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The Sanguine Genius! - 95%

Hectorlicious, November 20th, 2022

This demo blasts some evil death metal out of the depths of the desert known as "Hell Paso Texas." Reign of Terror embodies the absolute domination that death metal had over the entire genre during the late 90's, and early 2000's. These guys have written one of most punishing and underground demos ever. The clear influences from bands like Suffocation, Angel Corpse, and Mortician make for one unique and unpredictable blend.

This release is the perfect mix of grind, doom, slam, that creates brutal and chaotic death metal, and it starts with a sample from the Blair Witch Project's final scene. The scene where you hear actress Heather Donahue deliver some very chilling screams, as she presumably comes across the Blair Witch herself at the end of the movie. The blood curling screams set the tone for one of the most raw and uncompromising death metal releases to come out of Texas at the turn of the millennium. For starters, this demo is already a step up in ferocity from their previous demo -- Traversing the Realms of Acheron. There is so much that is improved from the first demo, including the songwriting, the production, and one must take note; the guitars are fuller, thicker, and heavy. The sound of the drums have also been beefed up and you can distinguish every note clearly. This is very helpful since the drumming is faster than in the previous demo . Cj Holguin's guttural lows and piercing highs are scattered throughout belching out blasphemous lyrics about human sacrifice, suicide, sodomy and other perversions. Mixed in with samples from horror movies as intros or outros to the songs. Also, the songs are more interesting. the band arranged everything perfectly in these songs. All songs have a more intense focus than in the first demo. There are moments where they can stop on a dime, this is the Suffocation worship, then they move into hyper-speed at the drop of that same dime are arranged throughout all 7 tracks. The arrangements in these songs are top notch. They pass the puck to each other at the perfect time, be it an extra hit on the drum kit, to a bass rhythm lick or fill, to the timing of the dissonant leads.

The only issue with this demo happens when the near perfect performance comes out of sync midway through the breakdown of Sado-Sodomite Communion. I suspect this happened because this demo was recorded in real time without the use of any digital enhancements, or any of the midi shit most bands use today. So, all this does is add to the rawness of the demo. The small breach of timing during Sado is my ONLY gripe from the whole thing here, otherwise this demo is damn near perfect.

Gilbert Sanchez and Dick Osmond make the perfect dual guitar threat as they've come up with some great death metal riffs. They play off of each other's parts to create a wall of sound so thick, you need a chainsaw to cut through it. Cj's bass has to sound like a tank in order to cut through the mix, and does it very effectively. Between them three, they exploit Marc Arredondo's choppy and speedy drumming to create this crazy style of death metal throughout all seven songs. And, it is not all absolute mindless chaos. There are so many moments where the riffs are very hummable. The highlights of these riffs are in songs like Funeral Mask, Turn to Ash, and Inverted Beliefs of the Sanguine God. For example, in Funeral mask, a song about suicide, the song has the fastest and most complex drumming patterns of the entire demo, has a very memorable main riff that evokes the horror of self loathing. Who knew so much anguish and pain could be captured on record like it has been done here? The title track has the breakdown riff that reminds me of Beavis and Butthead getting entranced by one of the music videos they used to try to make fun of, only to get enthralled by what they were watching. Throes of Contorted Demise is absolute Slayer worship in death metal form. The descending chromatic riff with blast beats is the perfect way to close out this intense demo.

These guys managed to capture lightning in a bottle here. Their next recording, Therenody of the Impaled, while good, has somehow lost some of ferociousness captured on this demo. If you EVER get a chance to come across a copy of this forbidden gem, do yourself and snag it. You won't likely ever see it again.