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Demonical - Chaos Manifesto Award winner

Demonical
Chaos Manifesto
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 March 2018, 7:27 AM

Sweden’s DEMONICAL and their fifth full length “Chaos Manifesto” are a force to be reckoned with.  For those outside of the Death Metal loop, the band plays old school Death Metal with that unmistakable Swedish tone and groove.  There have been a few changes since their last full length release, 2013’s “Darkness Unbound.”  They have a new vocalist, Alexander Hogbom, who you might know from CENTINEX and OCTOBER TIDE.  He does one hell of a job on this album; his vocals are deep and throaty but not in such a manner that he sounds like he gurgling someone’s severed testicles (great idea for a band name, by the way).   Secondly, this album is a more melodic than previous efforts.  Don’t let that turn you away!  This isn’t the Gothenburg style of Melodic Death; make no mistake, this album is evil, brutal, and oh so dark.  Just think of ANATA’s “The Infernal Depths of Hatred,” instead of IN FLAMESThe Jester Race,” if you want a reference point.  Also, go listen to both those albums too.

The opening track, “A Void Most Obscure,” is a welcomed mix of Kennet’s crisp yet fast and brutal drums, groovy riffs that are as cold from the grave as they are heavy, and near inhuman vocals.  Combine these elements with Schulman stupidly amazing heavy bass and you have a searing opening track. I really Hogbom’s higher pitched growls, he sounds really angry and pained which is what you want for this type of band.  Recalling ANATA once more, the riffs around the 2:20 mark are a perfect balance between melody, groove, and old school riffs.  Both Johan Haglund and Eki Kumpulainen must be commended for their abilities to write/play great riff after riff and solos.

The fourth track, “Valkommen undergang” is the band’s first track in their native tongue and features some very anthem like riffs and drums but never loses the old school sound.  Towards the end of the song, I was treated to a rather melodic solo that sounds like it could had been written by THE CROWN for their “Crowned Unholy.”  High praise, indeed! “Unfold Thy Darkness,” is another rager filled with thick groove that nearly gave me whiplash.  I loved the last minute or so of the track because of the galloping riffs that end the track in a most brutal fashion. The album only gets better—the last track “Death Unfaithful” is probably the highlight of the album for me.   It opens with a fast, melodic riff that breaks apart and turns into a groove machine before returning the melodic attack and then once again shifting into bulldozer.

The Digipack CD version comes with a bonus track called “Nightbringer” that was, for whatever reason, left off my promo copy but I’m going to assume it also kicks ass to Sweden and back. With “Chaos Manifesto,” DEMONICAL have shown the sound of old school Death Metal will never die while they also add a melodic mix to the formula without sacrificing the brutality. For my money and time, this is an early contender for the best Death Metal album of the year.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Void Most Obscure
2. Towards Greater Gods
3. Sung to Possess
4. Valkommen undergang
5. Torture Parade
6. From Nothing
7. Unfold Thy Darkness
8. Death Unfaithful
9. Nightbringer (Digi pack CD exclusive)
Lineup:
Martin Schulman – Bass
Johan Haglund – Rhythm Guitar
Kennet Englund – Drums
Eki Kumpulainen – Lead Guitar
Alexander Hogbom – Vocals
Record Label: Agonia Records
     


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