Daemonic (The Art of Dantalian)

To the untrained ear, death metal is simply death metal.  Those that have been fans of the genre over the years know better.  There’s the ripped-circuit board tech craziness, the burly chested guttural variety, the sloppy gore madness, the pleasingly melodic, the groove-oriented…  I could go on and on.  Belarus’ long-running bashers, Veld fall into what I’m going to label as the “tough as a handful of rusted nails” style.  They are not quite the fastest nor the sleaziest nor the most technical, instead their post-mortem, bone sawing riffs and abrasive tones fall into the pantheon that spawned Pestilence, Entombed and Dismember.  It’s all souped-up of course (and even melodic at times!) and you might hear something different, but that’s what I’m getting here, though elements of several other DM subsets creep into Veld’s rancid milk culture.  Daemonic (The Art of Dantalian) is the band’s 4th full-length to date, and I can claim ignorance as I haven’t heard anything else they’ve done since their inception back in ’95.  So, my soft, innocent ears are ripe for a rapin’!

Opener, “The Sweet Sound of Torment” had me expecting a Nile type of experience.  Tripped-out classical strings, gothic synths, vocal samples and ethnic percussion made me think that Karl Sanders was down in his subterranean layer working on the next Saurian ambient opus.  The first real song, “World in Obscure” takes the gritty, taut to the bone intensities of the above mentioned bands and inserts some vacuous grind-blasts into ‘em.  Don’t mistake me, this isn’t really exactly like the list of outfits I rattled off entirely, but somehow it is…  Orchestral touches, the tangible riffing, crisp Sunlight Studios’ inspired production, the dissonant breaks and brutish churns hint of the golden era of DM even though drummer Wojtek Slavinsky can often be found in the blast furnace (still his heaving double-bass drudges and brisk stops n’ starts keep the assault unpredictably awesome…he gives more than a point n’ grind performance).

Vocalist Kirill Bobrik is somewhat decipherable which from where I’m moshing is another strong point for the band; his throaty, shrapnel-ripped roar is deep but more of a beached, sand-caked scream than an out and out growl.  They fuck around with synths in the song but not to the point that makes you wonder why Rick Wakeman stopped by the studio.  These sickos are plenty technical too, and the instrumentation is impressive with a lot of jarring tempo-changes and fret-flying, riff/solo manifestations but it’s something that won’t lose the fans who just want to headbang like the devil without worrying about solving a Rubik’s Cube to find out which direction the music will take next.

“Constant Suffering” kicks off with messianic, tremolo rituals and bigger blasts than a NASA rocket, before descending into an opulent riff chug led by a slug-drawn carriage.  Bassist Tomasz Wawrzak deserves a special mention for frequently frog-hopping his basslines like he’s handling a fretless weapon (he might very well be).  Again, the sludgy, ugly sheen on the guitar and the vocals make this nastiness reek of vintage DM launched into hyperspace with a huge, melodic climax solo from Andrey Prudnikov giving way to surprising, clean playing/texturing which shows that these fuckers have range and breadth in their material lesser bands could only dream of strutting.  The cool part is I can understand almost every word of the lyrics, and found myself puking along.  Perhaps the strongest song on the album, “Endless Spiritual Paranoia,” goes from schizophrenic, meth-personality blasts to thunderous chunking and tuneful, staccato groove riffs backed by scarab-covered keyboards (lightly utilized and tastefully employed might I add).  Vocally, warped, pitch-shifted growls and buried grumbles mix with the normal recitations, and the catchiness quotient is upped with every passing measure.  Piston-pounding this composition into perfection, the solos are short n’ to the point…like a bullet to the head without any motor-mouthed malarkey holding up their destination.

If you’re reeling from multiple bayonet wounds and blast beat maledictions, “Lost but Never Forgotten” lends an acoustical shoulder for you to lean on.  There’s no Tutankhamen flair to be found here, just the respite of a classical arrangement.  You’ll need the rest because “Merciless and the Innocents’” off-kilter intro teeters between mad scientist thrash picking and Kraken sized sludge tentacles that’ll drag your ass fathoms’ deep.  It’s not long before fingers bleed crested arpeggios and chord lamentations of the damned that are much too difficult for me to wrap my head around, though they are memorable to a fault.  All kinds of weird as fuck vocal-shifting, almost industrial noise and other demented assortments color in the background, so there’s never any time to get bored or say, “This shit’s dull…maannn.”

I could write a thesis, dissertation and senior speech on each track, but for the sake of the reviewer not boring the fuck out of the audience let me hit some of the remaining highlights quickly.  “Conquerors of All Icons,” “Hate,” and “Anguish” are so lucidly angry at the entire fucking world you might find yourself hiding under your pillows from these giants of discordant rage…it’s okay, these songs are practically living, snorting behemoths that will smash your house in with an oak tree and splatter you in your bed.  You’re not going to get away no matter what.  Quicksand pacing, mangled harmony and sluggard chaos give “In Eternal Waiting” and closer, “Annihilation of Divinity/Trust upon Ignorance (which includes some surprising female melody vocals!)” a lot of girth and bloat that borders on the riffier end of the DM spectrum.

Veld ain’t to be scoffed at in my humble opinion.  This is dangerous DM with an old school mindset, experimental edge and a lot of modern madness.  They draw from everything I enjoy in the genre, and don’t miss much that I can point out.  I’m damn shocked that I’ve never really heard anyone talking about these guys all that much.  It looks like I have a back-catalog homework assignment to get busy with, because Daemonic, made a believer out of me.  This shit rules, flat out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
April 10th, 2015


  1. Commented by: StormFront

    that lyric video was fucking great. I will check this out soon.

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