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Nontraditional Death Metal Obscurity - 50%

Petrus_Steele, April 28th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, Necropolis Records

Demilich is one of those very experimental and unorthodox death metal bands that came out of nowhere, yet attracted the vast majority of the fans of the genre with ease, and unexpectedly so. Another surprising part is the location in which the band originates from: Finland. Back in the day, you'd find death metal bands rising mostly from Florida and New York states, England, and Sweden, respectively.

Excluding bands like Atheist, Cynic, Nocturnus and others that were recognizable and are experimental and technical, most bands were/are pretty much traditional and devolved from the thrash metal influence to perfect the genre; with blast beats, death growls, fast guitar-picking and bass. Then you had these freaks aboard the train, offering quite the heavy music (I think the tuning the band used to play and record was in standard A, which I think is insane for something that came out in the early 90s, when the majority of bands played between standard B to standard D, respectively), comprehensible and slow robotic death growls, while still using traditional death metal standards. So I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary in that regard, other than the vocals and tuning.

The lyrical themes are the obscure part that made this band significant, not just the experimental music. Nespithe (which is really "The Spine" or "The Penis") contains very unusual, metaphoric (in some way), and ridiculous lyrics, whether they're merely just for comedy (as much as the abominations in the album cover look) or veering away from the general themes of death metal. The vocals in itself helped shape the lyrical themes to give you this kind uncomfortable feeling and obscure listen. I guess it worked.

I'd say my favorite part about this album besides the lyrics, vocals, and tuning, is the length of the tracks' titles, with the excessive use of brackets. Just look at these songs: The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed), The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity (...Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness...), and the longest-titled track, The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...) - like what the fuck do they even mean?! They're awesome to read. I can always appreciate reading long-ass song titles.

I didn't find the music to be competitively superior or distraught in terms of the amount of heaviness and song structures the band produced. It was really just heavy and strong music, yet standard. While the instruments' tuning were tuned very low to sound crushing, this crushing heaviness didn't possess anything mind-blowing on a technical scale, nothing challenging or new. The drums did their part, but nothing too impressive or unheard of.

Despite the success and the slight of importance this record has and how it shaped most subgenres of death metal, it wasn't that of a great listen. It's halfway good. I'm all about obscure and experimental music, like the aforementioned three bands - and I appreciate songs like Inherited Rowel Levitation - Reduced Without Any Effort, The Echo (Replacement), And You'll Remain... (In Pieces in Nothingness), and the instrumental track, Erecshyrinol (the joke being "No Lyrics Here" - and that the vocalist, Antti Boman threw in some of his feral-like ugly noises and death growls) that offered such groove in the music, it matches the soundtrack of freaking DOOM, but Demilich didn't have my undivided attention. The music really sounds traditional and simple, as if this is just another traditional death metal band.

The production is also seemingly bad, in comparison of the compilation of demos and "rarities" that is Em9t2ness of Van2s1ing / V34ish6ng 0f Emptiness, which although sounds more like djent, it sounded better. All the tracks except When the Sun Drank the Weight of Water and The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...) are the only two original tracks, while the rest are demos that have been reintroduced, which I think the demo versions beat the versions on this record.

If I were to listen to this in 1993, then yeah, maybe I'd praise it 100%. Over the years, though, better experimental death metal bands emerged, and to me Demilich doesn't sound any different than most death metal bands, to some extent. So as I said above, this album is halfway good. The only two good tracks that I liked are Inherited Rowel Levitation - Reduced Without Any Effort and The Echo (Replacement) and I praise the vocals, the amount of obscurity, and the lyrics.