So, what can fans expect this time around from Demonic Resurrection? Well, take the band’s earlier Symphonic Black Metal roots, keep the not quite deep enough guttural vocals, and add some rather generic keyboards, and look at all of this as a combination of early Children of Bodom mixed with Dimmu Borgir‘s In Sorte Diaboli, and you’ll have the perfect idea of what lies ahead of you. The latter of those two bands become obvious right from the introductory track “Between Infinity and Oblivion”, but it isn’t until the following track “Where Dreams and darkness Unite” that the band shows a strong Children of Bodom influence coupled with Dimmu Borgir, but in a very watered down manner. But that’s not all, as the next track, “The Warriors Return”, takes the music and utilizes the keyboards in a manner to create a more glorifying Power Metal sound, utilizing some Symphonic Black Metal compositions against it to create something far different, but odd as the band uses that, and straight forward Symphonic Metal throughout the song, jumping from one extreme to the other.
Up to this point, the album is very rocky, and winds up sounding rather hollow. One could argue that it’s this way due to it being the third and final chapter to the Darkness trilogy, and in a sense that does seem to explain away some of the earlier material being not as strong due to the position it starts in within the confines of the concept, but at the same time it simply doesn’t make the start of the release that appealing in the first place. One thing Demonic Resurrection has been noted for is the band’s technical abilities, and in these earlier tracks, it shows, but not a lot. It isn’t until “A Tragedy Befallen” that the music really picks up and becomes a lot stronger, almost taking a life of its own and slightly shedding the confines of the two bands mentioned earlier. In fact, the keyboards manage to take the listener into a brief Progressive/Space Rock moment about two-thirds of the way through the track, working nicely against the atmospheric guitar solos that are planted throughout. The only thing about this song, and many others, are the moments that come off as breakdowns, but are built up from the simpler start of them, and with this track, these moments sound a lot like something one might hear on a Chimaira or Lamb of God album. Riffs of “Walk With Me In Hell” can be compared in this track during both one of these semi-breakdown moments, as well as throughout the track.
After “A Tragedy Befallen”, the songs will often become hit or miss. “Bound By Blood, Fire and Stone” makes for a great track of intense Death Metal influences with a Symphonic Black Metal foundation. The song simply hammers away at the listener with a mid-tempo pace pushed nicely through the well-timed drumming and faster guitars. The vocals and keyboards do a nice job of adding some atmosphere to the recording to make it come off a little more epic and stylish then what it would sound like without those two elements. For the most part, the material relies solely on the atmosphere of the music, and for that the band does a fantastic job. They manage to create the stylish atmosphere that is standard for a Symphonic Black Metal release, but due to the sounds of the keyboard, and the overall tone of the music the band plays outside of that instrument, it carries a somewhat Gothic horror story atmosphere to it, giving it a sort of fantastical eerie feeling. of course, this atmosphere isn’t really present at the start of the album, and really shines through on “A Tragedy Befallen” and on.
Outside the earlier tracks, there’s nothing too bad to say about this recording. Many of the songs on here are good, but not too many really will hook the listener and come off strong. “Lord of Pestilence” is one of the songs on here that could have been special, and in a sense it is, being a somewhat enjoyable track throughout, though it does lose some steam after a little while. The end product is a song that comes off with good intentions, but about six, seven minutes in starts to feel drawn out more than it should be. The closing tracks after that are all fantastic, such as the hard-hitting “The Final Stand”, which really comes off as a well executed epic track, something that likely was the original intent for many of the songs on this recording. However, there is also the track “The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance” which, by its name alone would spark the curiosity of any Metal fan, only to prove misleading and not be what one would expect, instead come off as a slow and rather generic track that borders the concept of what could be an evil and haunting Symphonic Black Metal ballad which, due to its generic and typical not-too-impressive somber composition and performance, is enough to lull any dedicated listener to sleep. Atop of that, the overall length of the recording seems a bit too much, coming in at roughly sixty-three minutes in length. This could very well be the reason why some of the tracks on here are not as strong and, at times, feel as if some tracks are good, but have some filler thrown in as well to pad the album, perhaps even the story.
If The Return to Darkness is the closing chapter of a trilogy, it’s a nice ending, but the start of this chapter could have been much stronger. There’s so many obvious influences that flood the recording that it becomes hard to concentrate on the band itself, and when Demonic Resurrection does manage to get their act together, the recording isn’t half bad, though it does become hit or miss afterwards. While not one of the strongest releases out there, it has some strong tracks worth checking out, but that’s about it: A few tracks. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not this effort was worth the same five-year wait as the band’s last release. Given everything mentioned here, the answer a simple no. In fact, while the material sounds mature, it doesn’t genuinely sound like the band utilized those five years to give a conceptual trilogy a send of any story deserves.