PANDEMONIUM - Devilri (demo 1992 / GODZ OF WAR LP 2011)
I am sure that if you’re interested in the Polish metal history at least a little bit, then you are familiar with Pandemonium. But in case you don’t know much about the scene in this country from the early 90’s, let me inform you that Pandemonium was definitely one of the leading bands in Poland at that time, one which released a few memorable and cult recordings and which gained a lot of recognition and respect from the underground maniacs. Pandemonium was formed back in 1990 and “Devilri” was the first demo tape they released, through the famous Carnage Records. The history was never kind for Pandemonium and thus the band went through some turbulent times. After recording their amazing debut album “The Ancient Catatonia”, which have raised the band to the role of one of the leading Polish acts, instead of going with the flow they got into trouble with their drummer Żuber, who after leaving the band has legally took the name Pandemonium. So Paul, the leader of the band, was forced to change the moniker for Domain, only to come back to the original name after three Domain albums in 2004. Anyway, since the “Devilri” demo has recently been re-released on vinyl for the first time and also because Pandemonium unleashed their new “Misanthopy” album, I thought it is a great opportunity to remind everyone, what “Devilri” is like and why everyone should get interested in this demo and this awesome band! Yeah, I especially want to recommend this band to not Polish maniacs - the Poles know their jewels well and respect them for what they do, so they surely know Pandemonium music well, but in case you’re from abroad and are looking for some good bands, I strongly advice you getting their recordings. And start with “Devilri”.
The demo material is just excellent. It is one of the darkest, most sinister and gloomy recordings from that time from Poland, along with the likes of Taranis and the debut of Christ Agony. It’s never been a secret that Pandemonium was highly influenced by the “Worship Him” / “Blood Ritual” era Samael as well as Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. And of corpse you can hear those influences very clearly, but I would never say that it is a weakness of “Devilri”, as the quality of this demo material is just superb. What’s more, even nowadays “Devilri” still sounds absolutely amazing, slightly archaic maybe, but it’s got the power and wonderful atmosphere, which along with the doomy riffs create an engaging and inspiring listening experience. Right from the first song, a doomy masterpiece “Hagia Sophia”, Pandemonium crawls slowly like a most horrifying and creepy thing in the shadows, bringing fright and chills. The tempo is very slow on every song, but they’re built around really great motifs and even if the whole material is relatively easy, sometimes almost primitive (and nowadays archaic), it appeals to me more than many modern and technical albums that are released nowadays. The power of riffs in such tracks as “Devilri”, “Might of the Godz” and “Unholy Existence” is undisputable and all the way through the demo it is very hard not to bang the skull and throw the fist in the sky. I’m glad also that Pandemonium often underlines the atmosphere and heaviness of those riffs with creepy keyboard sounds (which sound just excellent here!), with some wind howls or other extras… plus the vocals of Paul are just great, deep and sorrowful, well fitting the music. I don’t know – and don’t care really – whether you’ll call this demo death metal, doom metal or black metal… The most important thing is that “Devilry” is just a great material and one, which I dare to say is a must to obtain, if you call yourself an old school metal maniac.
The vinyl itself was wonderfully released, matching the quality of such vinyl releases as those from The Crypt Productions. It comes on two colours of the LP – black and white, with a limited quantity 250 of each of them. The release has an amazingly looking 12 page booklet, which along with dozens of archival photos, includes scans of many interviews with Pandemonium, which were done for the old fanzines back in the early 90’s. It’s a great portion of reading, although those who don’t speak Polish may feel disappointed, as most of them are written in this language. Anyway, it looks just superb; the whole layout is absolutely top notch and doesn’t lack anything! What’s more, to make this vinyl even more attractive to the maniacs, “Devilri” joins the past with the present, offering as a bonus a digipack of the band’s ”Promo 2010”. On the promo you’ll find two new songs plus some multimedia extras (videos from the gigs Pandemonium played in 2010). It does make sense then to release such beauties as this LP and I must strongly advise you to get a copy of, before it’s too late.
Final rate: 85/100