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Heartworm EP - 70%

Daemonlord, March 23rd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, The Path Less Traveled Records

An enjoyable spraying of tooth decay and phlegm here from this Italian five piece, who manage to marry the eerie rumble of ‘Inside the Torn Apart’/’Words from the Exit Wound’ era Napalm Death, the concussive melody of Cult of Luna and the chest compressing power of Gorguts into three easily digestible chunks.

Opening with ‘Unscented Walls’, I’m quickly met with welcome of slow, sludgy disharmony, raw nerve roars and bile soaked force. This slowly gathers paces into a raging mechanical Gorguts-ian styled beast, jangling the nerves and toasting the senses. The guitars sound thoroughly distended with putridity, weaving their strangulated guts all over the place, like some aural horror show. At times the melody takes a strong form, taking hold of the music by echoing sorrowfully over the proceedings in a Paradise Lost/Katatonia styled death doom style, before your bones are again cracked by the downward force of sludge, your marrow drained by powerful rhythms and you’re drowned by the filth once again. ‘Kairos’ is the shortest track on the album, but makes up for its brevity with lashings of pure spite, battering the listener into submission with squirming guitars, powerful drum work and the usual sore-throated post-hardcore bellows of anguish I’d come to expect from their opening salvo.

Finishing up with the EP title track ‘Heartworm’, you’re almost lulled into a false sense of security with the eerie melodic introduction, replete with acoustic guitar and sorrowful melody echoing over the top. This is (of course) before the track properly kicks in with strange rhythms, bone crushing brutality and more of the top notch disharmony which these guys utilize to great effect in their earlier pieces. I can even here a bit of Swans influence on this track, which certainly goes down well in my books.

All in all, for a relatively new band (they’ve only released a single demo before this EP), it’s a fairly impressive start. I could definitely use a full length from these guys, but for an introductory taster to their art, this EP has done very nicely indeed. One to keep an eye on for the future!

Originally written for

A marriage of aggression and atmosphere. - 81%

ConorFynes, December 14th, 2013

While just about anyone with an instrument and basic knowledge of metal genres could attempt to fuse styles together, it takes natural inspiration and chemistry to make the trial really work. Dementia Senex are one such case, a promising Italian act that have tied death and post metal traditions together well enough to make it sound like the two genres were made for each other. Their EP Heartworm is a seventeen minute tornado of sludgy riffs, malevolent vocals and torrential atmosphere that recalls everything from Gorguts to Cult of Luna. Fans of experimental metal take note; if these three songs are any indicator, we’ll be hearing enormous things from them in the future.

Soundwise, Dementia Senex are fairly close neighbours with the legendary Gorguts; whose most recent LP “Colored Sands” came most freshly to mind when listening to the EP. Heartworm finds its sound at an effective balance between dissonant tech death riffs and slower-paced sludge sections. In keeping with the proud prog-death tradition of going between heavy and soft(er) segments, Heartworm feels epic in scope, in spite of its relatively short 17 minute length. Although “Kairos” starts the EP off on a concise, fiercely technical and galloping pace, it gives a false first impression of the band and their sound. While the two longer tracks- “Unscented Walls” and the self-titled closer- have their moments of fueled momentum, much of Dementia Senex’s sounds falls upon a relative mid-tempo, a clear sign of the band’s post and sludge metal influence. Considering how ballbustingly heavy the band’s guitar tones are, it’s all the more surprising that Dementia Senex are able to work plenty of melody into their compositions. “Unscented Walls” in particular has a great stretch towards the latter half where melody shines through the chaos.

Cristian Franchini’s vocals are suitably aggressive and grief-stricken, and the moderate tempo of the music gives him a potential for resonance and expression beyond his faster-growling contemporaries. Although Heartworm does not sport much of a meticulous or refined production, the album is organic, consistently recorded and enjoys a heaviness spawned from the lack of refinement. The clarity of the instruments aside, Dementia Senex convey a strong impression of live performance on the album. None of the instruments have been tweaked or modified with effects; what is left is a raw, rough and aggressive sonic palette that compliments the relative technicality and progressive structures of their songwriting.

Heartworm is an excellent EP from a band that clearly already knows what they’re doing and where they want to go. Dementia Senex will appeal to fans of death and post metal alike, and while we’re bound to hear more from these guys sometime soon, it’s better to skip the wait and check out Heartworm while the band remains a kept secret.

Multi-Dimensional Metal - 80%

Gespenster, June 13th, 2013

Blending a number of different genres of metal is easily a hit-or-miss situation. The end result could either come out as a masterpiece of musical genius, or it could sound unbelievably disjointed and unfocused. Venturing into this dangerous realm is the Italian quintet Dementia Senex. Since 2008, the group has had its sights set to deliver an experimental fusion of a small range of different metal genres and subgenres to create some darkly diverse music. It would now seem that they are well on their way of achieving mastery in their formula, as proven by their second EP simply entitled “Heartworm.”

The musicianship and production are both elements that are done well in this release. Starting off, the vocals mostly consist of tortured, sludgy roars for an aggressive effect, and they definitely teem with energy. On the other hand, the clean singing is deep and equally as raw, and has that doom metal tone to it to give the music a resonant effect. The drumming, while not showcasing too much notable prowess, is very hearty and resonant in how they sound, giving the album some more atmosphere. However, out of all this, the best aspect of musicianship that “Heartworm” displays is the guitar work. The album delivers a fine sleuth of dark, punchy melodies and riffs throughout, and it is mixed in a manner that allows for deeper atmosphere for the audience to be vacuumed into. Also helping this atmosphere is the production and mixing, which makes the instruments sound tight and crisp without sacrificing any of the music’s resonance. Taking all these elements into account, the EP succeeds in the musicianship as well as the sound production.

Along with the instrumentation, the music itself holds up decently as well. “Heartworm” is a release composed of an experimental fusion of death metal, progressive metal, doom metal, and even some hardcore and sludge. This already makes way for an intriguing formula, and the way the music touches these distinct genres without losing even an ounce of focus is a great feature of the music’s structure. On top of that, this plan is executed quite well in how dark but still rather explosive the musicianship can be. However, while there is plenty to indulge in in this record, there is one but still heavily damaging problem: The music tends to lose dynamicity. This shortcoming is most prominent in the first track, although it still is worth listening to. Sadly, even so, the music can turn flat at times and become a little repetitive. Thankfully, though, while this is sort of distracting from full enjoyment of the release, it doesn’t actually destroy anything. And in spite of that flaw, the genre polymerization behind this album makes way for some pleasurably dark and experimental metal.

“Heartworm” has proven to be a solid metal record packed with potential. Everything in this album is carried out generally well, from the musicianship down to the formula. The music itself is tightly played with some slow ferocity, while allowing elbow room for atmosphere for it to make its own sort of vast realm for the audience to enter. Even though it drags occasionally, there is enough for this album to be recommended to anyone in search of experimental and amalgamative metal, even if it’s not really for everyone in its sludgy, dark tone. Overall, “Heartworm” is an enjoyable dose of metal, and at this rate, it likely won’t be long until this band reaches greater heights of brilliance.

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