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Centinex is no more... That was sad news for the fans of Swedish death metal for sure, as it was one of the best and longest running bands from that scene (formed back in 1990), releasing a number of excellent albums even at the time, when death metal wasn't the most popular genre. Anyway, the band called it quits, but it doesn't mean its members retired. All of a sudden they reformed the old corpse of Interment and also formed completely new band, called Demonical. Don't ask me if there's any sense splitting one death metal band and forming another one, personally as a fan I'm more than happy that something like Demonical was started as this band simply fuckin kills! Musically they differ a bit from Centinex, who presented more melodic, although still damn aggressive style, but Demonical is all about the ravage, uncompromising, brutal and fast death metal. There’s not much room for melody here and not all songs are all ultimately fast from the beginning to its end; Demonical is much more diverse than that, but the overall feeling that comes with their music is one, which I could compare to the tons of bombs that fall on the city destroying it completely (ha, incidentally "Servant of the Unlight" has a song titled "Leipzig 1945", which if you know the history a little tells about the destruction of Leipzig by the Allies' aircraft).
"Servant of the Unlight" is the debut album, recorded in January 2007 and it contains eight Demonical tracks plus an Onslaught cover. The vinyl, released by Cyclone Empire, is definitely one of my favourite LPs I have bought in recent years. I totally love the music on it and the production is so damn awesome (definitely it’s the best sound I can imagine for death metal band). The opening track, "Suicide Throne" is actually also my favourite one on the LP. It's opened by slow, marching rhythms, with thunderous drums and cold riffing, accompanied by mournful guitar lead, what soon transforms into midpaced, very classic Swedish death metal track - man, bang your head till death! The tempo fastens with "Revel In Misanthropia" and this song is a beast. "Burned Alive" is very dynamic, with simple structure based on two or three riffs and verse / chorus, but it works well, as it's all about the energy and aggression that such track can bring. "Feeding the Armageddon" is the last song on side A and shit... Believe me or not, but it really reminds me about Marduk! The riffing in this track is very similar to Morgan’s, played in unbelievably fast tempo, totally ruthless and destructive, with the atmosphere of WWII... Man, that song is really hellishly good and is able to do some serious damage in your apartment.
Side B is pretty much all about the same as side A, so I would only repeat myself, trying to describe Demonical songs there. There's one track, which I absolutely fuckin love ("Unholy Desecration"), relatively slower, but so damn good and catchy, that it welcomes the listener to band the skull until the last second. "Slaughter of All Hope" is also great, so is "Leipzig 1945", which is more instrumental song, but has great cold atmosphere and great riffs - this is fuckin epic, and it has Bolt Thrower-esque vibe! How cool is that, ha? Finally the whole album is completed by the mentioned Onslaught cover... I have nothing more to desire, really.
I know that some malcontents may say that Demonical isn’t too original or that there are some many other Swedish bands around… Some may even say that Centinex was better. In my opinion, if you care to listen to it, Demonical is at the moment in absolutely top three of THE BEST SWEDISH DEATH METAL bands, that’s the first thing. Then the originality – I don’t give a shit. There may be few others, who play similarly, but none does that as great as this band. And finally, I really like Centinex, I have all their CDs in my collection, but I enjoy Demonical music even more, as it’s more aggressive and doesn’t repeat Centinex mistakes, which were softened styles and melodies thrown in their last albums. All in all, Demonical is a band that I absolutely recommend and this debut album, "Servant of the Unlight", is a must addition to my vinyl collection.
When Centinex called it quits, we lost one of the very best of the loyalist Swedish death metal movement, a band who produced a long line of good to great records honoring their roots and in a few cases even expanding upon them. We've suffered a metric ton of carbon copy bands in the past few years, all paying their respects to the godfathers Nihilist/Entombed, Dismember, Grave and Unleashed, but very few have done a knockout, drag down to the grave job of it that Centinex had done for years. All was not lost, however, since three members of Centinex decided that wild hell steeds could not drag them away from their beloved style, and in 2006 they put together the entity Demonical with vocalist Ludde Engellau (of death/grinders Remasculate).
Servants of the Unlight was the result of their first forays back to the sepulcher, and what a great fucking album this turned out to be! A dark, unflinching sprawl of all the elements that made Left Hand Path so great in the first place, delivered with brute grinding force and an incredibly strong set of songs, which could easily sate any Swedish purist whether their fancy lies in the cryptic death metal itself or the more grind-endowed bands to take a bite out of the style (i.e. Nasum and Rotten Sound). You are all familiar with the epic guitar tones that helped place Entombed onto the radars of nearly every sick fuck in society, the bludgeoning hostility of the vocals and the inherent, punkish fervor underlying the outbreaks of D-beat malignity. Demonical captures all of these qualities on their debut and then pushes them over the threshold to the abyss below.
"Suicide Throne" arrives in a cadence of storm, bleak peril and titanic percussion as the chords of walls crash upon the shore of enticing, melodic filth; and then Demonical REALLY let loose with a steady, grinding rhythm of ominous depth and darkness. If can't throw behind that breakdown around 3:10, well I don't think there could be any cure for you. "Revel in Misanthropia" blasts open and then cedes into a series of blazing chords, each hammering down a charnel house, pillars and thrones of bones and skeletal remains shattered and creating an avalanche of dead-waking frenzy. Proof that a good, forceful riff does not require complexity, it completely conquers the listener under Engellau's brute formations of the prose, and when it finally segways into the moshing monolith that you know is coming, it's surprisingly understated and no less effective. The intro riff to "Burned Alive" sounds like something straight off of Death's Leprosy, if played by Entombed, and once again a slight dynamic difference helps the pace of this record enormously, though it soon crushes with the weight of a hundred siege machines, blasting everyone in its path.
The album's loving embrace never lets you go, as it clutches you so tight your blood hemorrhages and your organs burst out through your ribs. "Feeding the Armageddon" does exactly that, lifting your pleading, flailing body off the ground like some unfeeling Hulk and casting you straight into destruction. "United in Torture" takes a tank-like approach, with a Bolt Thrower vibe in the scorching, diabolic melodies; "Slaughter of All Hope" is a sheer, endgame riffing scenario with minor variations twisted about the steady drumming core, and then a huge chorus with enormous vocals. "Unholy Desecration" takes the speed down to another mid-paced piece alternating D-beats and Bolt Thrower segments, and "Leipzig 1945" takes it down another notch to a doomed leviathan of WWII agony. The limited edition CD also comes with a cover of Onslaught's "Death Metal" which is performed extraordinary well, fitting hand in glove with the originals.
Speaking of 'original', that's about the one complaint you could ever launch at this album. It's a mix of Centinex and all that band's inherent influences, from the grinding hardcore of Discharge to the graveyard ethics of early Entombed. Of course, I'm not complaining, and Servants of the Unlight is one of the very best records I've heard to follow in this path. It's not complex, it's not graceful, and it's not for the weak of stomach. The tones are gigantic, the intent only to crush and kill, and the post-mortem emotions of having just been audibly incinerated (which accompany all good extreme metal) fully in position.
I discovered this band in the most unusual way. It was while making sure I had every single Absu song or not, that I came across their split release with this band. A name as simple and unoriginal as ‘Demonical’ wasn’t quite encouraging, but the fact that it’s a death metal band from Sweden was enough. Luckily, my assumption wasn’t wrong and thus no mistake was made.
Now this band was formed after the split of Centinex, who gave us a couple of decent records themselves in the 90s. People who are aware of the band can guess what this release might sound like.
It is half an hour of solid death metal attack. If you’re looking for a new sound this isn’t what you need but if you’re looking for a good death metal record to keep you busy for the next week, you’ve come to the right place. Aggressive vocals, powerful drumming and skull crushing riffs have been put together to create a monstrous record.
The first half of the first track, Suicide Throne, prepares you for the brutality which follows. The section is dominated by drums but accompanied by the unusually great riffs; it might remind you of Slayer’s legendary “Hell Awaits” which follows a similar pattern. The number of slower doomy atmospheric sections is relatively low but that shortcoming is taken care of by the high use of leads, something not commonly seen in the genre and missed by listeners like myself.
The songs flow at full throttle and are characterized by uncontrolled speeds. I won’t deny that it sounds ‘hasty’ at times but then it doesn’t matter considering this is something meant for specific moods. At the end of the day, it is good for what it is. The only problem one can precisely pin-point is the lack and inaudibility of bass.
"I love Sweden so damn much. The country is an insane hotbed for great death metal and Demonical is no different. Demonical have set out to create a misanthropic atmosphere for the listener with pure mental anguish and bizarre talks of the fires below. In my recent review of the Funebrarum/Interment split, I said that this split was a collection of the darkest metal these two bands could muster up, but I think Demonical has beaten them senseless, almost as if they made those two bands blind from their extremely hateful brand of death metal.
Johan Jansson (Interment, Regurgitate, ex-Cenitex) really knows his way around a guitar, throwing out one skull-crushing note after another, while Ronnie Bergerståhl (ex-Cenitex, Grave, ex-Julie Laughs Nomore) drums perfectly in sync with the feel of the music, giving you an extra crunch of brutality. This is the first I've heard of Ludde Engellau (Remasculate, ex-Unchaste, Talion) but man does he give a spirited performance, definitely calling upon Satan to help him in his conquest of aural domination. However, I think the band made up Martin Schulman (ex-Cenitex) because I can't hear his bass at all, so he doesn't even really exist, but I will say that these four give off a vibe that most death metal bands wish they could obtain.
What we have here are three seasoned Cenitex members trying to outdo their peers on the death metal scale. The music almost has a tribal feeling, getting the horde ready for battle against all those who serve good. The feeling that I get from this album is that they are trying very hard to be evil incarnate, and it almost works too. Just the first track “Suicide Throne” sets the tone for the rest of the album and it just keeps on going. The music is very similar to that of Grave or Gorefest's new style. They rely heavily on catchy death metal riffs that make you nod along and then go for the headbanging during the choruses.
This is heavy as hell death metal from Sweden, and I wouldn't expect any less from a band named Demonical and was formed out of the ashes of Cenitex. There's also another thing that really gives them points in my book: they all have long hair. I bet that would make for some awesome headbanging moments during their live shows, because just imagining them doing constant windmills while playing the opening of “Revel In Misanthropia” really puts a smile on my face.
“Servants Of The Unlight” is a very heavy dose of Swedish death metal, giving your ears exactly what they need; raspy death metal vocals, a guitar tone that Satan himself would be proud of, drums that would make a Viking horde cower in fear, and a bass that is non-existent (okay, I don't like that). I really want Demonical to tour in the United States and I want them to release more albums. Please, keep on going."
Originally written for Metal Stomp.com