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Rare it is indeed for a demo to sound like something more than simply a demo, but Sectioned have pulled it off. ‘Elme’ is not a snapshot of a band in the formative stages – unsurprising considering that by the time of Sectioned’s formation, the members had been in parent band Dimentianon for over four years – it is instead something akin to a mission statement, a declaration of intent. To be sure, ‘Elme’ is only the rough draft, whilst the 2010 album ‘Purulent Reality’ that has followed is the final proof-read and expertly edited final copy, but what a surprisingly compelling manifesto it is.
A proposition more inclined towards death metal than any of the members’ previous releases, this is music not too many generations away from the buzzsawing sounds of Sweden, with more than a few snippets of its American counterpart thrown in for good measure – Sectioned here seem to have little time for progression and play DM for the sake of a good bit of skullcrushing fun, ala Entombed or Malevolent Creation.
The whole affair is topped off by vocals that would not disgrace the most devoutly purist fan of BM – the usually commonplace growls, gurgles and grunts are here entirely absent, replaced by a sinisterly ferocious barrage of rasps and shrieks. They suit the material extraordinarily well, not least because the riffs here are streamlined and howling, absent the usual crunch found in DM and going full speed down a much darker route.
To be sure, the overall sound of ‘Elme’ is a little confused and on occasion a touch sloppy in its execution, particularly in carrying over the black metal influences of Dimentianon into the more deathly sphere that Sectioned occupy – here and there the two influences seem to heavily jar, vying endlessly for the top position in the songwriter’s mind and constantly causing the songs to be dragged out beyond their optimum time for the sake of keeping all the ideas, good and bad, in the pot.
That said, however, this is a demo that accomplishes the difficult feat of presenting genuinely engaging ideas and, for the most part, competent and confident songcraft that will appeal to DM and BM fans across the board. Look to ‘Purulent Reality’ for the ultimate refinement of their style, but for anyone looking to know what a band with a clear sense of purpose sounded like at their formation, ‘Elme’ is not to be missed.