Thursday 24 October 2013

Demonical - Darkness Unbound - Review

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 20/9/2013
Label : Cyclone Empire

Darkness Unbound Review, album track listing :

I.      Darkness Unbound
2.     The Order
3.    An Endless Celebration
4.    Contempt and Conquest
5.     King of All
6.    The Healing Control
7.   Hellfire Empire
8.  Words Are Death
9.    Deathcrown
10.     The Great Praise
11.    World Beyond (Kreator cover) *
12.   Burned Alive (re-recording)**

* bonus track for limited digipak-CD and limited LP
** bonus track for limited digipak-CD
Bio :

Demonical was spawned in March 2006 - by former Centinex members Johan Jansson (guitars & vocals), Martin Schulman (bass) and Ronnie Bergerståhl (drums) - with a mission to return to the roots of death metal and deliver a sheer dose of darkness and brutality.

The first audio assault - a four track promo attack entitled "Bloodspell Divine" - was recorded at Necromorbus Studios during July the same year. In November 2006 Demonical added vocalist Ludvig Engellau to the line-up - 'cause Johan wanted to fully concentrate on the six-string axe - and signed a worldwide multi-album deal with German Cyclone Empire.

The bands first full-length album, "Servants Of The Unlight", was recorded at both Black Lounge and Necromorbus Studios during January and February 2007 and released in April the same year. In November 2007 Temple of Darkness released a limited Demonical/Absu 7”EP featuring one track from the “Bloodspell Divine” promo.

In December 2007 the band parted ways with vocalist Ludvig Engellau due to musical and personal reasons. Demonical continued for a few months with various session vocalists until late March 2008 when Sverker “Widda” Widgren came on board as the new fulltime frontman.

The bands second full-length album, “Hellsworn”, was recorded at Necromorbus Studios between December 2008 and February 2009 and released by Cyclone Empire in May 2009. A split 7”EP called ‘Imperial Anthems Vol.1’ with Paganizer was released by Cyclone Empire in early 2010. This limited vinyl featured an exclusive Demonical track recorded at the “Hellsworn” session.

In September 2010 Demonical once again entered Necromorbus Studios in order to record “Death Infernal”, their anticipated third full-length album. The album was recorded throughout the fall and released in Europe by Cyclone Empire (April 2011) and in north-America by Metal Blade (July 2011) as a limited digi-CD, regular CD and limited LP.

The album was praised by fans and media and climbed high at reader-polls in several magazines. During the fall 2011 drummer Ronnie Bergerståhl decided to leave the band due to scheduling conflicts and he was quickly replaced by Fredrik Widigs.

After “Death Infernal” was released the band decided to add a second guitarist for live situations. A few session members were used at several tours until Daniel Gustavsson joined as a full-time member during the summer 2012.

The first half of 2013 was spent at both Necromorbus and Wing Studios in Stockholm with the recordings of “Darkness Unbound”. After the recording a line-up change took place with Johan Haglund replacing Johan Jansson and Ämir Batar replacing Fredrik Widigs.

“Darkness Unbound” will be released on September 20th 2013 and supported by a world tour

The Band :

Sverker Widgren | Vocals
Martin Schulman | Bass
Johan Haglund | Guitars
Daniel Gustavsson | Guitars
Ämir Batar | Drums

Review :

The fourth full length from these deathly Swedes starts with an instrumental title track intro. An unconventional start, filled with electronic sounds and a rather deep sense of foreboding, gives way to total brutality for The Order. The drums thrash and the guitars mix Entombed sounds with Dissection melodies. An Endless Celebration is up next and concisely pulverises your senses with more thrash pacing and a rather melancholy feel to the riffs. There is a killer riff just before the minute mark as the band convinces you that the delay of the upcoming Entombed record is not a total disaster- you can get some quality Swedish death metal here first.

Contempt and Conquest ushers in blast beats of real ferocity and pace and the track positively rips by in a maelstrom of sandpaper throated vocals, varied cymbal use and ascending/descending riffs.

King of All ups the track length past the five minute mark and features more measured pacing and chugging verses. The Healing Control is lightning fast and features nice lead work to start before the verse has even started. The pace slows alter and more superb lead work features- great track.

Hellfire Empire has a more measured approach- it's still quick- and makes good use of time changes and turnarounds.

Words are Death is just over two minutes of very Swedish sounding death metal and manages to cram what is best about the record into its playing time; cool leads, great riffs, lovely guitar interplay, frenetic drumming and strong vocals. What is not to like? Deathcrown further consolidates the strengths mentioned previously- the riffs catching that Dismember/Dissection pairing very nicely.

The Great Praise finishes the album proper with the longest running time. It starts melancholy and doomy in its approach and then shifts through the gears effectively- proving that Demonical are far from a one trick pony. What a brutal affair of non stop quality death metal this album is.

World Beyond acts as the first of the digipack bonus tracks and is no less worthy than the material that went before; ferocious and feral. Burned Alive finishes the expanded edition off brutally with a slower pace to start that gradually picks up before reaching warp speed.

If you are looking for a death metal album that epitomises the brutal Swedish sound, then look no further. An excellent adrenaline rush of quality metal.

Words by : Richard Maw

You can buy it here

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