Servants of the Unlight

From the label that brought us arguably my favourite Stockholm Death metal album of the last few years (Evocation’s Tales From the Tomb)comes the debut from Sweden’s Demonical, and featuring basically most of the productive but now defunct Centinex line up (As well as current Grave drummer Ronnie Bergerståhl), there no secrets as to the sound of Demonical.

As Centinex always seemed to be in the shadows of their peers, due to not quite delivering the elite mix of song writing and memorability within their Swedish death metal throes, Demonical aren’t quite up to par with label mates Evocation. That’s not to say Servants of the Unlight is bad, it’s a fine album chock full of midrange goodness sprinkled with a few more blast beats on par with the likes of recent releases from Nominon, Fleshcrawl or My Own Grave; solid but hardly spectacular. It just lacks the special ‘it’ to make it more than an enjoyable yet disposable death metal. Much like Centinex, it’s just a lick, hook or classic moment away from the greats like Entombed, Dismember or Grave.

Still though, armed with a killer Sunlight-ish guitar tone (which is always a plus to me) and gruff but not brutal vocals, Servants of the Unlight delivers 9 tracks of churning but tempered death metal that has that instantly recognizable Stockholm influence. A few moments such as “Unholy Desecration”, “Slaughter of All Hope”, requisite slow burner “Leipzig 1945” truly evoke that classic sound with rending, scrawling harmonies, but for the most part Demonical are a bit more brutish (“Revel in Misanthropia”, “Burned Alive”, “Feeding the Armageddon”) and straight forward and that almost takes some of the Stockholm character away (other than the guitar tone).

Closing cover track, a cover of Onslaught’s “Death Metal” (I was hoping for a cover of Dismember’s version) is an odd choice other than its title, and it ends the album awkwardly. Why no do like Evocation did and just go ahead and cover a track from one of your obvious peers instead of an obscure British thrash track. No Shame in that.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 3rd, 2008


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