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Overblown, Yet Still Satisfying - 65%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, June 6th, 2010

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.