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dEMOTIONAL – Scandinavian Aftermath Award winner

Scandinavian Aftermath
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 June 2021, 1:11 PM

DEMOTIONAL is an up-rising, promising sextet hailing from Sweden, formed in 2009 with the aim to step and be in the front line of the new wave of Swedish metal bands. With three full length albums, DEMOTIONAL has proven themselves as a solid six-man-army worthy of that place. Notorious for their energetic live shows, their unique sound and their down to earth connection with their fan base, DEMOTIONAL has become one of Sweden’s most recognized metal bands. With over 15 million of streams on Spotify alone, countless live shows/tours around the world and plenty of radio air time, they are now more than ever ready to conquer the world! Their fourth album, “Scandinavian Aftermath,” was released May 28th 2021.

The title track kicks off the album. You can tell the band is seasoned at production, because it is all very clear and crisp. It begins with a fade-in of drums and guitars, along with keys, and some thudding bass notes. The vocals, terse at first, roar out at you quite quickly. Wonderful melodies abound in the song, but especially in the chorus. “Barsark” is another three-minute burner, full of thick guitars, keys and harsh vocals. One thing that has always been unique about the band is the electronic nature of their music, and it is very strong in this song.

“My Own Enemy” opens with harsh vocals and chunky guitars, leading to a big chorus, full of melodies. Leading up to the second chorus, the harsh vocals become enraged, sung at a very fast pace. Coming out of the second chorus, there is a breakdown. “My Heart” features musicians Matt Guillory and Jenny Fagerstrandh. This softer, more introspective song is well-placed on the album, coming on the tails of three previous scorchers, but is not without its moments of rage. I really enjoy Jenny’s voice here.

“S.O.A.K” features a weighted riff and some nice keyboard melodies. The harsh vocals are intense, and you can easily understand how the music would translate into an amazing live show. “Cornered” sounds just as the title would suggest. You back a rattle snake into a corner, and see how long it takes before it strikes out at you with deadly precision. The melodies are a little subtler here, but that passage around the half-way mark is really beautiful, followed by a commanding guitar solo.

“All That I Knew” hears the album slow to allow more grace and refinement into the mix. But, the harsh moments are there as well…there just aren’t as much of them. Instead, they let the sublime nature of the melodies really shine. “Young Wolves” opens with a passage of charming consonance that puts a smile on my face. The harshness comes, but not at the expense of the composition as a whole. I love the clean guitar fade-out as well. “Boiling Point” packs a big punch for a three-minute track. It begins with clean, poignant vocals but you know that “boiling point” will come, and it comes with a vengeance.

“Typhoon” begins with a slower grind, still pretty thick with instrumentation. It transitions to a real blazer pretty soon, but the clean vocals are very catchy. There is a really strong mix of these various elements throughout the album. “Northern Star” also opens with a slower groove and some emotional “ooohs” in the vocals. But the harsh vocals tear through like a monster busting through a brick wall and sending shards careening everywhere. It’s another song with a strong chorus. “The Fear of Success” features a nice interchange between guitars and keys, as well as a balance in clean and harsh vocals. Keys are a strong point here again.

“Don’t Wake me up” is another short, intense track that begins with keys and clean, harmonized vocals. Coming to the chorus, it boils over with a powerful energy that rides throughout the song. “Close yet Far” closes the album. It’s the perfect closing song…one that balances the intensity of Metalcore with melodies. Coming out the gates, the singer goes for broke, but in the chorus, the shining melodies soar into the heavens. The fade out at the end caps a very pleasurable listening experience.

14 songs are a lot for an album, but I never got bored. One thing I can say about this album is that there is a perfect balance of instrumentation with the vocals. I love keyboards, and their presence is pretty strong on the album, but it doesn’t overtake the guitars or bass. It is Metalcore, or Melodic Metal? Who cares. The vocalist (Nils?) has one of the most versatile voices out there, and the drummer incredible as well. The music is certainly heavy enough for the most ardent fan of Metal, but the album also breathes with spectacular melodies, which is what I enjoy most. They present the album with an unbridled energy, and just leave it out there for fans to enjoy. Bravo, ladies and gentlemen!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Scandanavian Aftermath
2. Barsark
3. My Own Enemy
4. My Heart
5. S.O.A.K.
6. Cornered
7. All that I Knew
8. Young Wolves
9. Boiling Point
10. Typhoon
11. Northern Star
12. The Fear of Success
13. Don’t Wake me up
14. Close yet Far
Christopher Kristensen
Nils-Petter Power
Sebastian Fjordevik
Johan Olofsson
Kristoffer Lindh
Tommy Magnusson
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 26 September 2021

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