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Demonorgies on lascivious altars - 75%

autothrall, July 12th, 2011

Medieval Demon were one of the lesser known acts to arrive on the now-defunct Greek imprint Unisound, and they differ from their countrymen in that they reflected more of a cheesy northern Europe blend of black and Gothic metal. Whereas bands like Varathron and Rotting Christ were (for the most part) extracting the legacies of the ancients in their lyrics, these guys were just happy with chicks chained up in haunted castles, succubus summonings and other churlish and entertaining occult perversions. And you know what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Musically, they had a style not unlike Emperor, Mayhem or early Ancient, only ravished with much more Gothic elegance via organs, violins and campy but endearing orchestral segues.

They're also a lot cruder when it comes to their riffing and transition ability, so you might think of the album as a poor man's In the Nightside Eclipse with far less poignant lyrics and impact. For example, take a song like "Dark Widow" where it cedes its orchestral overtures to some brutal but primal riffing that barely involves a handful of chords on the guitar. The vocals of 'Crimson Embrace' are full and resonant rasps that carry well over the primitive sequence of chords, and when they transition from one riff to the next you taste an echo of Emperor. In other of the aggression tunes, like the title track or "The Rise of the Moon", they invoke more of a straight ripping sensation circa Bathory or Mayhem. Often, the guitar lines are forgettable despite their ability to conjure up nostalgia for that period, but then you'll have a tune like "No Flesh Shall Be Sharp" which simply rocks your socks (and pentagram) off.

The drums are often sloppy feeling, but this is not so much the fault of the actual musician rather than the band's inability to smoothly course from one riff into the next. One area where the band never fails, however, is the orchestral/ambient pieces like the sweeping "Queen of Sorrow", eloquence given blasphemous musical flesh through simple but lush string synthesis and violin breaks; the eerie "Loudness in the Dark"; or the pompous, almost Wagnerian romp "Warrior's Anthem", or the extensive finale "Melancholy". In another life, Medieval Demon's 'Moonstruck' might have taken it upon himself to score all manner of films and games, because he was the Greek black metal of Castlevania and it helps heave this fanged beast well over the precipice of mediocrity. Werewolves, vampires, moonlight, phantoms and seduction: these are the tropes evoked through the substantial 53 minutes of this entity's sole full-length studio foray, and if you've a natural fetish or inclination for such drivel then there's no reason not to have fun with it.


Grim and Frostbitten Mediocrity - 65%

doomknocker, September 27th, 2010

There’s a more aesthetic beauty to extreme metal than just shoving riffs, hatred, and anti-everything rhetoric down the listeners’ throats. It takes a special kind of madness to unleash all that black, thorny vitriol, but in doing so one has to remember to make it workable. That’s what made the more name-droppable black and death metal acts stand out more than the hundreds of seventh-tier specters that flooded the underground to the point of abscessing, from the 90s to this modern age. It’s more than heaviness and brutality; it’s being able to make all that anger and hatred as palatable as possible to ensure a good listen.

I put these ideals to the test when I came across Medieval Demon’s latest (er, only) album…

When I first came across this album the imagery, the artwork, and the logo just screamed “gothic black metal!” A Greek Cradle of Filth? Would Hecate truly be enthroned on her natural soil? It took a bit of personal coercion (and some kind words on their behalf by a now-former associate), but eventually I buckled down and gave “Demonolatria” a serious try, and at the end I learned that I was only half-right. There’re some gothy vibes present in MEDIEVAL DEMON’s keyboard lines, ambience and lyrical themes, evoking a sort of dark beauty that lowers the head and stills the heart. But the bulk of the group’s overall performance and arrangements kick all those filthy elements to the curb in favor of riff-heavy, blast-beaty “black fucking metal” from the Darkthrone/old Mayhem/demo-era Ezurate department. I mean, we’re talkin’ the grimmest of the grim, where the “Hell” is truly put in “Hellas”. It’s actually sorta strange how those divisive halves can come off as counteractive of one another…I know they were trying their best, there’s no doubting that, but for what it’s worth the band sound rather confused style-wise; the melodic, synth-laden movements and the nasty, punk-driven aggression don’t gel as well as I’m sure they would’ve liked, as the songs themselves are more a collection of riffs and ideas versus real arrangements, showing an unfortunate lack of focus. And what’s even more strange is that there are only eight tracks on my copy of the disc, while the packaging claims that there are thirteen. What happened to the last five tracks? Why was I shortchanged like this? Wherever they are, they better get back here and complete this disc or I’m gonna have some serious talks with their composers (or maybe Unisound for omitting them). However, for what’s present, there are some good moments on both ends, with some fine eatin’ present in the fuzzy guitar licks, thumping percussion, and wicked and rather possessed-sounding vocal work that let loose some silly Satanic lyrical rants (replete with a few grammatical errors) with the reckless abandon you know and love from those lo-fi blackened groups. Such fine examples are present in the eerie moments of songs like “Under the Twilight” and “Queen of Sorrow”, and the bitter heaviness of “Dark Widow” and “Spirits of the Dead”. Just remember to enjoy both parts separately.

In the end “Demonolatria” has good intentions but not enough moxie to be a fully, complete product. The artistic integrity of it I can appreciate, but for me to be truly blown away, I’d rather have a solid, cohesive work versus random acts of spirited angst. Something I’ll pop in once in a while, both I don’t think it’s anything I’d subject myself to every day.

The first and last note of Medieval Demon - 80%

Mors_Gloria, December 21st, 2007

So, here I am reviewing Medieval Demon. First off I have to state that my acquintance with Medieval's Demon members won't affect my review.

Medieval Demon was formed in 1993. They lived the explosion of black metal in Greece at the early 90s. They were formed at the same time with bands like Bethor and Zephyrous (they were townmates).

Highly associated with the Athenean scene and the aforementioned bands they released two demos and a split Cd in the period of 1993-1994. They even had some songs in various compilations of Greek metal magazines and zines of the time. In other words, a lot of people expected their debut effort released by Unisound Records (the same label that released Rotting Christ's Non Serviam).

What we have here is atmospheric black metal. The music has a lot of keyboards but they do not overpower the guitars mostly because they try to keep guitars and keys seperated. In other words, when the guitar plays the keyboards are minimal. That technique enhances the music and makes the overal output of the album more diverse.

The album can be divised in two parts. The atmospheric songs which are keyboard-laden and the actual black metal tracks which are guitar-driven.

Tracks like Under The Twilight, Queen Of Sorrow, Leudness In The Dark, Warrior's Anthem, Beyond The Clouds and Melancholy fall under the first category. From these tracks Queen Of Sorrow, Melancholy and Warrior's Anthem (the last one in a lesser degree) are the ones that stand out (with Under The Twilight being an intro played with a hammond organ and Leudness In The Dark and Beyond The Clouds being two ambient intervals). Queen Of Sorrow, Melancholy and Warrior's Anthem standout for the atmosphere that is created by Nick's violin. All these keyboard-laden pieces are arranged and played by Moonstruck. Queen Of Sorrow is a sorrowful, agonizing piece (a general stand-out of the album). Musically, Queen Of Sorrow is a pure symphonic piece whereas Melancholy has a pretty folky tune that serves perfectly as the album's ending.

All the other tracks fall under the second category. In this pieces the actual black metal face of Medieval Demon is shown. The pace ranges from mid to high tempo depending on the song. Spirits Of The Dead, Doomsday, No Flesh Shall Be Sharped are mid tempo songs whilst Dark Widow, Fields Of Tears and Demonolatria are fast tempo songs. The Rise Of The Moon falls somewhere inbetween with fast and mid tempo parts.

The standout tracks of this category are the mid-tempo ones (namely Spirits Of The Dead, Doomsday and No Flesh Shall Be Sharped. The Rise Of The Moon has its moments too.

Crimson Embrace's vocals are nice and they fit the music. They do not dominate the music though as they are mainly left in the background. The guitars are nice but they are not very memorable and that's surely a drawback of Medieval Demon's music. The bass is audible in tracks like Dark Widow, Demonolatria and Fields Of Tears. The drummer does a very good job too.

The highlight of the music is Moonstruck's keyboards. They manage to create an incredible romantic atmosphere (you can almost dine to Queen Of Sorrow and Melancholy).

Now Medieval Demon are sadly defunct. This album will be their heritage in the scene. It was a decent job. If you can ever find it, get it. You won't waste your money especially if you are a fan of the atmospheric sound.

Highlights: Queen Of Sorrow, Melancholy (my favourite tracks), Spirits Of The Dead, Doomsday, No Flesh Shall Be Sharped, The Rise Of The Moon.