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Almost as good as their studio album - 87%

SLlMER, June 29th, 2009

Ah yes, Weakling. Is it black metal or is it indie rock? Really it's way more on the good (progressive) raw black metal side of the fence (in my opnion) but it is true however that at times it is not dissimilar to indie rock, and some psychedelic music in general.

This is an interesting recording. A rehearsal demo tape from May 1998 that has 4 out of the 5 songs from "Dead As Dreams", sans the massive 20 minute title track. The sound quality is quite good for a live rehearsal. This is one of the highest quality rehearsal tapes i've heard in fact and considering the production is pretty raw on "Dead As Dreams" it is scarcely much different. While it says on here that this recording has "no vocals", there actually are vocals here; however It sounds like there was no mic used for the vocals at all and they were screamed at full lung and throat capacity over the music. Oddly enough they are definitely hearable and distinguishable in the mix and it gives it a perfect raw quality.

The drums sound snappy and punchy on here, especially during the epic building middle section of the first track "No One Can Be Called As A Man While He'll Die" (stupidest fucking song title ever) with the plethora of drum fills followed by the agonizing vocals and strong keyboards that show up later in the track. Interestingly the drums don't stand out whatsoever during this part on the actual studio album. Since the guitars and vocals are not taking up as much space here as they do in the mix of the studio album, you can really hear every little thing the drums are doing, since they are the loudest. This is where the demo really reveals itself as valuable.

Casey Ward's keyboards are much more prominent on this demo tape than on "Dead As Dreams" especially on the song "This Entire Fucking Battlefield". You can hear all kinds of majestic little melodies and things that didn't stand out as much on "Dead As Dreams" because that album was mixed in a way that the keyboards were placed more in the background, and in a way that of course was to insure that everything all sort of blended and meshed together. For that album it did work well. I like hearing the differences on this demo as well though. Differences in tonal qualities, but moreso differences in song structure. There are small little differences in some of the songs here and there that were revised, and changes were made on the album.

Overall, I think it would be absurd to assume that this rehearsal demo would be better than "Dead As Dreams" but it is surprisingly not too far off, overall just different. I'd say that for people who are not fans of Weakling there's nothing too essential or special about this demo tape. However, for Weakling freaks- it would go without saying that this demo will hold a special place in their collections.