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Swanö Stop Making Music Already - 30%

MetalStrikesDown, October 4th, 2008

When I anticipate hearing an album of course I expect it to be good. With such expectations I am usually disappointed, this has happened on numerous occasions. The only reason I was looking forward to listening to the newest output by Demiurg is because I knew Dan Swanö was going to be playing guitar. Needless to say that is the problem with the album. I am not saying that if there was a different guitarist it would be better but Swanö has been a one trick pony for a while now. It is hard to appreciate a guitarist when they know they are good but do not show they are good.

Upon first listen of this album I was not disappointed yet nor was I happy at how good it was. It took me until about the fifth listen when I realized that he never does anything different. Apparently Swanö had thought that the one riff he wrote was so amazing he decided to use it for the whole album. It is not even like he spent a lot of time to write this riff, it is very simplistic and there is almost no variation throughout the album. I can barely make it through the first couple songs because I feel like I am listening to Catch 33. Let me try to explain what’s good about the album……….maybe the vocals.

The vocals are easily my favorite part of the album; they are the same vocals that are in Edge of Sanity and Ribspreader. Rogga Johansson’s vocal style is not hard to achieve but when done right they sound pretty good. He involves the usual deep vocals and the higher pitched screams. On the last track he sings as well, there is no point to the singing nor do the boring chants bring anything to the table.

At times the riffs can be catchy and there are some symphonic parts that throw you off but there really is nothing to be excited about. What I really hate is that Swanö tries to show off so much that he can stick to the old ways of Swedish death metal; he tries so hard to be unoriginal. Like I have already said that is the biggest problem with the album. Had this not irked me so much I wouldn’t even be reviewing the album. I can easily find similarities to Fear Factory and even Dethklok songs on this album, normally I wouldn’t complain about such things because I do find both of those bands mildly entertaining but if a guitarist is supposed to be magnificent at what he does it doesn’t make any sense to sound like something else.

I find this album very hard to keep my attention, I have probably listened to it about twenty five times at least and find myself getting easily bored and looking for something else to listen to. This is funny to me because that it is what I do when I listen to drone or some black metal, but I hardly ever find myself doing this for a death metal album. I basically know this album from front to back, but I also know the Five Finger Death Punch album like that; why do I know that whole album? Well of course to be able to make fun of it to my friends who do like it.

Why must there almost always be an “epic” track on every album? Making solos that are four notes long but last for about a minute and a half, this is completely and utterly worthless. This is the Cult of Dragon, epic? Hardly. If you think KoЯn is epic than feel free to listen to this song. There are still the great death metal vocals in here, but goddamn when I used to listen to KoЯn the vocals were easily the worst part. This whole song is actually reminiscent of KoЯn. Chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug nenenenenenenenenenen chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug “I am crying about nothing because my daddy doesn’t love me” Epic chants now epic chants now. Epic solo bow down to me, I can hit four notes without tearing up…Seriously that is what made the score to the album drop significantly. An absolutely pointless song does not bring joy, I don’t care if it is at the end and I don’t have to listen to it.

I would go on about specific songs but that is seriously the only one that is different at all from the rest of the album. They pulled an Iron Maiden but not as cool. Hold on let me explain what I mean. Almost nothing varies throughout the album except for a couple little tidbits here and there. But the thing is Iron Maiden usually does it right and this album does not. We have a couple of start-stop riffs; we have the same chug chug riff in every song and the riff that sounds like nenenenenenenenenene. That is the best explanation I can give of the three riffs throughout.

Nothing special about the symphonic parts to the songs. They are just in there to make the songs more epic. I think I might have heard the bass once in the whole album. I only heard it in one of the slowed down parts of one of the songs. Sad part is that it sounded pretty good but since it is basically mixed out of the album there is nothing to be excited about. Clear production is always a plus for me, but poor mixing makes clear production worthless.

One more thing that is bothering me. Breakdowns. Normally I love breakdowns, enjoy some deathcore which breakdowns lead up to a bigger breakdown. But these breakdowns bring nothing to the songs; usually they are used along with the symphonic parts to bring on failure.

I do not recommend this album to anyone, why even try listening to it unless you like pointless symphonic “epic” parts that have absolutely no chance to entertain an easily bored person. Do not waste your time. I think Swanö might have lost whatever song writing skills he may have had.

Complete and total ownage - 90%

gk, June 11th, 2008

Demiurg is a Swedish all star death metal band helmed by Rogga Johannson of Paganizer. Giving him company on The Hate Chamber, the band’s second album, is Ed Warby (Gorefest) and Dan Swano (Edge of Sanity).

Demiurg basically play your standard old school European death metal, sounding in equal parts like Entombed, Edge of Sanity and Gorefest. Admittedly, the template the band uses is a bit old and formulaic but where Demiurg succeed is in adding enough little original touches to their sound to come across as being very interesting. The other thing that adds to The Hate Chamber is that, death metal or not, the groove is always king. Dan Swano’s inventive keyboard touches add an extra dimension to the sound and it’s used mostly in the background to provide ambience and atmosphere over the old school death metal that the band pounds out.

Another aspect of the band is that they seem completely unafraid of changing tempos and it’s when they hit those heavy mid tempo grooves like on Wolves at the Gates and The Terror Before Sleep that the band sound quite powerful. The Apocalyptic is a groovy death metal song that sounds like it could have come off Gorefest’s False album but then, the slowed down chorus with a superb bass groove and keyboards means that all comparisons are superfluous at best. Easily the best song on this album and that opening riff is a killer. This is a death metal band that’s a bit difficult to pin down and even better, a death metal band with the ability to surprise the listener.

Also, there’s a surprising depth to this album. In fact, business really picks up in the latter half the album with The Apocalyptic, World Destroyer and the brutal The Convulse Meridian showing off some real death metal skill. Dawn Dusk Delusion offers a slight let up in the intensity with its more melodic, slowed down approach at the start before going off into some very cool mid tempo chug and groove. The song also has some more impressive bass playing by Johan Berglund.

The real surprise though comes at the end of the album with Cult of Dagon. A slow, sprawling song with clean vocals and melody and incorporating classic heavy metal sensibilities to their death metal sound (including a very Queensryche moment at the start), the song sounds quite awesome and is the perfect closer.

Demiurg has made a terrific album with The Hate Chamber. It’s heavy, groovy and filled with terrific songs that will stick in your head. Anyone with even a passing interest in death metal would do well to check this one out.

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