d continued. Track this one down at all costs.