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Swedish. Death. Metal. Hell yeah? Now get the album?! No, wait... Let's get under the skin of Daemonicus, who now presents their debut album 'Host of Rotting Flesh', after their formation in 2006 and three demos.
We are now talking about the true Swedish death metal, not any teen-angst-breaking-out-in-thirties type untrue shite. Here it's all about mortuaries, bloodsheds, undead and plagues. And shite, of course. Surely, 'Host of Rotting Flesh' is not able to conjure up the similar magical feelings as those old legendary bands did with their legendary songs and albums. But that would be too big a presumption anyways. The songs are built up of familiar riffage and horror melodies. Sometimes the riffing is evil 'n' eerie, sometimes more groovy. Some of the riffs work, some don't, then the majority of them are just average. The songs aren't as predictable as one would think them to be, because Daemonicus have been able to throw in some small surprises along the way.
Performance-wise this is partly on a novice-level, partly on a higher level. The guitars and the bass, as well as low growled vocals work well enough. On the slower parts, the band sound tighter than during mostly powerless fast parts. The drums are just lame at the faster tempos. But, there could be one thing affecting to this, and it is the production. One things that's not from six feet under, is the sound. While you can hear the bass playing, and there's plenty of double kick drumming, the guitars are simply so thin that this sounds limp. No fucking way with a death metal album! While the snare drum sounds truly lame, the balancing of the instruments is okay, and the band have clearly aimed for rusty 'n' rotting soundscape. But as it is, this sounds like a cheap demo, not a brutal attacking monster of an album. It was probably done with a pea soup can budget. The cover artwork is certainly different and pretty eye-catching, at least its eyesore colour scheme is. I guess it does its job, then.
Daemonicus are young as the band, and still too inexperienced for a debut album. This shows especially in the lame delivery and the sound. While the songs have some good stuff in them, they are just not so finely built up. Too many times I lost my interest during a song, just to be waken up by a cool part. Just about the third of the songs can called as fluid and sort of successful. There are lot of trials for the band to overcome before they can climb up to the b-class death metal bands. So, there's a target for the next output, then.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2009)
Now, when it comes to death metal, I’ve always had a big favouring for the Swedish style, in particular the Stockholm sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love all different styles, but the slimy gurgling sounds of early Entombed, Dismember et al have always had that extra horripilating edge for me. Thus, I jumped flailing at this promo in hope of some of the same.
‘Host of Rotting Flesh’ is the debut full length album from Umea’s Daemonicus and they play an enjoyable enough brand of death metal, with a lot of different influences of various death metal scenes (including a few touches of the Stockholm I’m happy to report!). For a new band, their sound is really old school with no blastbeats to be heard, and simplistic riffage that has more than a few similarities to the insatiable chug of Bolt Thrower and Master. There’s hardly anything in the way of breakdowns or any other modern elements that a lot of bands have incorporated into their sound leading me to think that this is more ‘ancient’ school, as opposed to old school.
Whilst some would be irked by the occasional ‘groove’ riffs (when I hear the word ‘groove’ used when describing riffs, I immediately think ‘Pantera’, and this is a world apart – it doesn’t groove… it crawls). All in all, I lapped this up big time. Grim artwork, fuzzy production, archaic riffage, no triggers, no fancy special effects – just really great sounding death metal the way it was 20 years ago. Yep, if it wasn’t for the better than usual production here this could easily have been a long lost album dug up from the dusty vaults of death metal circa 1989 (though with that said the production is still pretty damn murky for an album released in 2009).
So, the question is – are you fed up with all this technical death metal blasting molten rhythms and riffs at 1,000mph without so much as a memorable ‘song’? Do you lovingly hold onto your old fat-backed cathode ray telly over all these new fangled HD tellys? Try Daemonicus for a one way ticket straight back in time (fat backed CRT TV not included).
Originally written for www.metalteamuk.net
I'm not sure how many old school death metal revival bands a single European nation can produce, but Sweden is testing the limits. Daemonicus is another in a long line of bands to form up in these past few years, forsaking the melodic side of the style for a trip down murder lane, to when bands like Entombed, Grave, Dismember, Unleashed and Grotesque were the cutting edge. Host of Rotting Flesh is the band's debut, after forming in 2006 and releasing a trio of demos. The album has left little impact on me, but there is certainly a wealth of old school fanatics who will chew it up for its sincerity.
To their credit, Daemonicus do not simply sound like another band ripping off the old 'Swedish' sound. When listening to this album, you would not mistake it for Left Hand Path. What this band creates has an even more primal sound to it, very simple bludgeoning death metal which recalls the days of the genre's youth. The riffs tend to range from slow grooves and slower, flowing death metal chords (ala "Carnage") to slightly faster death ("Unrest In Peace") which reminds me of early Florida style, Death, for example. Vocalist
Stefan Hagström has a deep, gruff throat which doesn't stand out much, but fits the riffs well enough. One of the band's stronger points is their capacity to create those good olde schoo, creepy leads which so few bands produce these days. There is nothing flashy or technical here, just a love of roots death metal. Of the stronger songs here, I'd choose the gloomy "Welcome the Dead" and the creepy doomlike "Swarm of Death" as the standouts.
Host of Rotting Flesh also boasts a very humble production, that dark and ominous jam room tone which dominated the proto-death of the very early 90s. There are no annoying grooves or breakdowns, nothing cheap or insincere about what they do. I didn't enjoy many of the songs, but there's nothing particularly negative to report about this. If you favor the really true, old sounding death metal which has recently seen a comeback, Daemonicus is at least worth a listen.