Monday, 18 July 2011
Demigod - Slumber of the Sullen Eyes
Another Finnish death metal classic... and yet band, which sounds little bit different to their countrymen. That's something I always liked about Finland - there were plenty death metal bands, but you can't say they've created something called Finnish sound; at least not in the sense of similarity and uniqueness the Swedish groups had and shared. For instance Demigod is nothing like Disgrace, Xysma, Purtenance, Vomiturition or Funebre. And Amorphis is nothing like Demigod... While those bands like Xysma or Vomiturition tried more or less capture the essence of brutality in their music, sometimes coming close to grind, Demigod came up with more or less classic death metal recording, full of massive riffs, headbanging and dark atmosphere.
"Slumber of the Sullen Eyes" is great album, I must say, one which sticks in the head for long time. Its straight forward death metal attitude will overwhelm you, invite to maniacal headbanging, with some occasional splendid blasts, while most of the time the music stays groovy and catchy, reminding the likes of Bolt Thrower or Grave a lot! Really, there's similar heaviness and attitude in this music, something like a fist coming close to your eyes and hitting you hard, until you loose consciousness. At the same time Demigod shows absolutely fantastic songwriting! This is something I sometimes miss in bands like Purtenance or Funebre... Really great, almost perfectly composed songs, with many different ideas and incorporating varied and very dynamic influences, if you know what I mean. And the riffs are often so infectious that it's unbelievable, these songs really sticks in your head. What's more, if you remember Darkthrone's "Soulside Journey" debut LP, this may also be a good reference point, as both bands show similar technique and style in some parts of the album.
The album is as diverse as you can only imagine; it brings many different ideas and ways of torturing the listener. "As I Behold I Despise" as an opener, is quite fast and brutal, but the middle part of the song is rather slow, with mournful guitar lead that fits here perfectly! "Dead Soul" could have been taken from Grave's "You'll Never See..." album, as well as say "Transmigration Beyond Eternities", which also has that Grave - like death metal groove we all love. Meanwhile "Fear Obscures From Within", which is one of my favourite songs here, starts like Dismember's "Dreaming In Red", with nice monumental bass intro, which later evolves into more aggressive playing. "Towards the Shrouded Infinity" is probably the fastest song on the album and "Perpetual Ascent" is one great instrumental, which even has some keyboards playing in the background.
If you're into slow, massively heavy and doomy riffs, I bet you'll love the sideB opening track, "Embrace the Darkness", which has some great heavy riffing, although Demigod composed their songs in the way that they're not boring and monotonous, so the song also has many transitions between faster or more melodic parts or whatever. And in my opinion it is one of the best songs on the album. As for the mentioned melody, yeah, that’s true that many riffs are surprisingly melodic, sometimes almost in the Swedish fashion, sometimes not... In that aspect, the music of Demigod seems quite atmospheric, of course not in the Paradise Lost way, but in classic death metal terms.
"Slumber of the Sullen Eyes" was recorded in 1992. It's been almost 20 years since and despite that, the album still sounds damn brilliant. This is something I love about those early death metal records. It may be 20 years since their recording, but I don’t stop listening to them. I will probably always find them as great and inspiring, and that's something I may not be able to say about many newer albums. Anyway, "Slumber of the Sullen Eyes" is definitely worth listening to. I can easily put this LP in the top 3 of the best Finnish death metal recordings and that won’t be exaggerating. As much as I like debuts from Disgrace or Funebre, those albums doesn't keep the high standards of Demigod's debut. Probably only "The Karelian Isthmus" may rival "Slumber of the Sullen Eyes"... Now I can only thank Xtreem Music for re-releasing this album on vinyl, as I couldn't afford the original pressing. The vinyl re-release definitely helped a lot.
Final note: 95 / 100