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And I Thought Behemoth was Funny... - 0%

doomknocker, May 22nd, 2015
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Osmose Productions

It’s become historical fact that even the best and most beloved of metal acts have plenty of early day skeletons in their closets I’m sure they’d love to keep ignored, but here in the age of the digital everything even the most obscure of works are unearthed and forever engraved. Every once and again you’ll find some gold within the mold, but beyond that those roots are best left in the ground where they belong. Enter DragonForce, the patron saints of Pro Tools Wankery Bullshit who, much to my surprise, started out as a nondescript black metal entity known as Demoniac. Having never heard the entry-level albums they’d put out (or the band in general, for that matter), I just had to see how this group of noisy misfits handled a genre pretty damned far removed from bouncy power metal/shred...

Holy fucking ungod is this a complete and utter disaster in every single possible way, and worse than that is its capacity to make me giggle like a humored child at its retarded methodology. Much like Behemoth post-“Satanica”, this is something that tries so hard to be intense, offensive and dangerous that it instead comes off as harmless and, well...cute. You just kinda cock your head to the side with a soft smile as they bang their wares willy-nilly with no cohesion and sense of self beyond trying to piss you off with the appeal of an angsty high schooler having a meltdown. That’s what it sounds like to me, anyway. It was my mistake to pick the one album of theirs that’s not straight-and-narrow black metal but is, instead, sprightly flower metal not all that dissimilar from where the guys would go as DragonForce, only with black metal vocals thrown in there because why not? And let me tell you, the whole affair made for one of the worst albums I’d ever heard in my life. Every single thing about this screams ”wrong!” at high-ranging volumes. Much like DF, the level of songwriting is unbelievably uninspired and bland (one of the lesser qualities of power metal, sad to say) and only serves as padding and filler to keep everything moving until the ungodly solos kick in, proof positive that, even back then, Totman and Li could hammer their fingers on the frets at light speed but couldn’t compose a song if they were held at gunpoint (a trait they brought with them to the ‘Force). I’d never heard a band sound so simultaneously happy and boring as this, so gleeful in their vanilla-flavored riffing and wild abandon lead work. What also makes this hilariously unbearable is the performance itself, which is all sorts of sloppy and unkempt, not exactly unlistenable but still so awful as to wonder if anything was edited in the first place. It’s much more noticeable in the background music more so than the soloing, which is a bit tighter than the rest of the group for what it’s worth, but all the same its manic dexterity makes it much harder to control when going for what sounds like a live recording, especially when put within the confines of the rest of the song itself.

Beyond that, the production approach is a jumbled mess of trebly drilling and blurry tape hiss that is BM to the bone...and if this was a straight-up BM release that would make sense, but when it’s used to make a power metal record it takes a lot of its glory and magic away and makes the listening experience all the more deplorably bad. The guitars are way too bright and sharp, the drumming too thin and rattly, and the bass is...somewhere in there? I guess? I couldn’t tell you, it’s so undermixed (again, with black metal it’s part of the norm, but with this...well, you get what I mean). But the worst offender in all this is the god-damned vocalist. His presence and voice aren’t demonic, evil, or ghastly in any way, and instead he comes off as a piss-headed tool screaming like an asshole for the sake of being as irritating as possible, and combined with the sunny musical disposition he sticks out like a Skrewdriver fan in a synagoge (I’ll dive further into that analogy in a bit). The first time I heard it I lost it...it was so funny to hear this “dark” shit fronting something that sounds so happy-go-lucky, but the further in I went, every time this guy opened his gullet and continued to unleash those same abrasive shrieks, I was compelling to put a fist in my wall as his face isn’t here for me to do the same to it and I had to take something out. The vocals were bad, but the lyrical themes here are even worse; Demoniac/DragonHeart/Force were never the most poetic of groups, yet the lyrics here are far more idiotic than they’ve ever been (looking back, that is...), what with the Manowar-styled odes to metal, the disingenuous Satanic rhetoric and a continuation of the racist bullshit they toyed with before and still refuse to own up to. “Hitler metal”...like, really? In what way, and in what world, was that considered a good idea? Was this a case of using racism to piss people off when the anti-religious schtick didn’t work? Sometimes I wonder...

So in the end this didn’t need to exist, and I truly wish it didn’t. It made me laugh for all its out of control extremity, but it ‘s still among the worst albums I’d heard. It’s my hope that the DragonForcers look back on this little excursion into stylistic vacuum and shake their heads in shame and if not, they really should. There was no excuse for this, at all.