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A True Classic - 98%

hexen, August 31st, 2010

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.