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City of Ib - 83%

lord_kexasthur, August 9th, 2008

This album can be pretty much described as death metal with a melodic edge; the production is very clear and modern-sounding, very brutal though. The guitar has an extremely heavy and chubby thick-like-hell guitar tone. The guitar actually predominates the sound of the album pretty much, but the drumming is pretty good too and decent in the mix although laid back. The bass gets somewhat lost under that guitar, which you can most certainly expect when you hear the guitar tone. So the bass isn’t really audible in most of the album, but you can feel it throughout and even hear it clearly on some songs.

The vocals change over the album as a whole, you have the usual growls and in some songs the higher-pitched shieks, the vocals seem pretty monotonous in each song on its own though since they rarely fluctuate, but the good thing about them is that they sometimes come close from those sick shrieks Peter Tägtgren did in Nightmares Made Flesh, yes Rogga Johansson has proved to be one of the best extreme vocalists to come out of Sweden throughout his career and he certainly doesn’t disappoint here.

It’s overall pretty standard death metal, but has a depth to it so you have to give it more than just one listen to get into it. The songs are not really fast or anything, they are mid-paced, alternate between that and some faster pace between the riffs being thrown, but this is the sort of album where you just listen to and headbang slowly to. You can even notice some slightly tangible black metal influence in some songs like “Monolithany pt.II”, but that happens at moments and doesn’t really last long.

This album lacks variety somewhat, maybe because the guitar tone is just too heavy and thick controlling everything else, just like it’s going in a straight rigid line. However, listening deeply inside the songs, you won’t find any song that is like the other; probably just done with the same standards but different implementation, with different melodies and riffs.

Demiurg also try to create an atmosphere here, probably with such type of death metal, it would be pretty impossible to create a very distinctive atmosphere, but it practically works well here, because the band doesn’t try to create anything so imaginative. The monstrous feel of the riffs really do help in setting the foot of the atmosphere, but sometimes it seems insufficient and would have made the atmosphere seem somewhat dull if the keyboards weren’t introduced, and thus the keyboard’s use was to complement the mood.

City of Ib is a notable highlight here, with one of the catchiest headbanging riffs in the album, and some sick echoed grunts. Just flows so amazingly altogether. Orbiting a dead sun also offers a really enjoyable combination of all the instruments.

This is an album that should appeal to a lot of death metal fans, specifically if you enjoy death metal with an edge to melody and a spice of atmosphere, but hate melodeath/Gothenburg metal. It will most certainly appeal to those who are looking for something variant from the classic old-school death metal. If you like Dan Swano’s projects, well he certainly left his touch on this album creating a suitable ambiance with Rogga really excelling again.

Successful atmospheric death metal - 85%

Milo, October 29th, 2007

Yet another Dan Swano project, and this is one is really good. “The Breath of the Demiurg” is a gorgeous package, full of atmosphere, great melodies and pure death metal aggression. It’s pretty much a multidimensional revampment of the formula we know and love: raw yet complex guitar work, in-your-face attitude and a good dose of heaviness. Here, however, these elements become more significant and immersive when melded with said atmospheric/melodic leanings.

As said before, the foundations of TBOTD are muscular, aggressive death metal. And here we need to talk about the competent production job and the great guitar tone generated. First off, the drums are not in the forefront. The spotlight was reserved for the guitars and their extremely chunky, almost noisy sound which turns the riffs into monsters. When you ally great production job and musical skills, the result is this: an album in which every riff seems to have its particular meaning. The band also creates structures to receive the better riffs and melodies, resulting in true memorability. Overall, the guitar work is very good, because it brings the joy of listening to a true DM album not plagued by recycling from mainstays of the genre. When you listen to it, you don’t find anything out of place, and at the same time you take notice of small details that make the listening even more satisfying. At the first time I listened to TBOTD, I found it just “solid”, but when listened with attention, the album reveals its true colors. I believe some people may need a while until they accept the grainy guitar tone, which is nothing “liquid” (lack of a better word) like, say, in Deeds of Flesh’s “Reducted to Ashes”. But don’t let that deter you. I guarantee you’ll find out how awesome it is in little to no time.

“The Breath of the Demiurg” doesn’t deny the tradition which made death metal a force in the heavy metal world but, at the same time, it doesn’t eschew attempts of giving the music new magnitude. Here, the melodies are pure atmospheric sharpness, holding some good surprises. Being successful at providing plenty of opportunities for interpretation, this tool conveys more than the usual evilness of death metal. That evilness coexists with moments of dynamic ambience, beauty, even some peace. The slight black metal influence (long tremolo passages with the characteristic guitar tone, arranged like in Xenomorph’s “Necrophilia Mon Amour”) is not overly complex but effective. Once again, I need to sing the praises of the guitar tone, which is wide enough both to enrich the DM core and to provide the embellishment that makes this album special. The discreet keyboard effects make things even better.

All in all, TBOTD is a great album. It’s fluent and accessible but far from ordinary, even when there’s a lot going on. It’s also traditional and at the same time, progressive. Earthy and sophisticated. Good job.