Slakthus Gamleby

Gamleby – the town in Sweden in which Demiurg hail from. Slakthus – slaughterhouse. An apt title for such a death metal juggernaut of an album. Their third, Slakthus Gamleby really knocked me on my ass. I couldn’t place it at first – why it reminded me so much of Edge of Sanity, one of my all time faves – then it hit me like a ballbat to the forehead. The mighty Dan Swano not only produced and mixed the album, but also plays lead guitar and fiddles with the keys for Demiurg. It’s those leads that bare the most resemblance to Edge of Sanity, but it’s also in the guitar tone. It’s a tone I can only describe as wet, and crunchy.

Now even though I’m blathering on with my Swano/Edge of Sanity worship and comparisons, Demiurg is actually a Rogga Johansson fronted project, handling lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Rogga is the man fully or partially responsible for other death metal beasts such as Ribspreader, Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery to name but a few, and also a one time cohort in Edge of Sanity – to put it simply, he has as much clout as Mr. Swano, and together, they’re a wrecking ball.

OK, enough bullshit, onto the album. Slakthus Gamleby works for many reasons, but first and foremost is it’s versatility. Hard hitting, straight forward Swedish death metal peppered with bouts of melodic guitar and/or synth runs, occasional clean female vocals, tempo shifts and variations. Take album opener “Life is a Coma” for example – it would have you believe at first to be a pure mid pace romper, but midway through, the song breaks down into a slower melodic section and first introduces those female vox then comes back again. Follow up “Death Grasp Oblivion” is like a punch to the gut with it’s quicker pace and heaviness, while “Travelers of the Vortex” is much more doom than anything, and features a bit of clean male vocals courtesy of skinsman Ed Warby, also of Gorefest and Hail of Bullets fame. “Cold Skin” is another stormer sprinkled with bits of melodic leads and a short and sweet synth break, and “From Laughter to Retching” answers right back with a slower pace, more melody and another female vocal bit. The title track runs the gamut, bringing full on groove laden death, broken up by a doom like passage and an almost haunting, eerie sounding synth run midway through, and again to close the track. The album closes out with “World Burial” – more heavy, more brutal, but contrasted in it’s final 30 seconds by a solo female vocal piece, which itself is a repeat of the “From Laughter to Retching” female part.

I cannot praise this album enough. It’s at times heavy and devastating, yet at others it’s melodic and beautiful. A truly all in one package that’s cohesive and extremely memorable – one of the years best, and most likely one of it’s most over-looked.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
September 13th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz

    Swano? Sold.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Does it have the stockholm tone? if so im sold

  3. Commented by: Staylow

    It has the “Swano” tone. Think Purgatory Afterglow, Crimson, Infernal or II. Very, very similar.

  4. Commented by: faust666

    I didn’t like the first few songs on the album but after the second half hit me, I was sold. Great record, good review too Staylow.

  5. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Sorry Larry, but this album sucks. Generic, contrived, regurgitated, heard it all before with a stupid chick wailing like a castrated banshee over some songs. Not good,not good at all.

  6. Commented by: Desperado

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it man, but I’d say its a solid and enjoyable release. When the female vox first kicked in I was like WTF!? But then it grew on me. I need to give this more listens.

  7. Commented by: Stiffy

    Just got to this one. Very cool. Thanks Larry!

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