Review – Demonical: Black Flesh Redemption

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Agonia Records
  • Release Date: April 24th, 2015
  • Genre: Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Formed back in 2006, Demonical have been tearing through the death metal world one release at a time. After a nice stint with Cyclone Empire, the trio of bassist Martin Schulman and vocalist Sverker Widgren, both of which being ex-members of Centinex, as well as guitarist Johan Haglun (Ikhon, Spasmodic), a man who just joined the group in 2013, return with Black Flesh Redemption, a brand new EP that follows their fourth full-length effort, Darkness Unbound. As it stands most of their discography has been received fairly well, leaving fans anticipating great things from any future recording the group throws their way. But does this four song offering stand as one worthy enough to stand tall in the group’s hallowed list of efforts, or is it nothing more than a cheap cash grab?

Black Flesh Redemption may only be a small handful of songs, but the four present do a fantastic job at hooking the listener right away. The rich buzz of that signature Swedish take on the style is palpable, as are the many eerie, yet incredibly infectious hooks that adorn each song. While crisp with a clear sense of aggression, those aforementioned distortions really help give it a dirty quality, especially in the first track. “Cursed Liberation” carries a powerful presence despite the sleek hooks utilized, hitting the listener full of Bolt Thrower and Centinex-grade brutality. The pace is relentless, leaving little room for the listener to breath until a momentary transition between it and the next performance towards the end.

“Drown in Flames” only amplifies the pain with richer riffs that hold far more hostility and grim, dire consequences within the fiery atmosphere the lead riffs and well executed drums bathe you in. Yet, for some reason, I can’t help but feel a subtle presence of “Sinister Mephisto” by Arch Enemy lurking in the background, though it may just be my mind picking up on chords within the static that don’t really exist. While the guitars are just as well executed on the closing “To Become the Weapon”, the drums are what really stand out. The steady rhythms established with just the right amount of blasting through perfectly timed bridges brings in just the right amount of authority that easily will incite any mosh pit within earshot. There’s also a solid groove that erupts approaching the two minute mark that can’t be ignored either, heading into a funeral march-inspired guitar solo that, again, the drum patterns accentuate with the greatest of ease.

While the faster tracks come through as a more refined version of Demonical, it’s the slower “Throne of Perdition” and it’s crushing tension that seem to channel a more refined version of Centinex instead, which really isn’t all that surprising considering the aforementioned roots two members have with that very band. Bleak an spirit crushing, this track just tears you apart limb from limb with additional complexities in the main hooks, allowing the louder bass presence to really come through those filthy sounding effects utilized on the other stringed instruments. Meanwhile there’s the guitar solo, which is nearly the polar opposite, having more of a deeper, brooding presence that ushers in a hint of doom metal influence that trudges into the mix once more towards the end.

DemonicalWhile just under eighteen minutes, there’s no doubting the amount of care that went into this new creation. Sure, a new full-length would have been a far more welcome treat, as we are approaching the standard two year mark since the last one dropped, but Black Flesh Redemption does a good job as an appetizer to the hopefully impending main course of brutality. There’s no ignoring that the Centinex influence still remains with Martin and Sverker when it comes to composing new material for the band, but that’s not really an issue as Demonical still retain enough of an independence from that group to stand tall in a world full of Swedish death metal bands currently making their rounds. Black Flesh Redemption is more than just a four song EP, but rather a well crafted, memorable slab of aggression for any occasion that you will find yourself gravitating back to more often than you first thought you would.

Demonical

Digital review copy of this release provided by Agonia Records.