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The album's name is a tad too fitting - 55%

Lane, March 20th, 2014

Polish extreme metal, that doesn't sound Polish! 'Torture Garden' is Demise's third full-length album so far and it can be heard. But sadly, more in performances than in songwriting...

Demise have collected quite a bunch of elements on this album, but when digging into the core, it is death metal and post-thrash riffage mixed, and punchy fast drumming covered with melodious guitars. And nothing is too straight, not too rock 'n' roll. Think about Darkane hitting the same rehearsal room with HateSphere. There's better than average synthesizer work scattered all around 'Torture Garden' (even though 'Grieve no Longer' sounds like a rip-off from the game "F.E.A.R."). At first glance, there's nothing wrong with the music if you like this kind of stuff, but soon it becomes clear that Demise, albeit trying hard I believe, are kind of faceless band after all. And 13 songs?! Come on! There are fillers, kindly spoken: 'Abandoned' being the "best" example of this horrid fate. Still, some of the songs could have benefited from cutting 'em a bit. But for Demise's accolade they can throw in some interesting parts into their songs, if they really want to. This just ain't happening on every song here. And the instrumental closer is out of place, even if it's a nice piece of music.

The vocals are quite multilateral; vital angry grunting, Misanthrope's S.A.S de L'Argilière style desolation (thankfully not that wailing!) and monotonous clean voice, which still don't annoy me for my surprise, as this kind of a voice usually does. The lyrics are bad, as they look like they were written by a child, collected from simple sentences and filled with grammar errors.

Whoa, "co-produced and mixed by James Murphy"! Yep, but you know what?! When your drums sound this triggered, studio could be a fucking filled with recognized metal musicians-cum-studio wizards and it wouldn't sound a bit better. And that one cymbal sounds like a phone ringing, I kid you not! The drum issue aside, generally this sounds a bit blurry, but nevertheless quite full. But when the drums are so fucked up, it's severely wrecked for me. The cover artwork courtesy of guitarist Andrzej "Sin" Bragiel is certainly different and definitely eye-catching.

I wished that the music inside also was similarly ear-catching, but no. 'Torture Garden' might not be a truly painful torture session, but still it is way too hefty and packed an album, thanks to its filler material, to be thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. But it also has its good songs, so check out the free downloads if this style of metal is for your liking.

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2007)

Just really bad. Really bad. - 35%

Noktorn, March 11th, 2010

Oof, I anticipated this sucking based on the trashy cover art alone and boy was I not disappointed in the results of that appraisal. Demise plays a really unpleasant mixture of melodeath and post-thrash metal, putting it in a place very similar to a mixture of some fourth-stringer melodeath band like Embraze with Pantera. With blast beats. Yes, it's just as awful as it sounds.

To be fair, there's a little more 'real' death metal in there than your usual melodeath, generally in the form of (surprise surprise) Polish-style riffing ala Decapitated or similar artists from the same scene. No, it does not do anything to liven up the music; it just grates massively against the melodic sections, with absolutely nothing in the way of transitional elements to ease the shift of sound. The abruptness doesn't add any intensity to the music; if anything it robs it of what little motion it had, forcing the listener to snap back to reality if they were getting even slightly engrossed. Not that they probably would; the riffs vacillate randomly between Pantera groove, modern power metal palm-muted sections, melodeath diminished scales, and occasionally a 'real death metal' riff that involves a lot of chugged open E string. None of them are good.

It's always kind of cringe-inducing when a band tries to liven up a death metal sound with the inclusion of softer elements, and the presence of horribly out of tune clean vocals in this album's case is one of the worst instances I can think of. Granted, the clean backing vocals are pushed way into the background (thank fucking god), but they're still distracting and embarrassing whenever they pop up. The inclusion of elements like this or the overarching post-thrash feel does nothing to establish variation; all it does is make an already mediocre album sound even less coherent than it would have been originally. There's seriously sections here that remind me of Killswitch Engage. What the hell are Demise trying to play?

There's an occasional bright spot in the form of a catchy riff or a decent track, but I'm not going to sit here and drag my ass through this album again to pick out good points that are ultimately inconsequential in the face of how mediocre and poorly constructed this album really is. 'Torture Garden' is embarrassing, incoherent, and most importantly, boring as fuck and massively bloated at nearly an hour. I dread the day where I meet a person that likes this album.