Released: 2006, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
It takes about five seconds of hearing Demiricous’ debut, ONE (HELLBOUND), to get a feeling of déjà vu—one that lies deeply in the “golden age” of Slayer circa REIGN IN BLOOD through SEASONS IN THE ABYSS. Whether or not this was Demiricous’ intention is unknown but, yes, the parallels are THAT obvious. Musically, we are talking an exact match right down to the double bass, diving solos, searing riffs and groove-based thrash melodies but the vocals of Nate Olp are more in the vein of death metal-lite than Tom Araya’s growls and wails. Now, given this is 2006 and not 1986, there have been a few modern—and I use that term carefully—touches added to ONE (HELLBOUND) that bridge the gap between, say the “death ‘n roll” of The Crown’s DEATHRACE KING or the modernized thrash of Shadows Fall’s OF ONE BLOOD and a dyed-in-the-wool classic like REIGN IN BLOOD. Modern thrash is definitely part of the recipe but fans of Slayer will devour this release as they eagerly await the follow-up to GOD HATES US ALL.
The Slayer-isms waste no time in surfacing with “Repentagram,” whose intro sounds remarkably close to that of “War Ensemble” and “Angel of Death.” This track is a monster and a wise choice to open the CD. “Repentagram”’s mixture of neck-snapping thrash and intense groove state immediately what Demiricous is all about—bone-crushing riffs, a chunky bottom end and vocals that sound like Olp gargles with broken glass. “Withdrawal Divine” follows with relentless drumming courtesy of Chris Cruz and Ben Parrish’s blistering solo will have King/Hanneman worshippers bowing to a new god. Olp’s vocals on “Vagrant Idol” are easily some of the most brutal and varied I have heard this year and the pacing of this track is very much in the death metal vein. Fast, tight and oozing with double bass, it’s one of the stronger ones here. “Beyond Obscene” settles in to a mid-paced groove before the band hits the gas, accelerating to a speedy center and then reverting back to the head-bobbing groove. “Heathen Up (Out For Blood)” and “Cheat The Leader” see the band at it’s heaviest. Cruz’s drumming on the latter borders on Black metal with frantic blastbeats and jaw-dropping double bass work, while the former finds Olp’s seething shrieks and barks and the “South of Heaven”-inspired solo is heavenly. The final half-minute of “Ironsides” owes much to the Pantera playbook as a concrete groove follows a tweedly solo with a tip o’ the hat to Dimebag himself. “Hellraisers” delivers the final blow and with a finishing move comprised of a double-axe attack and a paint-peeling chorus (does anyone else hear the similarities to Behemoth’s “Slaves Shall Serve”?) unearthed direct from Hades, the listener is left quivering in its wake.
There is not a bad song to be found here and at only 40 minutes, ONE (HELLBOUND) is the perfect length. It pleases me even more that rather than jump on the over-crowded metalcore and melodic death bandwagon that every other North American band seems to be hitching a ride with, Demiricous is unleashing metal that simply destroys all current conventions, yet borrows heavily from stuff that we have already heard. Revolutionary? No. Original? Hardly. But one thing Demiricous succeeds at is creating twelve tracks of head-splitting metal that annihilates anything in its path, something a band called Slayer did some 20 years ago. A half point gets knocked off the score due to the overt Slaytanic pattern but considering this is the band’s debut album, I have nothing but high hopes for Demiricous. Likely candidate for Best New Band of ’06? Quite possibly.
KILLER KUTS: “Repentagram,” “Withdrawal Divine,” “Heathen Up (Out For Blood),” “Cheat The Leader,” “Ironsides,” “Hellraisers”