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Pitch-black, oppressive and menacing - 84%

Myrkrarfar, May 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Independent

Them. Interesting moniker. It’s the title of a King Diamond album. It is also a pronoun. And, apparently, three metalheads from Vänersborg, Sweden answer to that name as well. Formed in 2008, Pronoun are here with their second demo, “Unhallowed”. With a sucky introduction like this, can the demo be any good? Well, fuck me with a chimpanzee – yes it can. It can be fucking awesome.

I get the same feeling from this band that I get from Dissection or Watain. The mixture of black atmosphere, melancholic and otherworldly melodies, and heavy metal riffage and attitude is and always will be a winner. Black/death/heavy metal with an ambiance and feel that ascends mere life and welcomes the majestic blackness of death with the grace and pride that only honest and true conviction can bring. OK, enough with the bullshit pseudo-philosophical crap, let’s get real here.

Drummer Micke Backelin of Lord Belial fame is a member of Them but isn’t featured on this disc for some reason (maybe he had to take out the trash). The drums are programmed, but they do their job. It’s only a demo, after all, and the production overall is adequate for a self-release. The bass sounds OK and the guitars have a nice aura of indistinction to them, the slight over-distortion enhancing the overtones and filling up the soundscape. The riffs we’re dealt range from straight-forward metal grooves to desolate melodies to dissonant chords and tremolo attacks (coupled with blasting). The vocals are great. Gravelly mid-to-high-pitched barking, with the occasional clean part. Choir and orchestra samplings heighten the atmosphere immensely, but the movie samples (from “Omen”, I guess) I could’ve lived without.

The selling point of this demo is for sure the atmosphere. Pitch-black, oppressive and menacing; all riffs, vocal lines, samplings, drum patterns etc are only tools for conjuring the right mood. Just as it should be. The five songs display variation and every track is quality throughout. Kudos for being brave enough to insert the triumphant outro track “Ravenous” in all its major key glory; the “happy” chords and melodies bring a great contrast to the somber feel of the other songs.

“Unhallowed” is the best demo I’ve heard in ages. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Them (pun (?) intended) in the future. If these guys aren’t signed anytime soon, I guess I’ll have to start my own record label and release Their full-length, if They want. Them bitches. Penis. Look this shit up, fuckos. This carries the torch of ‘90s black/death/heavy metal into the ‘10s. Them good.