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Generic and Unfulfilling - 35%

Five_Nails, August 23rd, 2010

Blackspell, a one-man band out of the Middle East is Syria’s only black metal band. With a sound seeming to mix influences from Beherit, Burzum, and Darkthrone, Blackspell creates a forbidding lo-fi atmosphere in “Dark Winds from Black Sky”.

“Lies Blocking Your Eyes” sets the demo off with a strong kick. Very fast paced guitar riffs and slower speed drums give this song the general black metal elements, but this song is held back by some very primitive songwriting technique that culminates in a chorus repeating the title, terrible production that makes the guitars obnoxiously high in the mix and massacres the sound of the drums and vocals. Burzum’s influence is obvious in this song as it is very simple and extremely repetitive. There would be some potential if Demon of Darkness were playing with a full band that brought some new ideas up, but as a solo project, Blackspell isn’t breaking any mold or crossing any boundary with this pretty lame start.

“In the Cold Dark Woods” brings to the demo a more primitive note as a slow guitar strum and drum beat come to the fore. Demon of Darkness’ vocals are a gravely hiss that sounds nearly whispered and aren’t as powerful as the vocals could be if they weren’t garbled by a growl attempt. The music itself is rather generic, a simple guitar riff, slow double bass and snare hits surround the vocals until near the end of the song when the double bass kicks up but the guitars stay at the same speed. This song is more generic than original as the simplicity of the riffing and drumming are the only things listenable in the mix and two of the strongest culprits in the weakness of this song.

“Screams of Horror” is definitely the money track of this album. Featuring some better vocals, an actually good guitar riff, and drumming that represents black metal style, this is the only really passable track of the release. At times riffing does get a little off pace later in the song and Demon of Darkness seems to correct it, but it shows that this song was rushed while recording and it shows as much a lack of professionalism as it shows a weakness in ability. Late in the song the production goes completely to crap as the guitar sounds like its underwater, which wasn’t really surprising with how bad the production already was, but it made the song all the less listenable.

“The Crying Orc” is a Burzum cover less than a minute in length, but serves as a nice outro to the demo though there’s really not much to it and it’s pretty useless to cover something so simple as an eight note solo that harmonizes for about fifteen seconds.

As a rough first demo for a band, there are a ton of flaws on Blackspell’s “Dark Winds from Black Sky”, the song titles and songwriting are very generic with little variation, the production is terrible, and musicianship needs a lot of work. When combined with a few other musicians, there could be something here, but for now as a reflection of Syria’s only contribution to the black metal scene, Blackspell completely drops the ball.