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Steamy Satanic Zoidberg and his army of Satanic Frankenstein Monsters - 100%

Mang_Kanor, August 1st, 2020

Demilich’s sole album is a masterpiece that blends proficient technical oddity with ridiculous camp, wrapped between some slimy, gummy, earworm that was way ahead of everyone's ears. They were so far ahead that they didn’t bother to make a sequel. Despite of the album’s mythological status of it being too weird and inaccessible for the normal ear, I would gleefully say the opposite. This isn’t like Molested’s Blod Draum, early Suffocation, or the many bands in the future that rely on dissonance and unfriendly but technical songwriting that is blanketed with wall of sound whose sole purpose is to simply pummel the listener with dissonance (Portal, Chthe’ilist, etc). Demilich somehow took their obsession of unorthodox scales and rhythms and manage to craft some of the most fun and oddly accessible songs in metal. I guess the only bands that gave off similar feelings to them are Immolation and the Mexican death metal band Denial.

On paper, the band is basically this unholy blend of the solid brick heaviness and growls of Bolt Thrower with Atheist’s blend of traditional thrash/death metal with jazz fusion. Compared to Meshuggah, another technical “groovy” death metal band that blend Fear Factory’s muscular “Stop and go” riffs and hardcore-like attitude a with mix of bouncy rhythms, jazzy chords and lead work. The songs that Boman and his mates composed still feel indebted to traditional death metal in their usage of tremolo picking, standard power chords and the Slayer-esque lead work. Their implementation of atonal licks and riffs uses a lot string skipping which help in their really off sounding grooves (And not a lot of dissonance, as compared to the other bands associated with Demilich). Also, despite what others say, I really like the production of the album since it’s drenched in the right amount reverb and distortion that the album retains a sense of clarity within the madness. It really works in trying to achieve this maddeningly fun but outrageously alien atmosphere.

Of course, we can’t talk about Demilich without talking about Antti Boman’s vocals. They were very low for death metal at the time, with the closest one could find in bands like the aforementioned Bolt Thrower, Barney era Napalm Death and that Skeleton of God’s demo. I do at times imagine the album with some more traditional growls and/or screeches, it still will be a fantastic and alien album but the characteristic bizarreness is lessened. It’s not even comical anymore; it just fits in the world of Nespithe. Bomans’s lower vocal fry is blended with relaxed vocal passages, this Boman sound inhumanly powerful while not feeling angry or blood hungry like most death metal vocalists. It does however give off this vibe of outer worldly power. The vocal performance also fits the lyrics of the album since lyrically they read like bizarre and violent observations of an unknown world. This can be best heard in songs like "Inherited Bowel Levitation - Reduced Without Any Effort", “The Cry” or "And You'll Remain... (In Pieces in Nothingness)" where Antti robotically describes some of the brutal and bizarre ways a human can die. "The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)" is a personal favorite of mine where Antti Boman gives us the briefing in eradicating all believers whether they are Satanists or Christians while being carried with this catchy verse riff that may or may not give you Nu-Metal vibes. There's also the instrumental "Erecshyrinol" which has possibly the most unexpectedly epic riff in metal. (I wont give you the timestamp, you will know what i'm talking about when you listen to it)

Speaking of Nu-Metal, I could see a lot of mallcore kids gelling with this, the album might even give them a feeling of “Kewlness” just knowing this “Super Obscure” death metal album.