without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
In a genre defined by its unfettered commitment to extremity, it’s rare for a death metal album to retain its stopping power in the generations following its release. Sure, Scream Bloody Gore and Altars of Madness still earn respect and admiration from contemporary ears (and rightfully so), but they’ve since been trumped in terms of their heaviness and commitment to perversity. A large part of what has made Demilich such an enduring gem is their lack of successor; no artist since has made death metal that sounds quite like them. Even with the twentieth anniversary of its release having occurred earlier this year, Nespithe remains as twisted, puzzling, and frightening as ever. Newcomers may find themselves put off by the unconventional guitarwork and (ahem) distinctive vocals, but there are few metal albums I’ve heard that leave such a lasting impression. Nespithe is death metal for the thinking man, and my only disappointment with the album is that Demilich never chose to make another one.
While most certainly mired within the confines of what we would label as death metal, Demilich took the familiar ingredients of the genre and forged something unmistakably unique with them. Death metal’s trademark aggression is filtered through a labyrinthine network of time signatures and the sort of dissonant harmonies you may expect to mind in modernist classical music. The rhythms ebb and flow with fluidity like a river current, much unlike the straightforward rampage you would expect to hear from a death metal album over twenty years old. Throughout the album, Demilich pays a consistent attention to detail in the shape of the riffs and flow of the composition. Whereas it would be expected even from a left-field band like this one to loosen the reins for a while and offer a taste of simplicity, Demilich doesn’t compromise their sophistication for a second. Even the slower parts of the song structures are complex and rich with detail.
On paper, the guitarwork on Nespithe might be sound like a description of jazz music before anything else, although you wouldn’t think it for a second while listening to music itself. Contrary to most metal, the chords seem to follow the lead guitar, as opposed to the other way around. While there’s certainly a proper method at work with these riffs, they sound liberated from conventional scales, pairing notes that wouldn’t normally go together. The guitars weave riffs that jitter and twitch like thoughts inside the mind of a madman. Demilich’s compositions are elevated greatly by a focus on harmony otherwise alien to most death metal. Tapping into the same pool of insight as neoclassical composers Krzysztof Penderecki and Gyorgy Ligeti, the guitar harmonies are unsettling, as if the two melodic lines are pulling in the opposite directions. Harmony is an exercise in music most often used to make a composition more beautiful or ‘pretty’, but the opposite rings true for Demilich’s use of it on Nespithe.
Although the lasting quality of Demilich’s work is large part in thanks to their inventive guitar work, nothing has contributed so much to the album’s reputation as have the now-infamous vocals of Antti Boman. The album booklet itself proudly proclaims that no effects were used to tweak the vocals, which might only be described as ‘cavernous’. It is typical in death metal for the vocalist to rely on aggression and volume to get his point across; Boman goes for something different entirely. Listeners have described his delivery as anything from a low guttural to a controlled burp, and they wouldn’t be wrong either; the man’s vocals are almost indiscernibly low-pitched, and quiet enough to slip right by an inattentive listener. I don’t know if I’ve heard of another extreme metal vocalist (sparing Silencer’s Nattramn) sparking such division in listeners; Boman demonstrates you don’t necessarily need volume to have presence. Although an acquired taste, the belching gutturals are eerie like nothing else. Where other death metal vocalists retain a shred of their humanity, the vocals here don’t sound like they’re being uttered by a human being. It’s no doubt clichéd to say in a metal review, but the gurgling sounds downright Lovecraftian in scope and atmosphere. The vocals are not intended to be the focus of the listener; instead, it adds a thundering resonance beneath the miasmatic riffs, quiet enough so that they never get in the way of the album’s strongest suit. Lacking entirely in dynamic, Boman’s delivery may be something of a one-trick gimmick, but considering that there’s still nothing else quite like it twenty years after the album’s release, the vocals still stand as a boon to the album’s standing and immortality. It’s a shame that some listeners can’t look past Demilich’s vocal choices, because even if Boman’s vocals lack the range of a more conventional masterpiece, they still come secondary to the otherworldly riffs that consume Nespithe.
Demilich enjoy a production style perfectly-fitted for their work. It sounds organic, pleasantly murky, and just crisp enough to showcase the technical finesse of the riffs themselves. The drum production could have done with a little greater dynamic range, but there’s nothing significant to complain about the way Nespithe has been crafted. In particular, the guitar tone never ceases to impress me; it sounds diseased and dark, as if the amplifiers are bellowing from some hellish underworld. When you imagine how difficult it must have been to properly mix vocals as low and subdued as Boman’s into the mix, it’s pretty impressive to hear them coming out so evenly with the rest of the music. Although the sheer alien illegibility of his vocals make the lyrics’ effect on the music negligible at best, Demilich have penned some pretty schizophrenic poetry to match the album’s monstrous atmosphere, and are well-worth checking out. It’s an album marvellously consistent in tone and style, and though Demilich do not stray any bit from their style, there are plenty of riffs that stand out as being memorable, provided the listener is diligent enough to seek them.
It only took one full-length for Demilich to innovate and, in turn, perfect their brand of alien death metal. In a way, it almost bodes well for the band’s cult of legacy that they never graced listeners with a second album. It’s forced listeners to get the most out of this one album, and left Nespithe a truly ‘one-of-a-kind’ experience. The belching bean-burrito burp vocals will turn some listeners off immediate, but to the uneasily swayed, there is richness and sophistication to enjoy here beyond almost anything else the genre has offered.
I decided to take a little second look at this album after several months. I used to hate this album back when I first got it, being bored out of my mind and overall unimpressed with it. After listening to it again I noticed that Nespithe was actually okay in many regards and definitely very listenable. Nespithe, being the only album ever released by the mysterious Demilich, is held up by many as an obscure classic. The bizzarre-ness of the sounds it projects is what is said to set this release apart from other, similar death metal. It showcases intricate technical workings to create a weird, almost molten sounding landscape with the slimy sound of the guitars, the burped vocals, and the just plain weird song titles. It certainly is bizarre and will leave many people scratching their heads as opposed to banging them. The real question though is, just HOW good is Nespithe really?
I would say this album is alright. The guitar work is talented, twisted, and complicated like trying to decode DNA. The vocals are another weird thing on this album, I would say they were generic, if Antti Boman were just growling instead of burping. I'm serious, he's actually singing in this odd growl / burp voice. Normally that would be a minus, but it goes well together with the very muddy, slimy sound of this album. One thing that hasn't changed from my earlier review though, is my opinion of the drummer being the most talented guy in the band. Mikko Virnes is able to come up with these complicated patterns as well as jarring blasts and twisted grooves that manage to add just a little bit of punch to the music. Demilich's talent is surely showcased well on Nespithe.
In spite of all these positives I just listed, this album is not without faults. While none of Nespithe's songs are bad, none of them are particularly memorable in any way. I mean, when I listen to this album I often forget which song I'm listening to. They also tend to ramble on for long periods of time with little indication of what's going on or where you are. The time signature changes can also leave you feeling a little bit lost as the song's structures can get very confusing and hard to follow. This album, while very memorable and bizarre, is not like the individual songs, which are not memorable and vary little. There's even a little bit of a double-edged sword to Boman's vocals as he is impossible to understand. And with all this weird, abstract stuff going on, I'd like to know just what freakish terrors he's talking about. The rambling pace of some of the songs also makes this a hard album to just listen to. You'd have to be doing something else at the same time in order to really get through this without becoming winded or bored.
In short, Nespithe is a good album and an unusual one at that. Is it a godly classic of tech-death majesty? no, not really. If you want to call this whole album a classic, I could kind of see your point. The sound of Nespithe is twisted, dark, and just plain odd and the riffs do pack quite the bit of punch from time to time. But the rambling song structures,same-y-ness, and lack of memorable songs just don't endear me very much. It's odd, eclectic feel makes it good background music for doing something else, like playing a video game, drawing, or working with tools. If you really want to find out for yourself if Nespithe is right for you, then go to their site, they have Nespithe and all their demos up for free, legal downloads from there. If you like it, then keep it for yourself. If not, just delete it and ignore it.
Since I first became interested in heavy metal in my teen years, I've had the interesting experience of watching certain kinds of music slowly grow on me while some others slowly get shrugged off. In those days, when I was stuck listening to the generic metal that I could find on the shelves at my local Best Buy, I thought that Metallica was the pinnacle of human ingenuity, that Iron Maiden was absurd and was nothing more than opera tracked over hard rock, and that Pantera was the heaviest and nastiest-sounding band of all time. Needless to say, to even be at the point of having an informed opinion of an album such as Nespithe, I have come a long way.
But all that aside, what's the purpose of this little narrative? It's to illustrate a point - to draw a parallel between my discovery of heavy metal and my discovery of this album. The point is to emphasize the mindset that is needed to appreciate a work as bizarre as this. You see, when one is stuck in that Metallica-based frame of mind, it's difficult to appreciate death metal (or black metal, or grindcore, etc...) as music. In all these years of listening to metal, death metal was the genre that took the longest for me to come to enjoy. The reason for this, I think, was that the bands and the albums that were the most readily accessible were also some of the most lackluster. Sure, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide are both exercises in brutality and aggression, but I find it difficult to really be engaged by that style of music. What it would ultimately take for me to garner an interest in death metal was to see the genre from an entirely different perspective.
This work by Demilich seems to play out like the answer key to a sheet of questions, all of those questions asking something akin to "what if we didn't do X?" What if we were heavy without being overly aggressive? What if we played death metal without resorting to brutality? What if we got a schizophrenic to write our lyrics and song titles? What if we had our vocalist belch his parts? ...and so on and so forth. The point is that the resulting album sounds starkly different from the prototypical death metal LP of the day.
Nespithe is mostly moderately-paced, bass-heavy, and freaky. It's sort of like the death metal answer to psychedelic rock. The vocals are years ahead of their time, predating the unending BREEEEEE of brutal death metal and goregrind by the better part of a decade, yet actually remaining (somewhat) intelligible. The tracking for the instruments is also unusual for the time period, with separate guitar and bass tracks playing from individual speakers. The percussion and the vocals are very subdued compared to the guitar and bass. The guitar is heavily downtuned, producing a tone that sounds like a predecessor to sludge metal.
The result of all this odd stuff is a bizarre listening experience which rumbles in the ears instead of roaring, and which confuses instead of terrifying. Nespithe is so drastically different from the common death metal of 1993 that it boggles the mind. The techniques which were the daily bread of the genre's musicians of the day are almost nowhere to be found on this album. The guitars aren't constantly playing tremolo lines. The drums aren't constantly churning out rapid-fire blast beats. In fact, even the double-bass is used somewhat sparingly. The vocals are not barked or roared or growled. They're gurgled.
This album very well may be as far away as one can get from the conventions of death metal and still be called death metal. It's a genre-warping, mind-bending experience. If you can find it in you to sit through it and appreciate its uniqueness, you will be greatly rewarded. It's really a shame that Demilich is no longer around to make more crazy music like this, but then again, that would spoil the novelty of this album, wouldn't it?
Demilich are one of the bands that anyone who is into extreme metal should listen to. Nespithe, their only full length album throughout their short career, is perhaps one of the main albums that has defined technical death metal. With the complete discography of the band available on their website, there is all the more no reason for any self-proclaimed fan of extreme metal to not listen to their pieces of artwork.
Nespithe is 40 minutes of insane technical death metal. The band's minds are so warped that not only the album title and one track (Erecshyrinol) is encrypted (or to smartasses, merely jumbled up), the ridiculously long song titles such as The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...) seem to confuse the listener and also ensures that Demilich leaves an impression to the listener, even before the listener has a chance to press the "play" button.
The main thing that struck me at first was Antti Boman's impossibly low vocals, which according to him, were 100% organic and 0% processed. As mentioned in the booklet of the album, "Absolutely no effects were used on the vocals in any way." His style of vocals is a hit-or-miss affair, at times even sounding as if he were growling and gargling water in his mouth at the same time.
The guitar riffs while complex and technical are nothing that bands nowadays tend to indulge in: wankery and mindless shredding. Take each of the instruments apart, you will get each person doing something that doesn't seem to make any sense. Yet put the instruments together, and everything just comes together and becomes instantaneously coherent. That's the beauty of this album and perhaps the reason why this album is considered a classic in the underground death metal scene.
The band also somehow manages to keep the atmosphere and the mood of the album evil and ominous throughout the album, perhaps due mainly to Antti's humanly-impossibly vocals but also because of the guitar solos that come in at the right note and at the right time, such as on The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed) where the solo begins on a sharp note when least expected, causing the listener to have his hair stand on end, then marvel at Demilich's genius after overcoming the initial shock.
The large number of reissues and rereleases of this album floating around, released by a number of reputable labels, is evidence of Demilich's legacy, something that most bands can only dream of achieving yet already done by a band that took only 5 years to leave their mark on the death metal scene.
This album is a hidden gem and a lost classic. Think back to early Scandinavian extreme metal and one immediately thinks of Sweden - Bathory, Nihilist, Dismember, Entombed and so on; Finland rarely comes into it.
Well this album shatters any myths that it was all about Sweden. This album is the missing link between European and US death metal. Amazing in its ability to fuse grotesquely guttural, heavy, loose death metal with psychedelic and avante garde technical metal. The mix is seamless.
Nespithe sounds like a mix of Mental Funeral era Autopsy, Necroticism era Carcass, and Unquestionable Presence era Atheist. Intricate riffs and pounding blast beats are merged perfectly with complex rhythms and time changes that keep the listener hooked, not knowing what to expect next.
This sounds nothing like any 'technical death metal' I have ever heard. Short(ish) track times, nothing fancy like Cynic or later Death and no ridiculous fret-wankery. This is way heavier and more evil. It sounds like Autopsy on acid.
The overall production is superb and for such and underground release it is a real surprise.
The guitar sound is deep and rich, corrosive and stacked with reverb. The playing is superb and I can hear similarities between the playing of Boman and Hytönen to that of Schaefer and Burkey from Atheist, and Mameli and Uterwijk of Pestilence. It's technical, but at the same time it never loses that loose feel that is so typical of Scandinavian death metal.
The drumming is beautifully fluid throughout the album, reminding me of Chris Reifert and Nicke Andersson. Mikko Virnes puts in a great performance, easily mixing jazz-orientated rhythms with blast beats and doom-outs. His performance is excellent, as is the drum sound.
With the bass guitar virtually non-existent it really is the rhythm guitar and drums which are the backbone of this recording. The production is crystal clear, but at the same time it sounds like it was recorded in a cave, deep underground, adding an atmospheric eeriness to the proceedings.
A lot is said about Antti Boman's vocals and while they are totally OTT - the most guttural vocals I have ever heard (the closest comparison I can think of is Bill Steer's vocals for early Carcass, but way deeper than that) - they do not detract from the music at all. That said, for me, they don't add a huge amount, reason being that they are undecipherable and, more importantly, the music is so captivating, so all consuming, that I barely hear the vocals. They are fairly low in the mix but sound quite detached from the other instrument tracks as well. I listen to this whole album and barely hear the vocals. It has to be said, though, that if they really were effect-free then they are undoubtedly the most outrageous vocals ever recorded.
In addition to the great music, the track titles are hilarious - "The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)", and "Inherited Bowel Levitation - Reduced Without Any Effort". It hints at the fact that they didn't take things (including themselves) too seriously.
I'm conscious of the fact that this review may make it seem as though the album is just a mix of Atheist, Carcass, Autopsy etc, but I have to say, while I can hear elements of those outfits in Demilich's music, this band is one of the most singularly original extreme metal acts ever to grace this rotten stage.
The band has made the whole album available for free download from its website, along with demos, rehearsals and live material, due to it getting shafted by Necropolis which didn't pay them royalties for sales of the reissue. It's a shame that they were put in the position where they felt they had to do this, but at the same time it means you have no excuse whatsoever for not listening to Demilich.
Download the album, check it out and then please seek out a proper copy of the album - you won't be disappointed.
If you’re new to harsh vocals, that would be your general impression of Demilich’s Nespithe. Indeed, these are some of the weirdest vocals in all of metal. What some people tend not to notice, however, is that this is generally some of the weirdest music in all of metal. Luckily, that’s what happens to make this so undeniably awesome in every way.
What we have here is simply the best Finnish death metal album that will ever be written, and possibly one of the best death metal albums in general. Yes, Nespithe is just that great. As usual for Finndeath, “that tone” is present. The interesting thing about it here is that it’s not muddy like it is on many Finndeath albums. Instead, it’s very clear, and that clarity makes every other instrument on the album that much more audible and discernible from each other. For most Finndeath, that really isn’t necessary. It may be great, but old school death metal tends to not be on the more technical side of things. Well, Demilich kindly objected to that generalization, and created a highly dissonant album with convoluted song structures and an atmosphere that is unlike anything in death metal. The clear guitar sound, and the excellent production in general, lets everything be heard down to the last detail.
It’s odd to find that the atmosphere on any album can be most defined by the vocals, but this is certainly the case here. It’s hard to describe, but the vocals here are just other-worldly. This literally feels like the croakings of a monster from an extra-dimensional dystopian wasteland. Ok, now I got my excessively descriptive sentence out of the way. Seriously, though, the vocals here are literally the most unique vocals in all of metal. I don’t even know if anyone else can even get anywhere close to replicating this. The members of Demilich claim that there were no effects used on the vocals while recording Nespithe, and since no evidence is known to the contrary, I think we have to take them on their word for now. Hopefully this is the case, because a performance this unorthodox being made naturally be a human being is an awesome thought.
The guitarwork here is some of the best in all of death metal. The riffs here are dissonant, yet also fucking catchy. Seriously, this may seem inaccessible at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll realize how fucking catchy these riffs are! The song structures are always progressing, so riffs never become stale, but the transitions from riff to riff are executed incredibly well. If anything, the transitions are one of the most important factors that accentuate the catchiness of each riff. Yet what also makes these riffs so great is how well they work in conjunction with the drums. The drum rhythms alternate from simple to unorthodox with ease, and each of these percussive rhythms work incredibly well with each riff to further emphasize the off-kilter rhythmic structures that Demilich emphasizes. An interesting thing about the drum rhythms here is that there are very few blastbeats, and when they’re used, it’s for very short periods of time. If you ask me, that is probably best for Demilich’s brand of death metal, because it leaves room for the vocals and guitars, and gives the percussion a change to support the music in more ways than just “being brutal.” Hell, this isn’t even a brutal album at all. It sticks to the same pace for pretty much the entire running time, yet manages to stay interesting throughout. As much as I love my evil, brutal, and relentlessly heavy death metal, I have a lot of respect for bands that put atmosphere over brutality and create albums that far surpass almost every other album in terms of general quality.
Overall, what we have here is an amazing piece of classic Finnish death metal. This is easily a “top five” death metal album of all time for me, and there’s really no reason why anyone shouldn’t like it. If you’ve gotten past your “I hate harsh vocals” stage of n00b-dom as a metal fan, then this really isn’t as inaccessible as some make it out to be. Sure, the vocals are incredibly guttural, but they’re not oppressive guttural or painful to listen to. I actually find them to be quite soothing. Musically, this is one of the more adventurous death metal albums, and for its atmosphere alone, you should check it out. Luckily, Demilich have it on their website for free download, both in VBR~224kbps quality mp3 and FLAC formats. Go download this classic now!
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about this record is just how different it sounds to the rest of what this unremitting genre has to offer. Demilich have accumulated a myriad of fans and critics (thusly exposure) on the basis of how, in almost every effect, they are truly unique. However it is also essential to note that uniqueness in itself is of little validity without an egregiously solid or acquiescently harmonious sound base, which is almost exactly what Demilich offers.
Unlike most classical works without the realm of Metal, Demilich is duly noted for the most bizarre and possibly inhuman vocals ever delivered from Luciano Pavarotti to Rob Halford, (please do not misapprehend this to be a true comparison, they are entirely different singers altogether) Antti Boman manages to give this album an entirely new dimension which prior to the existence of this record, hadn't yet come to existence. It is true that the main attraction of this album, or rather, the curiosity directed towards it, is because of this enigmatically eccentric, vocalized type of death metal, yet Demilich also propose much more.
The riffs throughout the entire album are without a doubt abrasive, and might even deter first time listeners altogether. Demilich have opted to completely ditch the idea of creating riffs which would induce a physical seizure (unlike Morbid Angel or Sepultura) yet favored a much more pragmatic, and dare I say, musically profound approach which does not rest on any single instrument. The entire band seems to flow altogether, with sufficient mastery of their instruments, without overdoing it in terms of speed. Keep in mind that this record was released in 1993, where bands like Nile, Necrophagist, Psycroptic and Dying Fetus hadn't released true Technical Death Metal per say.
The guitars are without a doubt enjoyable. You won't find yourself frequently headbanging to the guitar riffs, yet, much like Richard Wagner, you'll find yourself in awe of just how well they are assembled. Demilich pride themselves more on how eccentric and wild they sound, rather than how catchy. Yet regardless, there are many moments throughout this album when the guitars do come together to make something which most death metal would find admirable. Palm mute picking and legatos are all over the place, so expect a lot less melody and more frenzy. Solos aren't exceptional as one would have hoped, yet I wouldn't have expected anything like Malmsteen on this record, instead you have highly anti melodic stances and sporadic appearances of what might appear to be a solo.
Drums are perhaps the most unremarkable asset to this album. Virnes is by no means a slouch, he is infact a double bass freak, not so much his speed, yet the fact he enjoys giving it a go at every opportunity. However he doesn't exactly manage to capture anything truly worthy of mention, and prefers to remain within the background of the musical constrict than credit for an awesome performance as say, Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy would.
An instrument which does deserve credit is bass however, surprisingly audible and interesting, it would have been very interesting to see what Corpse would have been capable of producing in later records, he clearly has the finesse to play the instrument.
Overall I would say the average death metal fan might not find this album intriguing, although there is no denying the fact that Demilich have produced something which is absolutely distinctive and maybe even unrecognizable. A truly legendary death metal album in every construct and one, which although might not have changed the general consensus to this genre, will remain a pillar of death metal for all time. One would have wanted to listen to what this group could have offered rather than let ones own imagination wearily drift.
...if all tech death was as good as this?! My opinion on that rhetorical question is quite obvious. Still I could have chosen an easier album as my first review here in MA. Because Demilich's Nespithe is all but simple. In fact now that I think of it probably wasn't my smartest move...Oh what the hell let's get it on shall we?
Demilich, historically speaking, is one of the most important bands to have come out of the Finnish underground of the early nineties. And this is probably the most famous Death Metal record to have come from that country, alongside Demigod's Slumber Of Sullen Eyes. So what does Nespithe sound like? As I said before it's music is all but simple. In fact this album has some of the most complex and atonal riffs this side of Gorguts! Got you interested?
The first track begins with Mikko Virnes displaying his amazing skills behind the drums, blasting his way around until the guitar comes in. And boy does this guy know how to use a drum kit! You'll then immediately notice that this is all but your conventional riffing. If that wasn't weird enough Antti Boman starts...well, singing. Let me just say that he doesn't sound human at all! Is tone is so deep and gurgling that he seems to be exhaling from his stomach rather than his lungs. Then the show of atonal riffing and amazing drum work continues, dragging you into a totally different dimension. Just try and listen to this album with your eyes closed without feeling the creeps. It's like a dreary landscape of an outside universe, and you're traveling through it without any chance of escape as if you were being sucked by a black hole. At this point there's no return and no tomorrow, just the insurmountable wall of blast beats and atonal riffing that Demilich brings you, complimented with a voice that would make any Alien run off to his mommy!
There a lot of tempo changes throughout the album and many in every song. The guitar work alone will leave anyone trying to emulate it with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! The distortion they use is one of the best I've heard, and along with the odd riffing it only ads to that otherworldly feeling. The amazing thing about Nespithe is that it was all accomplished with just one guitar. The bass is very good, very audible and with deep tone, sounding at times as if it was a second guitar. It normally follows the guitar which already screams how hectic it is, although at some points it does shine on its own. Now apart from Aki Hytonen's amazing guitar work, what shines the most about this album are the drums. Holy shit, this guy drums as if he was an epileptic having a seizure, with incredibly weird tempo changes, blasting away just to crawl to a slow pace the very next second. At this point I begin to wonder if Demilich are even human and not a bunch of exiled aliens because frankly some of the tempo changes have to be heard to be believed.
The production on this album is also very good. Every instrument is always perfectly audible, and the bass tone alone will leave any Metal fan salivating. The drum and guitar sound are perfect and the mix is perfectly complimented by that inhuman voice. This album isn't an easy first listen, that's for sure. In fact some will probably dismiss it in seconds. But believe me, once you got yourself acquainted with their type of riffing and Antti Boman's vocals it will be just a matter of time until you start spending more and more time on that outer world they create in your room. If you like atonal riffing, insane drums that go from blast beats to a slow pace, a bass that's always audible and an inhuman voice, then go listen to Nespithe. It's an amazing and very complex album that will take some time for you to understand, but will definitely grow on you.
Oh, you're looking for highlights on this album? I recommend you listen to the whole album from start to finish. I guarantee that by the end of it you'll fell like you've been away for hours when in fact only 39 minutes have passed!
Somehow in the recent years Demilich has been removed from their obscurity that befell them in the 90's into these sort of god-like beings ever since some poor schlub discovered this album on a whim. I can see why people would find this album entertaining, but let's get to the point:
It's not very good.
A simple, generalized blanket statement like that won't get me very far so it's best to explain that, isn't it? Well, first off is the mixing; it's atrocious. Anyone who has any sort of ear for production would hear immediately that the drums are far too low, the vocals are stilted and not centered, and the guitars are so spaced left and right, and have so little distortion that the resulting sound is one of airy weakness.
Sure, lack of distortion is not bad, but when you lack distortion you record multiple takes of the same guitar track to beef up the sound, which they obviously never did, or they multi-tracked really weak distortion. I also mentioned the lowness of the drums, and that is a big problem. The vocals overpower everything when they enter, and that is a shame since the vocals are a wobbly mess.
Some people seem to have marked the vocals as god-like, akin to the Wormed style (Phlegeton), and this too puzzles me. The band denies any vocal effects, but it's kind of apparent that they did something to them. The human voice simply does not reverberate the way Antti's vocals do on this album, and the pitch is similar to a burp, a sound that a human cannot constantly do as displayed here. Until I have seen Annti's live mic-rig, and heard them play live, I will maintain that they are pitch shifted a full step down. When you re-pitch the album a full step, the whole thing sounds a lot more presentable and believe. Oh, and I can't forget that vocals seem recorded by an amateur, as in they always shifting where they are in the mix, left -> right -> left, etc.
Anyways, enough bashing the production. The song's have ridiculous titles that have made me chuckle more than anything, but the whole word displacement like "Nespithe" = "The Spine" and "Erecshyrinol" = "No Lyrics Here" is a pretty cool concept, but it falls face first after such anthems as "The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...)". That's a bit nitpicky, and I didn't subtract points for it, but come on!
Onto the positives.
The riff writing is maniacal absurdity, and that definitely makes up for the lack of production finesse. The whole atmosphere of the album is one of foreboding, very akin to a story by a certain H.P. Lovecraft. The whole album, I feel, is analogous to his story "The Music of Erich Zann". To clue you in, if you hadn't read the thing, it's about a man who finds a lodging on a street that he can't remember even finding, only to come into contact with a man capable of writing and hearing melodies that drive off an intradimensional force that only he can see because of his apparent height in an apartment building.
The titular musician is beset by the floundered student, and attempts to explain to him all of his troubles, but is overcome by the music so much that he is killed by the other forces, but is playing his melodies even after death, to ward his corpse of evils.
If you felt a chill down your spine whilst listening to this album and reading that explanation (as I did when writing it), you get it. That is the atmosphere: bizarre and confusing, but also horrifying and spectacular in its beauty. The atmosphere itself makes up for the production, drumming, and guitar issues (and the vocal confusion).
My low score might have given a negative connotation of my opinion towards this album, but that is not the case at all. While listening to the whole thing can be tiring, as the whole thing sticks to a plodding pace, and the drums are so tinny and processed that the semi-trained ear will laugh at this, but the atmosphere is hellish and twisted. An amorphous horror creeping towards your brain, devouring your will to live along the way, letting you sink into a nice safe zone to be devoured by this album eternally.
Demilich has got to be one of the most awe-inspiring death metal bands ever from the early days. Four demos’ and one full-length later they broke up which is sad, leaving us with only these releases to marvel at. The full-length “Nespithe” is absolutely essential to any technical metal heads collection.
From the opening riff and double bass section on the first track you get the idea that with most of these songs being released in the early 90’s on the demos, this band was ahead of their time. The first seven songs are completely flawless. Dual guitars with some of the catchiest leads of the time are on display here, while the drum work of Mikko Virnes is on par with that of Mike Smith and Pete Sandoval. His doubles bass work is the perfect speed which complements the whirling guitar work, while the well placed blast beats were some of the best of that era. I personally think his blast beats were the best of the early 90’s.
The band also spices up the low end with some great rhythm work on tracks one, four, and six. Rhythm riffs ride underneath the leads or the solos, in a profound yet catchy sense, leaving you wanting more. In fact that’s the one aspect I can’t seem to get enough of, and wish they had released a second album expanding on this songwriting idea. The eighth song is an instrumental which goes a little overboard at times with the technical instrumentation, sort of like a foundation for “Cabinet” era Spawn of Possession. However that is all but a small complaint. The remaining tracks fall right back into place with the first seven.
The overall catchiness of the riff writing and song writing is unparalleled especially for 1993. No other band sounded like this that I know of and the overall technical prowess of this band was a tier above all others in the death metal scene in that era. This release is inspiration for bands we know today such as Spawn of Possession, Sulaco, Carpharnaum, and later era Gorguts. Check out the first demo “The Four Instructive Tales of Decomposition" while you’re at it for the proof that the vocals on “Nespithe” were done without effects.
Technical death metal appears to have found some kind of new leese of life recently, with most "promising" new death metal bands having a ridiculously squeaky clean production and having lots of fun playing scales at break-neck speed. Note that I did not at any point use the words "song" and "writing" in that description, and that is where the problem has been with alot of modern death metal.
I would love to tell you that this band is here to stop all that, but they already have, way back in the early 90's. This album is praised by a few and unknown by many, so I will tell you now that newer death metal bands may learn a thing or two by listening to this underground classic.
The sound present here is technical yet atmospheric, heavy but also melodic and chaotic yet very well ordered. Similarities to "Necroticism" era Carcass have been made and I can see the comparison, however everything on display is just a little more unpredictable and schizophrenic. The vocals, for example, are similar to Bill Steers backing vocals in Carcass' older albums but just that bit lower, and less human. These vocals may come across as reasonably similar to every dime-a-dozen "Brutal" vocalist, but these are delivered in a way that they accompany the insanity and atmospheric quality of the music perfectly.
Guitars play chromatcially orientated melodic lines that tend to vary greatly in scalic hierachy,but always make sense in the context of the song. Songwriting is precisely thought out, seemingly random at first like jazz, however further listens reveal the themes and motifs played regularly re-ocurr throughout the song like some kind of extra-terrestrial symphony. The production work on this albums also adds to this feel with the sound being very clear but also deep and still retaining an ancient feel similar to other death metal bands of the legendary era.
Another great aspect of the release is its tempo variation accompanied by a very intricate rhythm section. The sludgy melodic lines twinned with the guttural vocals are tamed by an always audible bass and a very impressive drum performance. The bass here is written very purposefully and does not always follow the guitar line as in common in much of metal music, even sometimes taking the lead which is more noticeable in tracks such as "The Cry". The production and guitar technique lead to these possibilities, as the guitar plays very long melodic riffs that are also often very catchy , which creates an opportunity for the bass
to create an undercurrent of low end heading off in a different direction wherever necessary.
Drums are played very competently and are written to be part of a whole rather than sounding like the drummer is trying to let you know just how great he is. They vary from some doomy sounding slow beats all the way to a full on blast and most devices in between. The fills and transitions of the drum patters remind me alot of the drumming on early Atheist recordings, where the fills are cleverly syncopated and blasts and double kick used to accent the more crushing areas of the songs. This maintains a more personal feel for the listener rather than just being the borderline technical exercise combined with over-triggered sound that many drummers in modern death metal bands seem to utilise.
Overall this release sees another early 90's expression of morbid beauty and is as original today as it was back when it was released. If you are able to track it down I suggest paying the price, however these artists have made it available for free download from their website, so you have no excuse to not sit back and be taken to another planet that once used to absorb flesh in order to achieve divinity
What a disgusting beast of an album released by Demilich back in 1993. After listening to the first few seconds of the opener “When the Sun Drank the Weight of Water”, you know you are in for something quite different and unusually strange. Demilich is labeled as technical death metal, however I don’t see them as exactly technical, because they leave out all the unnecessary wankery that you may find in a lot of music labeled as technical. What Demilich does manage to do is create a wonderfully unusual blend of guitar riffing that is fairly high-pitched and tends to be broken and somewhat unrelated, but they manage to make all of the riffs work together to form one highly unique album. The guitars basically sound like a sonic boom bouncing all over the walls of a deep cave (I don’t think that will help much). The guitars swamp you will a swirling wall of sound unlike anything I’ve heard before.
To be honest, it is difficult to write a review that really gives you a good idea of what the guitar work sounds like on this album, but there are some aspects that can be described in relatively close proximity. For example, the vocal work on this album is just insane. Antti Boman sounds like a belching demon frog unlike any other. Not that there are many belching demon frogs as a vocalist in death metal, but that is about as close as you can get to describing the vocal style on this album. This is actually quite close and it is really a good change to hear something so bizarre and unique that is just makes you wonder how Antti Boman’s voice is able to do this over the course of the album without becoming permanently damaged. Antti Boman uses some cryptic lyrics as well giving just a little bit more of a mystique to this already out-of-this-world album (just look at the song titles).
The drumming on this album is really balanced well. Mikko Virnes does an excellent job in playing to the guitarists and never taking attention off of them since the guitars are the main focal point in Nespithe. If you don’t stop to listen to the drumming you may never realize just how entertaining they are since they are a little lower in the mix. The great thing about the drumming is that he doesn’t use blast after blast, the style is more of a Tomas Haake-esque of broken fractured drumming that I tend to love. Of course, Nespithe in general sounds like a mixture of broken glasses fused together to create the overall song structures, which makes them very confusing and technical in a loose sense of the word.
I would go through the album giving some sort of a relative description song by song, but I think I lack the words (and the energy) to really capture whatever this album is. I will say this album manages to suck me into the sick disfigured world that Demilich has managed to construct and keep me there throughout the album without any trouble. The best thing that you can do if you fancy yourself a death metal fan is to give this album a few listens, but I’m betting it would be difficult to find any death metal fan that hasn’t listened to this album except for people new to death metal.
It is a real shame that this is the only full-length ever put out by Demilich, because this album was simply chaotic brilliance. Nespithe was ahead of its time and still sounds fresh and highly original 16 years after its initial release.
The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)
The Echo (Replacement)
The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity (...Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness...)
And You'll Remain... (In Pieces in Nothingness)
I reviewed this album about 4-5 years ago, and I raved about how great this record was. Before it got removed, I had been meaning to update the review, it was very childish, it looked like a 15 year old had wrote it. But that doesn't really matter, the point of the review was to talk about how great this album is. I consider Demilich's Nespithe to be one of two "towers" of death metal: albums so untouchable, along with Gorguts' classic Obscura album, that they "tower" above everything else. I don't know what possessed these drunk Finnish guys to write this mind-warping record, but I'm really glad they did. It's impressive.
First off, I highly recommend anyone not familiar with this band to visit Demilich's official website and download this, and all their demo material. The demo works had, as another review put it, a putrid, rotten sound. To me, the demo tapes were old slabs of beef, and the music were the maggots slowly eating away at the decaying flesh. However, the leap from the demos to this record is astounding. The music no longer reminds you of 2 month old milk. This makes you picture unexplored universes, the darkest depths of existance, and the most paranoid sectors of your mind. It's a sci-fi movie almost, with the twisting, burrowing guitars jumping from riff to riff, melody to atonal melody, all kept in some sort of awkward alignment by the drum work. I've been listening to death metal for a long time, and I've yet to find an album that sounds like this. And all this without taking Antti Boman's vocals into account. I've seen a few discussions on whether Antti pitchshifted his vocals to sound the way they do, but I highly doubt it. They sound like a drunk man burping into a microphone. Yet somehow this makes sense. It's a voice from the past, present, and future. It's the voice of a subconscious mind. I cannot imagine any other vocal style fitting the music as well as these vocals do.
My only two complaints are the usual old school death metal complaints: the bass is not very audible, and the album is too short. Valid complaints to be sure, but they seem so insignificant here. Looking at the big picture of this album, everything is as it should be. Nespithe wouldn't be Nespithe if you changed it even the slightest bit. It's an album to be heard at least once in your lifetime, because there isn't anything as strange sounding, or as musically filling, as this is. Simply put, this album will stand the test of time. Not because of what genre it is, not because of the history of the band, or anything else, except the music. This is some strange, twisted music, an example of creativity unlike any other.
This album is beyond bizarre, abstract and just pure fucking chaos. There’s hardly any other way to describe how utterly strange and otherworldly this album sounds. Its also difficult to express just how fucking great it is.
Throughout the album, Demilich explore the abstract realm, the universe and beyond. The realms of the abstract are explored with eerie and chaotic melodies that sound somewhat disjointed and alienating. Strangely enough however, they are not malformed and are sequenced quite smoothly; never stepping out of the boundaries of coherency. It is as if though they find order within chaos, or chaos within order. Never before has melodic interplay been so dissonant and chaotic, but yet beautiful in its own strange way.
Exploration is taken further with unpredictable song construction that seems somewhat random but ,as stated previously, coherent. They certainly do manage to obtain a sense of chaos with their unpredictable arrangements, but they never just throw in random riffs for their own sake. Every song is composed coherently and with creative thought.
Identifiable recursive song structures are nonexistent. Songs are mostly linearly constructed, always moving forward and never looking back. Of course, there’s no mean to say that Demilich blast their way through this at 299 bpm. Throughout the album Demilich prefers to plod at a nice groovy mid pace tempo with the occasional blasting section. Indeed, they take their time exploring and discovering the cosmic planes and the mind within.
Of course, whats exploration if you don’t have people with the guts to explore? Especially a realm that is as chaotic as that of the abstract. Demilich are not only explorers and discoverers, but they are also able musicians as well. Guitar melodies are just pain fucking weird, constantly evolving and on the move, never settling down to any mere pretentious simplistic riffage or sappy melodies. The melodic interplay is almost alien, expressing all things abnormal, chaotic and, well, abstract.
Drumming is not the most complex thing in the world, but its just exactly were it needs to be, and there is no senseless wanking off. Drumming exists to provide some killer groove as they drift into unknown dimensions.
Bass is also a worthy mention. Counterpoints exist in the bass department for the sake of yet even more chaos weirdness. Then we have the vocalist. The vocalist utilizes an amazingly low and guttural belch that sounds really sick and ugly. Hey, whoever said that the abstract realm was a pretty place anyway?
All instruments harmonize in an obscure way, just like the cosmos itself. I guess its safe to say that Nespithe is the soundtrack to the cosmos. This album is very obscure and otherworldly, just like the cosmos. This album also harmonizes in its own strange and abstract way, just like the cosmos. Whatever it is that Demilich tried to express, there is no doubt that this is one of the most fascinating and matchless Death Metal albums ever created.
While it’s not true that all death metal sounds alike, it could certainly stand to be less true – and this is not a call for flutes or jazz or… Hell forbid, Egyptian music. The worst path to supposed originality in any kind of music, and probably any kind of anything, is to take something stereotypical and combine it with something weird and call it a day. Genre conventions are usually not completely arbitrary – death metal’s aesthetics exist for a reason, and breeching them simply for the sake of doing so rarely leads to satisfying results.
The best path to originality, on the other hand, is simply to have a unique point of view. Unfortunately, I suppose you either have your own perspective or you don’t, and calculated attempts to simulate one are sure to make for an inadequate substitute for the real thing.
Demilich possesses a unique point of view. This album’s booklet encodes the lyrics in a cryptogram. Note the bizarre, surreal song titles as well. More conspicuously – most conspicuously, in fact, of all the band’s idiosyncrasies – are those vocals, which sound like… a pitch-shifted demon frog from the bowels of Hell? Could be. Only he’s not using any processing after all, which just makes it that much scarier.
Those are only a few of the more visible signs of the strangeness permeating this music. It is probably not possible to adequately describe the riffing style in words. I have heard Demilich described as technical metal, but I’ve never really thought of them as such. This may be tricky music, but it doesn’t sound forced, or like a demonstration. It simply sounds unnatural, lurching from one note to the next in a very wrong-sounding way.
Insanity is a standard theme in metal and especially in death metal. Ordinarily it’s dealt with from the perspective of a criminologist, callous and apathetic, like an autopsy. Nespithe makes me think of insanity, but viewed from the inside out, in a state of alienation from reality. That would be Demilich’s unique point of view?
This release (the only full length) from the Finnish quartet has surely made people scratch their collective noggins. Indeed a very unique sound they have achieved. With this unique sound, they have achieved a certain cult following, and rightfully so. The off-kilter riffs and otherworldly, bowel rumblingly low vocals from frontman Anti Bowman and the overall sound off total chaos have added to the mystique of Nesphite.
They have a certain dynamic which is hard to explain, but their sound is very much that of "extraterrestial" sludgy, melodic death metal (with grindy passages no less). The listener is wowed with an assembly of strange riffs and drum patterns which are difficult to follow the first time around. Multiple listens are required to get a good grasp of what it is all about. The recording of the album adds alot to its appeal. Most instruments are heard quite clearly in this high pitched mess. The guitar sometimes sounds buried under the drums and vocals, but this does not detract from the actual experiance. The sound is still very crisp and enjoyable.
The lyrics and song titles are wonderfully funny ("When the Sun Drank the Weight of the Water"... ?!?!?!?!) and show that they do not take themselves too seriously.
The flow is very good as all tracks seem to follow up the preceeding one perfectly.
While being quite technical, they never go "balls to the wall" tech by shedding the living hell out of their guitars or ripping the drum heads off. Yet the solos are extremely enjoyable in their oddly melodic glory. The album is far from simple, rather it take a differant approach to be technical/unconventional. Completely original, never boring, they manage to find a way to stay complex without boring the listener.
Be sure to go over to their website to download the FULL album (along with the excellant demos) to enjoy this lost classic.
If non-humanoid space aliens ever sent a probe to our solar system with a golden record of their finest music, it probably would not be far off from Demilich's Nespithe. This is one of the most bizarre, psychedelic albums I have ever heard, and the track names only provide a glimpse of how outlandish this album is. Though classified as death metal, this strikes me as something created outside of planet Earth.
The first thing that someone will notice upon hearing it is the vocals -- the first thing I thought when I heard it was that the vocalist was the most impressive belcher I had ever heard, though that's actually not the case. They vocals are beyond guttural, and from what I recall reading, are naturally created through some method of tilting the head down. The lyrics are beyond the wildest fantasies of any space madness-induced hallucination, and I can not even begin to describe them in a sober state of mind.
The musical structure of the album is convoluted and beyond chaotic, yet is coherent. While the music can be difficult to follow due to its chaos, its countless riffs linger in the mind individually. Most are twangy, some are death/thrashy, but all of them seem to fit into place. The pace of the album seems to be smooth the entire way through, regardless of the occasional blasting and non-shred solos, progressing at a medium pace, which is possibly why the album doesn't sound like a complete cacophony.
This is a unique album, and should be appreciated as such. It's not exactly aesthetically pleasing or exciting in any traditional senses, and it won't strike anyone as "heavy fucking metal," but it is so weird that not acquiring it through whatever means (it's free for download) will leave you incomplete.
After discovering that Demilich(or any band for that matter) put up their whole discography for full-length downloads on their website, I was totally shocked. Heh, I thought Vanden Plas offered their latest album Beyond Daylight for a full download, but they didn't.
Needless to say, I was totally blown away to hear this. I don't understand the legal situation as to why this was a free download, etc., but I do know that the band members were very upset that the rerelease of Nespithe and their first demo didn't sell well. No offense to Demilich, but I figured that none of their albums would sell well. It's not because they're not good...oh no they're far from not good--it's just that they're on a relatively obscure record label and not well-known. That's a valid assumption, isn't it?
Well, I downloaded three tracks at a time from their site and eventually burned the album and listened to it from beginning to end and I must say this is some groundbreaking work. Other reviewers may think I'm crazy, but Demilich's overall style sounds like a head-on collision of Disembowelment and Meshuggah, especially with the sound of Meshuggah's Nothing album. Sure, Demilich doesn't change tempos quite as much and it's not as jagged and jarring, but they have a tremendous wall of sound from track one to track eleven. It's another one of those albums that isn't easy to headbang to because the main melodies aren't decipherable enough. It's meant to be listened to simply as a work of art and not an outlet for metalheads' aggression. I admit that I did find myself headbanging occasionally, but not too often. Maybe if I wasn't busy cleaning up my room I would've headbanged more to it.
It's been said before that the vocalist sounds like he's talking out of his small-intestine, and I guess I say that I concur. How can someone make this assertion though? Has anyone ever talked out of his or her small intestine? That sounds like something only possible in the silly microcosmic world of Cannibal Corpse. To make it simpler, I'll just say that the vocals sound similar to that of grindcore bands or experimental brutal death metal bands like Wormed. They're very unique. Don't take it from me. Download the album. It's beckoning you.
Unlike Nothing, this has quite a lot of soloing, which is always refreshing to hear in death metal. Immolation has especially good soloing, by the way. The solos usually come near the end of the songs and that adds a dramatic effect to them.
Like UltraBoris said about Pantera's Reinventing the Steel, this album suffers from overconsistency a little bit(haha, funny term), but it's more acceptable for this type of music, which attempts to drown the listener in a massive whirlpool of sound. For styles similar to Pantera's, it's more appropriate for songs to have stronger identities. Heh, it's an abstract concept.
I can see why this album is thought of as a classic death metal album. That distinction is not only for the music, but because of the notoriety of it. It's like that Mayhem album with the picture of dead Euronymous on the front cover.
Anyone remotely into death metal, especially unique, intelligent death metal, should download this ASAP. Anyone who says there's no excuse for not having this album if you're a fan of death metal is partly wrong. There are a lot of factors that come into play that could hinder someone from downloading this, but try to download it FIRST before deciding to order it.
Oh, and another thing, the song titles on this release are out of this world. I particularly like the one named Inherited Bowel Levitation- Reduced Without Any Effort. Does this title mean that someone inherited the ability to shit into the toilet without sitting down? Does it also mean that someone inherited the ability to stand up over the toilet and mechanically lower their rectum to be sure the turds fall into the toilet and don't splash water all over the place?
Eh, I'm just making fun of the song titles and how the lyrical themes for this band on this site mention abstract concepts. Hey, this band, in essence, could be making the simple art of taking a shit abstract. You never know.