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Pleurisy – Onwards to the Sacrilege – The Demo-nic Years Award winner

Onwards to the Sacrilege – The Demo-nic Years
by Liam Easley at 19 February 2020, 11:21 PM

At first glance, the new compilation from the now retired old school Death Metal act PLEURISY is just another compilation that makes a pun using “demo” and “demonic.” However, “Onwards to the Sacrilege – The Demo-nic Years” is so much more than whatever your assumptions are. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised by the music that makes up this compilation.

Pleurisy started in 1989 under the name CRYPO, but they switched to their most recent name the next year. Between 1992 and 1997, the band released three demos and one split, and three of these four releases were represented on the compilation. The compilation started in 1997 with “Unholy Spheres/Waves,” a split the band did with Germany’s ASGAIA. The next release was the 1995 demo “Degenerated to a Human Life” which was followed by the 1993 demo “My Favourite Girl.”

Living in Oblivion” kicked the record off as a solid collection of Death Metal with a lot of very good riffs. Like most music in general, the track repeated main themes. However, each time the main riff was repeated, something was different – like an added layer to the guitars, a bass line that was raised an octave, a different drum beat or an interesting harmonic. While simple repetition was never bad, this type of repetition kept it engaging. It added a subtle, technical theme.

The record was really set in motion with the next track, “In Darkness/Mortification of Flesh.” The track was much more Thrash Metal-based – and it is the only Death/Thrash Metal song on the record – that had Progressive elements to it. The riffs flowed naturally, and the different instruments were used to their full advantage. The song’s many layers made it strong.

Concrete Confession” was the next big highlight. The track had a flow similar to that of a TIMEGHOUL song. It had a melancholic atmosphere that originated from somewhere uncanny among the cavernous reverberations of each riff. With its fortified and eerie breakdown, the track gave the band new dimensions.

Alongside a TIMEGHOUL style in some tracks, the album had a plethora of sounds. A MONSTROSITY style can be heard many times, especially on “Unholy Spheres” and “Spawn of Misery” while tracks like “Crying Without Tears” have a Brutal Death Metal feeling similar to CRYPTOPSY or Sweden’s APOSTLE.

While a lot of old school names can be identified on this record, I felt that the majority of the music was more modern. It was even ahead of its time. There is no denying that a lot of modern Death Metal acts, while they sound very similar to old school ones, oftentimes have different styles. What some modern bands do with their music is take what bands from the 1990s did and build on top of it. Take TOMB MOLD or HYPERDONTIA as examples.

Devastating Authorization” had a very innovative sound about it. The way it ebbs and flows throughout different passages while maintaining a flow that never breaks is truly incredible for 1995. While bands like MORBID ANGEL and CYNIC may have already accomplished this, the way Pleurisy executed it is in a way that feels like it was written today.

There was a way that some lesser-known bands were extremely influential on modern Death Metal. BLOOD INCANTATION and TOMB MOLD are the unofficial continuation of TIMEGHOUL, a band that released a few demos in 1992 and 1994. When I first listened to those demos (not like it was a long time ago; I wasn’t even alive when they were released), I felt the same way as when I listened to Pleurisy for the first time. I knew that it was like an anachronism – something that has been misplaced in time.

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

5 Star Rating

Unholy Spheres/Waves (1997)
1. Any Day
2. Living in Oblivion
3. In Darkness/Mortification of Flesh
4. Unholy Spheres
Degenerated to a Human Life (1995)
5. Tibetan Monks
6. Concrete Confession
7. Crying Without Tears
8. …and Forever Lost
9. Devastating Authorization
My Favourite Girl (1993)
10. My Favourite Girl
11. Enchained to a Lie
12. Tale from the Dark Side
13. Captain Caveman
14. Spawn of Misery
Unholy Spheres/Waves (1997)
Bas van den Bogaard – Bass
Mathieu van Hamersveld – Vocals
Edwin Nederkoorn – Drums
Alex Seegers – Guitars

Degenerated to a Human Life (1995)
Mathieu van Hamersveld – Vocals
Erik Muchall – Bass
Edwin Nederkoorn – Drums & Vocals
Alex Seegers – Guitars
Johan Wesdijk – Vocals

My Favourite Girl (1993)
Mathieu van Hamersveld – Vocals
Winfred Koster – Guitars
Erik Muchall – Bass
Edwin Nederkoorn – Drums
Alex Seegers – Guitars
Record Label: Sleazy Rider Records


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