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As the title suggests, this is one evil album. Now, I'm not the type who sits around in his basement listening to black metal because I believe it's truly evil and that it elevates me above the rest of the flock; I simply listen out of enjoyment. I could care less about who's the most kvlt, or who's the most evil, that aesthetic doesn't really appeal to me. The only time I've really been swayed by an "evil" aesthetic is with Demoncy's second full-length; Joined in Darkness.
This album took a long time to fully sink in. Upon my first two or three listens I labeled this as boring, repetitive tripe. Upon further listens I have wholeheartedly upped this album to the most sinister music I've ever heard. Worshiping Satan or one of the other tired cliches in black metal ain't too interesting, and ain't too evil. But generating a mood that's comparable only to the fear of the unknown IS evil. It's not the lyrics or the actions behind the music, but rather the mood generated by the music itself. Through simple, but effective means, Demoncy were able to create an album chock full of a sinister atmosphere.
How might this atmosphere stand out from the rest you say? Well, the best description is hearing it for yourself, but when put into words it might come out like this. Thanks to the cavernous production, monotonous and down tuned guitars, hypnotic drums and raspy whispers, Demoncy's brand of black metal is able to create a truly harrowing and chilling environment. A good image for this music would be standing in the midst of a forest, pitch black with a icy autumn breeze. The drums and guitars provide as the spooky ambiance of this said environment while the vocals are the subtle whispers in the back of your head that keep you peering into the darkness expecting some lurking creature. Enough of my stupid descriptions, you get the point.
Songs like Winter Bliss and Joined in Darkness are perfect examples of what this album has to offer. As you can see by my name, Winter Bliss happens to be a favorite of mine. Beyond those two standout tracks, the whole album carries this particular sound. As many reviewers have mentioned, it's easy to get lost in this album, seeing as many of the songs sound the same, but that's also one of the album's strong points. The albums is full of breaks within each song that give your heart some beats to slow down, only to throw you back into the chilling mid paced blastbeats.
One of the most crucial, and important aspects towards this album are the vocals. I cannot stress enough that the manner in which these vocals are delivered, and the way they sound create a very chilling atmosphere. Rather than screamed, or wailed like most black metal, these vocals come off more as a dry, raspy whisper. I have never heard vocals like this. They have character and resonance, something that many vocalists seem to lack in the black metal genre.
Overall, this is an excellent album, but an acquired taste. You're missing out if you pass this off as repeative crap; give it time.
When you live in a place like Georgia, you will be in a hurry to find any local black metal bands you can. That is how I came across the darkness that is Demoncy. The first Demoncy album I listened to was Empire of the Fallen Angel, which wasn't impressive. Then, I picked this up. All I can say about this release is that the title of the album is very appropriate.
Joined in Darkness presents pure black metal darkness throughout the whole album. This is mostly due to the seven-string guitars and five-string basses. Combine the dark tuning, with slow and powerful riffs, and you get a very heavy style. When the drums are added, it just gives it more of a beat. The drums in this album are barely heard, but enough to tell that they are there. The cherry on top of this cake is the vocals. The vocals sound as if they were born out of hell. They are kind of high-pitched, but not to a screeching point. Neither are they so low that you would confuse this band with Beherit.
What strikes me most about this album is how devoted it was to pure darkness. The album title, the lyrics, and the music itself all has one objective: To achieve a level of darkness that not many have reached. The lyrics are a nice change since they do not conform to your typical "hail satan, fuck jesus, we hate you." I am thankful to find another great band that doens't do this.
I cannot give you any highlighted songs for this album. The entire album is meant to be listened to for the full effect. If you are a fan of bands like Crimson Moon, Ondskapt, or Incursus, then you will like this album.
I bought this release at a Demoncy show in Indiana at the Emerson Theater. The first thing I noticed is that the general sound of this release is more silent than most Black Metal albums. It has a very muffled tone to it as if it were recorded under a microphone, but something was put over the microphone. The vocals are purely demonic, yet simple- they sound both like a whisper and brutal rasps. The twin guitars use darkly melodic melodies that posses a very doomy atmosphere to them. For the most part, they are tremolo picked, but do not have the same sound as typical Black Metal, which can be a good thing. I have heard that a drum machine has been used with this release which is kind of strange since the drummer of this band recorded the album solely by himself. If it is true that a drum machine was used, I must say that they have been programed very well. The percussion perfectly fits the music. There are few keyboards on the album, only a couple of atmospheric intros, but very good. The songs here are generally short but due to the slower and doomy parts, the seem longer than they actually are.
The lyrics here are very triumphant, exploring both a pagan and satanic perspective. I respect Ixithra's viewpoints and he is easy to agree with. By reading an interview on Mourning The Ancient, he states that he follows the LaVeyan satanism, something that is usually looked down upon in the philosophies of Black Metal for ridicuolus reasons. This version of satanism is something that I seek in my beliefs as well.
This release has been often degraded by Demoncy fans saying "listen to Within The Sylvan Realms Of Frost before you pick this one up." I think the opposite, I say listen to "Joined In Darkness" before listening to other offerings of Demoncy.
I thought long and hard on a proper title for this review. I was tempted to go with “metal from the crypt”, but decided that the pun was just a bit too obvious, which would detract from the seriousness of the music under scrutiny. In the end, only one word is really needed to sum up this release totally.
Joined in Darkness summons forth Death itself. Where albums like Under a Funeral Moon or the German Pest’s Ära show the effects of death and decay, this release seems to go above and beyond the norm and presents the concept of the End of Everything as an entity, a physical being materializing to obliterate all.
The artwork already suggests death as a theme of course. Pictures of a mausoleum and skulls, decaying, dusty ruins. Ixithra himself genuinely looking like a corpse. But the music of the album doesn’t merely have Death as a theme; it represents it, presents it directly, personifies it; it truly becomes it.
How, you ask? How indeed?
Structurally it is beholden to both Darkthrone and Profanatica, like Demoncy has always been. It combines that typically Scandinavian epic tremolo riffing style, with the more brutal death metal-like intensity of early American black metal. The riffs themselves are relatively simple, yet highly effective; each song generally has a straight progression, where the main two to three riffs alternate while becoming more intense, carried by primal, fast beating on the drum-kit, with the occasional crushing, slow break in between. While the riffs and drumwork are good enough, they aren’t what makes this record so singularly evocative. It is the whole atmosphere, the sound and the production which elevates these riffs to a higher level.
The introduction, three drawn out, dark keyboard notes, suffused in a bassy miasma, while a heavy drumbeat slowly pounds out a dread rhythm already hints at the direction this album will take. It sounds huge, ominous, oppressive. Something is making an entrance which stands above life.
When ‘Impure Blessings…’ starts, it literally explodes from the speakers.
Titanic drums tear the ground asunder, and the bottom-end heavy guitars and bass crush everything, sounding like an earthquake. The feedback and background noise comes across as a storm. It sounds unbelievably heavy. The atmosphere this creates adds an apocalyptic quality to the already terrifying riffs, which generally only employ downward movements, and are relentlessly driven forward by the pulsating, thunderous drumwork.
After a while, it becomes noticeable how, despite sounding like nothing less than the annihilation of everything, there is a calculating, cold and emotionlessly intelligent quality to the whole proceeding. As if some force is directing the desolation. And indeed, besides the whole determined march of the drums and the malignant nature of the riffing, it’s in the vocal work that the drive behind the proceedings is found.
I have never heard vocals quite like this.
Ixithra sounds like a whispering corpse. Crackling, ancient and truly, genuinely disturbing; it is the tenebrous voice of Death directing and guiding the terrible forces unleashed by the other instruments. It is the final piece completing the picture, the vocals ultimately reveal the identity behind the onslaught; the booming echoes of the drums become Death’s mighty footfalls as it steps forth from its sidereal realm upon the earth; not just to take a life, but to exact its final reckoning, claiming all in a cataclysmic storm of destruction.
It can’t be a coincidence that each successive song has a clearer production than its predecessor, is more energetic and violent, more fatalystically purposeful, and has a greater variety in riff-work and tempos.
The more souls Death claims, the greater its power grows.
By the time the eighth track rolls along, the guitars have taken on such monstrous proportions that Death seems to become sensibly present in the room; a looming, superior presence, compared to which all man’s works are but dust; all efforts futile and irrelevant.
The crowning moment of this album comes with the final song “The Dawn of Eternal Damnation”. Its titel already portents its content. Starting with an even more intense variation of the downwards-moving riffing of all previous songs, it suddenly bursts free with an upward spiralling, free floating, triumphant tremolo riff. Another downwards dive, followed by the most extreme riff on the album, twisting, rising and falling, scooping up everything in the vicinity, the Reaper’s scythe cutting and weeding; then a full stop and a slow, fatalistic progression of doom heralds the end and Death’s ultimate triumph and omnipotence.
A tolling church bell echoes a final note and the album comes to a close.
This is one of those rare albums which are larger than life; literally in this case, for who can stand against the conqueror worm? Most black and death metal treats death in some way. But this album seems to personify it, showing it to be a tangible, omnipresent force which simply cannot be stopped, tearing down anybody and everything when it deems it time.
Get this album and invite Death into your life.
This album is the most hateful and evil recording I have ever witnessed.
On first listen one can clearly decipher the components of this album: extremely downtuned non-varying guitar fuzz, dull drum tracks, and dry raspy vocals. The guitar riffs throughout the album seem to follow the same strum patterns and even the same handful of chords. The drums vary between a Transilvanian Hunger type blast and a more midpaced standard beat. During every song there are one or two breaks where a guitar will play a riff in one ear, then a crash will hit as the riff is repeated with a second guitar in the other ear, and then, finally, the riff is continued with a blast and vocals. To be honest, if you were to queue this cd up on your playlist and set your media player to shuffle, you'd be hard pressed to know what song is playing because they're all basically the same. For these reasons, I can see why most people do not recognize this album's brilliance.
However, this is an album that does definitely not equal the sum of its parts. The atmosphere of this album goes far beyond the musical qualities. I did not enjoy this album when I first bought it. The whole thing seemed a bit weak. The guitar tone is full and powerful, but the drums and vocals appeared to be very bland. But this is perfect. The vocals on this album are the driest rasp you will ever hear. The only way I can think that Ixithra accomplished them is that he must have screamed his vocal chords to pulp for a few hours prior to recording. This dry rasp provides for a kind of subdued hatred. Behind the evil whispers lie the ultimate hatred that fueled Ixithra for this recording. The same thing can be said about most aspects of this album. The guitars, drums, and vocals all have that sort of passive and silent evil to them. Maybe most people can't appreciate it because it IS so subtle.
When listening to this album on headphones and walking amongst a group of people, one may feel inclined to gently stab those who walk by deeply with a concealed box-cutter or razor blade, and then smile while imagining their reaction to finding blood oozing from their lower torso until they feel faint and naseous, and hopefully die. It may be just me that gets that, but in any case, this album can inspire some extremely potent misanthropic tendencies, as well as tendencies toward self-mutilation. Not only does this album provide a perfectly hateful and evil atmosphere, but it is very trance inducing in its monotony. There is nothing sporadic or unexpected in this album. The only reason I bumped off 2 points is because toward the end of the album the vocals noticeably change. Ixithra most likely recorded them during different sessions and in the latter half of the album, there is a slight amount of reverb added, which detracts slightly from the monotonous flow of the album. It actually isn't very noticeable at all. But to a fan like me, it may be a slight annoyance.
The album title "Joined in Darkness" makes quite a bit of sense if you were to become entranced by it while listening to it on headphones in the dark. A near-meditative state can be reached by doing this. You will find yourself feeling totally distanced from any human soul, including your own. Darkness, evil, and hatred will totally engulf you until you are completely absorbed into a single abstract feeling of basic negativity. Fans of Ildjarn may know what I'm talking about.
I almost feel like I'm betraying my feelings toward this album by writing this review and recommending it so highly. As it was recorded by one person, it can only be experienced by your basest sense of self and your most evil human instincts. This album is pure evil, and it is definitely an acquired taste.
I just bought this album two days ago and I was expecting something along the lines of Faustian Dawn. Well I was wrong. While Faustian Dawn and ...Sylvan Realms of Frost had a lot of good moments, this is just plain dull and boring.
The drums are repetetive and very boring. No variation. It's all one blastbeat the entire album. They are also mixed so low that sometimes you can't even hear any drums, except for a crash symbol here and there. The vocals aren't even BM. They sound like a raspy gurgling sound. No screams, no variation, just plain monotone. Guitars are one big mess of tremolo picked distortion. I seriously thought it was one big song, instead of seperate ones, because literally every song sounds EXACTLY the same. The bass is just a buzzing sound underneath all the chaos.
You may say I'm not "tr00 or kvlt" enough to appreciate this, but believe me, I like plenty of so called tr00 BM bands and they are 1000 times better than this heap of cow shit. I just can't explain how bad this album sucks. So I will stop it at this. Atleast Demoncy improved with Empire of the Fallen Angel. Now that album is killer.
Demoncy has been around for ages it seems, having formed in 1989. They have been creating unholy BM art for a long time. This album is probably my favorite album of theirs, although Faustian Dawn is high up there too. The guitar work is melodic with fast, tremelo picked riffs creating an atmosphere of pure isolation and grim, cold evil.
The drumming is the usual blast beats, but they throw in enough drum fills to make it not as monotonous. The vocals are the usual demonic shrieks, but they are performed with emotion. They are also mixed in a little too high, sometimes over powering the guitars and drums. The drums are mixed low, and sometimes it is very hard to hear them.
The production is bad, but not as bad as some of you may think. It fits in very well with the style they play, and makes the album as a whole that much more atmospheric.
They atleast do not fall into that group of BM that tends to put the drums way too far in the front, hiding the other instruments in the wall of noise.
Demoncy is a band that I highly regard as one of the, if not the, first USBM bands ever, even forming before the mighty Profanatica (they are not as good.) To me, this is an essential album to buy to come one step closer to having a respectable BM collection.