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To a guy metalhead, there's always something appealing about a bunch of girls playing death metal. Demonomacy, along with Derkéta, Mythic, Inner Sanctum and Nuclear Death, were pioneers of female-fronted death metal in America. Here we have their first demo from 1991, consisting of four songs and a production courtesy of Scott Burns at Morrisound.
I remember first hearing this tape probably 15 years ago and being blown away by it, but my feelings towards it back then were no doubt motivated by testosterone and the fact that I wasn't as critical of metal at the time. I pretty much thought everything that was loud sounded good because it was against the musical norm. After listening to it more over the years, I've came to the realization that Demonomacy's style of death metal on this recording is rather tame and doesn't hold a candle to the downtuned damnation that Sharon or Dana were conjuring up the same year.
Indeed, the first thing you'll notice about this demo is the weak production job. 'Recorded at Morrisound' it states in the liner notes - really? Now, I won't pretend to imagine what specific sound these girls wanted for their debut tape but something tells me that 'thin speed metal with rehearsal room ambiance' is not what they were looking for. The guitars and bass are severely lacking in heaviness and depth, while the vocals sound like they were layered multiple times to create that speed metal 'crowd chorus' effect popularized by bands like Anthrax in the 1980's. Everybody knows that Scott Burns is capable of giving solid production. I don't know if it was a financial issue or what, but if he would have made this sound even half as good as "Effigy of the Forgotten" then I would be writing a much different review right now.
So, the production sucks but the music is good, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case at all. The thin guitar tone is a just reflection of the riffs here, which have speed/thrash written all over them. I find it somewhat amusing that it's not even good thrash riffs that they're recycling, but rather ones of the sleep-inducing filler variety. When you line up Mythic, Derkéta and the rest of those bands side-by-side, it becomes perfectly clear that Demonomacy are so out of their league on this demo that it's not even funny. Can anybody who has heard this seriously call 'Heterodoxy' a death metal song? It just sounds like nothing but thrash to me from beginning to end.
Boring grindcore blastbeats and upbeat bass solos are in just about every song. To my amazement, the guitar solos actually sound pretty fucking cool - for Devastation or Sacred Reich that is. About the only track worth a damn is 'Imperishable Darkness' which I'll admit does actually sound like death metal. It's a fast-paced headbanger overflowing with quality riffs for a change.
Unfortunately, one good song is not enough to make this demo even remotely interesting. My final word? Avoid. Now if you will excuse me I'm about to go break my neck to "Mourning in the Winter Solstice".